The ONE Thing…

The first week of the new year is almost over.

For some, the exuberance and promise of potential change is wearing off as they face the mundane routines of daily life.

Bummer.

Here’s the ONE thing you can do and it’s the ONLY thing you need to do in order to achieve your goals –

MEASURE.

It’s that simple.

I think it was Peter Drucker, a social ecologist, who said, “What’s gets measured gets managed.”

Where do you want to go?

It doesn’t matter if you don’t know where you currently are.

Take fat loss.

It’s a popular topic this time of year. Lots of people are not only trying to lose those extra pounds they put on over the past 6 weeks of 2010, but also those same 6 weeks in 2009, 2008, 2007…

And there’s a lot of confusion about what diet to be on, what workouts to do, etc.

But none of that really matters if you don’t have a starting point – or more importantly, the most accurate starting point available to you.

For fat loss, the traditional form of measurement is the scale. Which is ok and better than nothing. Another form of measurement is the tape measure.

What Do You Have To Measure?

The important stuff.

The stuff that matters.

The stuff that actually creates change.

Stuff like –

– Food portions
– Weight used in workouts
– Sets and reps in workouts
– Rest

Simple things.

Bad News – Good News

The bad news is that when you look at those types of things you may panic.

How are you going to fit all that stuff into your current hectic schedule – work, kids, meetings, kids, time with spouse, kids, “honey-do” lists, on, and on, and on…

The good news is that if you pause, take a deep breath, and think for a minute, you already do these things – you know how much money is in your bank account, how many groceries you need each week, and how much gas is in your car.

And if you just take what you already know, what you already do, and apply it to your quest for a leaner, meaner, tighter, lighter you – you’ll be massively successful.

How To Get Measuring Now

1. Find your starting point. Step on the scale. Measure your waist with a tape measure.

2. Record that number. Preferably right next to your target or goal number.

3. Measure how much (in calories) you need to eat each day. This of course will be less than you are currently eating.

Good starting points are –

– bodyweight *13 if 10lbs or less
– bodyweight *12 if between 10-20lbs to lose
– bodyweight *10 if between 20-30lbs to lose
– bodyweight * 9 if more than 30lbs to lose

And then actually measure the amount of food you eat each day. (If you don’t know for sure, you’re just guessing…)

4. Measure your workouts by recording the sets, rest, weights, and reps in a log. If you don’t have one, get one, otherwise, how will you be able to tell if your making progress?

5. Repeat this process as often as necessary.

– Weighing in: 1x week
– Measuring food: Every meal
– Recording workouts: Every workout

“But It’s So Inconvenient!”

I know what you may be thinking – this will be really inconvenient and take too much time.

Yeah, it may be, but you know what’s REALLY inconvenient?

Flying to your parents house in a foreign country and having to take unpaid leave to do so because your dad has to have heart bypass surgery.

What most people don’t know is the heart bypass surgery is actually “elective” not “necessary.”

You see, you can “elect” to avoid it or you can choose to have it.

The choice to avoid it is based on making those minor inconveniences now as opposed to inconveniencing your spouse and your children when the doctor tells you that your shortness of breath is due to your excessively high levels of bodyfat and blood pressure that can no longer be “controlled” with just a pill (or 5).

That’s inconvenient.

Another inconvenience is when your admitted to the hospital to have one of your organs removed (like a kidney) because it’s riddled with cancer due to the choices you made earlier in life.

(It’s also very inconvenient for your family…)

The point is, you can choose when you’ll be inconvenienced – now or later, but the point is, you will at some point be inconvenienced.

The Solution.

Fortunately, there are really lots of solutions.

They’re pre-written kettlebell programs – just pick a kettlebell program and follow it.

Just one is fine. Don’t try to outsmart the professionals who wrote the programs by mixing this program with that one. Just follow one. And measure your progress.

(Here’s a great fat loss program with kettlebells.)

The important point is that you actually follow it, and measure your results.

And that’s it – the ONLY thing you need to do to start achieving your goals – MEASURE.

6 comments… add one
  • Philippe Jan 7, 2011 @ 11:23

    Great point, but IMHO “stakes” is also another high on the list key to success.
    If you don’t “have to” reach your goal for a vital reason, you probably won’t. For some people, it takes for them to be on their deathbed to decide to make the necessary changes to achieve their goals.
    Not to plug my own thing, but I posted something similar in concept, focusing on pitfalls, mistakes to avoid here:
    http://action-fitness.com/wordpress/top-3-mistakes-you-must-avoid/

  • jack charles-president Jan 7, 2011 @ 11:24

    hello from monaco-the one thing i want to do is just keep looking good, as am producing a movie (among other things) and have to say, the kettlebell has help me stay in great shape (have to, as the movie is going to be very physical and might want to bring you to miami and tunis to keep us going).
    all the best and look at our web: http://www.theroyallifestyle.com
    jack charles, president-the royal lifestyle (m0nac0-miami)

  • Gregg Jan 7, 2011 @ 11:42

    Hey Geoff! Great post! I couldn’t agree more. Too man people just start “working out’ or “eating right” but they have no plan, they don’t keep a journal, they don’t measure their progress, and they have no destination they are heading toward. Then they don’t get the results they expect, get frustrated and give up the wonderful pursuit of fitness.

    I’ve written articles about the S.M.A.R.T Method and that M stands for measurable, as in have measurable goals!

    You can’t measure ‘getting in shape”, but you sure can measure ‘running a 6 minute mile’ or ‘bench 3 plates’.

    With a pair of trusty skin fold calipers, you can also measure pretty accurately adding 10 pounds of muscle or losing 20 pounds of fat. And of course, you can easily measure the poundage increase on your best bench press.

    The specific and measurable aspect can be broken down even more to bring you closer to achieving your goals. For example, if you want to add 10 pounds of muscle, what other specific and measurable things must you do to reach your goal?

    * One could be that you must eat 6 high protein meals a day.

    * A second could be that you must eat 3,500 calories and 300 grams of protein every day.

    * You must train with weights three days per week.

    * You must add weight to your exercises at least every other workout.

    All of these are specific and measurable. The more specifics that you have, the more likely you will add your 10 pounds of muscle as quickly as possible.

    You can make a list of your daily, weekly, and monthly goals that you must do in order to meet your top goal of adding 10 pounds of muscle.

    Each day, place a check mark next to each measurable and specific goal you achieved that will help you conquer your top goal. Obviously, the more checks you have, the more likely that you will achieve your goal.

  • Chris Normand Jan 7, 2011 @ 11:48

    Thanks again for these reminders of what’s important. We tend to make things way more difficult than they need to be.

  • Sean Jan 7, 2011 @ 13:17

    Really like the “you can choose when you are inconvenieced” attitude. Brilliant! All the best for the New Year!

  • Daniel Jan 8, 2011 @ 7:41

    Measuring does help. Especially when you are making gains… or loss. Programs are great, but principles matter the most. If you are following one program and the workouts are great, but the nutrition does t work for you, use what works. Following principles makes the most sense. Programs change, principles do not. Bruce Lee’s commented that you should use what works, and reject was does not. No program is perfect for everyone. I take the aspects which work for me. The principles which are rooted in science, experience, and most importantly common sense. I have made my best gains, and weight loss, by following one program modified for my needs, and another for diet. So far so good. I highly suggest you never blindly follow someone else’s program. There isn’t a one size fits all. Take what works for you, and reject the parts that do not.

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