You want to be in better shape than you are right now.
And, you want to do so as fast as humanly possible, with no wasted time or effort.
How long is it going to take?
This is a tough question to answer, as no two people will respond in exactly the same way to an identical program of diet and exercise.
However, there is one principle that’s very important when it comes to managing your expectations about how quickly you’ll see results.
Think of it like this…
Imagine that you’re standing in a room.
There is a picture on the wall in front of you.
The picture is one of you, but with 20 pounds less fat, 10 pounds more muscle, or whatever result it is that you want.
Every step you take moves you closer to that goal.
Around your waist is a large rubber band, which is attached to the wall behind you. The band has plenty of slack in it.
You start walking towards the result you want.
At first, progress is relatively easy.
But with each step, the band becomes progressively tighter.
As you move closer to your goal, taking the next step becomes more and more difficult.
And so it is with getting in shape.
“As is true with most systems that improve with accumulated change, the farther away from the predetermined limits of potential improvement the system is, the more easily and rapidly the system improves,” explains Mark Rippetoe in Strong Enough.
“The closer you get to the limit, the harder it is to get closer, the longer it takes, and the more it costs in terms of effort and (usually) expense.”
If, for example, you gained 20 pounds of muscle during your first year of training, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll do the same again in year two.
Same thing holds true when it comes to fat loss.
The more fat you lose, the harder it gets to lose even more.
Someone who is very fat (think your typical Biggest Loser contestant) will be able to lose fat very quickly when they start dieting – several pounds of fat per week in some cases.
But if you’re lean and want to get even leaner, you’ll need to be happy losing a pound of fat every other week.
Expecting to make progress at the same rate forever is an expectation that ignores physical reality.
There’s going to be a large gap between the results you expect and the results you actually get.
You’ll feel disappointed… frustrated… and it won’t be too long before you want to throw in the towel.
In short, the fitter, stronger, or leaner you get, the harder you’ll find it to continue getting fitter, stronger or leaner.
So be prepared for the fact that your results will slow down over time.
It’s quite normal and doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong.
Even the greatest training and diet program ever devised in all of human history won’t change the fact that every step you take on the path to physical greatness will be harder and slower than the last.
SEE ALSO: THE MUSCLE BUILDING CHEAT SHEET
If you're fed up spending hours in the gym with nothing to show for it, then check out The Muscle Building Cheat Sheet.
It's a "cut the waffle and just tell me what to do” PDF that tells you exactly how to go about building muscle. To get a copy of the cheat sheet sent to you, please click or tap here to enter your email address.
ABOUT CHRISTIAN FINNChristian Finn holds a master's degree with distinction in exercise science, is a former personal trainer and has been featured on BBC TV and radio, as well as in Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Fit Pro, Zest, and Perfect Body magazine.