You don’t know what the future holds, all you can control is the present

As a coach, I get asked a lot, “should I be progressing at X rate”, “Am I progressing at the rate you expected”. Whilst we set out with a plan in place, in terms of rate of weight loss, rate of weight gain, strength progression etc., the number we set our expectations at is a real ball park figure based on averages.


So, the true answer to the questions asked, is that we can’t really know at what exact rate someone will progress in whatever direction, all we can know is that our plan is sound, that it is based around the principles of the goal we are looking to achieve, & it is being executed consistently.


Rate of progression is something that can cause the more neurotic of us (me included) nothing short of a mind f**k each & every day. Always questioning different aspects of a plan, always questioning our own effort & always questioning, well basically everything. As the title states “You don’t know what the future holds, all you can control is the present”.


What this means, is that all we can do is the work. We know the principles of fat loss by now, we know the principles of muscle & strength gain, so all we can do is create a plan that is ‘evidence-based’ & put in the work each day. No equation, or predictive method can tell you exactly how you will respond to a specific caloric intake, or how you will respond to a given amount of training volume, all we can do is the work, monitor, & adjust over time.


On the topic of monitoring & adjusting, we have to realise that certain processes have a time course they need to run before we can really say if something has worked or not. You can’t look at two pictures a week apart & question if you are gaining muscle, or even losing fat in some cases. You have to trust the process (as cliché as it sounds), make it something you enjoy & get value from, & make it part of your lifestyle, then before you know it, all the results you wanted will start to unfold before your eyes.


This questioning, is completely a mind-set, like a low level feeling that things aren’t as they should be. We all get it at times, & for some it can be more overwhelming than others. This mind-set can be compounded & exacerbated by a bad weigh-in, or a comment from a colleague that you felt was negative, confirming your biases & creating a further cycle of questioning & uncertainty to hit.


For me, having a coach who has experience seeing people change over time & progress, & that understands the time courses that these things take some time, is worth the price of entry when it comes to their services. Of course, you want what you pay for in terms of programming etc. but having a coach as the angel on your shoulder, to keep nudging you in the right direction when you want to veer off course, & respond emotionally, is extremely valuable & an underrated aspect of coaching.


Sometimes we need ourselves, or someone we trust, to quiet our emotions, & be the objective eye, scoping the situation, & reacting in the most appropriate manner that aligns with our goals. We need to be able to fly up & see a bird’s eye view of what’s really going on, rather than be guided by the internal dialogue that questions the decisions we make.


On a final note, I want to say that we should always be analytic & critical of the information we consume, & then be critical of the things we do as a result. We need a system of monitoring & adjusting over time, that quantifies our responses to a given plan. We also shouldn’t blindly follow someone/something because ‘the jacked guy said so’. What we need to be able to do, is differentiate between when we are being self-sabotaging, & missing the forest for the trees, missing the positive changes we can be making every day to confirm the bias of our internal dialogue. We need to remember that we don’t know what the future holds, all we can control is the present.

Aaron Brown