It’s easy to qualitatively understand that the changes we see on our bodies will be directly proportional to how consistent we are with our training and nutritional compliance. Grasping the impact consistency has on our results from a quantitative perspective isn’t so obvious, though.
By quantifying the effect being less than consistent has on our results, as I’m about to do for you, you’ll be able to answer questions like:
- Is consistency really that important?
- Will one or two cheat days really make that much difference?
- What about skipping a couple of workouts?
- A little inconsistency is no big deal, right?
You might be surprised to hear me say that a SINGLE cheat meal or skipped workout isn’t a huge problem. However, the cumulative impact to your results realized by these inconsistencies can be substantial, regardless of your goals.
Take two guys – we’ll call them Mike and Magnus. Both have aspirations to build as much lean muscle as they can. Both have also been prescribed the same 5 days per week training regimen and muscle building nutrition plan. For the sake of this example, we’ll assume that Mike and Magnus are starting with the exact same body composition and have the exact same genetic potential.
Magnus is highly motivated. He rarely misses a training session or cheats on his diet.
Mike, on the other hand, has a problem being consistent. He finds that his motivation ebbs and flows. Every 3rd month his training drops to 2 or fewer sessions per week and he only loosely follows his nutrition plan.
Over the course of 2 years, Magnus and Mike both experience consistent muscle gains as can be seen in the graph below:
As you can see, Magnus gained 40% (about 10lbs) more muscle than Mike. Not only that, but Magnus is moving heavier weights at the gym, appears to dwarf Mike when standing next to him, is now dating Mike’s ex and can set things on fire with his thoughts.
10 pounds of muscle might not sound like much, but it absolutely is. Imagine what ten pounds of a lean meat like bison would look like spread out on a table.
Now, imagine that meat spread out over the surface of your body. Get the picture?
10 pounds of additional pure muscle will look a lot more impressive than most people realize.
Consistency’s Impact On Fat Loss
As you would probably expect, consistency is just as important for those wanting to lose body fat.
For this example we’re going to look at the results of Jenny and Kelly. Like Magnus and Mike, Jenny and Kelly have been given the same 5 workouts per week training regimen, the same nutrition plan, they have the exact same genetics and are starting with the same body composition.
Jenny and Kelly are both 5’7″ tall and weigh 175lbs, with 30% body fat. This means they each have 52.50lbs of body fat and 122.50lbs of lean body mass.
Jenny doesn’t play around. She gets to the gym every morning at 5am before heading to work, has a cookbook full of simple, great tasting recipes, prepares her meals every night for the next day and constantly visualizes reaching her goal weight of 140 pounds.
Kelly misses 1-2 workouts every week. She does a pretty good job of planning her meals, but doesn’t have the willpower to say “no” to her friends when they invite her out to a happy hour for some drinks and fried appetizers.
Kelly knows she wants to lose weight, but she doesn’t really have an end goal in mind. Her only real goal is to just be thinner than she is now.
Like Mike and Magnus, Jenny and Kelly both experience some magnitude of results:
Jenny’s hard work and dedication rewarded her with a fat loss of 32 pounds, while Kelly only managed to lose 18 pounds over that same time span of 6 months.
You certainly can’t knock Kelly for losing 18 pounds. That’s obviously a noteworthy accomplishment.
But as they are at the pool catching some sun, Kelly finds herself admiring how much better Jenny looks in her bikini than she does. She thinks to herself that if she only knew that a little additional planning and discipline would have enabled her to drop an additional 14lbs of fat from her body – and had her looking as good as Jenny – she would go back and do it in a heartbeat.
Just 3 pounds from her goal weight of 140lbs, Jenny is now walking around at 143 pounds, with 14.3% body fat. Did I mention that Jenny can also now bend metal spoons with her mind?
Kelly still isn’t sure what her goal weight is, but she knows it’s not the 157 pounds she weighs now, while carrying around 22% body fat. She also knows that it’s a whole lot closer to Jenny’s weight than her’s. And she’s crazy jealous of Jenny’s new found ability to bend spoons.
Obviously, these are fictitious examples and it’s impossible to compare 2 people with identical genetics in a real-world situation. Nevertheless, the numbers I’ve used are entirely realistic and accurately reflect the kind of impact your consistency (or lack thereof) will have on your results over time.
Disclaimer: Building muscle and shedding fat will not give you the ability to set things on fire with your thoughts or bend metal spoons with your mind. Although, it does have the mysterious ability to force the heads of others to turn in your direction with greater frequency.
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