A few weeks back I had nothing but boredom to keep me occupied so I decided to write an article to help a bunch of you lose weight, build muscle, get fit, yada yada yada.

The problem was that the number of topics I wanted to write about had been somewhere in the neighborhood of 0 and 0. So I did what every sensible content creator would have done—I turned to Instagram for advice. I posted this on my IG stories:

A good many followers did the heavy lifting for me and I finally had something to write about. So here are 8 pieces of advice to start your fitness journey aka here comes trustworthy advice straight from Instagram so buckle up.

1.”Just start”

This one came from my in-person client. “Just start.” And that’s all she said. She could have been more detailed, sure, so I didn’t need to do any extra writing but hey, there are worse things in life. Like being a grown man crying alone and drunk in his apartment over his broken dreams. Anyway, Jordan Syatt, once wrote:

“Stop wasting time waiting for the “perfect” moment to commit to your goals. It’s never going to come. You will always be busy. You will always have other responsibilities and obligations. You will rarely (if ever) think you’re 100 percent ready to dive in. But the longer you wait for the timing to be “perfect,” the longer you delay your chance to achieve your goals. Stop waiting. Start now.”

Start now indeed. Take the first step. Even if it’s something as small as going for a walk around the block or going to the gym for 20 minutes. Or drinking an extra glass of water. Just begin. Start making better decisions. The goal is to take action because with action you get results and results fuel motivation.

So start going to the gym once a week. Eat at least one protein-rich meal a day. Have a few pieces of fruit each day. Add an extra thousand steps to your daily step count. Count calories a few days each week. Weigh yourself every day. It doesn’t matter what that is but start doing something productive. You may not lose weight right away but you’ll feel better about your choices.

2. “What specifically do you want to achieve?”

“Specifically” is the word to hyper-focus on. Way too often people come to me and the conversation goes something like this:

Whattaya Want? And they’re like, Yeah, well, I wanna lose weight and build muscle and get toned. And then I go, Were you born in a trunk and then thrown off a train? What the fugg does that even mean? Well, like I said, I want to look fit.

What specifically do you want to achieve? I would encourage you to think about that. The more specific your answer is, the better.

Let’s say you come up with “I want to finally deal with stress eating because it really sucks balls and it makes calorie control very challenging.” Great. Now we talkin’. Now we can start talking about the best action plan that would be tailored to YOU.

3. “Start with incorporating small habits” & “Start small, take one day at a time”

Radically changing everything about your lifestyle overnight is unsustainable and that’s why I said that this is the reason why people regain weight.

Focus on one thing at a time. A few at most. Trying to do everything at once will overwhelm you. “Chase two rabbits, get none,” kind of thing. James Clear wrote this in his newsletter:

“You’ll probably surprise yourself with what you can accomplish—if you’re focused on one thing. You’ll probably frustrate yourself with what you fail to accomplish—if you’re doing 5 or 7 or 10 things. Nobody performs well when stretched in a half dozen directions.”

Pick a new habit or behavior, and commit to doing it even if it’s just a little. Say, 5 minutes of exercise. Any kind of. It could even be burpees (and you know how much I hate burpees). Scale it up over time.

You see, when you complete those 5 minutes, you know you can do it. And the more you repeat it, the more likely it is to become a part of who you are. Those 5 minutes of exercise will create a new identity for you. An identity of someone who exercises regularly.

Again, when you try too much too soon, the result is almost always the same—discouragement. Master the basics first—eat more fruits, non-starchy veggies, lean protein, less liquid calories, some form of exercise, etc. Then practice them consistently over time.

4. ”Eat foods you like or you will never be able to stick to any eating plan” & “Commit to a routine you can sustain”

This gave me a small brain hemorrhage. It’s a type of stroke if you wonder. I wrote so much about sustainability and flexible/balanced eating that I kinda don’t wanna do it anymore. But here I give a whattaya-gonna-do shrug and go again.

Ben Carpenter wrote in his book,

“If your healthy diet is so strict that you cannot stick to it and you end up derailing and eating all the foods you have been avoiding, you didn’t do yourself any favours. <…> The default belief is that avoiding ‘bad’ foods is better for your health, but if the act of avoiding them causes you to periodically binge on them or become miserable and feel restricted, are you really benefitting?”

I said many times before and I’ll say it again—I’d rather you hit your nutrition 80% than 100% because leaving some room for “fun” foods gives you some dietary flexibility to adjust your diet to suit your personal preferences. The diet that looks perfect on paper means jack shit if you hate it so much you won’t follow it for longer than a few weeks.

5. ”Work out at the same time every day so it becomes habitual”

Don’t get me wrong—there’s no best time to work out. However, you should pick a time you can fit into your schedule and stick to it most of the time. If that’s in the morning before work, great. If that’s during lunch, great. If that’s in the evening after work, great too. Just make sure to schedule your workouts in a way that allows you to do it consistently.

6. ”Not every day will be perfect; Try to have some flexibility”

During your fitness journey, you’ll probably have more shit days (or at least more average ones) than good ones because sometimes life likes to cough up some shitty stuff on your doorstep. And that’s okay.

Try to have some flexibility. Maybe you miss a few workouts. Maybe you don’t always hit your diet with 100% adherence. That’s fine because the goal isn’t to be 100% perfect. The goal is to be consistent. To be consistently good enough.

As long as you never let it get to 0% for extended periods of time, you’ll make progress. There’s no way around it. Just keep things going. You don’t need to hit your goals perfectly every day.

7. ”Go to the gym to become stronger, not to burn calories”

The best thing about exercising to burn calories is the fact you don’t have to do it. I dedicated the whole article to this topic but here we go again. Jay Alderton once said,

“A lot of people use exercise as a way to lose weight. What happens then is that you focus so much on that output that you probably go through miserable means to get the result.”

Jordan Syatt’s take on this is also worth mentioning:

“Aside from the fact that the popular mainstream tools people use to track calories burned are wrong by upward of 50 percent, the purpose of your workout is not to burn as many calories as possible. The purpose is to get stronger, increase your endurance, improve your mobility, and reach other markers of performance that actually make a difference in your life. The more you focus on calories burned, the more you’re missing the forest for the trees.”

Or as I say, train for muscle and strength, eat for fat loss. If you only use exercise as a way to burn calories and lose some weight, it’ll always be this chore you have to do to lose weight.

8.  ”Consistency is key”

Ah, yisss, consistency is key stuff. By the way, how come this consistency thing is always at the end of all the articles on the web? Coincidence, you say? And I say it’s the big pharma to blame. At least something keto lovers and I agree on.

There’s a reason why consistency gets thrown around a lot. It’s because it’s crucial to your success. The problem with consistency is… well, it’s this:

But that’s what it takes to pull off some serious body composition changes. Give it 5 years. Not months.

We live in a world full of hacks and shortcuts but very few talk about how long it takes to get a great physique. Ask anyone with an amazing body how long did it take for them and they’ll tell you 5+ years because success in any field is defined by you showing up and putting in the work for many many years.

Now, consistency isn’t easy. It’s contrary to nature. But as long as you don’t look at it as yet another form of all-or-nothing thinking (“I’m not consistent because I had a few off meals last week”) you’re going to be just fine. For reasons that elude rational explanation, let me do some math.

Assuming you eat 3 times a day, you have 1,092 meals a year. If you nail 80% of that—lots of protein and veggies—you’ll make huge progress. So 20% or ~218 meals a year can be off track and you’ll still make progress. And if you train 3 times a week, that’s 156 workouts. This means that you can miss ~31 workouts and still get there.

That’s what consistency is to me—knowing that I have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to my diet and training. There’s no need to put unnecessary pressure on yourself to do everything “perfect.” It’s unrealistic to hit your diet 100% of the time and train 365 days a year.
That’s pretty much it. If you have a friend who wants to start a fitness journey, send this article to them. Or if you want to avoid common beginner mistakes, apply for my 1:1 Coaching Program because I like money & those who do become my clients seem to get great results (check my Instagram page).

Train With Me Program (gym-only)

Originally published by me on Medium on the 22nd of May, 2024

Leave a Reply