The end of the year is almost here. Years come and years go. As the days, weeks, and months pass, some people succeed while it seems other people spin their wheels. Are you succeeding or are you spinning your wheels? It might seem like there is some insurmountable difference between those people who succeed and those who do not but is not the case. Everyone has some things working against them and some things working in their favor. Regardless of what works for or against a person the ultimate determinant of success is that person. You are the person that decides if you are successful. Did you reach your goals this year? Let us know by sending us an email, message, or reaching out to us on social media. Whether you achieved your goals or not, now is not the time to dwell on what has passed; it is time to focus on the future. In part 1 and 2 of this countdown, we covered topics necessary for success, including goal setting and progress assessment. Now we will cover another topic that is just as important—consistency. Consistency Nothing worth doing is quick and easy. Achieving something significant takes effort repeated over time. That is, you must put in the work and do so consistently. When considering anything in life, this idea applies, and reaching health and fitness goals is no different. The specifics of the goal(s) do not matter. You might want to add strength, lose weight, build muscles, improve performance, or all of these. Regardless, consistently repeated effort over time yields results. This is an area where many people struggle. The struggle starts with motivation. A person—for example, you—might get fired up about a goal and genuinely be excited and ready to "get it done “at that moment in time. Then, some time passes, the excitement fades, and that person loses motivation. This isn’t even about life getting in the way, though we'll talk about that in a moment, but rather just the person losing motivation. People lose motivation for all sorts of reasons. They don’t want to work that hard, they get bored, they'd rather "do something fun," or some other reason. For many people, these are good enough reasons to quit. To a point, we get it. The process can be hard, can be boring, is not always fun, and can have other drawbacks, such as time consumption. However, if the work is not done, a person will never reach his or her goal. The adaptive process of the body Again, consistency matters in all things. You're never going to be financially secure if you make one good money decision and then give up. Apply this idea to anything, including fitness, weight loss, and other physical goals. Eating clean for one day has no significant impact on weight loss. Completing one workout has no significant impact on strength. Running one time does not have a significant impact on cardiovascular ability. Taking that idea a bit further, repeating something two, three, or four times has minimal effect, and if you give up there, no long-term effect. Conversely, doing something for two three, or four months can have a significant effect, but if you give up there, no long-term effect. Results fade quickly. How quick depends on various factors. For example, a person who trains for 20 years then quits will generally see a slower loss of results that they person who training for two months. The more time a body has been programmed to be a certain way, the more it wants to stay that way. This is the adaptive processes of the body at work. Think about it like a suntan. If you lay out in the sun one time for 10 minutes, you likely won't see a change in skin color. If you lay out for an hour you might. If you spend a few hours in the sun, you will definitely see change in the form of a tan or burn. That said, if you only tan once, and never expose you skin to the sun again, the tan fades and then disappears completely. That is why so many people lose their tan over the winter months. The onset and fade of a suntan is the adaptive process of the body at work. This adaptive process is not isolated to one system, but rather it encompasses the entire body. Give the body a "stress" to adapt to, such as the rays of the sun or imposed physical stress, and the body will adapt. You have to recover well, of course, such as rubbing lotion on your body to maintain the tan or eating food to recover from physical activity, but the body will adapt. The reverse is true as well. The body will regress, or have a "reverse adaptation," to the absence of the stressor. If the body is not regularly exposed to the stressor, then it will not maintain the adaptation. You will lose your "gains." Adaptation and consistency Exposure to stress—in this case the stressors of exercise or training—cause the body to adapt. For more adaptation to occur, the body must regularly be exposed to the stress. This applies if you want to maintain your abilities or enhance your ability. If you work up to a 200-pound deadlift, then decide to only lift 100 pounds for the next year, you'll lose the ability to deadlift 200 pounds. If you work up to a 200-pound deadlift and want to reach 300 pounds, continuing to lift 200 pounds will not get you there. You must add weight. The overall point here is consistency breeds results. Of course, a good plan and work effort has to be in place, but these are nothing without consistency. Putting in a hard workout once a month will do nothing for your body, except make it hurt during and after that workout. Eating right once a week will not improve your health and fitness or allow you to add mass or lose fat. Only through repetition will you be able to achieve and maintain the goal(s) you seek. Have a plan, be ready to put in the work, and be consistent, or be ready to fail.
Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, and the International Sports Sciences Association. Nathan has 17 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.