Hey, Mitko here and today I want to tackle the biggest issue standing between you and a lean muscular physique you can be proud of.

If you’ve read the last two posts in my blog, one about the principle of energy balance and how weight loss works, and the other one about what, how and how much to eat in order to lose weight, then you have absolutely everything you need in order to shed the unwanted fat and reveal your abs.

The sad part? 90% of you who have read those 2 blog posts ultimately WON’T get the results they’re after.

The reason, of course, is that even the most amaaazing training and nutrition plan specifically designed for your individual needs by Arnold Friggin’ Schwarzenegger won’t bring you the results you’re after if you don’t implement it consistently. Period.

It’s 2017, guys.

Guess what, if you have an internet connection, then you have FREE ACCESS to ABSOLUTELY ALL the knowledge necessary for developing a killer physique.

The problem, then, is how do you STICK to the damn plan?

And even more importantly, how do you sustain your results once you achieve them?

After all, good for you that you did that crazy 10-week diet and lost a bunch of weight. But, guess what happens to most people once they inevitably go off the diet and go back to their old ways of eating? It’s simple cause and effect, guys: if you go back to eating the same way you ate when you were overweight, you’ll become overweight.

The problem is that the all-or-nothing crash diets and training programs most people do are unsustainable, so there’s no way you’ll keep doing them forever. And with unsustainable training and nutrition approaches ruling the day, seeing people lose a bunch of fat just to gain it all back plus a bit more is sadly a frequent occurrence.

Yet there’s got to be a way to change your body composition and develop a lean muscular physique in a sustainable way so that you GET the results you’re after and KEEP your results once you get them, right?

After all, there ARE people who go through amazing transformations AND keep looking just as amazing when you see them 1, 2, 5 years later.

Well, guys, once again this is your lucky day because in today’s million dollar blog post I’ll share with you the 3 secret principles I (along with most top coaches) use to help my clients stay consistent with their training and nutrition plans, and get body recomposition results that last a lifetime.

Principle #1: Pick one thing

pick one thing to focus on

As stated earlier, we live in the information age where all the knowledge necessary for developing a killer physiques is right there at your finger tips.

If you sit down and spend the time necessary to get acquainted with that knowledge, you’ll undoubtedly have the potential to develop an amazing physique. Of course, I say the potential… because most people don’t “make it”.

The most common scenario is this: John wants to get a little more attention from the ladies and not have to huff and puff to climb a case of stairs, so he decides to lose the beer gut and get himself a sweet set of abs instead. So what does he do? He hops online and searches for “weight loss” in Google. Or maybe he even gets a custom-tailored training and nutrition plan specifically designed for him.

So get this: John has never worked out regularly up until this point in his life and he has always been on the SAD (Standard American Diet) diet characterized by unhealthy highly processed foods and fizzy drinks. But now, all of a sudden he’s supposed to hit the gym 5 times a week and completely transform his diet so that he ditches the highly processed foods for unprocessed alternatives, gets enough proteins, counts his calories so he eats below maintenance, and removes a host of other unhealthy behaviors like not getting enough sleep and binge drinking on weekends.

And he has to do it all from day one.

Of course, you can see it coming from a mile away. John sticks to this completely new way of living for 2 and a half weeks after which he relapses, skipping the gym and going on an all-you-can-eat pizza spree. After this he feels like a failure and is disheartened to attempt to change his body for the better again.

So what happened here? You could just say that John was weak-willed. But that’s taking the easy way out. In fact, there’s nothing worse than a coach who overloads his clients with information and then belittles them for not being able to change their entire lives in a week.

This is the all-or-nothing mentality at play, and it is probably the number one thing killing your chances of staying consistent with training and nutrition – and getting the results you’re after.

You have to realize that John, wasn’t exactly at fault here. He just lacked a proper framework for change.

See, human beings are simple creatures. We’re creatures of habit and we only have so much mental focus. Contrary to popular belief, we’re NOT very good at complex tasks – a complex task being a task that is made up of several smaller practices or habits. Weight loss is a complex task. As such, it involves several different practices that you need to master.

That’s why the very first thing you have to realize is that, if you are to be successful, you need to focus on ONE thing at a time. ONE.

You need to pick ONE thing and do it successfully for at least 2 weeks before moving on to the next. Different sources cite that it actually takes between 21 and upwards of 30 days to make something a habit, so 2 weeks is definitely the lower limit you want to go with.

What picking a single practice will do for you is it will let you focus all of your limited mental capacity and willpower into making that one change last, by doing it consistently for at least 2 weeks.

After you have some success with the one thing you picked, you can go ahead and pick another thing to work on, and so on. Remember, you’re not chasing perfection either. As I said earlier, the all-or-nothing mentality is the biggest progress killer when it comes to body recomposition. Instead of striving for perfect, just give it your best and move on when you’ve had a sufficient stick rate with that practice or habit (more on how to determine what a sufficient rate is later in this blog post). With time you’ll also gain a lot of momentum which will get you into an upward spiral of success.

But a logical question arises: how do you determine what that one thing is?

Principle #2: The 80/20 rule

the 80-20 rule

The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto principle, states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. It was conceived by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who noted that approximately 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. Pareto further developed the principle by observing that about 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.

Now, obviously the 80/20 rule is a heuristic technique, and as such is not perfect, but it’s astonishing to think how many areas of life it applies to . For example, in economics 80% of the capital is held by 20% of the population. In health care in the United States, 20% of patients have been found to use 80% of health care resources, in software 20% of the code has 80% of the errors.

So you can be sure that the 80/20 rule holds true when in comes to training and nutrition: 20% of the exercise and nutrition practices have 80% of the impact.

So when you’re picking your one thing to focus on, remember the 80/20 rule and ask yourself: keeping in mind my current situation, what is the one practice or habit that will bring me the highest return on investment? In other words, you want to tackle high-impact practices and habits.

Let’s use the following example to illustrate how you might use the 80/20 rule to determine what you’ll focus on.

Imagine you have a vegan friend named Greg who wants to build muscle.Greg works out 2 to 3 times a week – he sometimes skips workouts. He knows that in order to gain weight, he needs to be in a caloric surplus (i.e. eating more calories than he burns), so he makes sure he’s consuming enough calories for growth. But he eats a lot of highly processed foods like cookies because that way it’s easier for him to consume the large amount of calories he needs in order to grow. This doesn’t leave him much room for adequate protein consumption and his vegan diet doesn’t help either. And just for fun, let’s say your buddy Greg binge drinks on weekends.

If Greg told you that he wasn’t doing so well with his muscle building endeavor and asked for help, what would you tell him? Obviously, he has a couple of things to work on. First off, It’s great that he’s eating a sufficient amount of calories for growth, but a lot of those are coming from unhealthy, highly processed foods. He also skips workouts a bit too freely. And he could work on lowering his alcohol intake a bit too.

But given Greg’s goal of building muscle, the one practice that would have the highest impact would be to add in more beans and lentils, and a plant-based protein powder, in order to increase his protein intake to adequate levels (i.e. 0.82-1 g per pound of body weight). Protein is the building block of muscle so if he isn’t consuming enough of it, as is the case with many vegans, muscle growth is just not going to happen no matter how consistent you get him to be at the gym.

After he starts consistently eating adequate amounts of protein, you two can look at the other things he can work on and pick another practice to focus on.

So what that means for you is that you need to identify all your bright spots and limiting factors – all the things that you’re doing well, and all the things that you could start doing or start doing better, and then pick the one which will have the highest impact on your results.

Pro tip: for weight loss, the very first thing you need to look at is whether or not you’re in a caloric deficit, i.e. eating less calories than you’re burning – this obviously implies looking at both your caloric intake (are you eating less?) and your energy expenditure (are you working out?). After this, you can look into protein intake, eating whole unprocessed foods, micronutrient intake, etc.

Anyway, now that you know the first two principles of successful body recomposition, it’s time to get acquainted with the third principle that ties the previous two neatly into a framework that I (along with most top coaches) use to get my clients the results they’re after.

Principle #3: Outcome-Based Decision Making

outcome-based decision making

So what is Outcome-Based Decision Making? It’s just a fancy way of saying “making incremental on-going habit/behavior changes based on previous evidence from outcomes”. In other words, Outcome-Based Decision Making is what ties in the above two principles into a neat system that helps you make decisions about what to do next based on the results you’re getting up to this point, all in order to help you make steady, consistent progress towards your goal.

Let’s continue the above example featuring your buddy Greg.

You now know that the first principle of successful body recomposition is to focus on one non-complex practice at a time. Since Greg’s goal, building muscle mass, is a complex task made up of several smaller practices, what you do is you list each of these practices.

After this, keeping in mind what Greg is doing and is not doing well, you use the second principle, the 80/20 rule, to pick the single practice that will have the biggest impact on Greg’s results. In his case, that practice is making sure that he’s getting around 0.82-1 g of protein per pound of body weight every single day, by eating more beans and lentils, and maybe supplementing with a plant-based protein powder.

Now that you’ve picked Greg’s focus, you need to set the guidelines for future action. This is where Outcome-Based Decision Making comes is.

After your initial analysis, you explain to Greg that he’s not getting enough protein and you advise him to increase his protein intake to 0.82-1 g per pound of body weight a day, since that will have the biggest impact on his goal of building muscle. Next, you set the guidelines for future action. You tell him to keep doing what he’s doing (i.e. going to the gym, eating at a surplus), and to add in this one practice: make sure to get enough protein every single day for 2 weeks (and log it).

Once the 2 weeks pass, you two sit down together and go over his log. If he was consistent with this practice at least 75% of the time (i.e. if he consumed enough protein for at least 10.5 days out of those 14 days), then you can go ahead and use the 80/20 rule to pick the next most impactful practice for Greg to do. After that you just repeat the same process again and again.

If he did not reach 75% consistency with his practice, he should either try it for another 2 weeks, or pick another practice that’s going to be easier for him to do successfully, and he can come back to this one later on.

This is obviously a judgement call and what you decide to do depends on a myriad of factors such as: did Greg understand why you’re asking him to do this particular practice; was he ready, willing and able to do it; did you pick the right practice for his fitness level, etc.

Ultimately, a good coach can factor in all those things, foresee limiting factors, and use Outcome-Based Decision Making to guide his clients through the maze of body recomposition successfully.

Nonetheless, anyone can benefit from the use of Outcome-Based Decision Making, along with the other two principles, to achieve their own personal goals in fitness (and in life, for that matter).

Using this system, you tackle one thing at a time and make it a lifelong habit, you work on high-impact practices that will get you the results you’re after in less time, and you have guidelines to rely on for times when things don’t go as smoothly as you want them to.

All of this ultimately helps you achieve the lean muscular physique you want in less time, in a sustainable way.

In conclusion…

how to stay consistent with your training and nutrition

Pick your goal and use these 3 powerful principles presented above, and you can be sure that your progress will be a lot more straightforward. And, of course, once you do reach your goals, you can be sure that it’ll be easier for you to sustain them since you’ve built a solid foundation of training and nutrition habits for life.

And as always, if all of this training and nutrition stuff is just making your head hurt, and you want someone to help you out and guide you through the maze of developing a lean muscular physique you can be proud of, then I’d be glad to lend a helping hand.

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