You are several years into your fitness journey whether that means CrossFit everyday or just finding a way to move several times a week. You may have started getting the grilled chicken sandwich at chick fil a rather than the classic number one meal. You have seen progress in the gym and can tell a difference but you really had a different idea in mind for yourself when you started this journey. At some point in time we all get to this place, wondering what we are doing wrong, should we be eating less or more, why can’t we see the changes in our body or fitness progress that we really want?
The truth is progress, especially when it revolves around physical appearance, is all about consistency. Additionally no matter how consistent we are with good nutrition and getting in the gym our bodies can only change so fast (in reference to a balanced diet and eating at a maintenance or small deficit level). So that brings us to the question; How consistent do I have to be to reach my goals?
Before we dive into consistency, keep in mind that each person’s goals will vary according to where they are. Some may have a goal to get to the gym three times a week, or to hit their macro goals 5 days a week, etc. Whatever your goal is, think about that in terms of consistency, 100% consistency does not equal do every single thing all the time, it is relative to your goals and habits!
According to an article by Precision Nutrition titled “What it REALLY takes to lose fat, get healthy and change your body,” everyone in the study noticed change and improvement just by paying some attention to their choices. They made small changes every couple weeks that built on each other. PN paints a picture that if your goal is to hit your macros five days a week that would amount to about fifteen total meals. So if you hit your macros for four of those days that would be 12/15 meals which would equal 80% consistency. Over the course of one year, men and women who ranged from 80-89% consistency with whatever their goals were lost a total of 20-21 inches across all body measurements.
My intention is here not to tell you how you need to lose weight or be better. Rather the hope is that we can begin to understand that when we create an environment that is mostly predictable for our bodies, they begin to thrive and we see the progress we hope for. This applies to any area whether we want to be better at a certain lift, get double unders, gain muscle, lose fat, any of the above! And the good news? You don’t even have to be 80% consistent to see results. Majority of people in the study ranged from 50-79% consistency over the course of the year and still saw huge changes.
What does this mean for us? Don’t lose heart! The combination of choosing small habits that we can implement over a long period of time and choosing some level of consistency that is doable for you is what really takes you toward your goal. So whether you are on track 90% of the time or 50% of the time- stick with it! Lasting change takes time. If we plan for this long term strategy starting out then our small choices will continue to build on each other. A fun way to start tracking your consistency is to decide on 1-2 habits you would like to have that are doable for you! Something like, meet my protein goal 4 days a week, eat 5 servings of fruit and vegetables 5 days a week, or do 2 pullups every time I go into the gym. Once you know the habits you want to have you can start to notice your consistency and adjust your goal accordingly to make this a habit that is a part of your life!
By: Madisyn Wynn