If I said to you that you could go from completely untrained to fitness magazine cover model in 12 weeks, you’d probably say, “That’s not possible!”
And you’d be right!
Unfortunately though, this kind of stupid, unrealistic, fantasy dream world stuff is being sold on a daily basis to the point that 12 weeks is now burned into our psyche as the absolute maximum time it should take to do anything.
Want to cure cancer? 12 weeks.
Want to have a baby? 12 weeks.
Want to be a millionaire? 12 weeks.
Want to dethrone governments and take over the world? 12 weeks.
Any longer than 12 weeks and it obviously isn’t working, so it’s useless and time to change to something else.
Is a 12 week challenge really about what you can achieve in 12 weeks or more about can you stick to something for that long? Or is that the achievement?
When I first started measuring my fat loss, I was 83kg@18%. My overall goal was 7% but we broke it up into two parts. First stage was 11% and the next was 7%.
It took me 6 months to get from 18% down to 11%. 6 months. 24 weeks. Fail!
It then took me another 12 months, that’s 52 weeks, to go from 11% down to 7%. 52 weeks? Do people even spend that long doing anything these days? Massive fail!
Let’s just ignore the almost two years before all of that, that it took for me to go from my fattest at 105kg to 83kg. That kind of time just boggles the mind!
I should have quit after 12 weeks when I was still around 14%. I should have changed everything I was doing because it obviously wasn’t working. Lucky for me this was back in 2009 when the 12 week time frame hadn’t become law.
Lucky for me the person teaching me about dieting knew what they were doing and taught me that doing it slowly is better than pushing it too quick and that unfortunately some things just take time.
“How long will it take for me to reach my goal?” I’m asked this daily. My response is usually, “How long will it take for you to become the athlete you need to be to look that way?”
In order to see it, you first need to build it. If you’ve got no muscle, then stripping away fat isn’t going to work.
Too many people are forgetting that unless you’ve spent some serious time building muscle, when you attempt to cut, there simply wont be anything underneath to see. This results in a dangerous, unhealthy cycle of cutting and starving and cutting and starving. Normally followed by a horrible rebound.
The less food you eat, the less chance you have of building muscle. Put yourself into a calorie deficit and you cant build muscle. Stay there long enough and you start to destroy the muscle you have.
So while you’re starving yourself on less than a 1000 calories and no carbs, feeling like death and training with all the energy of a cancer patient in an attempt to kill the body you hate and expose crazy ripped muscles, keep in mind you’re shooting yourself in the foot. The harder you cut, the more muscle you destroy meaning you’re never going to get to where you want to be.
Building muscle takes a long time. It’s not a 12 week thing. Get 12 weeks out of your head. It takes years. The more muscle you want, the longer it’s going to take. Drugs or no drugs. The majority of the people who look awesome now, spent years looking very average building that muscle.
Another point that needs to be noted is that the people who look awesome in photos, very, very, very rarely look that way in real life. The majority of models are nothing more than a result of hours of photoshop manipulation. They are basically cartoons. When you see them in person you would be forgiven for not recognising them and being completely disappointed.
Pointing to a picture in a fitness magazine and saying I want to look like that is kind of silly. Kind of. With that said, I wish I looked that way too! I wish I looked like a guy who walks around with perfect lighting, pumped up, in grey scale, with air brushing, fresh out of a comp, driving a Ferrari, in LA, at the beach, in summer with just the right amount of water dripping off me. What guy wouldn’t?
I’m pretty sure that’s not an everyday look though.
Nor did he get that body in 12 weeks.
To say when you first start training that you’re going to go straight into shred mode in order to look like a guy who has been training for 10-15 years is just unrealistic. You’ve got no muscle!
If you’re that girl coming from a party life style where you drank all weekend, didn’t eat and your skirt was shorter than the amount of hours you slept, putting yourself on a 500 calorie diet of fish and salad, isn’t going to have you looking like a physique or fitness model who has dedicated half her life to training and nutrition. You’ve got no muscle!
Today everything needs to be instant. We all want it now. What happened 2 days ago is old news and completely forgotten by weeks end.
Stamp your feet all you like. Throw your childish tantrum and scream “but I want it now!”
Unfortunately some things just take time.
You do have some control over your body changing. You have control over your training. You have control over your diet. The better you train and eat, the quicker your results will come. Every time you stray from what you’re doing, add a few weeks to the time frame of getting your goal. One bite wont hurt, but how frequently do you have that one bite?
They say that all good things come to those that wait. Sorry. That’s just not true. However some things do take time and can’t be rushed. Some things you have pretty much no say in how long it will take to happen. So have some patience. Calm down. Stick to what you’re doing and let it happen. If you’ve chosen the right way to achieve your goal, it’ll happen quicker than you think, it just may take a little longer than 12 weeks.
It irritates me that I need to write this disclaimer saying that yes I know people have done amazing things in 12 weeks. Yes I know everyone has that friend who lost half their body weight in 12 weeks and now looks incredible. I know. It happens. On the flip side to every success story there are many, many more failures and people quitting because they didn’t see what they wanted within that short time frame. All I’m trying to point out, is that not everyone will be lucky enough to achieve their goal in 12 weeks. That doesn’t mean it wont happen with more time.