In a society of instant gratification and rapid rewards, all too often we forget the powerful impact of accumulated and compounded work over a substantial period of time.
In the gym or in the kitchen it is commonplace to look for that magic pill or panacea to expedite desired results. However, it is not always just the "what" that someone is doing that should interest us. The "how" is equally powerful.
One thing is for certain - there is no shortage of motivational videos and memes in the fitness industry. Often times what is lacking is execution.
One of the publishers of Success magazine created a theory called The Compound Effect. It is an active mindset and approach to creating positive and impactful change in an area of your life that needs reform. In our case this area of your life in which you desire success could be a physical transformation for a competition, or mastery of a specific physical fitness skill.
The creator of The Compound Effect aims his book at jump-starting your success or boosting your income. My goal is to show you how to implement it in your fitness pursuits. This practice is something I have successfully implemented with countless training and nutrition clients due to its simplicity and repeatability.
All too often, we overvalue the implementation of a quick fix. We undervalue the impact of minute decisions compounded on a daily basis. It is the minute decisions when repeated and duplicated that create unparalleled results and unexpected change.
For example, for an athlete or bodybuilder or powerlifter that gets merely 30 minutes more sleep per night, each night, 365 days per year than his competitors gets 182 more hours of sleep per year. That may not seem like much on the surface, but when calculated, that is nearly 8 days more sleep over the course of a year.
Or perhaps your friend with bigger arms is consistent about drinking his whey protein daily before and after workouts. Your friend consistently meets his daily protein requirements, whereas you are haphazard with your preparation strategies and fail to track your protein intake.
These are just two examples of how small decisions when implemented and acted upon on a daily basis create life changing results.
In training and nutrition the compound effect can be seen in:
Simply stated, making the correct choices consistently and honoring our pursuit of our goals creates momentum. Simplified:
You? Choice + Behavior (Action) + Habits (Repeated Action) + Time = Goals
The saying made famous by Aristotle, "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then, is not an act, but a habit."
This reminds us that practicing excellence and perfecting the craft day after day, month after month and year after year is what separates the average from the stellar. It creates an outlier effect of "hidden advantages" or an unexplainable edge.
You may find the perfect routine, and the perfect diet, but the repeated execution of the two programs over time is what will lead to that unexplainable edge. One might argue that superior consistency in an inferior program would generate better results than inferior consistency on a superior program.
You can implement the compound effect in your training right now. Make a choice and pick three variables related to your fitness goals where you can make quantifiable (numerical) incremental changes. This could be in regards to sleep, supplementation, nutrition or training. Perhaps you want to target a specific macronutrient goal (protein, carbs or fat grams).
Perhaps you want to get in bed thirty minutes earlier each night. Create specific, measurable goals that you can take action on and duplicate the seemingly insignificant changes day after day. After you have perfected these three goals (or choices), attempt to add two more so that you are now creating a powerful compound effect of five choices each day.
Whether you are just trying to get back in shape, or whether you are looking to be shredded on stage making these incremental changes can take you one step closer to your goals. What you see in the mirror and how you feel each day will be a result of your choices, behaviors and repeated actions.
Build yourself an unexplainable edge. Practice excellence. Achieve your goals.