The Real “Secret” to Getting and Staying Fit

Getting and staying fit can be tough. And we have limited time and energy. So how should we allocate our precious resources of energy and time?

We can use the analogy of big rocks. Focusing on big rocks helps us get results, rather than get distracted and confused by minor or irrelevant things. It is a mantra I repeat to myself and clients to stay focused on what matters.

The Big Rocks Analogy

Imagine you have some small stones, big rocks, and a jar. If you first put the small stones in the jar, you’ll fill up the jar but not have room for the big rocks. However, if you start with the big rocks, you’ll fit all the big rocks in the jar AND have room for the small stones.

Similarly, in fitness there are big rocks and small stones. And there are some things that shouldn’t even go in the jar.

Example: Big Rocks for Weight Loss

Let’s take weight loss as an example.

One of the big rocks for weight loss is eating whole, minimally processed foods that keep you full. Another big rock is eating fewer processed foods and liquid calories (like soda, juice, and alcohol). Both of these big rocks reduce overall caloric intake which contributes to weight loss.*

On the other hand, a small stone for weight loss is eating an exact ratio of carbs, protein, and fat. This might be relevant once someone has lost a lot of weight and wants to get a 6-pack. However, for the majority of weight loss, focus on the big rocks first.

Lastly, there are things that don’t even belong in the jar. For weight loss this would be gimmicks like apple cider vinegar shots and green tea extracts. At best, they are a waste of time and money. At worst, they are a distraction from the big rocks that truly matter for weight loss.

Most Fitness Goals Have Big Rocks

The big rocks analogy holds for goals other than weight loss. For example, a big rock to get stronger is to lift increasingly heavier weights consistently over time. Choosing the best brand of lifting belt is a small stone.

Usually big rocks are not cool or sexy. The results take longer, but are real and sustainable.

Whatever your fitness goal, first ask what are the big rocks?


*There are other big rocks for weight loss, but for brevity, I’ve just listed two big rocks in this article.

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