Most people understand the concept of compounding interest. Put away a little money each month and hopefully, the magic of compounding interest grows those smaller amounts into a larger total for you to enjoy at retirement.
Compounding works in several arenas, and fitness is no different. Compounding is cool, but the process is incredibly boring. Financially, the process is to save around 5-15% per month. While in health and fitness, the process is the daily grind. The more you save, the more you receive at the end. The more things you are willing to do to develop yourself as an athlete, the better athlete you will become.
The Magic Penny
Would you rather have $3 million today, or a penny that doubles every day for 31 days. Most would say $3 million, unless you've heard this before. If you take the $3 million and I take the penny, after 10 days you have your $3 million and I am sitting with $5.12. After 20 days, you still have your $3 million and I have $5,243 with only 11 days left. But on day 29, I'm at $2.7 million. On day 30: $5.3 million. And the final day, you have your $3 million and I have $10,737,418.24. Obviously an exaggerated example, but it's a fun illustration of how patience pays off in the end.
The process isn't sexy
In our society—our microwave culture—the overnight success and overnight failure is interesting and exciting (i.e. Ronda Rousey). That's why we get upset when we diet and only lose 0.2 pounds or we lift for a month and don't get that PR. Compounding is annoying because it does not work in a short amount of time. It works with consistency.
Consistency, especially in our culture today, is the biggest separator between competitors. In professional sports, hall of fame inductions, retired jerseys, and GOAT statuses are not granted to simply naturally gifted athletes. These people were the best because they dedicated themselves to their craft. Over time and with consistency, they separated themselves from their equally gifted professional competitors.
Consistency in training
You don't surpass your competition because you did one more workout than them on Monday. You surpass them by consistently applying more intensity, volume and purpose to your training every single day. You don't lose relevancy in your sport because you skipped one workout. You lose because you consistently say "I'm fine, it's just one workout," "I'm already good at this stuff," and "I'll get it back in a week."
Here's the deal. Your competition takes it easy on holidays, weekends, birthdays, etc... The best work twice as hard on those days. Consistently doing just a little bit more, with a little more intensity, and a little more focus—that's how you eventually surpass your rivals.
Consistency in nutrition
You don't get fat after one "cheat" meal and you don't veins-in-your-abs shredded after one "zone" meal. But if you consistently track your calories, macros and micros, you will have an advantage over almost any competitor. People are lazy and discipline in hard. If this stuff is important to you, you'll find that discipline within yourself or hire someone to help you.
The math on nutrition is pretty incredible. What we view as inconsequential, unfortunately is not. Let's say you're only going to veer off your calories and macros for two days per week. No big deal, right? You're still crushing it 5 days a week. Wrong. Two days per week adds up to 104 days in a year. Add in national holidays ("I have to eat burgers and drink 17 beers! It's the 4th of July!") and you're up to 119 days. Throw in birthdays, weddings and showers and you're likely pushing 130 days or more. That's 35% of your year! If you only go over by 250 calories (i.e. one brownie, one margarita, two beers, adding guacamole at Chipotle, etc) on each of those days, you gain 10 pounds of fat within a year!
Consistency works. Always.
Consistency works for or against you, but it is always working. We are our habits. We are what we do day-in and day-out. It is impossible to be successful in anything until you understand this concept. Whatever your goal, you must align your daily habits to put you on the right trajectory.
I have seen this work for several athletes in my box at CrossFit Lubbock. After years of doing everything right, the CrossFit Games season comes around and they're an "overnight success". People who knew them a year before question how it's even possible.
They obeyed the laws of consistency and compounded their fitness. You can do the same.
Coach Steven Willis