The true key to success – Commitment (an honest and frank view).

Written by: Lee on 25th Feb 2011

I’ve previously blogged about the 3 keys to success, rest, nutrition (diet) and training. It is true that these 3 elements govern how your body develops, but the real differences will be made by your commitment levels.

A few months ago, I was speaking to a 17 year old lad in the gym and he said to me “I would kill for a 6 pack”. My reply was simple, you need to eat healthily and train properly. I was given the usual response that I get from young lads, “I do, I do”. So we sat down, ran through his food for the week. I was amazed to find out that people consider KFC to be a healthy option as it is ‘chicken’. When told that he needs to cut out that junk, the conversation went as follows;

But I like it, I don’t want to

You said you want a 6 pack

Yeah but I don’t want to give up the foods I like

You said you’d kill for a 6 pack 10 minutes ago.

Yeah but.......

And there it was, the sudden realisation that he just wasn’t prepared to offer the commitment needed to get what he wanted.

Commitment doesn’t just mean being good with our food. Training requires just as much attention. How many of us can say we train as hard as we need to every session or that we don’t let minor excuses give us a ‘reason’ to skip the gym. I know too many people who claim to really want to improve their physique and that they’re dedicated to the cause but as soon as that first opportunity or ‘reason’ to cancel a gym arises, off they go. This can be amazingly frustrating. At times, we just need to push through a minor cold or feeling tired. A good endorphin release from a training session can do the world of good.

Rest is vitally important, but shouldn’t be used as an excuse to cancel or reduce training. It should be used to compliment it.

I also come across those who seem to consider training and diet to be one to justify a poor effort in the other. ‘I’ve trained 4 times this week, I’m entitled to eat (fill in this space yourself)’. It is good to treat yourself occasionally, but it should be that, occasionally. What the previous comment translates to in real terms is ‘I’ve trained 4 times this week and wasted all of it because I’m not committed to controlling my food, but I’ll lie to myself to feel better’. As with rest, nutrition should compliment your training, not nullify it by depriving your body of the nutrients it needs.

My last grievance is those who blame genetics while shovelling a pizza down their mouth. I’m not saying genetics don’t have a large impact on training results, they do. This can make it hard for some people to see things through. However, genetics will not limit people to being morbidly obese, but offer a challenge that needs to be risen to (and can be). In the gym I regularly see those who achieve results instantly, while others (myself included) have to watch everything they eat and cannot afford to miss a training session in order to gain results. This again, is where commitment comes in.

In conclusion, I ask those people who aren’t satisfied with how their training has gone to look themselves in the mirror and ask, was I really committed to it, did I do everything I know I could have done?. You may be surprised at your answer!


So many of the things you

So many of the things you said ring true for me. Being committed to losing my weight and getting back into shape makes me feel more vuneralable. I am so afraid to fail and go back on this committment, but I don't really think there's a middle ground that will lead to me being successful.

Before anything, people need

Before anything, people need to be taught to prioritize. I think that all people realize what is true but most of them are not ready to decide what is their priority in life.

I think it is important for

I think it is important for people to be realistic about the types of exercise that they really can stick with too. That can take some trial and error sometimes.

I like how you reminded the

I like how you reminded the youngster about how he would "kill" for a 6-pack. It takes sacrifice, it definitely doesn't come easily. And if the old ways aren't working, we have to be open to try something new.

My Biggest Problem

Very well said. Great Article! Commitment is my biggest obstacle. It seems like I always have an excuse for not sticking to my plan. Your article is inspiration to stop making excuses.

Very well said...Good things

Very well said...Good things don't just fall from heaven, we work for them. I know several people who grumble about their weight and express to the whole world their frustrations about not losing even a pound or two as they savor slices of pizza or a pack of chocolate chip cookies...If you're planning to go on serious weight loss or fitness program, expect to cut down on your pleasures. :)

I can't agree with you more.

I can't agree with you more. The biggest issue I always notice from people I know is these "reward meals". I hear people who are trying to lose weight saying things like "I will work out on monday, then tuesday, I will eat six brownies". No! You can't do that, it's that simple. Reward eating is bad.

I can't agree more with you.

I can't agree more with you. It's important to really committed to our goals. To achieve your goals, you need to be able to keep doing what you said you would do, long after the mood in which it was said has passed.

I think I'm dealing with this

I think I'm dealing with this as I type. I want a healthier body and yet there are days when I don't want to work out. Commitment is key - I understand that. I don't think you can be 100% committed until you are 100% ready! I love the food and exercise journal too that I read in someone's response.

I'm far from perfect but even

I'm far from perfect but even I can see the benefit in this. You just have to make up your mind that you want it enough, or forget it completely!

Oh how we all hate to hear

Oh how we all hate to hear this, and oh how we all need to hear this! Is true commitment to diet and exercise "easy" for anybody? I guess if it was, there wouldn't be anybody fat and out of shape walking around.

I think this is the hardest part

I think this is the hardest part of diet and exercise for me---the mental and emotional "upkeep" required. Keeping a diet and exercise journal has helped me with this.

The journal is a fantastic

The journal is a fantastic way of holding yourself accountable for the effort you've put in. If its there in black and white, it becomes very difficult to pretend your satisfied if something has slipped. I like this idea a lot.

This is so true. I'm

This is so true. I'm particularly guilty of the "Well I worked out really hard, so I can indulge in cheesecake (or whatever)". I just end up shooting myself in the foot with that attitude.

You couldn't have said it

You couldn't have said it better, Lee. I absolutely agree; a good diet and regular exercise should complement each other, and not cancel the other out. I am like you; I cannot skip a session if I am going to see good results, though it's hard for me not to do sometimes. At least I am not tempted by junk food, so my diet is good, which helps.

Commitment is hard for me

Commitment is hard for me too. I find myself all too often slipping back into old habits. I make up for it with more exercise-but it's not the right way to do it.

A kick in the pants

I have to admit that there are times when I skip a weights session because I can't be bothered or I'm tired, but having read this I can see that if I want the body, I need to work at it. Thankfully I am trying very hard with my eating, it's just the motivation to keep with the weights.

Time for a shake up and a slap in the face to get myself going!

There are some hard truths in

There are some hard truths in this post. I have seen exactly this attitude play out in others--and sometimes myself. I'm not always as committed as I should be to get results.