Whatever your health and fitness goals, whether you want to lose weight, become stronger or get fitter and healthier, there’s a single piece of important advice that will help you achieve your aims.
This may sound counterintuitive, as you might think you should be moving quicker or doing more to become fitter and healthier, but hear me out …
These days, most of us have extremely busy lives and rush around from A to B dealing with all our responsibilities. New technology is continually designed to help us do more in less time and make everything quicker and easier.
But, as great as this technology is, it’s created a society that expects immediate results.
Many health companies look to exploit our addiction to immediacy by promising us quick fitness fixes like ‘lose x amount in 30 days’ or ‘with just one 30-minute workout a week you can ….’.
But our bodies and minds often can’t keep up with our lofty expectations.
Unfortunately, for almost all of us, this creates unrealistic expectations.
Just because our modern lifestyles mean we can do most things faster, it doesn’t automatically mean we could, or should, be losing weight or getting stronger any quicker.
Achieving sustainable change still takes time, effort, patience and persistence.
The main reason many of us don’t achieve our fitness goals is that we're comparing ourselves to others, expecting quick fixes, or setting unrealistic expectations.
We quit after a few weeks if we can’t see any physical results. Or, if we’ve missed a week of workouts, we assume we’ve failed and don’t get back up and try again the next week. Some of us are also guilty of trying to do too much too soon and end up burning out.
So, my advice is: be the tortoise, not the hare.
In the famous Aesop’s fable, the hare ran as fast as he could to win the race and tired himself out, whereas the tortoise took it slow and steady and ultimately won the race.
It’s the same for achieving your health and fitness goals.
When you pace yourself, slow down and have a bit of patience, you’ll achieve your goals (and be more likely to maintain your results).
Don’t get me wrong, there are times when quick is better, and there can also be ‘bad’ slows, but maybe we would all benefit from slowing down every now and again.
So, how can you slow down?
Eating slowly not only allows you to savour your food, it also gives your body time to digest and means you’ll feel satisfied eating less.
It’s ok if other commitments get in the way of your workouts or nutrition plans from time to time. As long as you get back on track as soon as you can, you’ll still be able to achieve your goals.
Remember that we’re all different, so it takes everyone different amounts of time to lose weight or develop muscle. The best speed to aim for is the speed where you can comfortably maintain your momentum without falling off the wagon.
Give yourself 5 minutes of mindfulness a day to think about you, your health, your family and friends.
Do you find yourself operating at 100mph and regularly spending more than 8 hours a day at work? Focus on what really matters and find ways to be more efficient and work smarter.