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The Accumulation of Marginal Gains
The problem with long-term goals and behaviour change is that it takes time and the way we adapt can be frustratingly slow. Compare that to the immediate gratification enjoyed when we can grab a doughnut or enjoy a cold beer and it soon becomes apparent why so many struggle with their fitness and diet.
At Healthy Options we encourage small gradual changes over time as we know this approach is more realistic and achievable compared to drastic alterations to ones lifestyle.
This approach was referred to as the aggregation of marginal gains by Dave Brailsford who led our very successful British Cycling Team at the 2012 Olympics and afterwards Team Sky who have now become Inneos Grenadiers.
He employed an approach to improve as many different elements of the cycling team by just one per cent. Lighter tyres, more ergonomic saddles, wind resistance suits and practices such as better hand hygiene to reduce infections were all introduced. An original target to win the Tour de France in five years was achieved in three and the GB Cycling Team took 70 per cent of the gold medals at London 2012.
What elements of your health and lifestyle could you improve by one per cent? Walk one per cent further, one per cent faster, one per cent steeper with one per cent better posture the day after consuming one per cent less calories? The one per cent’s soon accumulate and produce a very real and significant difference.
If that could be achieved each week during a three-month programme with Healthy Options try to imagine a 12 per cent better you in a relatively short period of time. Twelve per cent could make you feel like a different person entirely.
Perhaps we could stop dwelling on long-term distant goals and instead create better systems here and now. If we can improve what we do in the here and now, the long-term goals will take care of themselves.
For the full message go to the free resource section on our website.
Rob Graham, Lead Exercise Professional, Healthy Options.