It doesn’t seem possible.
We’re almost ten years to the day that I opened up enrollment for the first ever round of Snatched in Six Weeks, MFF’s signature total body makeover program. Forgive me for being a wee bit sentimental, but I’m finding myself reflecting back on the origin of the program that birthed MFF…
In the fall of 2010, P90X and Insanity were all the rage. I was watching more and more of my friends — many of whom were professional dancers and actors — deal with injuries. Furthermore, I knew that when the goal is fat loss, you have to eat properly for your goals. Try as you may, you can’t “out-train your diet” with a high volume of high impact training that makes your joints sad, alas!
At the time I was a personal trainer who had just started offering group classes. As my rates crept towards $100/ hour, I was committed to making my services more affordable to my show biz pals. So I struck upon an idea…
What if I created my own program to teach people the basics of “health and hotness?”
I settled on six weeks because it felt long enough to see some results, but not so long as to be overwhelming.
I called it “Snatched in Six Weeks” because #alliteration.
(It would be a full year before I discovered the term “snatched” was not in common parlance…)
And holy shite.
Ten years, 50+ rounds, two sequel programs, and 4000 unique Snatched participants later… I have learned some things!
4 Lessons from 10 Years of Snatched
1. It’s human nature to try, but you can’t out train your diet.
You can only burn so many calories in a workout. And it’s easy to undo a heroic hour of exertion with an errant bagel. Nonetheless even long term MFF Ninjas occasionally fall into the trap of “going extra hard” in a Monday workout in hopes of undoing a weekend of indulgence.
I know how counterintuitive and unfair this feels. Many a fat loss journey has been stunted by feeling that we “earned this pizza.” And rest assured… I support eating some pizza!
But if your goals are related to fat loss, you have to support it by creating a caloric deficit. This can be one a LOT of different ways. And exercise can obviously support this goal. It just can’t create fat loss on it’s own.
TAKEAWAY: If your goal is fat loss, find a reasonable approach to nutrition that works for your life and preferences and can be sustained for the long haul.
2. The greatest barrier isn’t the knowledge gap. It’s the behavior gap.
It’s commonly believed that pretty much everyone already knows what to do if they want to achieve their fitness goal.
On the one hand, I don’t actually think it’s quite that cut and dry. After working with thousands of people and spending a career in the fitness industry, I have seen many, many, many interesting strategies and tactics, based neither in science nor logic.
But on balance, when the goal is simply to be healthy, I concede it’s not actually that complicated. Alas, as the saying goes, “simple is not the same as easy…”
By all means, you do want to find some legitimate expert guidance on WHAT you should do for your goals. However, the real journey is HOW to consistently adopt the behaviors you want by leveraging accountability, community, and most of all, your own psychology.
PRO TIP: With rare exceptions, it’s very difficult to effectively leverage your own psychology without working with a coach to help you unpack your behavior gaps.
TAKEAWAY: If you already know what to do but can’t seem to get yourself to do it consistently, look for a coach to provide accountability and support.
3. Deadlines are powerful. And perilous.
One of the most substantive changes to Snatched is the tone of the daily emails I send to participants. Gone are the well-intentioned admonitions that “You can do ANYTHING for six weeks!!!!” That may be true, but it does NOT set you up for success over the long haul.
Defining a bucket of time to uplevel your fitness skills and habits can be a great choice. While slow and steady can often win the race, there’s something to be said for a season of heightened focus to kickstart your fitness. Particularly because research suggests that you CAN go too slow and steady. Unless you see some “wins” upfront, it’s hard to maintain the effort required to cement new habits.
However deadlines can also create a sense of “being done.” This can be useful in pushing the pace on some project that can actually be completed, but that’s not the way fitness works. So if and when you use a program like Snatched to get some momentum going, it’s important to remember it’s a “quick start,” NOT a “quick fix.”
TAKEAWAY: Use deadlines and short term commitments to provide heightened periods of focus, but be wary of trying to “get it done.” Fitness doesn’t work that way!
4. No human is a fitness island.
Perhaps the most powerful reason for Snatched — and MFF’s — success is we baked the community right into the process.
Careful readers will recall last week’s missive, where I waxed about the power of social context. To really succeed in changing your behaviors in the short term OR over the long term, you need to have support from other humans.
This can look like a sincere ask for support from your family and friends. It can look like leveraging social accountability by making a public declaration of your fitness commitments. It can look like finding or creating a community of people with similar values and goals. And more often than not, it requires finding a coach to guide you and help you stay accountable.
TAKEAWAY: If you’re looking to succeed with adopting new fitness behaviors, leverage other humans for support: your family and friends, a community with similar goals, and a coach to provide guidance and accountability.
Well there you have it friends.
It’s been quite the journey and I can only imagine what I’ll learn in the next ten years!
But rest assured, your trusty friends at MFF will keep our eyes and minds open as we relentlessly strive to improve our approach week after week, month after month, year after year.
I appreciate you so damn much,
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