20 Mile March to Fit

I recently read an AWESOME book by Jim Collins and Morten T Hansen called Great By Choice. Even though it’s categorized as a business book I couldn't help but think how the concepts discussed correlate to the fitness journey all of us are on.

The book sought to answer the question:

“Why do some companies thrive in uncertainly, even chaos, and others do not? When hit by big, fast-moving forces that we can neither predict nor control, what distinguishes those who perform exceptionally well from those who underperform or worse?”

It’s easy to see how we can reframe this question to ask why some people achieve significant fat-loss, strength gains, muscle development, or overall fitness despite the whirlwind around them called life, while others in similar circumstances with the same available resources do not.

The Answer Can Be Summed Up By The "20 Mile March".

In the book the authors described a scenario in which two people embark on a 3,000 mile trek from San Diego California to the tip of Maine. Imagine person “A” is you. You make the conscious decision to march 20 miles each day.

No matter the heat, the rain, the cold or how tired you are you march 20 miles every day. And on days when the weather is absolutely perfect, you have the wind to your back, are full of energy and could easily go 30-40 miles, you march...20 miles.

This is called fanatic discipline.

It’s not just the discipline to push yourself to log 20 miles when you don’t want to but restrain yourself when you could easily do more.

Now imagine person “B”. On day one their enthusiasm is through the roof and they are ready to conquer this 3,000 mile journey. They go ahead do 40 miles.

The next day they’re exhausted so they only log 10 miles for that day. On days when the heat is scorching they decide to take it slow and easy thinking that they’ll make up the miles once the weather gets cooler. On days when the rain is coming down hard they decide to stay inside. When the weather gets frigid they complain and do minimal hiking...waiting for the weather to get warmer.

This pattern persists throughout the journey. Big days defined by 40-50 of miles of intense effort and eventually, exhaustion. And small days defined by little to no miles and waiting for the weather to change.

Beaten and battered, he stumbles out of Kansas City, MO on his way to Maine...where YOU have already arrived.

Winning By Such An Incredible Margin Is No Accident.

Whether we’re talking about 3,000 mile walk, business, or fitness, those who display fanatic discipline will always come out ahead of those who act erratically. Recently we’ve seen two great examples of 20 mile marches.

One example was our 22 Day Fitness Challenge. Participants were asked to do just 5-10 minutes of intense and challenging exercise at home and to do it...e-v-e-r-y-d-a-y. The challenge stirred some people to start moving and do something good for themselves, and for others it was a simple and effective way to build momentum, energize their day, and improve their fitness even more.

The second example has been client Meredith Hanson who in the past acted more like person “B” in the above story. But over the past six weeks she has been steadily doing a “20 mile march” with her nutrition and training and getting consistent results like we haven’t seen from her before. As long as her march continues she’ll continue to find success.

20 Mile March Rules

If you want to realize the highest possible level of success in your fitness, work or life in general then adopt these 20 Mile March (20MM) rules:

  1. Understand that this is a 3,000 mile journey.

  2. Have clear performance markers (i.e. ‘X’ number of workouts per week, ‘Y’ number of calories per day).

  3. Self-imposed constraints (i.e. Don’t do more than ‘x’ number of workouts per week. Don’t go below ‘y’ number of calories per day. Don’t go more than 10 days without a “cheat meal”.)

  4. Make your performance goals and constraints appropriate to your goal and lifestyle.

  5. Make sure everything about your 20MM is within your control.

  6. Proper time frame. Long enough to manage – short enough to have teeth.

  7. Imposed by you.

  8. Achieve with high consistency.