I've been reflecting on a recent consultation call with a potential client.
He was asking about what kind of plan we were going to follow and he wanted to know what we could achieve in 12 weeks.
The more I coach people, the more I realise that this kind of question is nonsensical.
There's a staggering degree of hubris in thinking that you can predict what will happen in the future with any accuracy, not least when it's contingent on someone else's efforts.
I try not to predict anything relating to training and nutrition outside of a 7-14 day window, I focus on daily data collection and weekly cycles of feedback and adjustment.
Nevertheless, you can go online and find plenty of programs that will tell you exactly what to do 4, 8, 12, and even 16 weeks into the future.
By the way, why is it never 7 weeks?
The structure of your nutrition and workouts, let's call that the map.
The state of your biological system evolving over time is the territory.
As the territory changes, the map must change with it or it becomes useless.
Even GPS has to adjust for continental drift.
Rather than knowing exactly where you are at all times, you should be more concerned with your direction and your rate of change.
An example is when you set a calorie target.
The number you end up with when you track your calories is an estimate of an estimate of an estimate.
You don't know exactly how much energy the chemical processes in your body will release from your food.
You don't know exactly how much food you ate.
You don't know how closely that food matches the entry in the nutritional database of your tracking app.
The point is that you don't need to know exactly, you just need to know that there's a relationship between the map and the territory.
If your calorie target goes down, your energy intake should go down too.
Are you getting closer or further from where you want to be?
Do you need to go quicker or slower?
...In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography."
If you're looking for someone to help you understand the territory and not just hand you a map, let's work together.