Sunday, October 08, 2006

What makes a successful challenger?

BFL Goddess Sara has just published a fab new article on her website, giving her 12 tips for a winning transformation. See, she's not just cute, she's very, very smart too!

Anyway, after I read this piece of wisdom, I indulged in a little pondering session about 12-week transformations, and those who complete them and those who just....well...give up. See, I've been a member of several online fitness forums for quite a few years now, so I've had contact with hundreds (maybe thousands) of people doing this crazy thing we call a challenge. And it always surprises and saddens me to see the huge number of people who start a challenge, all fired up with enthusiasm, but by about week 3 the wheels are falling off and by week 5 or 6 you never hear from them again.

OK, some have some pretty wacky ideas about nutrition or exercise to begin with, and won't be disabused of their opinions - you know, things like doing 100s of sit-ups every day being the best way to get a 6-pack. Or thinking that a potato with their dinner is adequate vegies. Some have been given some really crap advice from "experts" who should know better. And some are just plain stupid.

But the majority are reasonably intelligent, have the right information, have bought the right food and a few helpful supplements and know what to do in the gym. So why do they fail? What is the difference between these people and the ones who go on to complete their 12 weeks? I'm not even talking about the kind of results they achieve - just the simple fact that they finish.

I'm told by several reliable sources that of all those who start a 12 week challenge, the number who see it through is a scarily low 20%. And my personal observations tell me that this is probably about right. So what makes a successful BFLer? What is different about those of us who can haul our butts out of bed every morning in the pre-dawn darkness and head off to the freezing cold gym to do our workouts, whether we feel like it or not? Is there some genetic mutation amongst the finishers that makes them pre-disposed to like eating chicken, tuna, broccoli and oats?

Of course it's entirely to do with mindset, and the point that Sara made about believing in yourself. There's also a lot of important stuff around knowing what it is exactly that you want and why you want it. And being prepared to do whatever it takes to get there.

And just quietly, it doesn't hurt to splash around a liberal amount of reciprocation. It comes back to you in many ways...

8 comments:

kathrynoh said...

I think that the 12 week challenge concept is something that only works for some people.

I guess it comes back to knowing yourself and what motivates you. Personally, I couldn't do it. I work best with small, gradual changes and and, because I have an 'all or nothing' attitude (that I'm trying to change), I'd be the kind that starts out strong then falls off the wagon.

Jadey 0:-) said...

Mine hve never really fnished but I haven't iven up ! Watch me fly!

Debstar said...

I'm with Kathryn on small gradual changes. I started this year saying I would focus on health and exercise for a year,then started to lose focus in June and went on a challenge but just couldn't maintain that "all or nothing" mindset especially once I got sick with the flu. Plus in the back of my mind I had this thought that if I actually won then the horrid before shot would be published. eek! I'm much better off applying myself for 4-6 weeks at at time. And you're right it is mindset, even though I have had a few hiccups along the way I have never given up on myself this whole year.

Debstar said...

I'm with Kathryn when it comes to small, gradual changes. My attention span doesn't last 12 weeks.

Deb said...

Great post and tips!

Deb said...

Great post. love the tips!

Kek said...

It's an interesting topic...I started a thread a few months back on a fitness forum, asking who preferred the all-out, get-great-results-in-a-short-time method, and who preferred the slow and gradual way. And more to the point, WHY they chose to follow their preferred method. I didn't really get much in the way of answers....

I've done it both ways and for me, slow and steady was a great way to start my journey. I'm sure I'd never have even started if someone had told me I had to do a BFL challenge to get to where I wanted to go. I'd have run a mile and would have been found quivering in a dark corner somewhere, curled up around the remains of large pizza, a family block of chocolate and a bottle of cheap chardy.

But once I had a base level of fitness, some experience with weight training, and I started to realise exactly what I could achieve if I really tried, the idea of a challenge took hold and I just had to do it. And boy, did it ever take hold. Obsessive? Who, me?

linda said...

I really think that slow and small steps is the way to make changes that are permanent in your life. It's good to have a target eg 12 weeks/ 6 weeks but more achievable if you make gradual changes within that time frame. That way they are more likely to become part of your way of life.

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