I get my body fat tested every three months using hydrostatic weighing. The past few months I have been getting in five workouts a week, logging my food in an online app, and watching my calorie intake, but when got my results I was the same percentage of fat, lean mass and scale weight as three months earlier. Immediately I asked myself, “Why Am I Not Losing Body Fat?” Not with judgment, but just in a scientific way, the way you might ask, “Why is the sky blue?”
Most people might get discouraged by no progress, but I’ve been a fitness professional for ten years, and I know a few things about fat loss and progress. I did a quick evaluation of what I had been doing vs. what I could be doing and what I have done in the past and here’s what I quickly realized.
- My daily life has been pretty stressful lately
- My macros have not been entirely on point
- Some of my workouts were more “maintenance” than challenging workouts
- I have not been willing to change a few of my “vices, ” i.e., Ice cream, wine, corn chips and bourbon
- If I’m truly honest, I am not nearly as motivated to lose body fat as I was when I was fighting
- I’ll be 38 in 2 months
#5 is a big one. Willingness. I sat down and thought to myself about how my motivation, training, body image and goals have changed since I stopped fighting.
Not every day of practice has to be your best day
Yesterday during my 9 am kettlebell training while trying to press the double 16 kg bells over my head and struggling it struck me that this was not going to be an easy day. I got a little frustrated because these were the same bells that I knew I could press 75 times in one session and yet I was struggling to get these measly six reps in a complex. I was having an off day.
But then I remembered one of my favorite phrases – “Let it be hard.” I finished the session, even if that meant push pressing the last two reps of each round and while I was walking home (yes people do walk in Los Angeles, I am proof), I thought about all the different strategies I use to get through hard sessions. I used these tactics to make it through grueling Muay Thai sessions when training for fights and I still use them today.
Let It Be Hard
This one is my favorite as it encapsulates all aspects of mindset. Training is hard. If it were easy, it would not be worth it. If it were easy, you would not make progress. If it were easy everyone would do it, and you would not feel the same accomplishment from your achievements. When you hit a snag in your training or are just having a bad day remind yourself that hard = good. Embrace the hard. What can screw with us about a training session being hard is what we think it means about us. Maybe it’s hard, and it wasn’t hard last week. Maybe it’s hard, and we think we should be progressing faster. Maybe it’s hard, and it’s not hard for the person next to us. But what you have to realize is that all that means NOTHING. Training is about progress; training is about getting just a little bit better every day. Sometimes that means our strength, stamina, power or endurance improves; other times that means our mindset is challenged and we improve mentally, or we learn a new technique, and we improve our skills. Progress is not always measured in numbers, reps or time, sometimes it is mental, sometimes it is subtle. When you feel that your training is hard, let it be and know that you are improving in some way. Hard is what gets you better.