They say you shouldn’t rush perfection… So how long should you diet?
“Are we there yet?”
“No, 5 more hours.”
“Has it been 5 hours yet?”
“No it’s been 5 minutes.”
“Well when are we going to get there?”
“ARE WE THERE YET?!?!”
As adults we know how annoying that conversation is, right? Patience is a virtue that children DO NOT possess. But we learn better as we grow older, right? Not exactly. We actually have this same conversation as adults, but in a slightly different manner.
“How long until I can see my abs?”
“When will I be able to fit into those jeans again?”
“How long is it going to take me to add 15 pounds of muscle?”
“I’ll be able to compete in 12 weeks, right?”
You see where I’m going with this? Those are all fitness versions of “Are we there yet?” Just like your parents were never able to accurately predict how long it was going to take to reach your family’s vacation destination, your coaches and trainers can’t accurately predict how long it’s going to take to reach your goals. We live in a world where 90-day transformation challenges and 12 week contest preps are being shoved in our faces, but who sets those timelines?
Here’s the thing, as coaches and trainers we can give you our best timeline estimation – your drive time assuming you don’t hit traffic, get a flat tire, or have to make 374 potty breaks along the way. But that’s exactly it, it’s still an estimation. Although we’d like to assume that you’re going to stick to your plan with 100% compliance, that you’re never going to get sick or injured, that your schedule will be perfect and that you’ll never miss a workout – the likelihood of that happening is pretty slim. So although setting goals is great, getting married to a timeline is not necessarily the best idea. So just keep driving, you’ll get there!
Now let talk contest prep – your conditioning as you enter the prep will always determine how long you have to be “show ready.” Still there is this magical number of “12 weeks.” I will tell you from personal experience, I prefer a 16 week prep EVERY TIME. Why? I’ll get into that shortly. But when I hear “12 weeks” all I hear is “possible rushed prep, no room for error, flat day of show, possible hours of daily cardio” and so on. Why am I rambling? Because you need to realize majority of us are THE RULE – NOT THE EXCEPTION! Just because you heard in some magical land that someone got ripped in 12 weeks doesn’t mean it works for everyone, THEY are the exception. I prep for 16 weeks because LIFE HAPPENS and I need to have a little time just in case my body fat isn’t coming off as quickly as I’d prefer. Or my favorite is being ready EARLY at 12 weeks, then spending the final 4 weeks reverse dieting. I get to eat up, fill up and not look flat and small on show day. Once again, from experience I can tell you that one of the worst feeling is to step on stage NOT READY – whether you rushed the prep and are not lean enough, or you missed your peak timing. Sometimes an extension of your prep can help you more then you know. Ever heard the term “can’t rush perfection?” Then why are you trying to rush your most perfect look to date?
Whether you’re trying to lose fat, build muscle, or train to compete, all we as coaches can ask of you is that you give each day your best effort. We find ourselves giving the timeline of taking things “one day at a time” for a reason – life happens, and we want you to enjoy the ride!