Unrealistic Expectations for Progress

August 21st, 2015 by

Unrealistic expectations for progress.

Where do they come from? Is it the ‘weekly’ progress The Biggest Loser contestants make? Is it just a complete lack of understanding of the process, based on simple inexperience? No one gets out of shape overnight so I remain confused how people expect to get in shape overnight.

Regardless, as coaches, it’s one of the more frustrating things we deal with … BUT it comes with the territory. And quite honestly, in a sense, it’s to be expected given all the media, diet book titles, fads, etc., promising incredible results in … hours. We all want it faster than it can realistically happen.

Each of us needs to realize the same thing – that just because you’re trying to, and you’re working out hard, dieting hard, etc. doesn’t mean you’re going to look like your dream physique a few months from now. In fact, maybe you never will. Not every individual is going to be a great sprinter just because they want to be and they train to be. They will however become a better sprinter than they were when they started training for it. The same applies to physique competition. Not everyone ‘has it’ or will have it. Yet somehow we think that we can just look like whomever we want, right away, just because we’re trying hard and we want to. I hear a lot of times from new female client prospects – “I want to have Jamie Eason’s body”. Well, wouldn’t many people?!

I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade here, quite the contrary; I’m trying to inject a sense of realism into the process. Every single one of us can make dramatic improvements to our bodies, BUT that still doesn’t mean you’re going to wind up looking like an Olympia competitor. You might even have a better work ethic than that person, more knowledge, etc. The X factor that people don’t want to talk about or acknowledge is genetics and like it or not, genetics matter. Physique development – it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Real development takes time, lots of it. Trying to gain muscle for a month before dieting again? Nothing is going to happen.

Be realistic, set realistic goals and realize that your end-goal, whatever that may be, is probably going to be a bit of a journey and take you some time to get there.

Every now and then I get a client who falls into this category. I open up a biweekly, see yet another biweekly of solid numbers, moving in the direction of their goals, improvements in picture updates, etc., only to see a comment like I’m not dropping fast enough, I have to drop this much <insert unrealistic number> by this date, this program is not working, something needs to change. I need to blast this fat off ASAP.

(hypothetical case)

Now, the fact that the person is down nearly 15 lbs, 10-15 inches in a couple of months seems to escape their thinking and throw objectivity completely out the window. The irrational person says, it’s not enough. So my question back is, Ok so given how much you’ve lost so far, and the fact that fat loss gets harder, not easier, the leaner you get, how much beyond 15 lbs do you think you should be right now? 30? In a couple months? When you weren’t even really fat to begin with? Come on. Their answer? “Yes, I know, I know, but I’m just not patient enough.” My answer? You better start learning how to be then since it’s not going to change just because you’re impatient.

Nope, all that can be seen is that I need to be ‘here’ in this amount of time, and I need more. Ever think maybe you chose the wrong time line, or that … you started too late, not knowing or understanding how the process works? What realistic and sustainable fat loss looks like?