The quest to develop a stunningly fit, lean and attractive body is a long, slow journey. It's not something you achieve overnight by popping a few pills or strapping an electric gizmo to your belly.
By the time the FTC finally blew the whistle on the electronic ab belt scam, the makers of those "ab zappers" had swindled more than $100 million from unsuspecting consumers. Fortunately, some of those companies had to pay it back, and then some! The FTC charged three companies -- Fast Abs, Ab Tronic and Ab Energizer -- with false advertising and deceptive warranty practices for these "ABSurd" gimmicks.
But I digress. Back to the journey to a better body...
Last week I looked out my window, and where there was once nothing but a dirt-filled, empty lot, there stood a sprawling, six-story brick condo complex. If someone looked at this massive completed structure for the first time, they might not be impressed. However, since I observed the entire construction process unfold from my living room window, I was impressed - amazed, even -- at what goes into erecting this kind of structure.
I remember watching the crew humming around diligently every day like busy bees, laying one brick after another. From one day to the next, it didn't seem like much changed. But slowly, over a period of a year and a half, I watched the building gradually morph into the finished product.
When you look at someone with an incredible body as a finished product, you often tend to dismiss the long, arduous journey and hard work it took to build that body. Unless you were side by side with that person in the gym (and in the kitchen), observing the work involved, it's easy to attribute such a chiseled physique to genetics or give credit to a supplement (they just took product XYZ and voila -- overnight abs). What you don't see or appreciate are all the months and years of sweat and hard work.
Getting in shape is a lot like a construction project. First, there must be a picture in the mind. Then the vision goes onto paper as a blueprint. It takes months just to lay the foundation. More months of work will follow. On a daily basis, it doesn't seem like much is happening. You look in the mirror and appear, for the most part, the same as you did yesterday. But sure enough, the small improvements are slowly accumulating like compounding interest in the bank. One day, you look in the mirror and "suddenly," your blueprint has become reality.
The body of a fitness model, figure competitor or bodybuilder is no more likely to be built overnight than a high rise is to be built overnight. It's not physically possible. Accepting the idea that any type of pill, powder, drug, supplement or machine of any kind will make it happen sooner than nature intended (without negative consequences or side effects) is pure folly. You can't force it.
Growth and development of any kind always require a gestation period. For a baby, it's nine months. For corn, it's about three months. If you were an expectant mother, would you want to hurry the process? Could any new development in nutrition or medical science speed up this wonderful miracle even one iota? If you were a farmer, would you try to harvest your crop before it was ripe? Would you dig up your seeds to see if anything was growing down there?
The answers are obvious. If only we would adopt the same patient, nurturing mother's or farmer's mindset towards getting in shape, then no one would waste their money on "fast abs" or "exercise in a bottle" or any such silliness ever again. We would understand that one must sow first, then reap the harvest, but that you can't sow and reap in the same season.
If you ever get frustrated with the rate of progress in your fitness or weight loss program (and who doesn't?), just remember: Success is always guaranteed to the persistent. Nothing in the world can stop someone who knows what they want and is willing to continue paying the price until they get it. It just takes time.
Become the architect and builder of your own dream body. You WILL build the body you want eventually if you're patient enough and you refuse to quit. And set your goals HIGH! Create a fantastic blueprint. Michelangelo said, "The greatest danger is not that we set our goals too high and miss them, the greatest danger is that we set our goals too low and we reach them." Envision a castle -- a veritable Taj Mahal of a body! There's nothing wrong with building castles in the sky, as long as you patiently work at putting the foundations underneath them. There are very few unrealistic goals, only goals with unrealistic deadlines.
So keep laying those "bricks" -- every day, one at a time -- and sure enough, eventually, you'll build yourself a palace.
Tom Venuto is a certified personal trainer, natural bodybuilder and author of the #1 best selling diet e-book, Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle. You can get info on Tom's e-book at www.burnthefat.com. To get Tom's free monthly e-zine, visit www.fitren.com.
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