With the exception of trying to improve overall health/well being, the primary reason in which many of us begin exercising regularly and eating better is achieve a dream physique. For me, I had been a hefty kid all throughout my childhood up until around the beginning of high school. I had convinced myself that being in top shape was not only a way to ensure a position for school athletics, but it was also a great way to set myself apart from the competition of my classmates to meet girls...I know...I was a pretty typically teenager growing up.
As I approached my high school graduation, my goals had shifted from chasing a aesthetic physique to a much more functional/athletic physique that would aid in the transition into college ball. I had envisioned a dream physique that was not only powerful and agile, but also appealing to the eye...It was a rather unrealistic, yet common goal amongst many aspiring bodybuilders. You can only be so large and minimize additional body fat...but I was young and convinced that there were no limitations to the human body.
Throughout my early college years, I began to pack on the pounds. My entire day was centered around ensuring that I was making progress toward becoming a more competitive athlete on the team. I ended up with body that I wasn't particularly fond of, and soon began finding myself dreaming of the day that football was over and I could begin making strides toward becoming a more aesthetically pleasing individual. If you are a frequent reader on the blogs, you may know that the day came a bit sooner than expected.
This lead me to the third time in my life I found myself chasing a different physique. I had a general idea as where I wanted to be at the end of it. I had visible abs my junior/senior year in high school and it was something I was always very proud of at the time. I felt is was a direct reflection of my choice to wake up early and run at the park, lift vigorously, and make a conscious decision to eat the right foods. I felt I had lost that pride in myself as I began to gain weight in my early years in college. I decided I was truly committed to making a change.
After ten long months of strict dieting, lifting, etc., I had finally achieved my goal physique I was after. I had made it a priority over just about everything in my daily life. The discipline that I had furthered developed throughout my time playing college ball had remained with me far after the days I had left the game. Although I was incredibly pleased with the results I had achieved, this was one of the few times in my life where I felt that I had arrived at a final destination. This loss of drive and motivation led me down the path of complacency.
There was still an element of discipline in my daily life. I ate well and went to the gym regularly and continued to make half hearted health conscious decisions, but my progress came to a screeching halt. I was simply maintaining a mediocre physique because....well because it was easy. There was no true sacrifice necessary to maintain an "okay" body.
Following my arrival into the world of social media, more often than not I am told that a body I can easily maintain is more desirable or "healthy" than one that may be considered more elite. This past summer I made a conscious decision to really go for it. To chase after a body that would require much more maintenance, discipline, and sacrifice than a body I had maintained over the course of the last few years. I had a few occasional "leaner periods", but it wasn't anything particularly noteworthy.
Looking back, I myself have been a member of a gym in which you saw regularly yet looked exactly the same day in and day out for roughly an entire year. I would constantly set dates to begin diets, lifting routine, and new "tricks & tips" of any website/video I could find, yet I quickly fell out of more difficult routines once I began them. Throughout my time spent chasing a better/more functional physique, I learned that there is 5 primarily traits a person must possess in order to achieve and maintain such a goal.
The 5 Traits Needed to Create an Elite Physique
In no means am I am saying that everyone needs to have elite physiques, eat nothing but chicken and kale, and spend their free time running 5k's. I fully support having any body of your choosing as long as it is not detrimental to your health. I can honestly say that I feel completely comfortable in either version of my body (leaner or not), but the progress of achieving an elite physique is a feeling that is incredibly rewarding for me, just as I am sure it can be for you as well.
Getting to a point in which I consider myself having a body in which I feel comfortable deeming "elite" requires a significant amount of work, however it can be simplified into making just a few better decisions throughout the day. Just as training a muscle over time to increase strength, the ways in which we make disciplined decisions can be equally achieved the same way.
Many of us need a bit more discipline in our everyday life. Going to the gym several times a week and going through the motions may be more than what the average person may do, but creating a body is at that exceeds average requires effort that also exceed that of the average gymgoer. Completing the workout with vigor, effort, and enthusiasm requires a fair amount of mental strength on a continuous basis. Thus, this is the first and most important step to be conscience of when beginning a new program.
Honesty can be said to go hand in hand with discipline. When specifically referring to diet and exercise the only true person to hold you accountable is yourself. The act of accountability is strictly reinforced with the level of honesty you maintain throughout the duration of a program.
What makes dieting and exercise such a feat that many have trouble mastering over the course of their lifetime is the fact that it truly is a never ending road. Although many of us can be honest with ourselves about giving a strong effort in the gym, accurately weighing food, or estimating how many calories one may have eaten in a day in a shortened time frame, our will power may diminish over time. If you truly want to achieve and maintain your dream physique, it is imperative that both the level of discipline and honesty is maintained at over an infinite period of time.
Drive is the catalyst in which provokes us to begin a journey of change. It is the easiest of the traits to acquire. In this day and age, there is limitless amounts of data in which can be acquired to encourage us to make a positive transformation in our lives. As easy as it is to grasp a hold of drive, the willingness to change under your own power is crucial to successful beginning and continuously making progress on your journey.
Many people do not struggle to find the drive necessary to embark on a personal transformation. It is common that someone may see a celebrity in the media in who's physique they admire, find a pair of clothing in which does not fit like it used to, or have an unpleasant experience in direct relation to their body's appearance. The true test of one's drive is its longevity. Although drive may be easiest of all the traits to grasp, it may also be the hardest to maintain a firm grip of. Anyone can wake up with the day's worth of drive to be better, very few have the ability to wake up with a lifetime's worth of drive.
Certainty is a commonly overlooked trait when beginning a life journey. Although something such as an improvement in our physique may seem as if it'll bring infinite amounts of happiness, many may forget to address the sacrifices necessary in order to accomplish such a task. Is this REALLY how you want to live your life on a daily basis? Are you 100% certain?
There is a common misconception in regards to having an astonishing low body fat being a prime representation of the pinnacle of health. Many companies, media sources, and individuals endorse incredibly muscular statures with minimal body fat. Not only is this taxing on the human body to maintain for more than a short period of time, it also requires significant levels of sacrifice. In order to maintain a high level of drive, honesty, and discipline you must be certain that this truly is a top priority in your life. There will be sacrifices, and although there will be increases in some areas of your quality of life, there also may be decreases as well. Pleasurable feelings of satiety and exuberance may have to take a back seat to your overall goal.
Ration is a difficult trait for many of us to digest simply because it is so easy to become subconsciously irrational. Our wants and desires may influence our expectations and the rate in which they occur. Losing the next pound, gaining additional size on a lagging muscle group, or just achieving a more ascetically pleasing physique will all happen at a rate that is not satisfactory to anyone, especially to those who lack patience. If the results came were as instant or significant as we'd like, then everyone would have impeccable physiques. Take the time to access and establish a rational set of goals that can be expected along our journey.
How Seriously Should I Attempt to Include These Traits in My Life?
It is obvious to me that everyone is not trying to become the next Mr. or Mrs. Olympia, and I would never want to pressure anyone to feeling like the have to have an elite physique in order to have any worth in this world. Sculpting my physique has always been a strong passion of mine as is inspiring those to achieve their highest potential.
With that said, acquiring and practicing these traits will assist in any life journey you embark on, whatever it may be. They are consistently challenging to maintain, and there will be failures. However, strengthening our level of discipline, being honest with ourselves, staying driven, remaining certain in our decisions, and continuing to be rational will lead you to great success.