Motivation can be a tricky thing, it comes and goes and can be a wonderful tool or a terrible obstacle depending on the context. One of the most destructive elements I’ve encountered over the years, and that can cripple a persons progress if they’re not careful, is starting out with unrealistic expectations regarding progress. You see, as time goes on it is all to easy to destroy morale with the realisation that things might be slower and more difficult than previously imagined. There are a whole host of influences that can result in a person believing they will achieve more than they will over a specific timeframe, so I thought I’d list a few of the ones I’ve come across in the hope it might help a few of you to avoid them.
1. Expecting the same results as somebody else…
Be it a transformation photo on the internet, or that shredded physique presented by your favourite athlete, it’s all too easy to set your expectations based on what another has achieved. For the vast majority of people this is a mistake. There are numerous and varied reasons for this as you are only seeing what has been presented without any accompanying context. How long did their journey actually take? What are their genetics like? What were the social pressures they faced while they achieved it? What kind of job did they have and how much stress do they have to deal with?
My point is that without further information presented in an honest and direct way you will simply have no way of knowing the full story, particularly if all you have to base your opinion on is a few social media posts. Regardless how much you respect a fitness professional it is also impossible to second guess their personal agenda. When presented with a dramatic transformation remember that the person doing so is often trying to present that they possess the key to overcoming the complexities of such an achievement, hence why you should buy their product. Or with the example of the professional physique athlete they will likely avoid some of the negative elements (like drug use, low libido, health issues) required to achieve their year round shredded state so as not to negatively impact their following, sponsorship and income.
In short, it’s fine to be inspired by another persons achievements, but likely detrimental to expect you will make similar progress without a good understating of the similarities between you and them. Instead, focus on what you can personally do by making the changes that will provide decent bang for buck and you’ll have a much higher chance of sticking with your program long enough to really see results.
2. Believing the promises of supplement companies…
Marketing in fitness can suck. Unrealistic promises, the capitalisation on people insecurities and misleading headlines are all used in abundance by health and fitness companies. Nowhere is this more rife than with supplement providers. Some of the results that I have seen promised over the years are downright ludicrous. One company a few years back at a consumer show I attended had a mass gain product that promised over 20 lbs of lean muscle could be gained over a few months. Anyone with a basic understanding of physiology would know immediately that this is a ridiculous statement, but most consumers sadly don’t.
In short don’t believe what somebody trying to sell you something says about their product, particularly with regards to results. Supplements will have practically no impact if your nutrition and training aren’t on point, so worry more about getting that right than the latest super mass gaining triple filtered ultra absorbed uber shake and you’ll stand yourself in good stead.
3. Thinking that it’s just a matter of hard graft…
I have to admit, I’m not a fan of the whole ‘go hard or go home’ mantra that is all over social media these days. Whilst I would be the first to admit a good level of effort is required if you really want to maximise progress, I have encountered a huge number of people who believe that results are just about how ‘hardcore’ you are in your training.
Let me clarify: a good training and diet plan is about attaining an economy of effort, or in other words putting in effort where it will provide the most benefit. What does this mean? Well if you are trying to get lean without taking measures to ensure you are in a calorie deficit you will find yourself up a certain creek without a paddle. No amount of ‘clean eating’ or cardio will counter this fact despite how strongly somebody wants it so. Similarly going into a training program thinking it all about doing as much as possible often leads to mediocre results and a higher chance of injury.
Instead a better approach is to try to improve with the least amount of effort required. That way it’s easier to stick to, has less impact on your body and for many is a lot more enjoyable. Sure, a close eye has to be kept on progress to keep things focused, but you get the gist. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s easy, as it’s not, but it is pretty simple when you cut out the noise and focus on what counts.
So there you have it, these are some of the most common mistakes I’ve come across over the years that can knock a persons motivation. I hope that those of you reading this can use my experiences to help you avoid some of the pitfalls listed. With just a little foresight you can really increase your chances of realising whatever your goals may be, so get real and get to it!