Do you start a new diet, a new training plan only to quit one, two, maybe three weeks later? Or maybe eight or ten weeks down the line, only to put back on the weight and go straight back to where you started? Do you, with renewed energy, tackle the challenge again only to be disappointed time after time?

Eric Helms, widely regarded as one of the top minds in the field of exercise science, explains quite well, and simply, in his Pyramid training and nutrition books, and I will give you the gist of it here.

When considering your nutrition and training to achieve your long-term goals whether they may be substantial weight loss, muscle gain, or altering body composition, you need to apply three things to your decision when selecting your nutrition plan as well as your training plan. If they meet these three criteria, you are more likely to succeed and reach your intended goals over the long term.

Is your plan:

  • Realistic?
  • Enjoyable?
  • Flexible?


I know you believe you have the willpower of Zeus, and some of you may very well do, however, this self-view is beside the point. When you set up your plan there is nothing impressive about choosing something that you cannot sustain. We all want fast progress, we all want it yesterday, but until you commit to the long haul, you will never realise your potential! Understanding the truth will help you make fewer mistakes and will allow you to achieve your goals more efficiently. It requires some restraint and discipline but also some self-awareness.

There are situations where your will and determination alone simply will not cut it, or if a situation does require it, we need to understand how that impacts other aspects of our lives and training. This is something we need to continually bear in mind.

If you’re a single mom and have a gruelling job, dropping kids at school and fetching, choosing a 6 day a week program and some 1000 calories a day diet of tea leaves is not going to cut it. You may survive a week, but then your relationship with your kids gets strained, you feel tired and run down from malnutrition, you are cranky at work, but, hey, you lose 12 kg in a few weeks. This situation is not a win!

It is, in fact, a total fail because, in all likelihood, you will stumble, quit, and rebound. You then feel guilty and label yourself a failure, when you’re not.  You just didn’t consider the impact it would have and you went with something unsustainable. In the end, you would have learnt nothing, and will, inevitably, repeat this mistake in perpetuity, which is what we call the typical ‘YOYO’ diet mentality.

You are not alone; I bet almost everyone here is nodding their head right now. So remember: Is this programme that I want to do realistic? Do I have the time to commit to three one-hour sessions a week? Yes? Check.

Does this programme look enjoyable? Yes? Check. CrossFit, boot camps, weight training solo, whatever floats your boat, as long as it’s enjoyable to you.

Is it flexible? Yes. Check. If I am under pressure at work for a deadline, can I reduce time, or do something at home quickly? if I go on holiday, can I make something work (if you even need to) – if so, then go for it.

Now do the same for your nutrition. Realistic – Enjoyable - Flexible.

If you’re interested in nutrition and training, I can’t think of a better set of books to own than the ones authored by Eric Helms. Go look him up.

So, remember, be realistic about your time and when you can train and be realistic about your nutrition. Be flexible and make 100% sure you are enjoying it, set yourself up to win in the long term, since the cumulative effect of 1kg every week or month, over a year or two, wins hands down every single time.

I have experienced this countless times with clients transforming in incredible ways and sustaining it for years after the ‘challenge’ ends.

About the author

Craig Brown

CHROME SA Spokesperson 👨🏻‍🔬Evidence Based Nutrition coach 🍽️ Nutritional Counseling 💪🏻Online training programs 👊🏻Weight loss 🏋🏼‍♀️️Muscle Gain 🥇Competition Prep

Older Post Newer Post