The Most Common Characteristics of Successful Dieters

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As time progresses and my clientele is growing, I’m constantly revamping, assessing, and tinkering with various elements of the Anyman Fitness programs.

Optimization plays a huge part in nearly everything we do.

Whether it’s business, athletics, fitness, or our family life and relationships – if we’re not actively attempting to move forward and improve our experiences, we’re standing still at best.

My primary goal as a nutritional consultant and an online coach is to provide my clients with the skills necessary to achieve and maintain a level of fitness they are blown away by.

Not “okay” with or “satisfied” with – BLOWN AWAY BY.

And my job is to make sure they know and truly understand that it doesn’t take an unnatural amount of energy.  

It doesn’t take the ability to train for 3 hours, daily.  

It doesn’t take a willingness to eat nothing but rice cakes and tofu.  

In all honesty, the formula for long term success is extremely simple….

slight caloric deficit

+ heavy weight training

+ consistency over time


 one lean, mean, healthy, and fantastic body.

Let’s take a closer look at that equation.


1.  Slight caloric deficit –

This is why we count macros.  We want a slight caloric deficit.

We want to eat as much as we possibly can……….while still losing weight.  It’s what makes the weight loss possible, sustainable, and (relatively) painless.  It’s what keeps our hormonal profile in check.

And it’s what makes us not go off the deep end
and make a beeline for the Golden Corral.  

An intelligent deficit is one that can be carried on – quite literally, forever.  

And 1,000 calories per day on top of obsessive cardio is quite certainly NOT that.


2.  Heavy weight lifting –

Whether you are male or female, this is without a doubt, the biggest piece of the puzzle.

When we lose weight, we lose it from either fat or muscle.  It’s the only options available (other than temporary water weight).

If we go the non-stop cardio path or we just count our calories and don’t train, the weight will be pulled from whichever is more abundantly in your body – fat or muscle.  

What does this mean?

For those with lots of weight to lose, at first, you will lose primarily fat.

But over time, the ratio of fat to muscle begins to change.  With less fat present, muscle begins to be tapped into.  Without lifting, our muscle mass decreases – quickly.  

This is why runners who have low body fat percentages also have very emaciated, weak looking bodies.  

Their muscle has been stripped off along with their fat.  If you’re simply looking to be skinny – go for it.

But it ain’t exactly my cup of tea.

Abbreviated, minimalist, intense weight sessions remind our muscles of why they’re there.  It helps to preserve the muscle you have – and in some cases, build it while you are losing fat.

It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female – lifting heavy is what makes fit, attractive bodies.

Ladies, still worried about getting too bulky?  

My wife is nearing a double-body weight deadlift.

It’s pretty rare air for anyone – let alone a female.
I DARE one of you to call her “bulky”.

Just let me get my popcorn ready.

Which leads me to the third part of that equation.  And the part of the equation I struggle with conveying to my clients………….


3.  Consistency over time-

This element is so difficult for so many of us.

It’s the world we live in.  Really, it is.

It’s why I cringe when The Biggest Loser comes on.

It’s why I shake my head when I get a client questionnaire back and under “goals” it says to “Lose 40 pounds in 12 weeks”.  

It’s why I’ll never buy a muscle magazine…..and it’s why I call “bullshit” on Bulletproof Coffee, P90x, Jillian Michaels, and “muscle confusion”.

The ability to consistently follow a proper health and fitness plan, day in and day out, for a very long time, is what separates those who “lose 20 pounds” from those who “have their mind blown with results”.

And generally, that can’t be accomplished in 12 weeks.

For my clients on 12-week programs, one of the first things I make sure to tell them is that it will probably take much longer than 84 days to reach your goals.  And that’s totally acceptable.

You can’t expect to lose much more than a pound  per week.

If you’re male and you have tons of weight to lose, you might be able to squeeze out 1.5-2 pounds per week.  But that’s it.

Nothing more.

And any program on this planet that promises quicker weight loss than that?  Bullshit.

I have numerous clients who have used those methods I listed……………and they stopped………….and contacted me.  So, what does that tell you?

It tells you that no normal, everyday human being can keep up that kind of intensity and training schedule for a lifetime.

It’s.  Just.  Not.  Possible.

So, how do you have consistency over time?  What separates my most successful clients from those who struggle to “get it”?  A few characteristics……….


1.  The most successful clients ask questions.

Nobody wants to be second guessed.  But I’m not talking about second guessing here.

There’s a reason and a rationale (hopefully) behind any component of any program you receive from any coach.

And any coach worth their weight will be able to explain any part of their program and the reasons for it.

My most successful clients pepper me with questions………..

“Why do we set protein at that amount?”

“What is the proper way to front squat?”

“Why are we doing our exercises in those rep ranges?”

“How do I count my macros at Subway?”

“I’m going out to eat and the restaurant doesn’t have nutritional info online.  What should I do?”

“I’m going to be out of town, can I have a workout I can do in my hotel room?”

……and here’s my favorite question……….if a client asks me this, I know 100% they will have fantastic results………..

“Can I eat less of (food X) to make room for (food Y)?”

When a client asks me this, I smile and tell them, “You have just figured out what “flexible dieting” truly means.  You can eat ANYTHING……just make room for it in your macros and you’re good.”



2.  The most successful clients don’t expect magic right off the bat.

Once the initial barrage of questions is taken care of, and the client understands what is expected of them, my most successful clients……………just do it.

They say, “Sure.  I can do that.”  And then they “do” just that.

They do the workouts they’ve been given and put all of their energy into hitting their macros on a daily basis.

Most of the time, they don’t even look at a scale until it’s time to check progress – around 3-4 weeks in.  Because they realize this is going to take time.  

Did you gain 100 pounds in 12 weeks?  

Then you can’t expect to lose 100 pounds in 12 weeks.

And the most successful clients understand this.  They simply do what they need to do – and they forget the rest.



3.  The most successful clients don’t “dwell” on their diet and fitness.

Of all of the characteristics of successful clients, this is the most important component – and one of the most difficult to explain.

In a way, it’s almost like reaching a “fitness nirvana” or a “fitness self-actualization”.

And it might not make much sense to those who haven’t experienced it.

The most successful people don’t obsess over their fitness.  They don’t worry about their diet.  They don’t constantly stress about their workouts or their body fat percentage or their scale weight or the way their jeans fit.

The most successful people?  Diet and fitness is just “what they do”.

They don’t think twice about hitting their macros – they just plan their meals and eat them, simple as that.

They don’t get swayed by the lure of sweatpants and the couch – they go to the gym because it’s “deadlift Monday”, and that’s that.

When a co-worker asks them to go to Happy Hour and get a drink, they wouldn’t imagine it.  Why?

Because it’s time to squat, that’s why.

Those with the best results build good habits from the start.

And once a habit is a habit, it’s easy.  And simple.  And it becomes “what you do”.  

You become “like water” – able to take on any shape or form you desire.  

Easily, swiftly, and effortlessly.

Do you have to think really carefully about walking down the street?  Probably not.

But when you were a toddler, you did.  And then you learned how to walk.  And now, it’s second nature.

But at one point in your life, walking was a skill to be learned. This is how your fitness plan needs to be.  It’s going to take some hard work and some dedication, but once you “get it”, it’s all over.  You win.

Day in, day out, you’re on point, and then?  The sky’s the limit.

You can be whatever you want to be physically. Lean and mean?  No problem.

6 (or 8!) pack?  Yep.

Able to do 20 consecutive pull-ups?  Cake.

100 pushups?  Easy.

One of the first things I tell my clients is a little quote I absolutely love from Martin Berkhan’s Leangains site. “Don’t stare at the marshmallow.”  

This idea of “just doing it” is what that little phrase means.

There was a psychological study done years ago in which young children were put in a room with a marshmallow.  The psychologist told them if they didn’t eat the marshmallow, they would be given a second marshmallow later.

And then he left.

Guess what happened? Well, they WERE kids, so eventually, every one ate the marshmallow.

Some kids gobbled up the marshmallow as soon as the door closed. Others stared at the marshmallow until it damn near drove them insane – and then ate the marshmallow.

But just a few kids did something particularly interesting – they actively tried to not pay attention to it.  

They looked the other way, they did a dance in the corner, they sang a song, they counted their fingers.

Anything to distract them from the marshmallow.

And those kids?  They had the most success……..they went the longest without eating the marshmallow.

Diet and fitness is your marshmallow.

Don’t stare at it.  

Don’t stress about it.  

Don’t think about it.  

Just let it be.  

Let it become “what you do”.  

There’s no second guessing, no worrying, no obsessing.  Don’t “stare at the marshmallow”.  Let your diet and fitness simply “be”.

And it will make all the difference in the world. -Jason

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