This past Sunday, my daughter Elizabeth and I did something I’ve not done in the nearly 17 years we’ve been in Middle Tennessee, and she’s been alive—we attended the CMA Fest.

We saw and listened to several great artists (interestingly, it wasn’t until I moved to Nashville that I referred to musicians as artists) and heard a few inspiring stories.

We mainly went so Elizabeth could see her favorite country artist, Megan Moroney (if you haven’t heard of her, you will).  Because we knew it would be packed for Megan, we got to the stage she was performing on early enough to see a few artists before her. 

The artist who performed before Megan was Dillon Carmichael (another artist you may not have heard of, and you might).  He shared his journey, how this was his eleventh year performing at the CMA Fest, and how he started on the small stages, moved to the medium-sized stages, and was now performing on the biggest stage he ever had, the Riverfront Stage.  His dedication and journey were truly inspiring.

When it was Megan’s turn to perform, Elizabeth wanted to get as close to the stage as possible, so we did.  (Admittedly, I felt a little out of place standing amongst a crowd of teens and twenty-somethings singing every word to every song Megan sang.) 

During the show, a young lady turned to her friend and shouted, “I want to be her!”  I thought to myself, “Have you even written a song?” 

Later in her show, Megan shared how she had performed at a songwriter round two years ago, and no one listened to her sing.  Now, here she was, performing in front of us, with everyone singing every word to every song.  Her story reminded me of my journey in fitness and nutrition, where I started with small, unnoticed efforts, and now I’m here “performing” for you as a fitness and nutrition coach.  (And hopefully, you’re “singing my songs,” i.e., following the guidelines I coach.)

Dillon’s and Megan’s music journey and what the young lady in front of me said got me thinking about you and your health and fitness journey.  Who have you seen, real or imagined, that you want to be?  And are you doing the things that they did to get where they are?  Have you dedicated the time to your fitness goals like Dillon and Megan have their music ones?  Two years?!  Eleven!?  If not, it’s time for some self-reflection.

I don’t get most people because most people don’t get fitness.  They can accept that it takes years to master music, but not their health and wellness.  They think it should be achieved in “75 Hard,” “Whole 30,” or “Six Weeks to [fill in the blank].”  This approach is like practicing and playing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and thinking you’re Chopin.  It’s important to remember that these programs can be a good starting point, but true mastery of fitness and nutrition requires a long-term commitment.

In Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell suggests mastery in any field requires roughly 10,000 hours of dedicated practice.  This principle is particularly relevant to aspiring musicians—Malcolm uses the Beatles as an example (if you haven’t heard of them, bless your heart)—and can be equally applied to mastering fitness and nutrition.

Becoming a successful musician isn’t just about innate talent; it’s about relentless practice and dedication. Musicians spend countless hours perfecting their craft, from practicing scales and chords to mastering complex compositions.  This journey involves discipline, consistency, and a deep commitment to continuous improvement.  The same goes for your fitness journey.  It’s not about being born with a particular body type or having the perfect genetics.  It’s about putting in the work, day in and day out, to improve your health and fitness.

Just like music, achieving excellence in fitness requires time and dedication.  Regular strength training, cardiovascular workouts, other forms of purposeful exercise, active recovery, and supportive nutrition are all essential components.  Consistency is key; it’s not about short bursts of intense activity or the “perfect” diet but instead sustained effort over time.

Whether striving to become a top musician or achieve peak physical fitness, patience and persistence are vital.  The 10,000-hour rule emphasizes that mastery is a marathon, not a sprint.  Each practice session, workout, and healthy meal contributes to your long-term success.  Stay patient and persistent.

By integrating the principles of the 10,000-hour rule into your fitness and nutrition routines, you can set realistic goals and develop a sustainable plan.  Celebrate small victories and remember that every step forward is progress.

Embrace the journey of mastering your fitness and nutrition just as Dillon and Megan have with music. Dedicate time, remain consistent, and approach each day with the mindset of continuous improvement. For instance, just as a musician practices their instrument daily, you can commit to a regular workout routine.  And just as a musician studies music theory to understand their craft better, you can educate yourself about nutrition to make healthier food choices.  With dedication and the right attitude (attitude determines altitude), you can achieve remarkable results in both fitness and nutrition, working your way from the smallest of stages to the biggest one (or the biggest pant size to the smallest)!

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