The Goldilocks Principle for Fitness Succes

A quote on your wall that reads “suffer today and live the rest of your life like a champion”.

Seeing an old friend that you were once far thinner than in college look leaner and more muscular than you now.

Being picked on as a kid or wanting to finally get the girl.

All of these things can be used as motivation for change. We often times find ourselves in a tug of war between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation when it comes to getting healthier. Is one right and one wrong? I don’t believe so. Many a great physique were developed purely by extrinsic motivation – maybe someone wanted praise for their hard work or wanted to become the cover of a swimsuit catalog. On the other hand, many folks dive into transforming their physique purely for the challenge such an endeavor presents. In either case, I think it’s important to be able to acknowledge where you fall on the spectrum and strike a balance somewhere in the middle.

“The Goldilocks Principle” is derived from the popular children’s book “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”. For those that aren’t familiar with the story, a girl by the name of Goldilocks stumbles across a house that’s occupied by three bears. She finds that each bear has its own bed and own preference of food. The inquisitive little girl takes it upon herself to lay each bed and to taste each bowl of food only to determine that one is too hot, one is too cold and one is “just right”.

This principle can be directly applied to how we approach our training and our nutrition. Often times when I speak with potential clients or other folks I find that in one of those areas they lean to either side of too extreme. For example, if their goal is weight loss they restrict calories so deeply and do multiple hours of cardio each week or if someone wants to gain muscle, they shove endless amounts of calories down their gullet and go on a high frequency, high volume body part split – which inevitably leads to burn out.

You don’t have to look very far to find a sea of extreme training and diet plans. Simply google “rapid fat loss” and 1,770,000 results come up (as of writing this). And it’s not that rapid fat loss isn’t possible (it is), it’s just not sustainable for any real length of time and takes a serious amount of self discipline to adhere to and to come out of once the weights been lost.

And that’s ultimately what’s going to get you to your goal – a nutrition and training program that’s realistic, enjoyable and sustainable. Extreme’s in either direction don’t usually fall in the sustainability category.

Some actionable advice for those suffering from Golidlock’s Syndrome:

For your training if looking to get stronger and increase muscle:

  • Hit the gym 3-4 times per week
  • Use an upper/lower split (or whichever is most enjoyable for YOU)
  • Begin each session with one of the big four compound movements (squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press)
  • 2-3 strength focused exercises, 2-4 hypertrophy exercises, corrective/mobility work as you see fit.
  • Remember there is no best training plan. The training plan that’s “just right” is the one that fits your schedule, you enjoy and keeps your goal in mind.

For your nutrition if you’re looking to lose weight:

  • Eat 3-5 meals per day consisting of whole foods and a sizable protein source at each meal.
  • Keep carbohydrate heavy meals surrounding your workout session.
  • Leafy greens at every meal and 1-2 servings of fruit per day.
  • Weigh yourself first thing in the morning, naked, before you eat/drink anything and after your morning bathroom visit to track your progress.
  • Keep alcohol to a minimum while dieting.
  • Consider intermittent fasting – it may fit your lifestyle better depending on your preference.

For overall success in and out of the gym/kitchen, make sure to measure your progress. You want to find that “just right” spot, like Goldilocks did. You want to blend your fitness goals with your lifestyle almost seamlessly so you can ensure greater adherence. There’s not much more motivating than seeing your progress happen in real time.

Some actionable advice for measuring progress?

  • Keep a workout journal and track the weight you lift each session. Strive every session to increase your workout in some way – add reps, add sets, add weight, increase the time under tension, etc.
  • Keep a weight loss journal tracking your daily weigh ins so you can see the downward trend and stay the course.
  • Track your calories using an app on your smart phone or pen and paper if you’re old school.

That’s it folks! Set a goal, strike your balance, measure your progress.

I hope this helps!





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