Why Moderation is Bull$&#t

99% of the time, I’m an easy-going kind of guy.  I try not to let much rattle me and have adopted a “never too high on my highs or too low on my lows” type of outlook.  Every so often however, something unhinges me a bit, and most often it’s fitness or nutrition related.



A couple of weeks ago, I was half watching the Today Show on NBC while I was getting my kids ready to go the gym so I could train my clients.  The entire show was based on “Health and Wellness”.  They had celebrity trainer Bob Whatever from The Biggest Loser and an entire cast of well-known characters involved in cooking shows or other walks of the fitness community.  The entire show was based on the idea of “moderation” and “making small changes”.  “Do something easy, just a little here and a little there”, blah blah blah.  Meanwhile, as I’m listening, the only thing keeping me from throwing the toaster oven through the tv is the fact that my son’s Mickey shaped waffles weren’t quite done yet.  They demonstrated some half-assed type of core work with medicine balls, making comments about how fun it is and how exercise should be done with a smile and so on, I think you get the idea.

Luckily, I resisted the urge, can't have my boy going hungry!

Luckily, I resisted the urge, can't have my boy going hungry!

This type of garbage is everywhere, especially mainstream media.  The reason; because it makes people feel good about themselves.  It’s consumable.  It’s easy to digest and think “oh, that’s all it takes! To get the body I want, to be healthy!”  It’s the fitness version of a participation trophy and it’s only making this country fatter and unhealthier.  But the fact about moderation is that it only works if you want moderate results.  If your goal is to gain 5lbs of flab this year instead of 10, moderation.  Want to fit in a seat on an airplane without pissing off the person next to you? Moderation.  Want to walk 6 blocks in NYC without bending over and gasping for air? Moderation is the key!


Now, let’s discuss what it takes to get REAL, TANGIBLE results.  When talking about losing 50lbs, putting 100lbs on your bench, looking awesome in that sleeveless dress, or having the opposite sex do a double take when the shirt comes off at the beach, the word moderation has no business being in your vocabulary.  The approach here is to go all in and put every ounce of energy and focus into your training and nutrition that you can.  The fact that you only ate 4 cookies instead of your usual 8 after your burger and fries means shit and should not be rewarded with a “good job!!”.  You cannot tip toe around the issue of sacrifice, discipline, and brutal work when trying to make a life changing transformation.  Ask anyone who has done anything worthy of discussion for their own health and fitness and they will never tell you about the minor changes they made to accomplish their goal, if they do, it’s probably to make you feel better. These individuals made wholesale changes to their lives so they could get the results they NEEDED, because they knew it was required, they had a plan in place, and they executed that plan 100% of the time.

Just to clarify, there is a massive difference between using a moderation/random small changes approach and taking small steps that are part of a greater plan.  The sense of accomplishment of winning each small step is going to ignite the fire for you to succeed in all future and more difficult steps.  If you are just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks, when that scale doesn’t move, or your still just as weak, you are way more likely to wave the white flag and go back to the 8 cookies.        

In 15 years of training professionally and even more time spent training myself, I have seen some pretty cool transformations.  Whether we are talking weight loss, muscle gain, massive increases of strength or functional capabilities, it never happened from making minor changes or moderate effort.  Somewhere along the way, there was some major discomfort that had to be dealt with, even embraced, as part of the process to improve.  Most people can’t deal with this discomfort which is why most people fail.  As soon as an obstacle presents itself, too many decide they can’t get past it, but you can!  As much as it sucks to deal with, you must embrace this discomfort, conquering that is what leads to accomplishing your goal!   

I don't know who this guy is but he's squatting on top of broken glass, so what's your excuse?

I don't know who this guy is but he's squatting on top of broken glass, so what's your excuse?

More than trying to piss my readers off with this post, my intentions are to demonstrate that it IS POSSIBLE to make REMARKABLE changes regarding your fitness and health, but just like anything else in life, it’s going to take intensity, effort, and focus.  Try to think about how great it will feel to accomplish that goal you have been dreaming about, regardless of what it may be. Find out what the right path is to get there, and then smash each step with everything you have until you are where you want to be.  There is nothing moderate about that, but anything worth accomplishing requires more than a moderate effort!      


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