This subject has been the topic of debates for years. What’s more important, consistency or progress? One cannot happen without the other. But, like in life, we don’t always get what we want. Sometimes we don’t even get what we worked for. So, if you had to choose, would you pick consistency or progress?
As coaches and athletes, progress is always what we see first, it is often what we look for. PR’s, weight-loss, muscle gain, transformation pictures. Progress is sexy. Progress builds self-esteem. But it can have negative effects if progress is not seen. Consistency builds momentum. Consistency creates long-term habits. It also incorporates the idea that fitness is a journey, not a destination.
You cannot have progress if you don’t consistently show up and put in the work. But as humans, consistency without progress is dull. Doing something over and over again without any signs of benefits is not very sustainable. But you can have consistency without progress (plateaus) and progress without consistency (crash diets and “2-weeks total body transformation” programs).
Which one is better to have?
The answer, in my opinion, is consistency. Progress can be made without consistency. How many people do you know that lost weight, or gained muscle, in a few weeks with this incredible program, simply to go back to their original state after a few more weeks? Progress is not always a direct consequence of improvement. Weight is the easiest example of this. You might be thrilled that you lost 5 lbs in two days. But what if you’re severely underfed and lost lean mass? I wouldn’t qualify that as progress.
Consistency will keep you coming back. Even when it’s not followed by progress. Once you get in that habit and fitness becomes part of who you are, plateaus are simply a hurdle. I will write a blog post on this later, but if you encounter plateaus there are a few things you can do. Since you built up consistency, getting to do those extra things to push you past that hurdle should be a piece-of-cake.
Many people have goals that are followed by “this summer” or “before the wedding”. And they prioritize progress. This idea might take people to those extremes we talked about (fad diets, over-the-top exercise routines, etc…). Which can also lead to burnout, metabolic imbalances and low energy.
Many important adaptations happen over a long time.
You cannot build motor control, mind-body connection, good nutritional habits and muscle endurance in any “few weeks programs”. Many of the most important skills in the health and fitness area take time to master. Being consistent is the only way to have a long-lasting effect. Everything else is momentary.
Need help pushing past any plateaus? Or help getting more consistent at the gym? Come chat with one of your Celebration CrossFit coaches today!
by Coach Matt