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  • Writer's pictureDr JP Guidry DPT CSCS TPI

The most important variable for an effective fitness program.

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

The most important variable for an effective fitness or sports performance program?

When it comes to health, fitness, nutrition, and sports performance programs there are a wide array of high and low-quality programs out there. Regardless of what your specific goals are and even if you have the most well-designed program if you are missing this one variable the program will be worthless. What is that variable you ask?


That's right, consistently doing a poor program will still produce better long-term results than an inconsistently performed but better designed program. While this is by far the most important variable, it is also the variable that most people tend to struggle with. This is why extreme diets and workout plans don't work because they can’t be consistently upheld for the long term for most people. What tends to happen with those types of programs is you burn yourself out and then quit doing anything all together

Building Better Habits

It all starts with building better habits. This is done most successfully by making small changes in the right direction rather than trying to make big changes all at once. The great Strength Coach Dan John uses flossing which is imperative for our dental and even cardiovascular health as an example for this he states:

“People tease me about one of my key training principles: I recommend that you floss twice a day. Yes, floss. Why? Well, if you ask any dentist or dental hygienist, they will tell you that not only does flossing save your teeth, but new research tells us that it might be the best thing you can do for your heart health. It seems that keeping small dental infections at bay is a great thing to do for the rest of your system, too.

But there is a point beyond the issue of cardiovascular health. If someone asks me to design a multi-year training program that peaks with an Olympic championship or a Mr. Universe victory, but can’t set aside two minutes or less a day to floss, well, then why are we all wasting our time? And that is the issue here: what are the secrets to long-term fitness? Sadly, most of us “know” this already, but let’s decide right away to rededicate ourselves to taking these simple concepts and running with them.”

How do we start to build good habits?

For exercise, this starts with just doing something. Find an activity you enjoy doing that will burn some calories and get your heart rate up and do it 3 to 4 days a week. Once you have done this consistently for a month or 2 then you can seek guidance on how to fine-tune your activity and exercise to better fit your specific goals.

For nutrition, slowly replace less healthy foods with more healthy choices starting one meal at a time. Focus on things like eating slowly, drinking lots of water, only keeping good food choices in your home, meal prep and have healthy snacks on hand during the day. Focus on building the habits first before getting too caught up in the specifics of these changes.

Building other healthy habits like getting 8 hours of sleep and improving your sleep hygiene, spending 5 to 10 minutes a day on calming your mind. focusing on getting rid of negative relationships and building positive ones all help support your overall health and well-being and help to put you in a better state for positive long-term change.

You don’t have to be perfect

Consistency also doesn't mean you won't miss days, have cheat meals and that you can’t enjoy yourself. Our time on this earth is short and being healthy shouldn’t mean avoiding things like social gatherings, foods you enjoy, eating out etc. You have to live life and enjoying time with family and friends over a workout or healthy meal is still part of maintaining good health and wellness. Life is going to happen to all of us, you will get sick, you will get busy, things will come up or you will just not feel it certain days but the main thing is to not let 1 or 2 missed days turn into 1 or 2 weeks. As soon as you fall off get back up and back on track.

So, if you are overwhelmed or frustrated step back and focus on making small consistent changes and building positive habits first before getting too caught up in the details of a workout or diet plan.

Accountability and guidance are one of the most important things we provide as coaches. If you need some help or guidance on getting started with building better habits and being more consistent with your health and fitness feel free to reach out to me at or set up a call at

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