6 min read

Fitness Success

CC Hartwig HKD

“Success is peace of mind, which, is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing, you made the effort to become the best of which, you are capable of becoming.”

~ John Wooden, Famous UCLA Basketball Coach, who won an unprecedented ten National, Division 1, NCAA Championships…

How do you define success?

Regular AofWL readers are probably most concerned with weight loss, or they wouldn’t be here, but if you defined success by simply hitting your weight loss goal 3, 6, or 12 months from now, where do you go from there, post-goal?

I bet that’s what this gentleman with the balloon is thinking, sure it’s cool to rise up, but what happens when you get too high and the balloon loses it’s power of pull?

Then What?

The problem with outcome based goals, whether they are related to your weight loss pursuits, or your financial pursuits, or your career pursuits, is that they are short-term in nature and will never leave you feeling fully satisfied with yourself, your work, your body, or otherwise at the end of the day (or journey…).

The motivational fuel they provide, eventually runs dry.

Living your life in such a fashion, fails to prepare you for the inevitability of hitting the goals you work so hard to achieve, establishing to constant need for new outcomes and robbing you of long-term satisfaction.

Instead, the satisfaction needs to come from within.

Find Intrinsic Motivation instead of Extrinsic Motivation (“Goals” are Extrinsic by nature…)

Coming to terms with yourself, your body, your career, your family, etc… is a huge factor in finding your fitness success.

After-all, it’s not getting to your desired weight that is often the hardest part, it’s keeping your weight there.

Simply put, most people find it most difficult to maintain.


It’s incredibly difficult to maintain with outcome based goals or objectives, actually a client of mine worded it very well recently:

Maintenance is about intent.

In other words, maintaining your weight is all about staying focused on the daily/weekly things you need to do on a regular basis that contribute to a healthy weight.

This is also why I discourage you from ‘dieting,‘ try some of the long-term methods featured in the ‘Agnostic Diet‘ instead…

[alert]“Maintaining your weight is all about focusing on the things you need to do DAILY”

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Be intent on using your physical well-being to support other aspects of your life and vice versa.

At 6’1″, I’ve been between 175-185 lbs, and 6-8% body fat for the last 5 or 6 years or so.

My father weighs in at 260+ (my height), so anyone that feels I have blessed ‘genes,’ guess again…

Actually my father is a major reason I entered the fitness industry, not only do I want to avoid that outcome for myself, I wanted to help others avoid that outcome too.

For me, my process of intent is really about prevention so maintenance became a lot easier.

When I see the number of times many fitness professionals reveal the frequent changes they make to their bodies, I can’t help but think that it sends the wrong message.

I’m not bragging, I just want to highlight a revelation in terms of importance when it comes to weight loss, because I think it’s an important concept to grasp.

Sooner or later, you will lose the weight you want to lose, and undertake a far more difficult process of maintenance.

Maintenance is Really About Prevention.

In fact most research shows that without a maintenance plan, most people — I’m sure you all, already know this, it’s a pretty commonly known thing, I just want to highlight it again — will regain the weight they lose within a year, plus an additional few lbs (typically 5-10), and this yo-yo’ing is what leads to more health problems than simply being a few lbs overweight in the first place.

Once you’ve lost the weight you need to prevent weight gain (what maintenance is) and again divert your focus away from outcome oriented goals related to your weight and place it on the day-to-day process-oriented goals that matter.

Things like eating whole foods, lean protein, lots of veggies, healthy fats and other lifestyle changes you’ll find on my resource page.

For instance, I’m aware of what I put in my system and what I output, but I don’t track it obsessively.

The intent being, I know when I’m eating healthy and when I’m not and most of you probably already know as well.

Do we really need to be told that a brownie isn’t the best choice?

I believe that making appropriate lifestyle changes allow us to find satisfaction with our current body weight, and do the day-to-day things we need to do on a regular basis that will keep it that way, and that gives us some leeway with the other 10-20% of our diet and fitness plans.

How do you know when the system is out of whack?

Deliberate Practice!

A good friend of mine stayed with me for a week recently, and we were gluttonous.

I ate nearly every one of my meals that week out (rare for me as I cook the majority of my food) but still made reasonably good choices, I just wanted to show him some of my favourite restaurants in town.

I’m a bit of a foodie, what can I say?

We didn’t eat out at MacDonald’s or Wendy’s, we went to some of my favourite restaurants in town that serve up great food, places like Glowbal Group, and other places where I know the food is made from scratch, with love.

Sure the food might be rich, but the majority of it is still more ‘whole‘ on the spectrum of food choices.

We also enjoyed some social alcoholic beverages (above my normal consumption).

To top it off, I hardly worked out that week.

Most people may be shaking their fingers at me right now, how can I as a fitness professional share this kind of info?

Here’s how…

In the grand scheme of things, this was one week out of the year thus far, or less than 2% of the year, I may even have room for one or two more of these weeks.

Down-weeks are critical for long-term success in my opinion, and forgiving yourself for your imperfections a mindset imperative.

Diet and exercise matter most over the long-term — most people see good weight loss happen over a minimum period of 3-months — and is the cumulative effect of not one week, or one month, but a lifetime.

Weight sneaks up on us, otherwise, it’s a few lbs every year, not 20 lbs next month, and to lose it or keep it off, you need to take the same approach and attitude, followed by the same maintenance approach and attitude.

What I think separates the person who is good at maintenance from the one who is not as good is this:

The person who is good at maintenance has an off day or week and then goes immediately back to a good eating schedule, lots of veggies, lean protein, home-cooked meals, alcohol in moderation, etc…etc…

In other words, people who are good at maintenance, easily revert back to good habits and behaviors.

Where as, the person who has a challenging time with maintenance, typically dwells a lot on the previous screw-up, they use words like ‘I was bad’ or ‘I ate like crap’ and they label themselves and their food choices.

This allows them to settle in on

At the end of the day, to me, fitness success means:

The peace of mind and self-satisfaction I have in knowing, I made the best possible effort to maintain my quality of life (body composition, body weight, daily living performance, etc…) given my circumstances at any given moment.

What does it mean to you?

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