The Winner’s Mindset of Hitting Your Weight Loss Goals.

Yes, I caved in and decided to write a Lose-Weight-This-Year-New-Year’s-Resolution type of article. I was hesitant to do this, because this is what every fitness site does in January. I will attempt to keep it real, by avoiding the typical Positive Mental Attitude stuff. Here is how I look at actually making these things you want (AKA goals) a reality. This is my unique spin on the idea of achieving goals. This isn’t just about your weight loss goals, it applies to every goal.

[In my opinion, happiness is largely a result of achieving things in life that you find worth-while…through hard work.]

What If You Could Achieve Anything With a Simple Wish

I honestly believe that if you are given something without work, you cannot appreciate it. Think about it. What if an NFL team was awarded the Superbowl victory without having to play a game? What if a mountain climber was flown to the top of Mt. Everest instead of having to climb it? What if you could make someone love you, just by wishing? All of these achievements would leave you with an “empty feeling” without work.

Without Hard Work, Reaching a Goal is Meaningless

If something takes a lot of hard work and discipline, then it feels amazing when you reach that goal. In some ways, the harder you work towards achieving something…the more you will enjoy it once you achieve it. Instead of being intimidated if a goal looks like it is going to take a lot of work, you should be excited.

Getting Lean Feels Great, Because is Takes Hard Work

There is satisfying feeling when you get in great shape. It isn’t just about looking better and feeling healthier, etc.  There is a silent confidence that builds because you know that you are willing to do what most people will not…work hard towards something and achieve it. The goal of “getting lean” is just one of many goals that people have, but it is definitely a common goal. Getting lean is like any other goal…the playing field quickly clears because there is work and discipline involved.

Will You Still Be On The Playing Field When It Becomes Work?

I don’t count the first 3-4 weeks of any endeavor as “work”. When something is new, you are largely getting by on novelty and adrenaline. Something only becomes work when the novelty wears off a bit. Work should be slightly inconvenient at times. Work should be tough to start at times. Work can be slightly repetitive at times. No matter what the goal…many players begin to leave the playing field when the true work begins. I like to envision the NBA All-Star who stays an hour after practice each day perfecting his jump shot. I love hearing about hard working achievers!

Become a “Sicko” Like Me and Enjoy The Tough Work!

I know I’m not the only one who likes to torture myself with tough HIIT and circuits and things of that nature. I really do enjoy the discomfort, because my brain has been re-wired over the years to associate this with the positive end result.  I don’t dread these tough workouts anymore, I look forward to them. Same thing with staying up late after a 12 hour work day and spending 2-3 hours on my website. I am now enjoying the actual hard work, because I know the result will be positive.

What About the Typical “PMA” Advice

I should do a bit more when it comes to writing down my goals and creating a “vision board”, because those activities have been proven to help. That being said…you can reach your goals with strategic hard work even if you don’t have a vision board. All that typical PMA is fine and will most likely help as long as you get the work part down. Don’t become an “information junkie” that just reads and researches and never puts in the action. Jump right in and become a “hard working achiever”.

So…Who is going to work their butt off in 2009 and change their life for the better? I’d love to hear from you!

Note: I don’t believe in hard work year-round. In fact, one of my 5 year goals is to create a life where I work hard 8 months out of the year and then travel for 4 months out of the year. I fully believe in celebrating achievements and I take that VERY seriously as well!

42 thoughts on “The Winner’s Mindset of Hitting Your Weight Loss Goals.”

  1. hey rusty…i need some serious losing weight…but i cant seem to lose any off my legs..its all going from the face the upper body…but theres not much of a chnge at all to the legs…which is really dissapointing me…is there a way i can slim them down?…i dont have access to a treadmill…and currently im doing the body circuit 3 times a week…and working out with strength training during the week…is there anything i can do that will slim my legs down faster then normal exercises?..i dont care how intense..but im just wonderin..does the fully body circuit slim everyting down or not? as its a form of cardio?..would love a reply back..thanks

  2. Hey Rusty,

    I know everyone is saying it, but I gotta say it too, your site is wicked. Really great posts and information. I’ve been reading for about 3 weeks and I’ve changed a few routines based on your posts already.

    I have a question though, I’m 26 years old and weigh 70kg (154lbs). I used to be an overweight kid in high school and I’ve worked really hard since then to get rid of the weight. I think I’ve had pretty good success, but I still feel my body fat percentage is too high. I have tone, and I am gaining strength, but my chest and mid section seem to have flab that I just can’t get rid of. I recently figured that my cardio routines were just not burning enough calories for me to lose the fat, and around the same time, discovered your site. So, I’ve been doing this routine for my cardio:

    1. Warm up with 500 jump rope skips.
    2. Run on the treadmill at high intensity for 10 minutes (I am running at 11km/h which is about 7mph. I am completely wasted at the end of 10 minutes at this speed, with a heart rate of about 190)
    3. Do steady state cardio for 30 minutes (using a cyclical walker with an average heart rate of about 172)
    4. Wait around 45 mins, then eat.

    I alternate my workouts, for example, Monday I do weight training, Tuesday I rest, Wednesday I do cardio and so on.

    I’m not consciously dieting, but I watch what I eat very carefully. I’ve basically limited the bread in my diet heavily and try to only eat a maximum of 2 slices of low GI brown bread a day.

    You must be wondering what my question is by now, well basically what I want to know is if this routine is good or not? I am seeing results, but they are kind of slow. I’ve been fighting the fat since I was 15 years old and I’ve just had enough now. I’m going to give it all I’ve got to get rid of it!

  3. Hey rusty,
    Love your site but i was wonderin if it was ok to eat a modearte amount of carbs, but all those carbs are low GI carbs. There is a diet called the low GI diet that supposebly works really well. Is this a good plan? Thanks

  4. Yeah – I’ve even found that the longer you stick to a goal, the easier it becomes – You just have to focus really hard on not breaking the habit in the beginning – Happy New Year!

  5. Wow Rusty! This is a whole new way of looking at goals for me. Staying in shape is really hard work but often times when we begin, we get so caught up in the discomfort and demands that we forget that there is a REWARD in doing this. You made an excellent point about having the end in mind.

    I love working out for the long term effects but I also LOVE how I feel immediately after a workout. I feel so energized and confident. I know that I did something difficult and feel so proud. Nothing can compare to that feeling. It builds confidence like nothing else.


  6. Hey Rusty! Love this site…this is my first time commenting though. Like a couple people have mentioned, I’ve been too busy over the last year just reading and reading and consuming information (much from your site!), but I’m finally going to do something about it! I’ve let myself go an incredible amount (I’m a 6’0″, 260lbs endo-mesomorph with a BMI around 30!!!), but I just did my first workout yesterday with Craig’s Turbulence Training and some HIIT, and I cannot even describe how good it feels to be doing something finally! I’ve also started Brad’s Eat Stop Eat program, and am looking into going more paleo, since that interests me. Anyway, just wanted to tell you that this post describes me in a nutshell!
    Random question: How do you feel about doing HIIT on a stationary bike instead of a treadmill? Thanks for all of your hard work again, Rusty!

  7. Rusty,

    I just have to comment, more than all the information and advice your blog is amazing at motivating guys like me. I mean, I am still way behind understanding or starting off on most of the information or exercises you write about but just reading your blog keeps me motivated. Keep them coming.

    And yes, you are right about results feeling great. Just the small differences in my body feel so great that I keep checking out my muscles all the time much to the amusement of some of the bodybuilding junkies who have been doing it for 6-10 years. I have even started loving the soreness in my muscles as it keeps reminding me through the day of the intensity of the workout I had.

    I was just advised protein shakes by a gym member to build my muscles. Is that worthwhile as I believe they have a lot of fat content as well? Right now, I am eating egg whites (6-8 everyday) and some chicken everyday for protein. What would you suggest? Also what’s your take on length of rest periods between sets? Is it an absolute crime to rest more than 1 minute etc.?


  8. RUSTY…..
    i had a question I read the articles about craig they were good. I had one question for you. You said you dont lift legs because you dont want them to get bulky how do you do that with his program since he does legs or do you just do the upper body workouts

  9. When and where can I get your free downloadable article about the last 10 pounds? One more thing….should I be at maintenance for 2 weeks, restrict 1 week. Or maintenance 1 week, restrict 1 week? Do I multiply by 15 to get maintenance?

  10. Happy New Year and love your blog! I’ve opted to not make a resolution to lose weight but to continue being healthy and staying fit. I refuse to step on a scale and have decided to measure my success in the gym by how many push ups I can do and I’m up to 30!!!
    I did join a new gym in NYC that is completely different and if anyone lives or just passing by you have to check it out. It’s called STATION Fitness and it’s located in the Meatpacking District. They only have total vibration training classes using Power Plate machines and it’s an incredible workout!! I’ve already seen a difference and although I can only do half the amount of push ups on the machine because it’s 10 times harder I’m still getting stronger! Check it out at The owners are terrific and I promised I’d spread the word to all my gym junkies

  11. Gina,

    Losing 30 pounds is a huge accomplishment. Just keep moving towards that goal! Very cool.


    Thanks a bunch for the compliments. I have to admit, that this is the first time in over 10 years that I’ve gone over 5 pounds of peak condition. I have about 10 pounds to drop to get really sharp. It won’t take more than 6-8 weeks, but I plan on doing that pronto. Then I will hold that condition the rest of the year. Sounds like you don’t have far to go either.


    That sounds crazy! I have never been in weather that cold. I think it got to 20 degrees once here in Seattle…that the lowest and it felt brutally cold. I can’t imagine -20! Sounds like you are doing what you love and that is what matters. Keep at it!

    Son of Grok,

    There are a lot of people like that and hopefully we can speak to these people with our websites…maybe show them a “the other side” of life…where action and hard work towards a worthy goal is so much more exciting than being lazy.


    Some of those PMA sites are brutal. They have the right idea, but repeat the same message over and over again…and they can get a little “out there” at times. I prefer a realistic down-to-earth approach. Glad you apprecaite it. I’m sure you will easily get back into great shape…it sounds like you have the right mental approach.


    Sometimes hitting rock bottom is a HUGE wakeup call and pushes people to massive action. Some of the biggest achievers in life hit rock bottom which forced them to push hard and go on to do great things. The danger zone is getting too comfortable.


    I love the way you put “Work Hard to Work Less”…that is what I’m aiming for as well. I have been talking about writing a book for a while haven’t I? That is what I plan to do in 2009. My approach is to first offer a free report for all the loyal readers of this site and have this done within the next 30-60 days. After that I will work on a comprehensive ebook which will be in the $30-$40 range..and have this completed by June. Mark had a bit of a head start on me with his site. Leo over at just released a book that I’m going to order as well (love his site).


    You will see it get busy again in May, for people who want to get six pack abs in 3 weeks 🙂 You gotta love how people understimate how long it takes to get in outstanding shape.


    I’m going to make a free downloadable report detailing an exact workout plan and approach. It will probably be around 15-20 pages of no fluff. I think you will like this. I don’t drink protein shakes year round anymore, but like to when I want to get a tiny bit sharper for a vacation or special event. I like to keep this as my “bullet in the chamber” to get extra lean. For the most part I am now staying lean year round on whole foods. I am an avid read of and now have become good friends with Scott Kustes. I have also learned a lot from Mark Sisson. I recommend subscribing to their RSS feeds if you haven’t already…you can’t go wrong with their advice.


    Why don’t you try to “reset your metabolism”, by eating a more moderate amount of calories for a couple of weeks. Stick to healthy foods, but eat more of them. After that, take a less aggressive approach to dieting, but maybe scale up your HIIT a touch. Aim for 20 minutes of HIIT followed by 20 minutes of steady state cardio at a medium to low level on your HIIT days. If you do eat only 800-1000 calories a day, probably only do that for a week or 2 weeks max and then go back to a few weeks of maintanance. What is going to happen is you are going to stairstep your weight until you hit your goal…and it is going to take a while, since you are so close to your target weight. You will lose 3 pounds, put back on 2, lose one, gain it back, lose 4, gain back 2…in the long term you will reach your target weight, but in the short-term there will be times when you gain a little. This is to be expected. Hope that helps.


    Art De Vany is extremely well-respected in the fitness community. I like his work, but the writing style is a little “dry” for my liking. I haven’t read as much of his work as many others. What I have read is very soild and he certainly is extremely fit and is well-educated. I’m sure you can’t go wrong with his approach (there are many approaches that work well).


    You are tougher than me. I am not a winter person at all! I don’t ski and every vacation I take is to an exotic Tropical Beach. Congrats on losing the baby weight…that is a decent amount of weight lost.

    Hey guys, thanks fior reading and commenting…2009 is going to be a great year!



  12. Loved your post. You are right about the hard work. It does make you appreciate the results so much better. I’ve been doing my Hiit workouts in the snow and ice(I live in Chicago.) Btw, I am not a winter person. It’s one thing to run when it’s spring and summer, quite another when it’s 10 below. But I got myself out there. I bought some yaktrax for my shoes and kept running no matter how much I would have preferred staying indoors . Now I am close to my prebaby weight. I was 107 before baby. 160 after baby… Now I am 110lbs. 3 more lbs to go. Thanks to this site!

  13. Just saw Fight Club to get motivated 🙂 thats the body im aiming for. One thing i was wondering about Rusty.. have u read alot of Art De Vanys work? what do u think of his diet and training approach?

  14. Hello Rusty,
    I read your website religiously everyday, but this is the first time I have posted. I am around 115-116 pounds(5’4″). I would like to be 110 lbs. but my body just doesn’t want to get there. I don’t know if I give up to easily or if it’s impossible. I was about 105 at one point (awhile ago—but I was not eating enough) I workout basically everyday–it used to be runing, biking and jumproping. I recently (in the last 2 weeks) have researched turbulence training and have been trying some of Craig’s TT videos. I also do HIIT about 3 times a week for 10-20 min. So my question is…..I want to see abs and definition. Do I need to drop a few pounds to see this?? I usually try to go a week at about 800-1000 cals then have a cheat day. Over the month of December I had quite a lot of cheat days. Do you think my metabolism has slowed?? What would you suggest for calories and workouts. Please help. Do I just need to be more patient?? Oh yeah…I have been trying the 1 meal a day thing and working out on an empty stomach. Some days I have 2 or three, but I always fast 4 hours before workout.
    Thank you. =)

  15. Hey rus,

    (I cant get my r’s to be in caps.) I dont know if you are taking suggestions for articles but would you be able to put together some “packages” for fat loss? I’ve been exploring your site and you have great ideas all over the site. What I mean is maybe laying out a week or a month of what you would do in terms of rapid fat loss.

    IE Week 1
    Day 1/2
    Meal 1 = Protein Shake
    Meal 2 = Nothing
    Workout = resistance w/HIIT
    Meal 3 = Salad

    I think specific plans are really helpful. I find more success when I can follow schedules. Just an idea. Here you would be pointing out some of the important aspects of the site all together.

    BTW, at Costco they have huge bags of EAS protein available. I got a 6 lb bag last night. do you still use protein shakes? I like the idea of replacing several meals a week. But i am a bit confused, I heard they cause insulin spikes, wouldnt that cause fat storage? Im confused because the carbs are so low, im not sure where the spike comes from.



  16. Every year I watch the herd thin out by the end of January at the local Gold’s Gym. Working out is a 100% mental toughness game.

  17. What I really like to do is work hard to wor less. Moreover, I only work a few really productive hours a day. Hard work is overrated. If people were rewarded based solely on hard work manual laborers in China would be very wealthy. As for weight loss, I really don’t consider less than an hour 4-5 day a week hard work. 3 hours at the gym is hard work, but it is not anymore effective than 45 minutes. My dad, who has created a nice fortune, used to say that he did not work to focus on making money. As for you Rusty, why not work hard at your peak production times/days. Also, WHERE IS YOUR BOOK?!?!?! Mark Sisson has one out, so should you.

  18. Hey Rusty great post.

    I think one of the main things, at least in my life, that has helped motivate me is hitting rock bottom. While I woulden’t advocate this, it helps. You see what has happened to you, and you know that only you can change it.

    For this new year, I just think : NEW YEAR, NEW ME.

    Just keep saying that. Go back to who you are as a person. Take time to relax and be nice to people, but get back in the go mode and make a conscious effort to keep it up. Its hard to get started sometimes, but once you do it, only positive things can result.

  19. Well, I began the slack off thing when I was starting to look really really good, and then the holidays hit and my willpower faded. However, I’m not letting that stop me-I’m going to get back in that shape again-and better!-and that is final. Thank you for this post, and, heck, thanks for the website in general. All those syrupy sweet sites and books are incredibly overwhelming-and your approach to advice is a very refreshing voice to have. 🙂

  20. Sadly Rusty, plenty of people are fine with goals and no hard work. If you could build an escalator to the top of Everest, millions of people every year would visit there to “tame the beast”. As Americans, we have reward deficiency syndrome to the max. We want the reward no without the effort. If the reward is too far down the road, forget it.

    The SoG

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