4 min read

Skip Weight Loss Tools, Learn Skills

Men’s Health Magazine for weight loss? Tool…

Gym Membership? Tool…

Calorie Counting Software? Tool…

Bo-Flex? Tool…

Weight-Watchers Point System? Tool…

Shake-Weight? Tool…

This guy on the right? Tool…

We don’t really need any more tools, yet fitness professionals/enthusiasts keep making them and selling them to us.

We keep buying them, it works for a while, we stop, we put the weight back on, and the cycle continues.

Or we try it out, it doesn’t work because of any one of the following reasons:

a) We don’t stick to it.

b) We get injured (and often never discover the root cause of that injury).

c) It makes us feel awful.

d) It was never really designed for “our needs.”

e) We never finish it.

At that point we often tell others just how unsafe P90x is, how the Brazilian Butt Lift Program didn’t work, why the Shake-Weight is a waste of money, why the ab roller hurt our backs and why Crossfit is dangerous.

When it does work, we become loyal disciples, spreading the good word that yoga or Pilates is the cure to all our aches, pains and problems, often at the expense of other dimensions to our well-being.

We often go back to the same program to lose the weight we put on and wonder why it doesn’t work the same way the second and third time, or maybe it does.

Other times we continue to try to fit a square program, in the round hole that is us, with the belief that if I just keep doing the same thing, it’s bound to work eventually.

It is no secret that we get side-tracked by the overwhelming options and choices that are presented to us for consumption.

We get less and less likely to take action when presented with too many choices as that article shows and numerous other psychological studies prove.

This is no different from the wealth of choices available to you in the form of tools — fitness DVD’s, fad fitness equipment, and cheaper and cheaper gym/yoga/Pilates/fitness memberships.

We now have more and more fitness tool choices than ever before, so naturally it gets harder and harder to take action, which is one thousand times more important than the tools you choose.

We don’t need any more tools than currently exist, we need to commit to the changes we want to make.

It’s an awful cycle really, we get pumped full of info on why this is good for us and that is bad for us and why that doesn’t work but this does.

We all believe we need this wonderful new tools in order to succeed when in fact we often don’t.

We all think we are following ‘the rules.’

We all think we know how to exercise and what we should be eating, we read all about it, if only we had the willpower to use these tools right?

Well what if you had the right skills? What if you got started and made a commitment to change your lifestyle by learning good skills?

What if you learned how to cook delicious healthy food?

What if you learned to exercise with good form?

What if you learned how to increase your mobility effectively?

What if you learned how to avoid bad social environments?

What if you learned how to avoid and eliminate short-cuts that don’t work?

What if you learned how to manage your time so that you could fit exercise, nutrition planning and cooking into your schedule?

It’s much easier for a fitness professional to sell an 8 minute abs workout program — because we know how pressed for time everyone is, it’s the #1 excuse for people who don’t exercise — than it is to try and teach someone the skills they will need to make more time for exercise.

That will take far more commitment, on both our ends.

Working someone through the hard blocks and learning new skills is actually what creates long-term success.

Say for example, you crave sweets a lot, you know its your Achilles heel.

That’s your road block, and the easy way to help you out, is give you a meal program tool that maps out how you will integrate your favourite foods into your diet.

It’s easy to manipulate calories in, versus calories out this way, even if it isn’t really that healthy for you.

A nutritionist may do this with the hope you’ll exercise 6 times a week to balance it all out, even if you don’t. Confession – that’s the lazy way to help you on my part.

Or I could take the hard path and try to teach you the skills you’ll need to avoid the social settings that make you crave sweets, understand your triggers, show you how to limit your access to sweets, show you which sweets may be better than others, tell you when the best times to eat them may be and numerous other skills to combat this habit.

You may not get everything right away — and that’s ok, sequential learning and small steps are essential — but we would be working towards managing the guilty pleasure without external rewards and without the huge likelihood of relapse.

This is the hard way, but the much more effective way for your long-term health and well-being.

Skills are fundamentally more universal and more important for you in your weight-loss journey than any of the tools you will use.

I’m not saying they are all bad or useless, they have a time and place — usually only after you’ve committed to completely take action and make a change — but here are the only tools you really need:

1) Your Body

2) Some Kind of External Load (Bands, Dumbbells, Barbells, etc..) 

3) Small Assortment of Useful Props (Chin-Up Bar, Foam Roller, Squat Rack, etc…)

4) Coach/Mentor

A follow up to the famous Stanford Marshmallow Experiment (not listed on the wiki), revealed that when children were paired with a mentor — specifically a mentor who had previously demonstrated good skills in delaying gratification — the children were able to resist and delay gratification for longer than children who did not have access to a mentor.

The mentor was capable of teaching these children appropriate skills, that assisted them in delaying gratification.

You can do the same in learning appropriate movement skills, that will help you dramatically improve your weight situation in the future.

Presently there are way too many skills for me add length to this post, but check out some of the skills I recommend in these posts:

Eating for Fat Loss

Injury Prevention for Training

Training Effectively

Eleven Eating Behaviors

Majoring in the Minor Details

Things that Waste Your Training Time