Willpower will help you succeed in anything. It gives you that ability to overcome, to stay consistent when things get hard, and to still enjoy every second. ConFITdent asks three fitness experts for their advice on willpower, how to get it, and how to use it build an amazing body.
What, in your experience, demands more willpower: losing weight or bulking up?
I think it’s like comparing apples to oranges, but building muscle is more difficult and takes longer than losing weight.
Losing weight is a 24/7 battle in which every decision counts. It requires a constant diligence and an indomitable will to be consistently successful at losing weight, and keeping it off especially.
Depends on your genetics – they can both be equally difficult.
How would you advise someone to train their willpower?
I think it’s mind over matter. As Sun Tzu said, “He who conquers others is strong. He who conquers himself is mighty”. Buy a self help book might do the trick like “Awaken The Giant From Within” by Tony Robbins.
Give yourself the best chance to make the better decision when the time comes. That means planning out meals, workouts, and being proactive rather than reactive. Taking an active role in your health will make it easier to exercise will power over the things you can control.
Do something that is so hard that it make you want to quit. At that moment, when you absolutely KNOW that you can’t possible do it anymore – that’s when you’ve just begun.
Why do you think some people choose NOT to exercise and make healthy choices?
I think there are a number of reasons including (1) their parents didn’t exercise or make healthy choices (2) their friends don’t (3) marketers have warped the minds of some Americans into thinking it’s cool not to exercise and eat well, (4) some are confused how to change, or how to exercise and make healthy choices and (5) not exercising and eating healthy is the path of least resistance.
Choosing to exercise and make healthy decisions has yet to become a social convention. It takes a lot of hard work and determination to be different, and being consistently healthy, unfortunately, is very different right now.
Until we change our expectations of people’s diet and exercise habits while making it easier for people to practice healthier behaviors, health will continue to be a difficult pursuit.
The current majority opinion on healthy lifestyles, is that they are contrary to enjoyment.
There is an interesting paradox. People will flat out tell you they would enjoy looking better. Whether that means having a six-pack of abs, bigger biceps, no love handles etc. Yet, those same people will not give up their apparently less enjoyable lifestyles to attain some greater form of health, body image, or strength.
If you can learn to love the journey, the struggle, and the success, then enjoyment will surely follow.
Because they haven’t discovered yet how awesome life is when they do.
True or False: Willpower is the most important part of being in great shape.
I don’t think so at all. Being in great shape is as much mental as it is physical and it’s not about will power, but a certain understanding about what’s important to you.
True. Will power will provide the consistency, regardless of circumstance, to maintain the necessary good habits.
I’d say consistency is the most important aspect of a shredded life. But eventually will-power doesn’t really play into it. It’s like brushing your teeth – at first, when you’re like 3, it seems so cumbersome, but eventually life would feel weird without it.
Do you find a certain type of training to require more willpower than others (endurance, hypertrophy, strength building, fat loss, etc.)?
I would have to imagine the more challenging and intense the training, the more will power it would take to continue doing it.
Will power is most useful in the gym when training for strength. You have to defy logic when it comes time to beat a personal record lift. Lifting more than your perceived 100% max is daunting the first couple of times. Having the will power to repeatedly push your own limits is an invaluable ability.
Most praise coaches that can make their athletes run through a wall, but if you can do that to yourself, even better.