Why Type A People & High Performers Struggle to Transform Their Body

Why Type A People & High Performers Struggle to Transform Their Body

There are numerous successful and smart busy men and women who are highly frustrated with their lack of success when it comes to their fitness.

A high percentage of these same successful and smart busy individuals are high performers with a Type A personality who pride themselves on discipline, willpower and getting results. When things don’t work out, feelings of shame start to creep in which leads to a downward slope.

As a high performer with fitness goals, it’s a rocky slope when it comes to your approach. As a high performer, you want things to be black and white. Unfortunately, life (and especially fitness) isn’t this way.

Why high performers struggle to transform their body

You pride yourself on discipline, willpower,  following the given set of rules, and getting results at all costs.

But when it comes to fitness, rigidly following a set of rules isn’t going to cut it. Often times, you’re following something that is mainstream and built for the one-size-fits-all crowd.

Instead of blaming yourself along with questioning your capabilities due to the shortcomings, it could be the program that’s a failure because it’s not suited to your specific personality and lifestyle needs.

High achievers run into numerous problems with their fitness and struggle to lose fat compared to the everyday person because:

  • They’re exhausted from handling so many things
  • Their emotions are not managed
  • Their stress isn’t being controlled
  • They’re avoiding and procrastinating in one area while overcompensating in another area
  • They’re crazy busy and aren’t effectively recharging

These are legit problems that when left unaddressed will swiftly send you into frustration and far from your goal. Working harder isn’t going to do it.

Instead of letting your personality self-sabotage your fitness, understand yourself and how you operate so you can effectively handle situations.

With that said, here are 3 key areas why high performers struggle to transform their body. Besides merely diagnosing these 3 key areas, here’s how you can effectively reverse them into an actionable solution that propels you forward with your fitness goals.

Area #1— The all or none mentality

Back in college, I was at the point that if I for some reason went off my nutrition plan at lunch, I would equate the rest of the day a failure and also bad talk myself. I would eat crappy for the rest of the day and “reset” tomorrow.

Luckily, I learned the concept of there being four quarters to the day as I mentioned in my book ‘Body Architect which means that I could still win the day despite a minor hiccup in the plan.

With this type of persona, you’re either all in, or you’re all out. Feeling terribly sick? Oh well, you’re still going to workout because the program says to exercise today. This type of personality is super competitive with themselves and others.

On a strict diet, you’ll avoid anything that deviates from the plan by even a fraction. While this seems great on the surface, peel back a few layers and there’s a lot of potential downfalls to this type of persona.

When you’re overly-restrictive with yourself, this leads to a higher probability that you’re going to go overboard the moment you give yourself some leniency. With that said, the biggest problem here is the tendency to be a perfectionist. This pattern leads you to feel like you “blew it” should you make one poor choice or decision during the day.

Solution to the all or none approach — Strive for perfection but plan for imperfection

Don’t ditch your program entirely, but realize that perfection is only a myth and one or two small hiccups in the process isn’t going to ruin your progress.

For example, following a workout plan for an extended time and you’re not seeing results, don’t be afraid to let it go. You’re not a quitter. This is far from being shameful. In fact, this is smart because pivots are inevitable.

With that said, develop flexibility within your process and strategy. Be rigid and adamant about where you want to go (i.e. your desired outcome), but be flexible in the details of how you get there. There are multiple avenues that all lead to your desired results, but one path will ideal for your specific lifestyle.

strategy—why high performers struggle to transform their body
Don’t be afraid to pivot in your strategy.

Even if you fall off track in the morning, you can immediately get back momentum by making the next decision something that empowers you and your goals.

Area #2— Trying to just “work harder”

We’ve heard the saying that “hard work” solves everything and that isn’t true. In fact, believing this is only going to waste your time, lead to frustration, and make you inefficient.

When I’m talking with a client for the first time, I’m getting information on their background and previous experiences with health and fitness. More often than not, they’re doing activities because they think they’re supposed to do them and when it’s not delivering results, they don’t pivot—they double down and try harder.

A classic example is dieting. If they’re not losing fat, inches, nor feeling better, they’ll keep lowering calories (which is a big no-no) while doing the same workouts.

Solution — Learn to pivot and be open to new ideas

It’s important to let go of any attachments when it comes to solving your fitness goals. When you pivot, it’s nothing against your capabilities. In fact, pivoting is the smartest thing you can do because you’re going to get to the same desired destination faster and without the unnecessary frustration.

You have enough on your plate, don’t make your fitness goals any more complicated than they should be.

If you’re having trouble losing fat, don’t always assume you need to lower calories or exercise more. Look into your sleep, hormones, stress, and quality of foods being eaten.

Area #3— Poor relationship with yourself

Pushing yourself harder will only make the hamster wheel that you’re on go faster. Results won’t come quicker. You can hate yourself into a new body. There’s a reason why you aren’t hitting your goals and it’s not because you aren’t capable.

Taking extreme ownership of the situation is one thing, but ruminating in negativity because you haven’t seen your desired results or because you ate too much is pointless.

No solution is coming out of this. Only frustration and a guarantee to stay at your current level.

Solution — Act with compassion and thoughtfully investigate

When you feel stuck and not able to breakthrough, it’s not a lack of capability. Often times, it’s a lack of a proper mindset and understanding of your own psychology that needs addressing.

While it’s important to take ownership of the situation, it’s also important to learn to move and navigate through the frustration and self-blame so you extract the wisdom hidden in the mess. Once you do this, you can start asking questions that lead to breakthroughs.

Example: Why did food have so much power over me this week? Why did I not feel like exercising this week? What was going on in my life when I binged and overate? What was going on in my life that prevented me from getting the sleep I needed?

By acting with compassion and thoughtfully investigating, you’re going to have a better understanding of your hidden hunger triggers, stressors, situations, emotions, and issues that led to behaviors that aren’t moving you forward with your health goals.

Let go of the self-infliction and instead ask “why”.

The situation already happened. Get some positives from it by seeking to understand why it happened. Evolve and grow at a fast rate is the name of the game so you don’t make the same mistakes repeatedly.

Being a high performer with a type A personality is beneficial and can be a gift because you’ll be quicker to embrace the structure needed for success. But don’t forget to allow room for flexibility.

Laws Of Success: 12 Laws That Lead to Mastery In Health and Nutrition

“Order and simplification are the first steps towards mastery of a subject” — Thomas Mann

Laws Of Success: 12 Laws That Lead to Mastery In Health & Nutrition

We all are striving for mastery in health and nutrition. However, what usually follows is anything but mastery. Not because there’s a lack of talent or desire. But often times due to the strategy.

Throughout the years, I’ve faced a variety of issues ranging from mild depression, body image issues, creating boundaries, and obsessive food behaviors.

Unfortunately, I let fitness become my ruler and I was its servant willing to do any and everything for results. This worshipping of fitness at all costs may bring results for a short period of time. But in the long run, isn’t something that is sustainable to living a good and healthy life.

Over the years, there have been a handful of laws that have helped me navigate the balance of integrating fitness into a busy life that also meshes with my desired lifestyle. Here are the 12 laws of success that can lead you to mastery in health and nutrition.

1. Review your “why” daily to stay motivated about your goals

It’s important to get to the core root of why you want a particular goal.

Are you doing it for someone else (kids, family, partner, etc) so you can lead by example? Is it to prove a point to yourself that you’re capable of much more than people have given you credit for? Are you doing this because you need a personal spark in your life to change the paradigms of your everyday life?

Whatever it is, search deeper than just relying on looking great naked. That’s important, but transformations take time and you need all the ammunition possible to stay consistent and motivated while pursuing your goals.

If you’re searching for deeper meaning, start with asking yourself why three times about a desire for a particular goal.

2. Never resort to deprivation nor any other extreme measures just to lose weight

I tried a 28-day liquid diet in college where I had nothing but shakes. I lost 15 pounds at the end of it (mostly water).

However, on day 29, I ate nearly 100 pieces of sushi at the buffet and then got sick over the next few days.

Besides being sick, I had a supporting cast which consisted of extreme waves of mood swings, achy joints which made me feel 79 (not 19), and a reunion with my 15 pounds as soon as I started eating whole foods again.

Besides not going on an extended liquid diet, the moral of this story is to never sacrifice your long-term health for short-term gratifications.

3. Make fitness fit into your preferred lifestyle, not the other way around

Life is meant to have rich experiences. Fitness is a key component of being able to do those things, but it doesn’t have to become your ruler.

Lifestyle first, and then find the workout routine and nutritional method that suits your personality and preferences.

4. Seek improvements in your health and fitness out of love, not out of hate

I started working out weighing 165 pounds and became an athletic and muscular 200 pounds.

I should be happy, right?

Not exactly.

The problem was my mindset never changed. I was exercising and putting on muscle at times out of hate and not feeling enough as a man—not for health or enjoyment.

You can’t hate your way to losing weight and improving your self-esteem. If you don’t address your inner world, those perceived deficiencies will still be there.

5. Make sustainability and longevity the priority when making health decisions

Make decisions about your fitness and nutrition that lead to long-term success, not just a season of success.

6. Address your 4 pillars of fitness daily (physical, mental, emotional, & spiritual)

Looking at Instagram and browsing the various magazines on newsstands and you’ll notice that the only messaging is concerning the physical aspect of ourselves.

mastery in health and nutrition
Be mindful of your consumption.

But, there is more to us than just a physical body.

There’s a mental, emotional, and spiritual side of fitness that needs to be accounted for our overall well-being.

Challenge your mental world by improving your brain through reading and other cognitive tasks. When it comes to your emotional fitness, assess your relationships and the environments you find yourself in. And lastly for your spiritual world, look into meditation or some type of habit that allows for a space of inner reflection.

7. Place a premium on sleep

I know, maybe you’re tired of seeing this on every health article, but it’s important.

Weight loss, productivity at work, better (and healthier) relationships along with your mood improve when you’re getting optimum amounts of sleep on a nightly basis.

Try meditating at night, cutting off electronics 60-90 minutes before bed, having an orgasm (hello Oxytocin), or reading a hardcover book to help yourself fall asleep.

8. Commit to finding a team to support you and keep you accountable

Maintaining a fitness regimen while juggling work and your personal life can become overwhelming. Therefore, it’s important to find some accountability in the form of a gym partner, someone to check in with, or an online community to hold you to a high standard.

9. Establish personal boundaries in your life so you can show up as your best version

What good are you to the world if you’re burnt out, overweight, moody, lethargic, and sleep-deprived?

Not addressing this is short-changing your potential impact on the world because the best version of you isn’t showing up.

Block out time for exercising, a quiet bath, meditating, or whatever else is needed to allow you to show up as the best version of yourself.

10. Remember that your food choices, not the specific type of diet are most important for long-term success

Paleo, Whole 30, Intermittent Fasting, Atkins, and the Ketogenic diet all work. At the basic foundation, if there’s a caloric deficit, then you’ll lose weight. If there’s a surplus, extra weight will arrive.

The key factor for nutritional mastery is making good food choices along with establishing a plan that suits your goals and specific lifestyle.

11. Recognize that consistency and commitment are more important than “tactics” & “life hacks”

It’s better to workout for 20 minutes a day than to overcommitment to 60 minutes and only workout one day per week. Set realistic goals and realize that repetition, time, and consistency are the true ingredients to long-term success.

12. Prioritize a way of eating that includes a plethora of micronutrients

Micronutrients (from your fruits and vegetables) contain a plethora of minerals and vitamins that boost your metabolism, fights against chronic illnesses, and helps your mental state operate at a high level.

Here’s a printable infographic with the 12 laws for you to save and refer to.

Laws of Success: 12 Laws That Lead to Mastery In Health & Nutrition

Why You Should Just Say “No” to Meal Plans

“The first wealth is health.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Why You Should Just Say No to Meal Plans

As a Certified Sleep Science & Nutrition Coach, one of the first questions I’m asked by potential clients and strangers is “can I get a meal plan?”

My answer: “No, I don’t write meal plans anymore.”

Years ago, I would write each person a meal plan with the specific amounts of what was expected to be eaten. After all, it was a staple in the fitness industry. With that said, I realized there was one gigantic problem with handing meal plans over and expecting them to solve everything.

This only served as a prescription to the issue. Basically a Band-Aid to a deep flesh wound. Eat this item, at this exact time, and in this exact amount. It was very robotic.

This robotic approach works for a little bit for the average person and can be useful to the person looking for a rapid transformation with the perfect settings (think movie star preparing for a role).

I even had a meal plan at first when I started my fitness journey.

But, I ran into problems that many people will run into and that is you just won’t stick to the plan. Compliance is low and it’s not our fault the majority of times.

We’re humans, not robots after all. Life gets busy. The regimented meal plan gets thrown out the door when:

  • your kids get sick
  • you get sick
  • you have a hot date
  • your bosses expect (and sometimes demand) you to work late
  • work drained your motivation to do anything
  • it’s someone’s birthday (or a special holiday or event)
  • you have to travel for work or even leisure
  • you just don’t feel like drinking your 9am protein shake

Last time I checked, life exists beyond a 12-week body transformation.

Lastly, you have the meal plan, but it’s complete rubbish. Willpower will only last so long before you’re sick of the process and potentially shout to the masses that healthy eating is bland and takes away all your favorite foods (this is a true story, a client long ago said this to me).

Unless you’re a professional athlete or getting ready for a physique competition, you don’t need to turn into a nutritional surgeon. Being precise and meticulous over every little grain is unnecessary.

Here’s how to easily get started in the right direction while maintaining your sanity

Think about where you currently stand in regards to your healthy habits. In this situation, think about what you’re already eating. Then think about how you could improve by just a tiny fraction right now.

Nothing drastic or going cold turkey over.

Only aiming for a small change and improvement in what you’re already eating and enjoying. One baby step at a time.

Think about the quality of your food as opposed to labeling something as “good” or “bad”. Food doesn’t need to be morphed into the same parallel as the battle between the Jedi & Sith.

meal plans

Your mission for today should you choose to accept: How can you make your meals just a little better today and beyond?

Here’s a past example of someone I consulted with:

It’s lunchtime and they’re busy, so sitting down and eating slow sounds as likely to happen as me walking on water will happen. Therefore, they grab a cheap juicy burger and fries that is greasy and convenient (and quick) along with a big cup of soda. And we’re not exactly sure if the meat is even real meat—not good for the hormones.

They want to improve this situation but completely overhauling the situation isn’t likely to stick.

Instead, they can simply improve this scenario by

  • going to a higher-end burger place where the meat is at least real meat
  • get a salad with the burger instead of fries
  • choose diet soda or water instead

Next stage of the game

  • Meal prep some burgers at home
  • prep your desired side dishes

This is a rapid improvement because you’re bringing quality homemade food into lunch along with knowing exactly what is in your food which increases the food quality.

Things will change dramatically over time if you continually aim for small improvements. Aim for singles instead of always swinging for the home run.

If this kind of style resonates with you or is something that will be of use to you, then you’ll love my online nutrition coaching system that is headed to the world soon. It’s small daily habits to keep you improving 1% each day along with me communicating with you frequently.