The three C’s for taking training seriously

Most of us dream of owning a beautiful, lean, healthy body.  Most of us have tried numerous diets and exercise plans and failed. Most of us become so frustrated, we prefer to blame those systems, rather than having a look under the hood of our own car.  We call it “yo-yo dieting” or “bounce back” and end up heavier, sicker and more discouraged than ever.  The formula for getting the best results in the gym is as easy as the Three C’s.

Success in achieving physique goals is just a matter of adapting and incorporating three simple principles: Commitment, Consistency, and Conscientiousness (the three C’s), the success tools that make changing your goals a reality.

Here’s how I know.  I did the yo-yo diet thing during my twenties, thirties, and forties.  I didn’t become obese because I followed the three C’s.  I had zero commitment. I starved myself to weigh a so-called desirable weight and fit into a size 26 pair of jeans.  As soon as I lost that weight and could fit into those pants, I abandoned the starvation and started eating again, only to become overweight in months.  Score 0 for commitment!

Consistency? Meaning, participating regularly in exercise, was an unknown. I didn’t participate in any team sports nor did I visit the gym.  My soccer playing days appeared over and the pool no longer called to me.  I did no exercise other than walking to and from class or errands and little else. I rarely made exercise or myself a priority.  Score 0 for consistency!

As for being conscientious in anything I did, I might have worked at my academics but I didn’t apply thoughtfulness to what was going on with my body.   I avoided mirrors and ignored the ever increasing pant size I was forced to buy.  Another 0 score for me!

I thought about this recently during a workout. After multiple sets and exercises, when failure was approaching, I could decide to quit or dig in.  I was super-setting TRX biceps with dumbbell curls, followed by TRX hamstring curls.  I was on round 4 of a 20 rep set, when the burn got so bad, I wanted to quit.   But I didn’t. I applied the principles of Commitment, Consistency and Conscientiousness, found another gear and blasted through more reps than initially planned on that final round.

In The Rise of Superman, Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance, by Steven Kotler.  The author talks about getting into the “flow” and the high that state brings. Ultimate human performance is often a direct result of the Flow State. Kotler means finding the flow zone when you feel suspended in time and all creativity seems effortless.  Inflow, you find Another Gear, allowing you to go deeper, letting your mind and body achieve above and beyond what you had previously thought possible.  

What are these principles?


Commitment is about keeping your word and being dedicated to a cause.  It’s about making a plan and doing the things you need to do to realize that cause, such as losing weight or getting fit. I always recommend keeping a journal to cement commitment into reality.  It is scientifically supported that we are 50% more likely to be successful if we record our commitments through writing, otherwise it’s just a thought in your head without substance.  Give your commitment substance, meat, truth, through journalling.  


Showing up for what you have committed to is a necessary action step.  Without it, prepare to fail.  Consistency means you commit and you do the work in a regular pattern.  You make dates with yourself.  You put them on the calendar.  You keep them.  You “stomp the landing,” as a snowboarder would say.  Consistency is the effort that marries work to results.


When you make a decision to do anything from training to working, devote yourself to it fully.  Aim to be completely present, looking for that effortless flow state.  For instance, while training, I think about my DNA, my cells, muscle fibres, the muscle groups I am working on, and imagine what is happening to them while I am training. I “talk” to them while I train, cheering myself on to go harder, lift heavier, dig deeper. There is a deliberate conscious effort on my part to find a new gear.  

When I  am in the flow, the emotion is so great, I often have tears.  My trainer knows it.  She can see when I “hit the flow zone” and “find my higher gear.”  She says it is as if I am in a trance.  She stands back and watches what happens, not saying much at all, just bearing witness.  

When you incorporate the three C’s - Commitment, Consistency, and Conscientiousness - into your training you can own the dream; a fit and lean body saturated in wellness. What a privilege!


I am always listening.


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PSS. Have you ever worked out to a point of tears? (not from pain silly). Please share your comments below in the COMMENTS section.

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