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7 Habits of Highly Successful Fitness Programs

Want to know the 7 Habits of Highly Successful Fitness Programs, and why losing weight and getting fit is so hard?

If you’re planning an overseas cycling holiday, doing Etape (or some other gruelling sportif), you want to be in absolutely the best shape possible. Because being unfit, especially on your dream cycling holiday, is so very very lame (read my 2010 Etape report to see why).

Let’s get into it to find out how to make sure you are in the best shape you can be. We’ll also look at why some people fail, and some people succeed.

The shortcuts don’t work

As humans we seem innately wired to seek shortcuts to our goals.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in our eating and training/workout.

Look at the enormous pills and powders industry (or as I call it, The PPI) to see this played out. There are just an insane number of products that promise to help strip fat, increase muscle, make us stronger, fitter, faster. (Almost never happier though.)

Most are a farce and complete waste of time and your money.

Why we sometimes fail

Want to know why we sometimes fail?

  • It’s hard to lose weight. Damn hard.
  • We get confused about what we should be doing.
  • We think it should be complicated and we need to be doing a lot.
  • It requires iron will and discipline.
  • It requires time.
  • It’s boring.
  • It takes time to manifest results.
  • Little choices about the wrong things quickly add up (I have chocolate cake baking in the oven as I write this!)
  • We train too hard and burn too many calories.

We’re all so busy these days too, that it’s only natural we seek to have as much impact on our health and fitness as possible.

I understand how hard it is. I’ve lost a lot of weight (but kept it off). I know how tiresome it is. I know how impatient you are for results. I know how bloody easy it is to snack on stuff that’s probably not the best choice for you.

I know how painful it is to be stuck in a rut. Miserable. Needing help.

The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Fitness Programs

The solution to all of this are the 7 Habits of Highly Successful Fitness Programs.

  1. Discipline with some allowance for treats.
  2. Simplicity – simple diet, simple workouts.
  3. Repetitiveness – do the same things over and over (ties in with habit).
  4. Commitment – know how important this is and commit.
  5. Targeted, appropriate workouts – you won’t succeed without exercise.
  6. Calories in < Calories out (on a daily basis).
  7. Habit (lifestyle) – make all of this habitual and your lifestyle forever.

You can distil these principles into the two elements of any successful weight loss and fitness program; your eating (nutrition) and training (workouts).

Eating for Weight Loss, Eating for Performance

After sitting down for a 90 minute interview with sports dietician and nutritionist Alan McCubbin of Next Level Nutrition, I had a lot of preconceptions about eating exploded. It was a fascinating chat and you can read the interview transcript and check out the audio here.

It makes for fascinating reading and listening.

One of the interesting discussions was the difference between eating for weight loss and eating for performance.

They’re not necessarily the same thing.

Obviously, being successful in your fitness depends on applying the right eating framework according to your circumstances.

If you’re interested, Alan and I came up with a simple, repeatable, easy-to-follow nutrition framework which you can check out on the Nutrition Plan for Cyclists page.

It covers eating for weight loss and eating for performance.

Training for health

Training is an enormous topic to cover.

You’ll probably already have a training program which you follow. Lots of riding, maybe some running and weights (I find running combined with some high intensity weights and Crossfit-like work really helps my cycling).

If you don’t have a training program, you could check out the VeloNomad Training for Etape guide or, sign up to the mailing list to be notified when the new VeloNomad training program launches. I’ll be launching a Training for Weight Loss and Training for Performance plan. A new program every week, in 3 month blocks.

What’s incredibly important is the riding part. I used to just ride every day, not specifically doing anything.

After getting a coach to come up with a plan for me, turns out I was riding tall wrong! Not enough recovery. Not enough hard, short efforts. Not enough long, slow efforts. (Keep in mind I was race training – I was doing more than enough to lose weight and keep fit.)

It shows how crucial “Targeted, appropriate workouts” are.

Want to start a nutrition plan that works?

Check out the VeloNomad Nutrition Plan for Cyclists page for more info.


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by Tim Marsh

Tim is an ex Melbournite now living near Byron Bay on 10 acres, happily growing mangos, avocados and lots of other stuff, with his wife Kate, son Arthur and adorable Golden Retriever, Whiskey (RIP our 1YO G/R Poppins :( ).

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