Let’s talk about pacing.
Not about pacing your running or your workouts, but pacing your progress. The fitness industry is built upon the quick fix. There’s a lot of money in 30 day transformations, which are generally appealing to those that want to get their fitness on track. If you had 30 lbs to lose, who in their right mind would choose to drop 5lbs per month, when you can lose 30lbs in a month?
People who want to keep the weight off, that’s who.
We’ve made a point at CrossFit Erosion to embody the slow and sustainable path towards fitness. If it’s weight loss that you’re after, the overworking and under-eating method of weight loss is extremely effective in the short term. Unfortunately, 65% of dieters will regain all of their lost weight within 3 years, and only 5% of the people who lose weight via severe calorie restriction will keep the weight off.
So if most dieters gain the weight back, what’s the solution?
Don’t be a dieter.
Instead, be a person who eats and lives in a healthy and sustainable way. Our lifestyles carry with them a lot of momentum, and diving headlong into massive calorie restrictions and unsustainable workloads will not be able to permanently overcome the inertia of your current lifestyle. It may work temporarily, but you won’t own it if you don’t earn it. And you earn it by putting in the time, and making constant gradual modifications to your daily habits.
Part of the problem with crash diets and irresponsible training advice is that they don’t teach you any habits that you can use for the rest of your life. I could teach you how to lose 30lbs in 30 days, but those habits will set you on a collision course with metabolic damage due to the adaptations caused by severe caloric restrictions. The next step after that is usually a rebound of rapid weight gain and the psychological issues that tend to leave us right back where we started: Unhealthy and burdened with the feeling of hopelessness that pushed us into this journey to begin with.
So, what’s the right pace?
1-2lbs per week for weight loss, and slightly less for weight gain. These numbers are a little flexible depending on your current bodyweight, and should amount to no more than 1% of your bodyweight per week.
That’s it. Take your time. You don’t need to get there right away. But when you get there you need to make sure you’re able to stay there. That’s why we start. We want to be fit for the rest of our lives, not just for next summer.
Oh, and remember to enjoy yourself. Life is supposed to be fun.