Three circles may explain your unreached your goal

I’ve used this illustration for years with my clients, lately I’ve really found myself referring to it a lot so I thought I would share it with you.

Take out a piece of paper and draw three, equally interlocking circles. Notice that all three circles only overlap a small amount in the very middle and that any two of the circles overlap a little more. Now that you have that done I’d like to explain how this relates to your health, fitness and weight loss goals.

The three main reasons that many individuals might seek out someone like a personal trainer are these:

1. Vanity. Admit it, we’re all vain, we all want to look and feel amazing to our peers and in that silly thing we call a mirror. For most people, pertaining to fitness, this means weight loss. Please write weight loss in the uppermost of your three circles.

2. Health. Many people have experienced, or have family that has experienced a major health event, ranging from diabetes to heart disease and beyond these instances are often frantic motivators to improve your own habits. Please write health in one of the two remaining circles.

3. Performance. Finally there are these crazy people called athletes and a whole lot more of us that just wish we were athletes or simply want to perform better when chasing the children, grandchildren or other life activities. Please write performance in the final circle.

You now can see that these three reasons to improve your nutrition and fitness are all very important, they also interlock and are very related to one another and likely make up your end goal. But what may not be immediately clear is notice that the largest space within our interlocking circles is in each individual area. The point I’m trying to make is that you cannot be 100% focused on all three of these things, at any given time (unless you currently, look, feel, and perform exactly how you want). If you want to maximize your progress you must focus on one of these areas and each is uniquely different.

Weight loss is primarily a mathematical equation and some of the things that make weight loss faster and easier are certainly not going to ensure that you are as healthy as possible. That’s not to say that it is unhealthy; there is substantial overlap between losing weight and improving health (illustrated in our circle image) but if you want the fastest best result you cannot maximize your health at the same time.

For example certain foods when consumed in abundance provide everything from essential fats to antioxidants but by simply consuming the required volume for optimal health you will mess up the delicate mathematical equation that ensures steady, consistent weight loss.

And finally I think we all know that to truly perform to your utmost potential you must be walking the line of risk and injury, if this wasn’t true injury in sport wouldn’t be the prominent topic that it is in the world today.

Now you know if you’ve been trying to reach your weight loss goal and you’ve worked hard to alter your habits by controlling your portions, eliminating bad foods and are eating “healthy” there may be a very big difference in eating for health and eating for weight loss.

Cabel McElderry is the director of One-to-1 Fitness in Red Deer. He can be reached at 403-341-4041. Also check out for more information.

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