Learning a new sport versus a turbulent, prolonged quest to lose weight.  Many of us wish to improve an aspect of our performance, fitness or health.  There’s no shortage or knowledge and will power initially, so why do we keep failing?  If people didn’t suck at improving their health, staying fit or losing weight then organisations such as Weight Watchers would not exist.  The reality is that the vast majority of people consistently fail to achieve health and fitness goals.  Why is this?   Here, leading Ascot personal trainer and qualified strength & conditioning coach, Nathan Kelly provides a quick step by step guide to moving forward with fitness.  The NCAA Bracket.


Missing the forest for the trees

A major contributor for perennial failure when it comes to health and fitness is attempting too much too soon.  Going from a couch potato lifestyle to that of elite athlete is bound to end one way!  Back on the couch!!  What people fail to realise is that elite athletes and cover models have spent years perfecting their craft and refining their habits.  The process can’t be short cut into just 6 weeks.  Think back to those individuals who’ve gone head first into the latest fitness and dietary regimes only to slide back to old habits within a couple of months.   Habits take time to form – we can’t form too many news ones at once.

As humans we are also incredibly hard wired to negatively view failure.  So when one falls off of the diet wagon or starts to skip training, we view it as a failure.  At this point we will think negatively of ourselves, and often with the emotional part of the brain.  Telling ourselves that we are useless or we just can’t do something is not good for future attempts.  The truth of the matter is that we certainly can achieve our goals.  We simply have to alter how we go about.


The NCAA Bracket approach to prioritising fitness

Chances of success will increase dramatically if you adopt one new habit at a time.  This can be a nutritional strategy, a lifestyle behaviour or specific form of training.  To help you prioritise what to focus on start by listing everything that you need to address.  It’s not unusual to have a long list of behaviours, all of which are likely to be relevant to your ultimate goal.   To choose the most important one great method is the NCAA Bracket method.

  1.  List all behaviours you’d like to address / adopt in order to achieve your goal.
  2. Select two of the listed behaviours and decide which one is more important.
  3. Complete Step 2 until you have halved your list.
  4. Repeat this process of pitting your behaviours against each other until you have a winner
  5. The behaviour that you end up with is the one you must focus on for 90 days.

Once your chosen behaviour is a well established habit, you can repeat the process for the remaining behaviours.  This approach is for those committed to the long haul.  After all, many of the successful clients and athletes that we work with didn’t achieve that success overnight. The dialled in their habits one at a time and refined them over many months and years.