Simon Sinek, author and inspirational speaker, has a great view on the difference of intensity vs consistency, which I feel applies greatly to most people when it comes to their new year’s resolutions, and fitness goals in general. While he mostly frames this around how to build a better organization, I’ve taken many of his ideas/concepts and applied them to the fitness world below.
You won’t see results by going to the gym once for 9 hours, but you will if you exercise for 20 minutes a day, every day. This is the difference between intensity, and consistency.
Intensity is like going to the dentist. We know the date to go, we know that they will clean our teeth, and they’ll look/feel great afterwards. But, if that’s all you do, your teeth will fall out eventually.
What helps this? Brushing your teeth.
But what happens when you brush your teeth once? Nothing.
What happens when you brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes over time? It keeps your teeth healthy.
But if you skip brushing for a day, or miss a few times, will your teeth fall out? No.
Do you know the exact number of times you can miss? No, there’s no formula to know that, and everyone is different. But, as long as you are doing it the majority of time, your teeth stay fairly healthy.
Let’s go back to the fitness side of things. If you go to the gym one time for 3 hours then look in the mirror, what changes do you see? Outside of a pump and a little more sweat, no changes. This is why people have a hard time sticking with their fitness routine.
We like seeing results for the effort we put in. We are pulled towards intensity.
Take these two situations:
Eat roughly the same thing every day, for years on end to get to where you’d like to be.
(Not very appealing, right?)
How about this:
Cut out 90% of your carbohydrates and only eat between Noon – 6 pm for 21 days to lose 10lbs.
(For most people, that sounds way more appealing.)
Option two has a fixed time frame, and measurable results. Again, this is an example of intensity. We like intensity. If we want to lose weight, we want to lose it now.
Start paleo, keto, fasting, or any other flashy new diet for a month and what happens?
We see results! We love it! It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread!
(Which you’re not allowed to eat anymore, sorry for mentioning it)
The problem is… it only works in the short term…
We love intensity because we can see the end, it’s easy to measure, and its results are fairly predictable. But consistency, is where we see the sustainable change.
Do you really think you’re never going to eat ice cream, chips, chocolate, or bread ever again?
Do you really think you’re going to have a great life eating between noon and 6pm if your friends invite you out for dinners or late events?
It’s boring to be consistent. Daily 20-minute workouts aren’t going to get the instagram likes. In the world of “6-minute abs” and “30 day detoxes” it can be tough to stay on course over long periods of time, but it’s a compounding effect.
Let’s use the previous example for a minute.
Would you rather lose 10 lbs in 21 days, or .5 lbs a week for a year?
In one example, you lose 10 lbs very quickly, however the likelihood of you staying on track with that is low. That leaves us open to gaining back that 10 lbs fairly quickly.
In the other, at a much slower rate, we lose 26 lbs. We are able to enjoy more foods, be more social, and stay with the dietary changes, which can lead to even more weight loss.
This is the same if we want to build muscle, develop our deadlift, or run a record setting marathon. It takes small incremental changes, over a long period of time to see great changes in your health. Just like brushing your teeth every day.
So, this new year’s when you set your goals, don’t just focus on the result you’re looking for. Focus on the consistent actions you can take for the year that will get you to where you want to be sitting in January, 2025.
“We overestimate what we can do in a year, but underestimate what we can do in a 5-years” – Bill Gates
If you’re looking for a way to stay consistent with your fitness goals this year, and beyond, take a look at programs available with RK Athletics or email me directly at Rich@rkathletics.ca to see if it’s the right fit for you