It seems everywhere we turn, someone is trying to appeal to that thing inside of us that wants to “lose weight”, as if any health goal you have should revolve around it. A quick glance at Instagram can tell you how meaningful #weightloss currently is to our society – the tag has been used almost 38 million times to date!
So, if the pressure to lose weight is that prevalent, why doesn’t TheFTR do “Weight Loss”?
WEIGHT LOSS IS BORING
We know there is more to you and your life than your BMI. YOU also know there is more to you and your life than your BMI. So much more, in fact, that weight loss goals are the ficklest health-related goals we can make. Every year, 21% of Americans make the New Year’s resolution to lose weight*, and 80% of us fail at achieving it.* This isn’t because we aren’t aware that a lower body fat percentage is correlated with overall health and longevity, or that we don’t think we will feel better and healthier if we lose a few pounds. In our opinion, the reason you can’t stick with your weight loss goal is because weight loss goals are BORING.
It is boring to be hyper-focused on the way your body looks, or the way your pants fit.
It is boring to be hyper-focused on how much, or how little, you are eating. It doesn’t lead to positive thoughts and feelings when you beat yourself up because you ate a cookie after dinner. Now you can’t even enjoy the cookie because it is surrounded with guilt and negative self-talk!
It is boring to go to the gym day in and day out with no other intention than to expend calories to burn a little fat.
You may feel empowered, happy or strong when you lose weight. That is, if you are the 20% who actually lose weight, and of that 20%, not the 50% who eventually gain it all back. For the rest of us (the vast majority), life is going to get in the way. The very non-boring things, like wine and cookies and not tearing our bodies apart, are going to overrule that motivation you found at one point to lose weight. The temptation to go home and be with your family or your dog or your friends is going to overrule the desire to go to the gym just to burn calories.
SO, WHAT DO WE DO?!
What has a much higher chance of motivating you is getting better at something you love, and focusing on improving your performance so you can better enjoy that activity. We are fond of the outdoor activities ourselves, like rock climbing, mountain biking, trail running, hiking, skiing or snowboarding. Anything that gets us into the beautiful Wasatch. When we are prepared for those adventures – strong and stable – we can spend MORE time enjoying them and explore new and more challenging terrain.
Being outside in the mountains is NOT boring. So, that goal is what we keep square in our sights when we spend time in the gym getting ready to head out to them. Then, gym time becomes less of a thing we dread and more of a thing we look forward to, because we know we are spending that time wisely and efficiently, and we know that the end result will be doing more of what we really love.
When your new strength grants you access to trails you’ve never biked before, routes you’ve never climbed before, mountains you’ve never summited before or lines you’ve never dropped before, the cycle will continue naturally. You will feel accomplished, then you will feel motivated to get even stronger and even more prepared, which will lead you to want to go back to the gym to work harder. Most importantly – YOU WILL ENJOY THE PROCESS instead of dreading it, putting it off or seeing it as some sort of punishment for eating too much (boring).
We ask each athlete we work with to tell us their passion before doing anything else. Before your first training session, we want to know WHY you are doing this. What is going to make this worth it to you? The goal can be a specific route or trail, or performance improvement in general, but the WHY needs to be something important to you that you ENJOY. Only then will the process work and the cycle start.
BONUS – nearly every athlete we work with ends up losing fat and gaining muscle, and all around looking better naked. Ironically, they hardly notice because they are spending so much more time doing more important and interesting things with their strong bodies than weighing, measuring, or otherwise focusing on the appearance of them.