I remember a few years back, a new client having a tough time emailed me this question: “When does it stop being so hard?”
I immediately emailed back:
It stops being hard on June 17, 2021.
At 2:37 pm.
(Since we’ve now passed this date, you can imagine that this was a tiny bit facetious.)
I then quickly followed with this:
It stops being hard when the process becomes routine and also kinda fun.
That’s the honest truth. Not “when it’s over” or even “when you start seeing results.”
Seeing measurable progress feels great, but it’s still an outcome and beyond your control. And therefore the wrong thing to focus on.
You only control the process. So, whenever possible, you want to make the process fun. Play games. Geek out on the little things: eyeball your portion of rice and then put it on your food scale. How close was “your guesstimation”? (Adjust if it’s way off, of course.) See if you can do better next meal.
Or simply try a little controlled experimentation in the kitchen. Use different spices, rubs, and marinades. Bust out your new Air Fryer or even sous-vide your shit, you trendy SOB. If it doesn’t turn out then quit watching so much Food Network.
The same holds true for training. In my own case, I may not change my program often but I’m constantly tweaking things to make training more fun: adding a one-second pause in the stretch position of triceps extensions and incline curls; supinating (twisting) the wrist during the concentric (lifting) portion of a DB press; doing timed holds on chins, or timed finishers with push-ups (as many push-ups as possible in 2 minutes).
I admit it’s geeky as hell but to me it’s fun. This keeps me committed to the process, day after day, training session after training session, meal after meal. It makes things less hard.
This is because when you do this, eventually all this stuff becomes just part of who you are. It’s routine. You’re just doing you.
This is really important. I think of it as a kind of becoming an “inside-out” approach.
Changing your body is far more effective when you go at it from the inside out, meaning your goals are in line with your values. You’ll just naturally focus on the process stuff that gets results.
The idea is you get to a point where eating right and exercising feels like it’s just “you doing you” and not “something you’re doing.”
If all this body composition stuff is something you’re doing, that is, something you’re tacking on to your regular routine, it’ll be difficult, and it’ll stay difficult. But if it’s just “you doing you,” well, it won’t be so hard, will it? It’ll just be who you are. The results will follow.
And on those occasions when it’s go time (when the “going gets tough,” as it were), or things do get harder than usual — because, yeah, that happens — you won’t already be at the end of your rope. You’ll be able to turn things up a notch at your leisure, either because life demands it, or because you’ve just decided to kick it up a notch for awhile (because that can be fun too).
In other words, really, you will control when it starts and stops being hard.
So: get to work. Do the stuff that gets the results. Most importantly: do you.
– Coach Bryan