5.11.2011

It's Never "That Easy"


Everyday we are bombarded by articles or advice about how to improve…it could be my health, my finances, my performance at work, my “look”, my relationships…name a topic, someone is trying to help you improve it.  Most of this stuff has one common sentiment, despite the area of focus.  The theme is almost always something like this: “If you make these small changes, you will improve.”  What they seldom touch on though, is how much you will improve.  Good news for you all—I have that answer for you: Not much.  
39 pounds?! Fast?! I'm in!
The vast majority of advice that is circulated around this digital, information-rich world is catered to the Skinny Latte drinking, 45 minute Elliptical “running”, 401k contributing,  Match.com dating common-person.  We are all creatures of habit, and breaking habits is tough.  Most of us have read many-a-great article about cutting out the daily Starbucks and paying our savings account instead or eating that grapefruit first thing in the morning with hopes of being less hungry the rest of the day.  We common-people have tried to add these “tricks” into our bags in hopes of getting richer or skinnier or stronger or happier.  Despite our efforts though, 90% of the time, the little gems that the gurus hand out yield teeny, tiny actual changes. 

I am constantly hypnotized by advice.  I have actually fully adopted the practice of making my morning coffee at home to save that daily two bucks (to the dismay of my local Coffee Bean), and I have not noticed any extra money in my account at the end of each month…oh well.   
Where are the people that actually got wealthy by saving $5.75 on weekdays?  Anybody?
 It seems that little tricks = little action.  On the other hand, whenever I have made a BIG, dramatic change, the results have been (you probably guessed it) big and dramatic.  In the context of health and fitness, I have always been active and interested in operating at a high level.  For most of my life, I ate a relatively “healthy” diet of lean protein, some veggies and fruits, and plenty of whole wheat.  I worked out at least 3-4 times/week with a nice hour or so lift-a-thon followed by 30 minutes or so on the bike or treadmill.  I would incorporate little Men’s Health nuggets on food and workouts into my programs, and all-in-all I felt like I was in pretty good shape.  I was pretty convinced of the following: I was just not built to have visible abs, I would always hover around 200 lbs, and I was not really an endurance sports guy.   
Look at that Men's Health reading beefcake...thanks for the tips, guys.
These remained truths until I stumbled onto some BIG, dramatic changes in the ways that I approached fitness.

In the summer of 2008, I decided to do a triathlon with some friends.  This was my first attempt at any sporting event that required real endurance training…a big change for me.  Well, with big changes came big results.  As I trained more and more often for more races, I realized that I actually could be a sub-200 lb endurance athlete (I use the term “endurance athlete” pretttttttty loosely in this case). 
Wildflower Triathlon
The next change came with Crossfit.  In April 2010, I started training with CrossfitLA in West Los Angeles/Santa Monica.  Over a short period of six months or so, I gave my diet a complete overhaul (I learned what eating healthy really meant) and trained hard and fast.  The ever-elusive six-pack was now in play, and I was down to 185 lbs…all because I ditched the grains and the long, social, gym sessions. The changes didn’t happen slowly and gradually, they happened fast.  I moved on from the little tweaks here and there and graduated to the big leagues of progress. 
"The path to success is determined, massive action." -Tony Robbins
I now know that I can probably duplicate this kind of success in other areas of my life (and Lord knows, there are many more to tackle)…I just need to make the big, bad change that is required.  As much as we all like our advice columns, we have to avoid getting tricked into thinking that these little tips are the answer to meaningful progress in our lives.  If you really want to make a move, close up the laptop and take some massive action.

3 comments:

Shirley said...

Awesome post dustin! Keep it up! Yes... we can all change, I do think the small changes are more realistic to keep for longer period of time. I think taking the small steps, that are building up to a large change is good. It's all about habit and making whatever it may be a lifestyle!

Caitlin said...

Good post!!! I've become a gym rat these past few weeks, so you've definitely given me something to think about.

DBax said...

Thanks, Caitlin!