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The Most Important Way to Maintain a Great Physique

by Dr. Richard Kelley
consistency - situps

Low ‘C’…I see it all the time and it’s no different for men or women who happen to be struggling with their weight or just aren’t seeing the fitness improvements they want. Time and time again I hear it from my patients: “I’m just not making any progress and I’m doing everything right!”  “I mean, I’m eating healthy and I exercise two to three days each week, but the scale’s not budging.”  “It’s so frustrating!”

consistency - situps

Another Case of Low “C”

It’s clear to me, however:  another case of Low ‘C.’Then I’ll ask my frustrated patients whether they’re eating adequate protein each day and whether they’re consuming their ‘fuel’ in 5 to 6 small nutrient-dense meals about three hours apart throughout the day. “Well, I usually get in only about four meals, because I just get too busy when I get to work, and I miss my mid-morning snack.”  “Also, sometimes I’m just not hungry, so I skip my afternoon snack.” What’s the problem here? Again, this is a clear case of Low ‘C.’

The Low ‘C’ I describe stands for Consistent-C.

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Low ‘C’ is not uncommon and in fact, it is my contention that it is the root cause of failure to progress in the arena of fat loss and physical transformation, for many individuals struggling to lose weight and change their bodies.

Almost 70 percent of the adult American population is now either overweight or obese, regardless of the fact that literally thousands of diets and approaches to weight loss and fitness improvements abound. We have more information than we can possibly devour, yet so many of us, in fact, a majority of us, still struggle to get in shape.

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Experts in Consistent-C

And then there are those who don’t struggle and in fact ‘excel’ at changing the body. These are the individuals that I study and pay attention to, simply because they are consistently getting it right.

Of whom do I speak? Specifically, I focus on athletes, physique competitors, and natural (steroid-free) bodybuilders. I borrow from what they know and how they live their lives and I teach my patients how to replicate that. Do these individuals have Low ‘C’? The answer is almost always a resounding, no.

The reason that these individuals are great at changing the body and extremely successful at maintaining those changes long-term comes down to the fact that their ‘C’ is likely much better and more optimal than your ‘C.’

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On the other hand, my goal is absolutely not to discourage you. I want you to know that you too can optimize your ‘C’ as well, and improve the possibility and probability of success when it comes to either losing weight or transforming your body.

What brand of ‘C’ do these successful individuals use, to get where they’re going, physically speaking? By now maybe you’ve guessed that these individuals optimize their ‘CONSISTENT-C.’

Why Consistent-C Is So Important

Research tells us that three days of exercise per week is just enough to ‘maintain’ general good health. Three days of exercise per week, in my experience, rarely translates into meaningful physical change, including weight loss or other forms of body transformation.

I realize that this is a generalization, at least to some degree, however, the ‘fittest of the fit’ among us, generally makes their exercise a near-daily activity. They consume their nutrition in strategic, well-planned small meals and snacks throughout each and every day and they put changing their bodies or maintaining physical change, at the top of their priority list. They have optimal ‘CONSISTENT-C’ in both an exercise and nutritional sense.

These individuals rarely simply rely on aerobic or cardiovascular activity to burn calories and almost always incorporate a resistance or strength training aspect to their weekly exercise plan. They lift weights and place at least as much of the responsibility for burning calories on their skeletal muscle as they do in trading time for calories by engaging in aerobic activity.

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Do these individuals “live like” the majority of Americans? No, they don’t, but they don’t look like the majority of Americans, either.

So if you really want to change your body, ask yourself this question: “How’s my ‘C’ doing?” If your ‘CONSISTENT-C’ is low, then you may have to spend some time evaluating why and how you can change it.

Don’t fool yourself. The ‘fittest of the fit’ isn’t naturally lean and fit and didn’t get there by exercising a few days each week and eating junk food and dessert whenever they wanted. Meaningful physical change requires ongoing commitment, dedication, and yes, ‘Consistency.’

The Takeaway

Get your ‘C’ up if you want to change your body. Drop the excuses and get motivated to exercise each and every day. Plan your fuel intake daily, and carry a cooler with you so you’ll have the food you need each day to promote physical change.

Changing the body and maintaining change is not an accidental phenomenon. Anyone who is committed to doing so can make it happen, including you. Don’t give up, because giving up is usually not a viable option and won’t get you where you really want to go.


Richard Kelley

Richard Kelley, M.D. has been a practicing physician for the past 18 years. He is trained in family practice with 3 years of general surgery experience. After realizing the medical community does a poor job of helping patients alter their wellness lifestyle (nutrition and fitness), Dr. Kelley, along with his wife Sherrill Kelley, opened Physicians Way Healthy Weight Loss in Austin, Texas.

Dr. Kelley is the author of The Fitness Response and The 3 Hour Appetite.

Featured photo by hang_in_there

Originally published 9/21/12 and updated 8/14/13. 

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