Want to achieve your goals? It’s all in the ‘Marginal Gains’

Want to know how Sir Bradley Wiggins and Sir Chris Hoy have achieved five and six Olympic gold medals respectively during their careers? Yes they have talent, yes they have passion and yes they have demonstrated true grit and fierce determination, but they also cleverly adopted and implemented a simple approach to make them stand out against their competitors.

Known as the Marginal Gains approach, this was a term adopted by Sir Dave Brailsford when he became performance director of the British Cycling team whereby he set about breaking down the objective of winning races into its component parts. Brailsford believed that if it were possible to make a 1% improvement in a whole host of areas, the cumulative gains would end up being hugely significant.

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Prior to 2010, no British cyclist had ever won the Tour de France. Brailsford believed that if he implemented this approach then his tea would be a good position to win. Brailsford looked at everything from the nutrition of the cyclists, their training program, the ergonomics and structure of their bikes through to the type of pillow they slept on and the massage gel they used. No stone was left unturned. Every facet that contributed to their performance – diet, sleep, training, equipment – began to be optimized.

In 2012, Sir Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France, 3 years earlier than Brailsford target of 2015. The British Cycling team then went on to dominate at the 2012 Olympics in London winning 70% of the gold medals available. Then in 2013, British cyclist Chris Froome won the Tour de France and the British cycling team’s success has continued up to the present day.

At Well Aware, we are firm believers in the marginal gains approach rather fads and quick fixes, as they don’t work. So often we convince ourselves that change is only significant if there is a large, visible outcome associated with it. We put pressure on ourselves to make huge improvements straightaway and then fail when we don’t see quick results. We forget that poor habits don’t happen overnight and are instead the sum of numerous small choices we have made overtime and this is the same of achieving your health and fitness goals, it doesn’t happen overnight. In order to be successful it requires long-term dedication. That’s where we come in! We have had 100% success with our clients by designing them bespoke wellness packages which fit into their lifestyle and solidify this using the marginal gains philosophy.

Whilst a 1% improvement won’t be noticed today, in a years time the progress will be phenomenal. Rather than overwhelm yourself with huge, insurmountable goals, make small changes across your lifestyle, which when added together will have a huge positive and transformational impact.

Examples could be:

Are you a caffeine guzzler? Rather than have 10 cups of coffee a day, have one in the morning and aim to reduce the quantity you’re having each day every week and supplement for decaf then move slowly onto green tea. By gradually making this change, we can guarantee that all the green tea you’re sipping on will ramp up your metabolism and the reduced amount of coffee will have a direct impact on your quality of sleep.

Carb-fiend? Don’t listen to all the carb-shaming from the media, carbs are our friend and are our brains main source of energy, it’s just about making smart choices which will benefit you and your energy levels. Switch from processed carbs to things like sweet potato, quinoa and brown rice and reap the added benefits of the fibre, vitamins and minerals from these energy-sustaining carbs.

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Aim to cut out sugar: imagine your blood sugar level is a path of energy. Rather than riding a hair-raising, adrenaline-pumping rollercoaster day in and day out, you want this path to be as smooth as can be, with as few peaks and troughs as possible. By reducing your sugar intake and upping your intake of whole, natural ingredients – think vegetables, lean protein and good carbs (see above) – this will help to stabilise your blood sugar levels, ensuring you eliminate the 11am cookie jar craving and the 3pm slump, making life more manageable and enjoyable!

Aim for at least 3 litres of water a day: Do you struggle to drink water throughout the day? Buy a big 2 litre bottle at the beginning of the week and put it on your desk and fill it up at least one each day, sipping on it throughout the day. We often mistake being thirsty for hunger. Make this quick and easy change and you will reap the benefits both physically and mentally.

Now… add all of the above together… what do you get? That’s right, a happier, healthier and more productive human being. At Well Aware, we wholeheartedly believe and live by this ethos. Why? Because it’s works and we’ve seen the evidence! Give it a try and let us know what you think. Still unsure? See what our clients say….