Yep, it’s a question I get asked often. At least once a week. Sometimes, daily. So, rather than provide a one word answer (good, bad), I thought I might explore the concept a little because my typical answer to this question is… “it depends”.
Yes, whether they are a good or bad idea depends on a few things.
Like… why are you doing the program? Like… what’s your motivation? Like… what happens once the ten weeks is over? Like… do you have a long-term plan beyond your short-term program? Like… is the ten week program a starting point for the rest of your life or is it something you’ll do over the short term to get in shape for a specific ‘event’ (birthday, reunion, wedding, party)? Like… if it is your intention to maintain new exercise and eating behaviours beyond the ten weeks, why not just start a forever program? Or does the term forever mess with your head? Keeping in mind that if you’re interested in forever results, you may have to consider a forever commitment.
While it’s hard to find accurate data regarding what happens to most people (and the body they inhabit) post-program, it’s been my observation and experience that very few people maintain, or build upon, their ten-week achievements over the long term. And by long term, I mean the rest of their life. In other words, a high percentage of people who lose fat and weight re-gain it and undo their good work at some stage. And why? Mostly, because they went into the process with a ten-week mindset and when the time was up, so too was their commitment (choices, behaviours, standards, habits) and their short-term results. Their physiology was fine but their psychology was flawed.
But can short-term programs be a good thing?
# If you’re only interested in short-term change and results, they’re perfect.
# If you’re interested in something more permanent, use your ten (six, eight, twelve) week program as a momentum, confidence and habit builder. The genesis to your story.
# Make sure you have a big picture plan beyond your short-term commitment. That is, a goal beyond the goal.
# Use the ten weeks as an opportunity to discover what works for you physically, mentally, emotionally and practically.
# Keep a diary to record food, training, sleep, fluid intake, feelings, energy levels and testing results. This will help you (1) de-emotionalise the process and (2) identify what works optimally for you.
# Listen to what your body is telling you. It’s pure genius, so pay attention and don’t let your over-thinking mind get in the way.
If you have a training question that doesn’t require a thousand-word response, send it through and I’ll answer as many as I can.