Patience. When to wait and when to make a change? As a coach, this is the hardest part of the job. Everyone wants results now. There’s pressure to make the change, but you can’t bow to it. You have to stay objective. Have to choose the right moment. – That’s what the client pays for.
Lack of patience leads to rushed decisions. Left to their own devices many do stupid things. Throw in a couple of 24-hour fasts, add in some “metabolic conditioning” work, throw in some more lifting days, go “all Paleo” for carbs. The list goes on.
I can’t give you definitive rules on when to make a change. Regarding the value of patience, all I have for you is a client story of mine and a quote from a coach with way more knowledge and experience:
Martin Berkhan, on patience:
“Getting that lean was the easiest diet I ever experienced. It was only testing in terms of patience; but even though the diet was easy, I longed for it to be over so I could try something, anything, else. It was a waiting game, but not a fight against hunger. Many clients have told me the same. If they don’t tell it to me straight, I notice it when discussing what to do after the diet.
“Sure, I got the usual neurotic thoughts once in a while. More frequently towards the end. Most do. “Am I really losing now or have I stalled?”, etc. Water retention tends to screw with your head and you’ll sometimes see that your weight isn’t moving for 10-14 days. That’s when people are very likely to do something stupid. That’s when it becomes very hard to resist cutting calories and adding extra cardio. So most people, including coaches, do that and it backfires.
“They lose strength or just get ravenous, whatever, something happens and they break their diet, binge for a day or two, attempt to get back to where they were by doing another stupid thing once again, and then they are stuck doing that. Or they just give up. It’s like domino bricks falling one after another after a tiny little wind dust moved the first piece. It gets a lot easier when you have someone else, a coach, giving you orders, of course.” (From this post.)
Client Andrew’s Story
When the consultation period was over and when discussing what to do next the topic of patience came up and we had an interesting exchange. Andrew’s words really struck me and I asked him if he’d share his e-mail. Noting how the comments of others had helped himself so much, he kindly agreed. The bolding is mine.
Weight: 170.4lbs -> 166.3lbs, Body-fat: 12.7 -> 7.9% – (via DEXA scan)
Note: You are an individual, your results will vary depending on genetics, adherence, and effort.
“I wanted to send you a quick note of appreciation and let you know how you’ve helped me. I considered myself a fairly rational, methodical person. I had read all the Leangains and Bodyrecomposition.com articles – that’s sort of how I found your site. I put all of that information to use for most of 2011 and I did see some results, but around August of last year, I completely cratered strength-wise. I was yo-yoing way too much on the rest vs. lift days and generally just applied all the rules with no sense, because I didn’t have any experience. Also, I was not tracking the numbers regarding lift stats or weekly body measurements.
Taking measurements just once a week has been one of the biggest mindset changes for me. I’m finally able to relax and just let things happen and more importantly, I got to learn your system for making objective decisions about my own progress and the counting rules helped me to relax the OCD. I’ve splurged almost every weekend, drinking and/or the occasional crap food and I’ve still lost on the plan and that’s been an eye-opener. But beyond splurging, I feel much more comfortable just eyeing food and knowing roughly what I’m eating – no more fears about vacations!
From the DEXA scans I’ve had done, I’ve dropped from 12.7% BF to 7.9% between July 18th to October 26th. At the same time, I’ve gained 1.95 kg lean mass (4.3 pounds). I’d echo some of the other people who’ve written you back – people just need to relax and let it happen. People, especially us modern folk, are incredibly impatient – I was and still fight it, but if they just stick to the plan, as everyone says, they will get there. I spent nearly 6 weeks at a stagnant point, then one weekend, boom, 5 pounds dropped and I was just cut all of a sudden – it was crazy!
Keep on spreading the truth!”
It can be tricky to know when to make a change, for sure. Is the stall one that’s natural or is there a need to adjust things to keep things moving? There are many variables that don’t fit nice and neatly into a blog post. For the coach, it comes down to being able to look at the whole picture and make a decision, for people to trust in your ability to spot the patterns. For you, the individual making your own decisions, all I can say is that just because your tracking method isn’t showing progress, doesn’t mean that nothing is happening.
As I gain experience I hope to share those lessons learned in a meaningful and useful way with you. For today, let’s add “Patience” into your diet toolbox.
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