WHAT’S COOKING IN FITNESS by Mark Rullo MS, CSCS, MES
What to know before you waste any time, energy or money
When it comes to weight loss (weight management) for most, Access Isn’t Enough!
What is meant by “access isn’t enough” is that for the most part, only a very small percentage of the population has the self-discipline and know-how to eat correctly and exercise on their own. While the remaining large percentage of the population needs some type of continuous support, accountability, direction and assistance to become successful with weight loss and ultimately weight management.
With this understanding, it is frustrating to see individuals who are seeking resources, such as gyms, trainers, on-line diet or exercise programs, etc, to change their weight and have a decision making process that is flawed. Making a decision based off of a poor process eventually makes the journey more difficult and for some impossible.
In the past, I have highlighted how the current “gym” or “fitness centers” are definitely not the solution for weight loss, as shown by the growing abundance of new gyms/exercise centers opening up year after year. While at the same rate, the number of individuals who are overweight or obese are increasing at an alarming identical pace. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to correlate that data, but why then do many continue to seek gym memberships that only provide access to equipment or classes with a belief they can out exercise their fork when weight loss is their goal?
This parallel relationship of the rise of individuals overweight and number of exercise facilities is driven by consumers making misinformed purchasing decisions. The biggest mistake is when individuals believe joining a “gym” is the correct first step in their weight loss journey. For the most part gyms/fitness centers provide access to exercise, which from a health perspective is great. However, when it comes to weight loss, exercise is just the part-time job where nutrition (caloric management) has to be the full-time job to pay-off any weight loss.
Understanding this disconnect, below is a simple four-step checklist (Buyer’s Guide) to assist individuals on what exactly to look for in a weight-loss resource to not waste their time, energy, and money while most importantly making sure they achieve their weight loss goal.
In a nutshell, the four things (in this order) that you should factor into your decision making process when seeking a resource to assist you in your weight loss journey:
- Game Plan
- Comfort Level
Game plan refers to having a personalized program featuring both nutrition and exercise (if able) that is evidence-based NOT from hype, or myths. Any goal, weight loss or whatever, without a plan is really only a wish.
This is very similar to having a map to get from point A to point B. When you are researching options to assist you in weight loss; Do they:
- Offer to sit down with you to discuss a strategy by listening to your personal situation and goals?
- Provide a strategy that fits you? This means it is designed around your preferences (food, exercises, etc…), limitations (physical, emotional, availability), goals and time frame. Essentially avoiding the common mistake of trying to fit a generic square peg in a customized round hole. This is often seen with cookie cutter meal plans and exercise workouts for the sake of exercise with no regard to its role in supporting your metabolism the other 23 hours in the day when you are at rest.
- Explain the science behind their program so that you can see and understand why their program is the most safe, effective, and efficient for you to get to point B from point A.
- Provide on-going accountability checks to ensure compliance and progress toward your goal?
- Provide adjustments to the program based on the progress (or lack of) to ensure success?
- Educate and empower you on how to get you to your weight loss goal; but more importantly, how to keep that weight loss for a lifetime in a livable way that is built around your foods, your terms for your lifestyle?
Personally the information above should be shared and discussed before any transaction or commitment is made to any resource when your goal is to lose weight. Never should you have to sign up first then see if they can work with you or not.
Mind always trumps the body. Wherever you go, you have to make sure you feel comfortable with the staff and anyone else at the facility. Without comfort in a facility, the perfect game plan can be worthless. To further your success, this comfort level can also be magnified by a network of support within the facility. The road to weight loss success is a challenge but is much smoother when you have others cheering you on along the way.
Geographically you will want to find resources that work for you; Having a facility that is accessible will eliminate an excuse to not get there. Know in advance when you plan on utilizing the resource –either before work, at lunch-time, after work. Whatever time it may be, make sure it is convenient to get there. It is also important to avoid environments that are intimidating because of over crowdedness and inability to utilize the all of the equipment. This also coincides with having comfort in a facility.
The last variable in your decision making process should be price. Ironically, this is typically the first and usually the only variable in the decision-making process which is why we see a lack of results and poor utilization. Do not get me wrong, the price must fit your budget. However, without regard to any of the previous three points above, any price is too much if not utilized or producing results.
For individuals who need more than “access,” it is not uncommon to have some self-doubt of actually reaching their weight loss goal. This self-doubt most likely accumulated from previous failed attempts or uncertainty of what to do. When there is a skeptical mindset, individuals will subconsciously choose the lowest financial option. This way, if it doesn’t work they will not feel burdened from a financial perspective if they quit or fall short of their goal. However, because of this thought process, they end up making the road to successful weight loss almost an inevitable failure. To best remove any lack of confidence in achieving your goal, I recommend surrounding yourself with a support system and team of professionals that will encourage you to work hard and hold you accountable to achieve your desired transformation.
The bottom line is that if you are not a part of the small percentage of people who have the knowledge and self-discipline to change your lifestyle on your own, this 4-step guide will give the direction on how to find the appropriate resource to assist you. Sometimes the least expensive option is not always the best and will not payoff in the long run. In some cases, the old adage is true – You get what you pay for. Your health and your body are well worth the investment.
Mark Rullo, MS, CSCS, MES is an Exercise Physiologist, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Medical Exercise Specialist, Certified Golf Fitness Instructor and owner of My Fitness Kitchen® www.myfitnesskitchen.com 724- 879-8523. Mark and his team at My Fitness Kitchen® specializes in weight loss and body transformation helping thousands meet and exceed their goals through evidence-based scientific programming.
My Fitness Kitchen®
is where weight loss is made simple