May 28th, 2012

The Biggest Question In Weight Loss History

There are a lot of questions asked about fat loss and weight loss – on the internet, in the magazines, in the gyms, in doctor’s offices, in schools, on talk shows and many other places. A lot of great questions are asked; there’s a lot to learn about this often confusing subject. But the one most important question of all – the biggest question in weight loss history – the one that will make the most difference of all if were answered well (and the answer were acted upon) is not asked often enough. I ask that big question in today’s post, and if you’ll post YOUR answer in the comments below, I’ll enter you in the biggest blog giveaway contest in the history of this website… (UPDATE: winner’s names have been posted below)

Let me start by sharing some fascinating statistics with you. Twice a year, The Burn the Fat company sponsors an online body transformation contest that attracts thousands of contestants. We do it once in the winter and once in the summer. The winter “holiday” challenge lasts 49 days. The summer “BIG BURN” challenge lasts 98 days. There are piles of prizes and the grand champions win a trip for two to Maui, Hawaii, so there’s no shortage of motivation. Contestants don’t do it on their own either – they do it in a forum with thousands of members and fellow contestants – who, while they are competing, are also there to support and cheer one another on.

Despite the near-perfect accountability and motivational support, here’s an interesting – or you might call it “depressing” –  fact:

Most people don’t even finish the contest.

In the 49 day event, 20-25% of the contestants finish. The other 75-80% drop out. In the big 98-day event, only 10-15% finish. The other 85-90% drop out. Somewhere between 75% and 90% of all the people who enter never finish. Our completion rate is considered one of the highest in the industry; other contests and programs have reported dropout rates as high as 95%.

Why does this happen?

I have my own ideas, but instead of telling you what I think, I’m going to ASK YOU. Here’s why:

Every year, During our Burn the Fat Challenge kickoff promotion, I do a huge giveaway / blog contest where a handful of lucky winners win books and free memberships to my Burn the Fat Inner Circle. Why do I give away so much free stuff and why am I this year, giving away more free stuff than ever? …

First, this will help spread the word about our 2012 Burn the Fat Body Transformation contest... and we DO appreciate you spreading the word… (please tell your friends on facebook, twitter and at your gym or workplace – it’s great to do the challenge with partners or teams)…

But there’s a deeper reason for this big blog giveaway…

Every year when I do this, I see it as a rare opportunity to do some serious fitness (and psychology) research. I usually get hundreds of comments, and in some of our big free blog giveaways, I’ve gotten more than 1,000 comments here on the blog (if we get 1,000 comments this time, there will be an extra winner).

I always figured, why let anyone enter to win all my free stuff for doing nothing? Why not make them “work” a little bit by thinking, and answering a serious, poignant question.

The responses I’ve gotten to the last blog giveaway contests have been priceless. I could never get this kind of information and real-people feedback from reading textbooks or science journals.

This time, I have a new question and it’s the most important one I’ve ever asked. In fact, I seriously believe this is the biggest question in weight loss history. If you answer it in the comments below, you will get entered in my free drawing for free books and memberships.

The Biggest Random FREE PRIZE DRAWING In the History of Burn the Fat Blog

10 winners will be selected at random. All the winners will receive:

A FULL One Year Membership to the Burn the Fat Inner Circle, a personally Autographed copy of my hardcopy book, The Body Fat Solution… Shipped in the mail to your door, anywhere in the world, and the brand new (May 2012) edition of Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle (e-book) aka “Burn The Fat 2.0” – even before it is released to the public.

Not only that, all winners will be eligible to enter the Burn the Fat Challenge body transformation contest* (optional.. but I think you should GO FOR IT – You could win a trip to Maui!)

Here’s the question to answer in the comments below to get you entered into this free prize drawing:

Why do people drop out of body transformation contests?

Expand on that if you choose – why do they drop out of ANY good fat loss program or well-designed training program? WHY DO PEOPLE QUIT?

If you’re one of the successful few, then consider how you have stuck with it and reverse engineer the answer – your input is valuable!

If you’re one of the many people who have dropped out, be it a transformation contest or any other diet program – think deeply and tell us why you think it happened – your answer is valuable too.

Then add one more detail:  HOW DO YOU STICK WITH IT? And specifically, supposing you were going to enter our body transformation contest (but if not, then think of any nutrition or training program)… what would you have to do to be one of the few who actually finish?

Go ahead – post your answer in the comments below. But DO pause a moment and think about this first.

Good luck in the drawing and I hope to see you in the Burn the Fat Challenge body transformation contest this week – it opens on May 30th, 2012. More information will be posted on our facebook page, in our email newsletter, here on this blog and at the Burn the Fat inner circle website.

Train hard and expect success,

Your Friend and coach,

Tom Venuto
author of Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle
Founder & CEO,

BLOG GIVEAWAY CONTEST: Blog Contest Terms/Rules/Restrictions: NO PURCHASE REQUIRED TO ENTER the blog contest. you must be 18 years of age or older, Contest subject to state and federal laws and void where prohibited. Answer must be provided by posting a comment in the blog comments below, including your name (include at least your first name and last initial). Entries must be posted here on the blog, not submitted by email or posted on facebook or other social media sites. Entries must be received by Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 at 11:59 (PM EST). Winners to be announced here on this blog in this post by end of day, Thursday, June 1st, 2012. Winners must contact Burn The Fat support at to redeem prizes by providing postal address for hardcopy book delivery and email address for online membership delivery. Contest sponsored by Fitness Renaissance, LLC doing business as Burn The Fat blog. All entries become property of contest sponsor.

*BURN THE FAT 98-DAY BODY TRANSFORMATION CHALLENGE: Some restrictions apply. Must be 18 years of age or older. Contest enrollment is FREE for ALL current Burn the Fat customers and Burn the Fat Inner Circle members. Current customers subscribed to the clients list will receive a private email invitation to register BY May 30th, 2012, or may contact customer service and request an invitation between May 30th and June 5th by showing proof of purchase. Contest is open to NEW burn the fat customers, but there may be restrictions in some countries. Void where prohibited. In the United States, Contest is void for new customers in Vermont, Maryland, North Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, Tennessee, New Jersey and Rhode Island (reason: state laws do not allow registration in a fitness contest that requires a new purchase). Complete rules, list of prizes, terms, conditions and legal notices can be found on the contest information page, located at:


Congratulations to our 10 winners!:

1. Claudia Rosa (5-29-12 6:27 am)

2. Jon Barkich (5-30-12 10:43 am)

3. Donna Wassing (5-29-12 10:08 am)

4. Amy Schultz (5-30-12 6:29 pm)

5. Paula Duncan (5-29-12 10:54 am)

6. Jill Marie (5-29-12 8:16 pm)

7. David Chikousky (5-29-12 1:06 pm)

8. Laura Milczarek (5-29-12 5:55 pm)

9. Alex Ferris (5-30-12 5:59 pm)

10. Anna Weber (5-29-12 11:46 am)

To Collect your winnings, contact customer support and write “I WON!” in the subject line:

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523 Responses to “The Biggest Question In Weight Loss History”

  • Heidi Young

    I’ve had both a successful challenge and a failed attempt.

    I think the failure was a combination of factors: timing, fear of success, cockiness… I saw great improvement and then a trade show and travel happened, priorities changed and I ‘knew’ what I was doing and so didn’t need to be as diligent. There was shame and disappointment when I threw in the towel and again at the end of the 98 days when I was looking at all of the finishers and their rock hard bodies while I was pretty much the same. I vowed Never Again and completed the winter challenge. I weigh a little less than the holiday challenge. I got sick this past spring with shingles and that slowed me down. I’ve lost some muscle and gained ome fat and am more than ready to reverse the trend!

  • Gustavo

    I think the answer is easy : it is really hard to keep up in the competition. In our society we are bombarded with tons and tons of information about how to get fit, about what to eat, about how to train, etc. but most of the info if not all, have something in common … They all promise Quick results !!! I recently read a news about a shoe company that was sued because its false ads. They promise to slim down weight just by using their shoes. That is just an example, there are tons… The bioshaker, the abs rocker…etc etc

    But unless you are from another planet that will not happen.

    In my humble opinion and expirience requires discipline, commitment, try and error, and try again and again, you have to be tolerant to the frustration. Everyone is different and you need to find your own path. In the contest environment a goal and time limit is set to reach that goal, therefore you need to be really into it, have to know what to eat, what not to eat, how to train, there is no time to experiment. People get frustrate and disappoint, and in the end they quit.

    • AJ

      I totally agree with the discipline, commitment and the trial and error. I also think all this doesn’t necessarily come together in 90 days.

  • Kyle Proulx

    I believe that the reason many people fail at Challenges and body transformation contests is largely mental. Many start into these with great expectations and goals (often ones set too high for the amount of time they have to accomplish it). After a few weeks or even months, regardless of seeing results, they realize that transforming your body (either losing weight or improving muscle tone) is not a quick fix but an entire life style change and many people are not in the mindset to make that change as it is “too hard”.
    Continuing with this, and currently speaking from experience is motivation. I know exactly what I have to do to improve, but I lack the drive. Like many that attempt these challenges, I am overweight and it takes a lot more effort to start into a diet and workout plan that you can stick with. I can’t remember the specific stats, but you have to be doing something for 4-6 weeks to create a routine, and only 1 week to break routine. This stacks the odds against you from day one because it is always harder to get back into the routine/for a new one.
    The last area where people fail is accountability. They won’t tell anyone about the challenge and thus will last the support to continue. Again, speaking from experience, since College I have went at it alone and failed. I would go up and down in weight, and never be able to maintain. Where I am going to go differently this time, I will be entering the summer challenge, adding accountability, as well I will be working along with my soon-to-be wife preparing for our big day.

    • AJ

      Are you going to do the challenge? I’ll be your buddy & we can help each other.

      • Kyle Proulx

        As much as I would love to buddy up and compete in the Challenge, I have looked over my money situation and due to my wedding coming up, I don’t think I will be able to continue with the inner circle. If there is anything I can help with support wise, I’ll be on here as much as possible the rest of this month trying to learn as much as possible before my membership trial ends 🙁

  • Talina

    Why do people drop out of body transformation competitions? That’s easy, because it’s easier to let yourself fail at something than to fight for it. Having been part of the 10% and 90% in BFFM challenges, I can tell you that it’s always easier to just give up – it doesn’t require mental strength or determination. Just laziness.

    For those times where I’ve stuck with the challenges, I did it because I felt like I had the support to keep me going. It wasn’t just me against them, it was us against the world. The moment that you feel like someone has your back, it’s much easier to face the rough times that undoubtedly cross your path.

    • AJ

      Are you going to do the challenge? We can do it together.

      • Talina

        You bet your bottom dollar I am! I am planning on making my official start this Sunday, how ’bout you?

  • Lisa

    I believe that many people enter contests with the right goals and mindset, but don’t have the deep seeded personal commitment to the goals they set that is absolutely imperative to contest success. I’ve completed both the summe & winter challenges and realized that I wouldn’t be a contender for prizes but since my goals were so personal and I felt so committed to them, I couldn’t stop because I would have let myself down. I believe If people set very real and personal goals, the can finish with or without the promise of prizes because they feel like winners for accomplishing something they set their hearts & minds to.

  • Cláudia Rosa

    Hi Tom! First of all thank you very much for this opportunity.

    As for the question, I think it has a very “simple” answer. Why do people drop out of body transformation contests? Well, because it is hard!

    Many who have learned to take good care of their bodies for long enough, having proper training and nutrition habits won’t understand but for us, and for now I will include myself on the couch potato group, it’s just not “normal” to give some things up and find time to start others…

    We don’t just skip that beer everyday after work with our friends, because that just makes us feel sad and depressed and we certainly won’t replace it with exercise because it hurts and it’s unconfortable!
    Also, we don’t simply go shopping and skip those tasty, sugar and salt filled, unhealthy food our taste buds love and pick up some veggies instead… Well, we wouldn’t even KNOW what to do with them, for some it looks like we’ve never seen them before! We’d probably just end up spending hours in the kitchen to get something that’s not even edible and just order some pizza!
    And last but not least, we don’t have time… We are doing something all day, how in the world will we just make time for exercise (specially as much as it takes for a body transformation) and to cook instead of ordering or getting some fast food…
    It’s a bit like setting a dentist appointment… We keep rescheduling because “we don’t have time”, but it’s a lot worse… If we’re doing it right, it’ll sometimes hurt more, happen several days a week and doesn’t have an end in sight! Who would we be crazy to do it??? We’re doing “just fine” without it!

    Well, how is it possible to just go around all this and make it all pleasant since day one, so we won’t give up on that body transformation challenge (or the real challenge that is being fit for life)?
    It’s not. We will have to live day by day as a war, with each workout time and each meal being a battle. We struggle to cope with giving up some things and in the beginning we’ll feel excluded, we’ll feel depressed, we will not like it and we will not feel like doing it.
    It’s pointless to talk about motivation at this time, it’s an obligation and there’s no convincing us otherwise. We just keep in mind that each workout and each proper meal is a small victory…
    But if we keep struggling, if we keep on forcing ourselves to do it… Our body slowly starts working in our favor.
    Day by day, our mood is improving, our brain is working better and faster, our body is doing more and more efficiently than it used to. Also, our obsession with food is decreasing and the cravings and binges are becoming less and less frequent.
    Then it all pays off… That day when you realise candy tastes too sweet and pizza feels too heavy, but fruit tastes so much better than before! And you find yourself looking forward to go to the gym because it just popped on your mind that you might be able to run at a certain speed or squat a certain weight and you can’t wait to try it out! It just feels so weird to skip a work out…

    If we “won the fight” if we struggled long and hard enough to get to this point, it hasn’t become confortable, it hasn’t become easy, it hasn’t stopped being a challenge… Only we have learned to love it the way it is.

    So, back to the original question… It’s the simple answer: it’s hard and until we have forced ourselves through it, we don’t know how much it pays off.

    Best wishes!


  • Darlene

    I always quit before because I wanted to see results yesterday. I have found that’s I finish the challenges because I challenge myself and know I am improving my health whether I can see it or not. I have set goals for myself and now know I can reach esch of them. It DOES help to have support of other friends like on Burn the Fat to help me with my accountability, even though I could probably do it myself. I have gained some great friends in the process that make me realize I’m not the only one doing this.

  • john denneen

    I believe that most people drop out of contests because of not totally committed to idea of total fitness .

  • Janna Curtiss

    I think that the most common reason people drop out of a transformantion challenge is because thet are afraid of the ultimate change and do not know how to handle it. I was almost one of those people! But I had a great support group at the gym. I still need to finish my transformation but I have gotten into the best shape I have been in along time! Now I have to lose the middle and some more body fat.
    I still feel that people are not sure what to expect whrn they lose weight and start to feel good about themselves. Friends and family are the worst for making you feel bad even though you are starting to look and feel awesome!

  • Leisa Mcdonald

    People drop out of body transformation competitions because they have a fear of failure and they have not made the mind/body transformation. It is important to be prepared to encounter obstacles, set backs and to be prepared on what to do to deal with these things BEFORE they happen. 🙂

  • Matt H

    I think people dropout of any body transformation contest is that they can’t fuse the exercise, nutrition and rest into their lifestyle. It has to be a new lifestyle change not a temporary thing. For years I’ve been dieting and weight training. Only recently have I actually changed my lifestyle to suit my goal. I’m now seeing results, maybe not as quick as I’d hope, but they’re there. This in itself is motivating me to continue. That and it’s easier now I have a shopping routine to match my gym one.

  • Being successful at body transormation requires dedication and commitment, mental and physical hard work! I think the most important thing you can do is accept a new LIFESTYLE of health and fitness, THAT is how you stick with any transformation. Patience is critical, charting progress is essential to seeing that you are indeed moving towards your goals; for successful long term transformation, slow and steady wins the race…burning fat and feeding muscle takes time and passion.

  • Tammy Martin

    I think that people give up when they start to stumble. Often times the misconception is that weight loss/ fat burning is an all or nothing process and that they have to be “on” 100 percent of the time. When the going starts to get tough and a few slip ups are made or they don’t quite see the results they’d hoped for, the tendency is to just throw in the towel and give up rather than to keep at it.

  • Carrie Moritz

    I can think of several reasons… The first being commitment. A person who is committed will make anything work, no matter what happens. And that comes down to having the right mindset, one that has focused determination on the prize, on the rewards that occur now (not just later), and a bit of urgency toward the (extremely powerful) “why.”

    Add that and a very intense dose of social support, and there’s no way you could even think about allowing yourself to drop out.

    But, if you have no commitment, no powerful “why,” no focus, no enjoyment of the rewards in the present, no urgency, and no social support (or even missing just one of those), it could be very easy to drop out of the contest.

    Personally, I have yet to fully finish a BFFM contest due to the commitment factor. I thought I was committed, but all it took was one week of forgetting to post measurements, and that was it for me. Requiring that measurements be posted weekly is great accountability, but can also be very tough to do- so commitment has to be fully there.

  • Erin

    I’ve done three challenges and have completed two of them. What happened on that third one? I wasn’t in the right mindset for it. I wasn’t prepared and didn’t have myself together to do it. I thought I could start and “fake it til you make it”, but it didn’t work for me. For me, failure or success isn’t dependent upon outside support. It’s all me. I’m the one doing the work. So I guess for me, if I lack mental and technical preparation, I’m less likely to succeed.
    When I stuck with it, I was all in. I was prepared. I had my foods on hand and I did my meal preps. I was ready, and it showed. It was easy when I had my stuff in order.

  • Stephanie

    Wow, thanks for the opportunity for some free stuff and to hear what others think about this question. I’m thinking it will be beneficial to so many.
    In a nut shell, if it were easy, everybody would do it. This takes a lot of commitment and time even if you are just trying to lose weight or gain muscle. I think a lot of people don’t look at it as a lifestyle change, only a quick way to get fit. Sadly, when they are done or don’t make it, they wind up gaining the weight back and then some. They try to take on too much in the beginning.
    For me, the best way to stick to it, is to make it a habit. You have to say to yourself that this is a lifestyle that I will maintain for the rest of my life. You have to find something you can stick with so don’t go all ape crazy at first. Setting goals is key. Short-term as well as long-term. Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly are all important. Writing it down makes a world of difference. Also, share it with those who will support and encourage you. Stay away from those who are not on the same wavelength. Surround yourself with others who want to do the same thing. Food is the most important thing to consider. Without eating right, exercising is pointless. Eating clean, getting the proper macros and workout program will get you the body of your dreams. It is not easy as I said in the beginning….this takes commitment and hard work. The benefits are worth it.

  • Riani Labuschagne

    FAKE IT, BUT YOU WONT MAKE IT… Firstly, having attempted more diets, weight-loss programs, training and fitness challenges then what my age is, I can with all honesty say that if you are not willing to make a lifestyle change and drop the bad habits YOU WONT MAKE IT…. Being on a diet/program that take you so far away from reality, you either have to eat a cow or 8 chickens a day or a plantation of veggies, you just end up hitting an absolute stand still after losing almost half of the weight that you have to loose within the first 2 weeks, … thereafter… zero zilch nada nothing… you can train twice a day but your weight aint going nowhere… which by the way is so not a good achievement, IT WAS FAKE… it is a result of one of the most unhealthiest ways of losing weight ‘cos you had been putting your body in a state of extreme, not eating balanced and correct calories.. Also putting back all the weight you have lost too almost double when you recover from that frantic program (if you survive it by the way) NEVER AGAIN… I am going to do this, changing a lifetime of bad habits, changing yo-yo eating ways to healthy balanced portioned meals, training to have the body that I’ve so many time been jealous of… it’s all about balance… what you put in you will be rewarded with at the end… realising now that there is no quick fix… it took me almost 33 years to look like I look today, not expecting to look like a supermodel when I wake up tomorrow morning, I wont achieve changing that in a week or 2 but I will make a lifelong commitment to change the habits from day 1….

  • Carla

    I have started and quit many weight loss programs in my lifetime. I believe the biggest reason for my failures is the simple fact that I was not mentally prepared to give it all I have in order to succeed. I would begin a restrictive program, be off to a great start and then life would happen and I would fall off the wagon and never get back on. I finally gave up the all or nothing mentality and stopped striving for perfection (it’s unrealistic) and focused on consistency. Once I did that I was able to lose 40 lbs and keep it off for 5 years through diet and excercise. With the help of BFFM, I would now like to lose the last 15 lbs and rock a tiny weeny bikini! I think Tom has addressed the mind-body connection that many other programs have excluded. So I’m preparing mentally for this 98 day challenge; writing out my goals and planning for obstacles. This in my opinion is the most important aspect of a fat loss endeavor.

  • Ken

    Many people feel that they can’t win a Transformation Contest. It’s all about self-believe, and that goes either way. Because of the success of the winners, you might think that will inspire others to work harder to win, but I think it has a negative side also. We all can make changes to our bodies, but we are all different and we all change at different speeds. Some can drop weight quicker and those are the ones who usually end up winning. Some will be frustrated and stop because the weight is coming off slower than they expected, so they give up.

    Many of us have struggled our entire lives trying to get healthy and lose the weight. From all the Yo-Yo effects, many people feel that they will never be able to complete a challenge and so they don’t even sign on.

    It is about making life changes and not just winning a weight loss contest. Once you realize that, maybe the contest itself will become secondary to the changes in your health you are working to improve.

  • Beverly

    For me it was frustration–I had a crazy-making series of happenings in my life that interfered with proper posting in my thread, leading to disqualification. For the winter challenge I made sure that didn’t happen!

    I think many people are dismayed when they find out just how hard it can be. One of my mantras has become “We didn’t say it would be easy, we said it would be worth it.”

  • Karen Lemburg

    Resolve and commit to finishing no matter what or no matter how you feel. (6 time finisher)

  • Jocelyn


    People don’t stick to a great program because of external and internal coping mechanisms. When the going gets tough, people haven’t strategized or planned ahead for set backs or disappointments. For example, if you’ve committed yourself to never drinking alcohol then never think of ways of how to avoid alcohol, you are not going to be very prepared for the moment when someone offers you a drink. While I agree with a lot of these posts in their reasoning behind dropping out, I feel a huge part of our human experience is learning to be successful with any obstacle that is in our path.

  • Denise

    The answer to your question is very simple: If a person begins this journey with the right mindset, the right information (i.e. the basic principles of weight loss/muscle building)and for the right reasons, how could they fail? How could they NOT succeed?

    My simple answer is based on hang-ups I had before I got serious, fail-proof tools to see me through. My answer is also based upon observing COUNTLESS friends who begin the latest weight loss fad, lose ten, twenty, maybe even up to fifty pounds and are complaining 2 months later that they have gained even more weight than they started with.

    The simple answer is they are doing it wrong!

  • Benjamin

    i think the priorities changed and so the energie you need will lost.

    I losing the central of life because I moved to another City 3x last year and changed my job. So I didn´t have a flat at the beginning, I didn´t have a Gym, I didn´t have a kitchen and i didn´t have friends next to me. So you need all your energy to build these things new. It takes time to orient themselves and it takes so much willpower and energy to build in the sport and nutrition into your life in situation like this.

  • Sarah Nash

    I have entered a contest in the uk before and dropped out I think it was because of the lack of a support group I have since been doing a boot camp at my gym and being held accountable by the gym team has helped alot I also think the other reason was a lack of structure to my training programme and my mind was not ready I will be entering your challenge and am even more fired up since hearing how few finish.

  • Padam

    People drop out of body transformation contests because of lack of motivation- be it boring repetitive workout routine, minimum or no visible result, minimum knowledge of the science behind the workout routine which again leads to limited result… reasons could be many but they all translate to motivation. We lose the burning desire to be able to say that tomorrow i will go to the gym and perform these exercises which will help me gain “this”. I will get “this” if not tomorrow then the day after.

  • mmadira

    People quit good fat loss programs because they are impatient. It’s the instant gratification mentality. They only last as long as their will power is in place, and will power doesn’t mean staying power.

  • Sherrie

    I was a drop-out last summer..
    Why do we drop out? I think it’s because even though we believe in what we are trying to achieve, often all those psychological factors that we are trying to overcome manage to find their way in to sabotage our efforts..

    After all, if you’re eating excessive amounts of junk, it’s not for nutritional purposes.. You’re eating for emotional reasons of some kind.. It’s easy to come up with a plan to eat healthy and to decide you want to change.. It’s much harder to resolve all the issues that are making you fat.. If getting fit and loosing weight were as simple as “Just eat right and get exercise”, I doubt anyone without a medical condition would be battling obesity.. But when we’re living in a society filled with conflicting messages (Super-sized fries and anorexic models..) its easy for our psyche to get confused..
    Most people who are overweight are hiding from something.. They have devalued themselves for one reason or another.. and until they find the INNER strength to come out from hiding, they will find themselves sneaking the midnight brownies or having a second or third helping of dinner or going through the drive-thru at McDonalds..

    I’ve found the healthier I eat, the better I feel.. But then when something in life “knocks me down”, pop is my vice.. If I am dealing with something that makes me feel emotionally drained, for whatever reason, I’m grabbing a bottle of coke to make it all better.. (It’s like my version of alcohol..) And no, the coke doesn’t make it better, any more than beer or cigarettes does.. But for some reason, when I’m drowning in inner turmoil, I can’t help but buy all that crap.. I’ve even tried to not keep it in the house at all.. the result? I drive to the store, 3 kids in tow, just to get it anyhow..

    “Everything in moderation” is the key to a healthy life.. And I think one of the other things that causes us to fail is that we jump in giving 150%.. So we try to cut out all our “junk”, cold-turkey.. And then after a few weeks to a month, we “fall off the band-wagon”.. Once we’ve fallen, we give up.. Better to “Quit” than “Be fired”, right? 😉
    I’m ready to try again this summer.. And I’m preparing myself to deal with my vices, and my bad times.. I’ve decided that yes, I can have the pop or slurpee.. BUT, I have to WALK to 7-11 to get it.. (From my house, that’s 45 minutes each way..)

    Here’s hoping we all succeed! 😉

  • Connie

    So I’ve done both. I have completed a transformation challenge and failed at several attempts at challenges and just healthy exercise and nutrition programs. My initial answer was that people fail because they do not plan well. But as I thought about it more, I realized that failing to plan really rolls up into the overall prevalence of ‘instant gratification’ in society today. We want things quick and we want them easy. We think that making the decision to do something should be enough. ‘OK, I’ve made the decision, now bring me my reward’. We tend to think that ‘simple’, and ‘easy’ are the same thing. Transformations, or any life-style change, can be simple, but not necessarily easy. And I think that’s where a lot of people get tripped up.

    Hope this helps!


  • Colleen C

    The main reason I have dropped out of this contest was that I was not 100% committed. My brain thought I was 100% committed but in fact I did not take the necessary actions and formulate a well-thought out plan of how I would stay on target (i.e. what would I do if I was in a business meeting and they served pizza for lunch). While the effort to do this type of planning is not that time consuming I never made the time to plan out my meals and workouts and work them into my schedule. The other problem for me with this particular program is that I did not feel like I had a buddy that I help me through the challenging times while I was on the diet.

  • Kathy K.

    I believe people quit on this journey because they get a taste of the hard work and dedication they will have to put forth to reach their goal. This introduces them to a life that takes them WAY out of their comfort zone, it requires them to give up many of the comforts that they perceive bring them joy. They never truly believe they can have their goals, so when the road to that goal gets very very hard, they fall back on what comforts them. The known is sometimes much more powerful than the unknown.

    I’ve completed the last two challenges successfully and had one failed attempt early on. With each challenge I build stronger and stronger habits. However I am constantly challenged with the fear of what reaching my goals will bring me. I was mercilessly teased as a child for being thin. For me, I have to create goals that show very strong positive reinforcement for what my life as a thinner person will be like. These new goals have to far outweigh the historical branding this childhood taunting has ingrained within me. I’m proud that I’m willing to stand up to this internal struggle and not allow it to control me.

    I have a very aggressive goal for this upcoming challenge and I look forward to it.

  • Shannon

    For me personally, I dropped out of the contest for two reasons: 1. the “support and encouragement” I had read about that I would get in the contest forums was non-existent. I noticed that people commented on some forum posts, and there seemed to be some people who knew each other from previous competitions…but as a newcomer, I was completely ignored, or overlooked. This was greatly disheartening. I logged into the forums several times a day looking for encouragement and it was not there. The knowledge that no one was watching or supporting me made it easy to give up. 2. I underestimated the preparation I would need to do to get ready for the contest and would need to do daily to be successful. You can’t just flick a switch and boom! be ready for this type of contest. For example, clean food doesn’t just show up, you have to make it and that means planning ahead – something I did not realize would take the amount of time it does. I’m still working towards the clean eating by the way, gathering recipes and trying them out, and training myself to eat several small meals per day. I still have fitness goals, I just have a more realistic view of how much effort and how long it will take to achieve them.

  • Donna Wassing

    I’m one of those who has dropped out part way through things like this – for me the keys are success and motivation – if I’m not seeing successful results early on then I’m way less interested in continuing; and if I’m lacking motivation or don’t have support to provide motivation I often give things up too! For example, I quit smoking on February 1, 2012 – after 30 years of smoking a pack a day I just stopped. I decided that it’s bad for me so I can’t do it anymore and that was all it took to get me to quit. I haven’t looked back, it doesn’t bother me, I consider myself a non-smoker now. Weight loss however is driving me crazy! I worked out at the gym several times a week with a personal trainer and I rode the exercise bike 9 miles a day 5 times a week and I tried to watch what I was eating and make healthier choices and after 6 weeks I didn’t lose an ounce!! I was so upset and depressed about it I took a week off from the gym and training, reevaluated my eating plan and made major changes there, and now I’m ready to start back at it. But, that being said, if after 2 weeks I’m not seeing results then I know I’m going to give up and right now I’m searching for things to help me and keep me motivated when the going gets tough (which is part of how I found you and your program and website)!

  • Craig Lucas

    People quit because they lack discipline and get discouraged when they don’t see I Stant results. They want a fitter leaner stronger body now and are not prepared to put in the work required to achieve this. Why can’t I just take a pill?
    How to achieve the goal is really quite easy – constantly remind yourself of what it is that you hope to achieve. And be patient. The hard work pays off exponentially.

  • Anna

    I believe it’s because motivation is high in the beginning, and you see some initial results, but pretty soon you realise how much time and effort is really needed to schedule all the training and prepare meals. Also it may be discouraging when despite all one’s efforts others seem to obtain better results faster, and all the training and strict eating can put a damper on one’s social life as well. This even more in a contest setting with dealines than if you were just making lifestyle changes more gradually over time.

  • Danielle A.

    I seriously think it comes down to a lack of planning. I think if a program, or anything is seriously and in a well-thought out way, built into your everyday schedule it is WAY easier to stick to. Willpower is just like a muscle, you have to build it, make it stronger. I’ve seen the research, this is very true. So the willpower just naturally gets stronger with routine, while it’s being worked, just like a muscle. So people need to sit down at the very beginning, or every week and plan out how they are going to incorporate their success into their every day lives. That and seeing results. And I think this can easily be accomplished by learning to limit sugars, processed carbs, and just getting insulin under control in general. The weight just falls off this way, and it is a great motivator to keep going with any fitness/nutrition program. I seriously believe that it is about 80% nutrition to 20% exercise to get good results for your body. Combining these two concepts, I have been able to lose 100lbs and keep it off for almost 10 years now. I finally feel like I can easily do this by avoiding wheat, processed carbs, most carbs in general unless they come from mainly vegetables and some fruit, no flour, added sugar, drinking my calores, and balancing my protein with my veggies and fat at each meal, and not having my carb portion be any bigger than any of these other portions. And staying active! That is my secret, simply put, and I think it works wonders 🙂

  • Will

    A couple of thoughts here:

    – Lack of focus. Yes, before signing up for a contest, check your ability to make a commitment, not only about time, but also external factors that you “may use” as an excuse if you fail. Even people with families achieve body transformation goals, because they strike a balance between being committed and his role in the family (helping the kids, cooking, etc). If you have support from your family, even better.

    – Instant gratification. No, a contest is not an app you download. It takes time to achieve many goals in life, and focus will help speed things up, but in this case you also need to understand how your body works.

    – Taking any slips along the way as a complete failure. Far from truth. Learn from your mistakes and analyze why that happened, without blaming others, but don’t over analyze it. Remember, you’re in control and each time you don’t achieve a goal (losing 3 lb. on a given week) is an opportunity to reflect about what you did during that time, and what can be improved.


  • Sheila

    Why do people drop out of body transformation contests?

    Commitment, Change, Responsibility, Priorities, Balance…
    For many people, change is the greatest challenge. Once they commit to the change, then people have to commit. They are then held responsible for that commited change. Once there priorites conflict and they cannot find balance, then they feel disappointment… let down… loser. Who wants that kind of feeling. It is easier to not start at all or to quit before they reach failure status. I have never joined a challenge like this and I am very worried about not finishing as well. To the point of questioning starting in the first place. Nobody like to quit or feel like they can’t compete. People put too many expections on themselves and refuse to take any type of positive advancement as a good thing. IE. “I plan to lose 3 lbs/week” then you only lose 2 lbs/week. To many people that is a failure not a success. Wrong mindset, but the mindset none the less. If “you” fall off the wagon once, you can’t make it to the end with success. You might as well not get back on the wagon.

    HOW DO YOU STICK WITH IT? What would you have to do to be one of the few who actually finish?

    Realistic expections should be your priority and look at any gain as a positive and not a negative. Look at body fat lose not just weight loss. If you begin working out, you may not lose weight, but you will lose fat! Focus on the positives. Stay committed. If you fall off the wagon, get back on. Even if you don’t win the big prize, look at how much farther you have come… To finish is to improve yourself. Support groups are great. The more knowledge the better. I am hoping that the inner circle support group will provide me the help and direction to keep me focused and on the right path. I am going to finish this challenge!!!

  • Rob

    I think people quit because they rely on willpower and research shows that willpower is a finite resource. So as soon as you need your willpower for something else, maybe for getting a project done at work, something else will slip.

    I think the key would be to develop habits that you can stick to without having to tough it out.

  • Jamie Mason

    Body transformation contests draw lots of attention because of the prizes. People jump at the chance to enter and win. But, I don’t think people put enough thought into what a transformation takes. They don’t clearly define their why. Initially, they want to win the prizes, but that fades. They need to understand that they are doing things for their health, or their families, etc… Once the bigger why is clearly defined, I think there is a better success rate.

    I’ve always wanted to enter the BFFM contests and I’ve never created my own why. I just thought, “wow, it would be nice to go to Maui” I actually did enter the last contest in the winter but didn’t follow-thru because I didn’t want to re-read through the book to figure out how to “follow the program”.

    One other reason that affects people is that the changes come slowly and not as rapidly as they would like. So they get discouraged and think that it just isn’t for them. When, in reality, if they stick with it, even if they don’t win the grand prize or ANY of the prizes, they are still a winner because they’ve made progress towards their goals.

  • Brady Longmore

    I think a lot of people are easily motivated temporarily by hype, encouragement and especially initial results. But, when the chips are down, i.e. maybe they have a bad week where they don’t lose weight or even gain back a pound or two . . . that’s it for them. They’re done. They throw in the towel. Once the hype of the competition and prizes kind of wears off it turns out these people might not have been really motivated at the core to lose the weight. Maybe they thought it would be easy, and weren’t prepared for the hard work it takes.

  • Lindsey

    The failure to follow through and complete a challenge or weightlloss transformation is lack of belief in yourself. Part of that is dedication, but not just to the program, but dedication to yourself. Believing in yourself and allowing the process to take place is what seperates those who have transformed from those who have not.

  • There is unfortunately no “magic pill” that will make you loose the extra pounds in a few days. The only way is to think twice about what you eat and that means giving up on processed foods and making an extra effort to eat properly. Since this implies being dedicated, I think this is why people get discouraged and give up. Getting some support from other people trying to loose weight at the same time as you are, it can help you can keep the motivation

  • I think the main reason people fail is that they fail to change their mindset. Eating healthy foods, avoiding junk, and exercising regularly doesn’t feel like a part of who they are. They start to think it is too difficult and not really part of who they are. They fall back into familiar patterns which sabotage their success.

  • Kenneth Fee

    I believe the top reason people fail is having a final goal, but no interim goals. You start saying you want to lose 30 pounds to get into shape in 90 (fill in the days) days. Your first week is all guns blazing and you lose some pounds, but 3 or 4 weeks later your goal still seems unattainable. Now you start to slip in the routine or the diet. You regress and the game is over.
    I think the interim goals shouldn’t be weight based. Maybe after the first month some challenge more to do with the physical activity not the weight. Then another for the second month and then the final goal (the weight) for the finish.


  • Ken

    Pretty simply, it’s because a transformative program requires work. I find myself falling into the trap of looking for an easy answer, the quick pill, the 5-minute solution…and the reality is that it takes a lifetime commitment. It’s easy to do well for a day, a week, sometimes more…but to really change your life takes a mental commitment to transform your life. Like some of the other comments, “life” gets in the way and it is so much easier to accept defeat than to climb back onto the wagon and keep going. Having spouse/signficant other also participating is the only way I’ve ever been able to stick with any kind of healthy improvement.

  • Skyla

    They start with great intentions but within days it isn’t new and fresh anymore. Boredom sets in and life gets in the way. Old habbits take hold and then they eat their feelings. I stuck with it because I found exercise I loved to do. I found healthy food I loved to eat. As the results started to come I found more and more motivation to take it to the next level.

  • Carrie Madu

    I entered the summer challenge 2011. I did not finish –

    Support is a huge motivator for me but not just facts and figures. What gets me going is the human input. The personal day to day struggles that we overcome. I was on a team of 2 men and 3 women. I connected with the other 2 women and then they just stopped posting. I was surprised at how much that effected me and left me hanging. The men were great but not as personal so here’s a thought. Maybe men and women (generally speaking, because there are always exceptions) need different types of support. As a woman I need the emotional support but maybe men need the competitive support? I don’t know. For me it’s the emotional support.

    I went on holidays and it was difficult watching everyone eat and drink what they wanted. The bbq’s smelled so good and nobody with me was doing the challenge. I did not have a backup plan to combat this. I’ve heard that when you approach something (maybe it’s in your e-book Tom, I’m just rereading it now) that it’s important to try to think of anything that might go askew when you are setting a goal and then have a contingency plan ready so that it does not knock you over. That is something I will do differently this year.

    Also, accountability is key. Last year, I derailed when team members fell off the proverbial wagon. This year I am heading up a team so I feel more responsibility to keep it going and to be a leader. I am hoping that this keeps me staying the course.

    The other impact was when at 49 days I looked so much better and my clothes fit so much better that I allowed myself some breathing room. The thing with me and maybe with others is I can’t take one bite of a donut. With me, taking an inch very soon becomes a mile. So when I let up and my team support waned it was the perfect storm to allow me to slack and then when the slack became to great it seemed pointless to keep going. So FORGIVENESS is probably also key. We are most likely all going to mess up, eat to much, drink to much, miss a series of workouts and then feel like we’ve lost the race. The trick is being able to forgive yourself and move on and just pick up where you left off without back payment and penalty. How does one do that. If you can answer that you may have bottled one solution.

    In a nutshell – there is no one reason that derails a person. And everyone is personal. Maybe through this blog you can foresee all the possible things that people quit over and create an e-book/newsletter that lists all the possible hazards and offer creative solutions to get past them. Kind of like an index where people who are considering quitting can go to and say hm here’s one on uncomfortable family and social situations – or here’s one on someone brought me my favorite chocolates…

    Thanks for bringing this up now, I do believe it will help me go forward . Looking forward to being a finisher this year 2012 summer challenge – TEAM MISSION ITSPOSSIBLE


  • Katie Goens

    I think people drop out because they are not mentally prepared, and not truly ready for change. As a former contest dropout, I have experienced this first-hand.

    Trying to lose weight, especially a significant amount, requires more than just eating right and exercising. It requires a certain mindset. One that doesn’t view these tasks as just a chore, or even a punishment for being fat (you ate an extra cookie today, you’re doing extra cardio tomorrow). But instead, it must view these activities as essential – even fun.

    Making this change isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight. It takes practice, focus, and even support from others. It is something I am still working on myself.

    -Be realistic. You aren’t going to lose 30 lbs of fat in 30 days. It’s not healthy, and probably not even possible.

    – Get rid of the all-or-nothing attitude, because we are human – we are not perfect, and we will make mistakes. And that’s okay! It is no reason to quit altogether!

    – Recognize change isn’t easy – and learning a new way to live will be even harder. But it can be done, and you will be much happier for it!

    – Accept that losing weight is hard work, and it takes time. It will not be painless, and it will not happen overnight. Don’t give up, and learn to recognize small successes and build on those.

    – Find support, and surround yourself with it! Find a family member, friend, or a support group online – like through Tom’s Inner Circle. These are people who want you to succeed – they won’t try to sabotage your efforts!

    – Be prepared. You always need to have a plan so you don’t revert to your old bad habits. Are you going out of town? Or to an outing with friends? What will you eat? Can you fit in some exercise?

  • Nadia

    No buddies here in The Netherlands who understand these kind of things! Ned to find them online…. this would be a GREAT place!

  • Tom Langan

    Tom – I suspect a lot of people drop out because of injuries. While I’m sure lack of motivation is a much bigger factor, you can have all the motivation in the world, but it is tough to do a full body workout with a torn rotator cuff or torn meniscus or ACL. That is not to say there are not work arounds when a injury occurs, but I suspect many people simly stop because they don’t want to cause further injury.

  • GI Jane

    Some people drop out because they weren’t “rooting for their soul” during the tough times. They think the lifestyle they ordered is out of stock, they look to be saved by someone when they have to do the saving themselves. You gotta keep your dreams going, honor them.
    They can do it, I did.

  • Charlyne Fugere

    I think most people drop out because they try to do it alone AND maybe don’t think it through in the sense that they think it will be easy. Then when the going gets tough and they realise it will be much harder they just quit because it is easier and less overwhelming.

    I think the trick is to have a plan in place and to have support. I personally went it alone the last challenge and although I finished the challenge (wanted to see it through to the end) I was not pleased because I saw no change. I am entering the Summer Challenge individually AND as a team. This is the push I need. I know this time I will not only see it to the end but will have awesome results because I have covered all the bases. I have a plan and support and know what I have to put into it. In short, I am prepared.

  • Christine

    I think the biggest reason that people, myself included, have failed to finish a contest is that it doesn’t become the one, all-consuming, sole goal during that time frame. If it’s not your top priority, it’s too easy to get distracted and slowly slide off the clean eating and regular workouts.

  • Lindsey Keen

    I have had one successful challenge and 2 dropouts. In both cases the drop outs were down to pretty big things happening in my personal life that I had not planned for.

    Quite simply all of my plans to date had been very short term, not really thinking about handling much past the next week or so, which is fine when nothing much changes in life (which was the case with my successful attempt!) I tended to have a plan to start but nothing in place in case life got in the way as it so frequently does.

    My plans were also based around what I thought I ‘should’ be doing rather than taking a good look at what would work with my life and my priorities. Trying to make massive differences because thats how everyone says you should do it does not work for longer than a couple of weeks, finding ways that work with your own habits, making subtle and simple changes does. Maybe it means that I’m not a star pupil all the time, but it does mean that I don’t give up after the initial enthusiasm has worn off and it allows me to be flexible for those days when the last minute change of plan would have previously sent me off the rails.

    So I guess for me the short answer is Planning. Making a plan that is realistic for you, well thought out, and works WITH your weak points instead of trying to just hoping your strong points will carry you through. 🙂

  • Kenya

    Honestly, I think the biggest reason people dropout is because they aren’t willing to make the commitment. They work out and and eat clean for a week and suddenly expect the 5-10-15-20-100 pounds to have just fallen of their bodies. It has a lot to do with the way society is. We’re used to getting what we want as soon as we want it aka instant gratification.

    So, what happens after a week or two weeks or even a month of hard work? People barley see the results and give up. I know. I’ve done this before and it’s really a matter of just taking it a day at a time. People who are trying to change their body think in terms of short term. “oh no, I ate a slice of chocolate cake. Might as well just give up” “I’ve been working out for three weeks and have only lost 3 pounds”. We’re spoiled.

    Scale obsession greatly plays into this as well. People need to throw away the scale and break out the measuring tape or fat calipers. They need to make the commitment for as long as it takes not to just be bikini ready. They have to realize it’s a life choice they’re making not just something temporary.

  • Raymond Kleinberg

    I have failed both attempts made at the short burns. The first attempt failed because I was just unprepared for how much work went into trying to change your life around. Getting everything in place (on paper!) is easy. This is what/when I’m going to eat, this is when I will exercise, I will think positively, etc. It is the placement of everything in the future – “The contest starts next week, so then I’ll be ready to go…” instead of saying, “I’m going to give my all starting this very moment. That way, when the contest hits, I’ll already be coasting on one week of progress.” That’s what happened the first time in 2010 to me. In 2011, I had lost about 40 or so pounds from the last contest, had set a regimen of exercise and gotten my diet under control (well, pretty close… 🙂 ). But then, a couple weeks before the contest my father died. I entered the contest thinking that I could do it, but the emotional toll, family grieving, birth of a new child one week after my father died, etc. just made the contest a distant item on the list of important things in my life at the time. I ended up gaining about 10-15 pounds because of those last three months in 2011, but I’ve gotten things back under control, and come back to where I want to be in my life.

    So, in summary, failure for me was two-fold: First was the initial shock of jump-starting a drastic change in my life. Even though I had the academics down (the plan), the action failed because I hadn’t built up the habits and things quickly crumbled. Slow and steady wins the race – start now, start slow, and see it to the end. The second failure was because of a confluence of many things happening all at once and allowing myself to become overwhelmed by them.

    Both are pretty lousy excuses for not sticking with something that I list as one of the top 3 most important things in my life right now (Improving my faith, being a great husband and father, and getting in shape). In fact, getting in shape will help the other two by giving me more time to devote to my kids, wife, and faith. Anyway, I’m going to use my experiences over the last 18-24 months to allow me to live up to the “third time’s the charm.”

    Good luck to everyone that is enrolling this year in the Big Burn! I can’t wait to cross the finish line with all of you!

  • Janet Aldrich

    I finished last time. Didn’t exactly see the results I’d hoped for, but I know why. So I hope I get to start this time.

    Anyway, I can see three reasons for quitting (although they probably all boil down to the same thing.)

    1. The ones who don’t see it through expect instant results with very little work and don’t get them. So they give up. You’ve said yourself, many times, people in our culture today are used to “quick”, “instant”, “immediate” change. They want an easy out for the effects of the bad habits they’ve acquired over the years. So when they find out that you have to stop eating things that aren’t good for them, or put real effort into an exercise program, it’s more change than they’re willing to make.

    2. It takes more time than they can/will put into it. You have to take time — time to plan better meals and shop for them, time to exercise, time to measure results. Sometimes, I’m sure there often can be other legitimate demands on their time, but a lot of times there’s just no desire to MAKE time.

    3. Unwillingness to change, either through pride or fear. As you get older, it’s easy to fall into set routines in life. So you work, maybe run a few errands, go home, watch TV and go to bed. You have to break your life apart and do things differently and that can be difficult. Old habits can be hard to break. From a fear standpoint … maybe this is a female thing, but over the years, I’ve seen that it can be easier to function in a business environment if you’re, well, not so attractive. I may not turn heads, (in a good way, anyway), but I have respect professionally. I know I won’t get hit on or be judged by being thin and pretty. Maybe now that I’m in my 50s it won’t matter so much…

    The bottom line — and I think it applies in all three sets of circumstances — is that those who don’t finish get beat by their sense of entitlement. That is, a feeling that “I’ve worked hard today, I’m entitled to go home and not work out” or “I’m allowed to eat what I enjoy”. Or, any other manifestation of that feeling. So when it comes down to the hard choices, they take the easy way out and quit.

  • cheryl

    I think people quit simply because change is hard and we want instant results. We all have a certain image of ourselves, who we are, what we look like, and what we stand for and that perception can be extremely difficult to change. I think you really have to be able to visualize the person you want to become to be successful at any kind of transformation if life. I always thought that was where some of the cool computer tools would help. If you could load a picture of yourself and transform it to your end goal look, I think it would be more powerful than an image from a magazine or someone else’s photo. Someone else always seems to have more time, more money, more discipline, less stress, less work. Nothing is more motivating than your own picture staring back at you. I’ve seen that comment many times in forums where the final motivation to get started came from a picture of themselves that they didn’t like at all. I think that’s why your program has the success rate it does. It requires pictures and nothing hides there! Results don’t always show well in weight numbers and many people don’t know how to measure body fat % so they get discouraged as well.

  • Kate

    I’d like to do it, but to be honest I prioritize my running over my body. When it comes down to either looking cut or having the fuel to run 13+ miles without stopping… I pick the miles. I’ve tried but I just can’t maintain the deficit I need to look BtF Fit while still having the energy to sustain long runs.

  • Amanda

    I think people drop out because its embarrassing to admit failure. or, lack of movement. We start out thinking this is it! This is the motivation I need to get moving, and once I get moving, I’ll see progress, and the progress will keep me motivated! It works. for a little while. Then, somewhere along the way, old habits creep in. You had a hard day with the kids, things just pile up and up and up, and you missed a workout. and then another. and then, one day was just so stressful, and hormones were out of whack, and you cheated. And its hard to admit those failures, but then when you get the point that you don’t see any improvement, its embarrassing. Its hard to admit you are your own worst enemy. So, old habits win out, and you just “forget” to update your progress. You’re “too busy” to workout. Its “too hard” to keep up with the meals, when you are the only one eating that way, and you are responsible for the food everyone else in the house eats.

    Its hard to remember that a setback isn’t permanent when you are trying to change something, yet everything ELSE is staying the same.

  • Kara-Sue Sweeney

    It all begins in the mind. People fail to recognise this truth and it is evident in every aspect of one’s life. In as far as transformation contests and weight-loss programs are concerned, people do not understand that their thought-life is THE primary key not only to stick-to-it-iveness, but to lasting success and change. Once you have “made up your mind”, that is to say whole-heartedly committed to the point where your sub-conscious is on-board with your plan, then there’s no stopping you and success is just a matter of time. It’s almost as if you need to have the mind-set that says, “even if I never see one ounce of change, whether on the scale or in the way my clothes fit, I will NEVER give up doing what I konw I should be doing”. Galatians 6:9 implores us to not be weary in doing good, for we WILL reap a harvest if we do not give up.

    I would say best of luck, but better than that I say best of “strong, committed mind-sets” to everyone entering this year’s contest and to those simply on a weight-loss journey to live strong healthy lives!

  • Linda McCuen

    I think people drop out of body transformation contests because they get bored. It’s easy for some people to go all out at first and then crash whether it’s from fixing the right food and making the meals ahead or because they get bored with having the same food all the time. Some people don’t like doing it by themselves. It takes time checking all the labels for the right food and people are too rushed most of the time………..I was lucky when I stated eating right my husband was with me all the way. We both lost some fat and it’s great getting on the scale and seeing the change stay over the last three years. Now we cheat a little but heh I think it helps. the biggest comment we get when we talk about the food is “But I can’t live like that!” As someone who ate fast food I don’t like it anymore and feel guilty if I do eat it.
    It takes will power and just like everything else people try if you give in you won’t make it, by making it a challenge to yourself then yu won’t go back becasue you will start changing right away and why waste that effort. We got things said like “oh you were skinny and din’t need to lose any weight but we did have fat in the wrong places including love handles and we feel so much better now. That’s why we cheat sometimes so we can get back on track. (-;

  • Kalen Houck

    The reason that people drop out is a lack of focus. The times that I have “dropped” a regimen, it has been because I got lazy in intentionally focusing on my goal. If I focus on my goals, just by reading them a couple times per day, then I succeed. The moment I get lazy and think that I have it under control, I stop reading goals and it’s down hill from there. Focusing on goals is essential in any kind of success, body transformation is no different.

  • Lee Ann

    It’s state of mind for a number of reasons. Lack of confidence in being able to complete it, lack of support from home, and feeling inferior to those who may be having much more success than you. Getting healthy has always been mental. Either you have the right mindset or you don’t.

  • :Karima

    People drop out of anything because they fear success. It is much easier being a failure than being in the spotlight as a winner and star and having to live up to the expectations of that exalted position. Most people on this planet are lazy and complacent, unfortunately, or fortunately for those who push just a little harder and beat the competition. When you look at the stats and realize it just takes a little more than the rest, one should be motivated to be a winner because in reality it is really easier than one allows their mind to conceive. You can either let your mind rule your heart or your heart rule your mind. Love yourself and be a winner!

  • anna

    Tom, I’m a member of the IC for almost three months. I’ve never joined a challenge like this. I joined a team for the big summer burn because I thought the support would be helpful rather than doing it alone. Last week after a prolonged case of being very ill, I’d gained back weight that I’d previously lost while applying the BFFM way of life, mostly due to inability to exercise. And (so say the calculators on the site) lost lbm/gained fat. I was so discouraged and thought I should not be in the contest because I did not want my team to do poorly because of me. So before the challenge even began, I almost gave up. For me, it was the fear of not being a good team member or hurting my teams chance at winning.
    I posted my thoughts/fears on the team prep thread. The response was overwhelming and positive. The members of the IC were instrumental in helping me not only re-evaluate what the whole thing is about, but encouraged me to stay with them! Even with some medical issues, I can and will participate in the summer burn. I feel confident that my team will support me and I will be there for them. My goals are changing a bit (from my original goals when I joined the IC), and I feel excited and committed to FINISH. Although I have certain goals that I’m focused on, simply staying in the contest to the finish is my primary one. Other than that, my main focus will be on altering my composition, not just losing weight.

    At first I thought the IC was a little hokey…but I accepted the free 60 days. I know, I know, you offered me the extra year at a great saving… I did not know then what I know now. I joined the IC and finally (after a long time of waiting/foot dragging) to shake a 6 month plateau. Doing this alone became hard and boring, and I was stuck. The journey thus far has been filled with so much more than just losses/gains. I have a full year subscription to the IC now. I have support and enthusiastic people who are traveling the same road to wellness/fitness/transformation. I’ve gotten physically stronger and mentally more focused. I also appreciate the new endurance article…since I committed to do a triathlon in 14 months with 3 friends who are also turning 50.
    Do I think this will be easy, nope. Do I think I will have the tools and support to finish, Yup! So, in closing, thanks Tom.

  • Francis Beckles

    Dear Tom, in answer to your question I am one of many who have tried and never been succesful and I believe that it is because although a good program it is counterproductive to most peoples lifestyles. Let me explain,from my point of view affirmations do not work for me they are exercises that try to fool the mind but for them to work your mind ha to be clear and your life has to be relatively stress free. The program requires taking in to much knowledge through reading and not getting straight to the point, there is also no direct way of basing the actual colorie intake by what is stated. In short most of us do not have the time money or luxury of being able to follow so a program.
    What I believe would make it easier, to produce a system that cater for people of all cultures and walks of life that is simple to follow have a very basic base diet that these people can follow but show them how to really adapt the diet through flexibilty so that they can not only eat the way they are use to but also train in an adaptive way, if they are required to put in more time than they have or cannot eat some of the things that tey desire the program becomes restrictive and boring and this is why I believe many people give up. From my own personal experience it took me over 2 years to read the book because of my dyslexia and when I tried to put it into practice, I found that most of the foods where no things that or ways that I ate and with my current stressful job I never had the time to eat the way that was suggested.
    added to that the food in this country to eat healthy is very expensive so I was not able to afford to eat that way either. I lost my reciept number for my BFFM purchase so was also never able to get any advise onthe best way to try and stay with the progarm. I know you will say these are all excuses, added to that my long term back injury and arthritis has added to my stress so for me it was just a matter of cutting my loses as quickly as possible, and believe me Tom, yours is only one of many programs that I have tried over the last 10 years and I still always try again and again without success. I still believe that you have an excellent system here and I have seen the result that many have achieved I hope that one day soon I could be one of your success stories – Good luck TOM

  • Marc Chabot

    I have completed in two challenges. I completed both buth only finished the postings in one as my results were regressing in the final stages of the 2011 summer big burn.

    I think that for the most part thatthe times I have attempted to lose weight I give up when my results do not meet the expectations that I set out. It is very hard to keep the training when results are slow or the opposite happens and weight gain occurs. I have learned over the years that I can get results short term, 6-8 weeks that are very satisfying where I experience steady weight loss and then I then plateau and yo-yo up and down around a certain weight. I eventually try to break through the plateau and if within two weeks it doesn’t happen I seem to lose heart because it does not matter what I try the results are not occurring.

    I understand that we should set agressive goals but if the goals are not realistic we are setting ourselves to failure.

    I am changing my mental attitude about the results by using weight and body fat losses. I do want to lose weight and body fat but my first primary goal will be to exercise 1 hour every day.

    Second goal is to maintain a 1000 caloric deficit per day for my age and weight.

    Third goal is to lose 20 pounds of Fat.

    Fourth goal is to lose 7-10 percent body fat.

    I am focusing on the primary goal as my motivation to keep going.

    I know for my own personal attitude that I will be able to achive my primary goal and the other goals are secondary in motivating me to work out. I realise that working out with no or little results is better than doing nothing and regressing back to the fitness level prior to starting the challenge.

    This worked for me in the 2011 winter challenge as I did not get reults that I had set but I did do better than the previous years where I did nothing. I maintained my weight over the winter months instead of putting on 20 pounds and having to struggle to take it off again over the summer.

    My advice is participattion in A weight loss contest in itself is the victory.

  • mo

    because they don’t lose the weight.

  • Tim

    I think it’s fear to admit “failure”. People start out with the best of intentions, they really work hard for a few weeks. Then life gets in the way. They eat a few bad meals, have a few beers, skip a few workouts (or all of the above). And then they have to come in and report weekly their results. They KNOW that they failed that week. And rather than face that failure, learn from it and grow, they just quit. Easier to quit than admit publicly your failures.

    The funny thing is, they really didn’t fail UNTIL they quit. One bad week isn’t going to ruin all their good work if they just get back up and drive on. Accountability is easy when things are going well. It’s much harder when they’re not. But you can’t be truly committed to your goals unless you’re willing to endure both.

  • Bob Bullard

    There are many personal reasons a person will drop out of the challenge; but I think one big reason is lose of focus. We are all exciting in the beginning and fully focused on the challenge however another issue/interest will creep in and focus will be transferred to the new interest.

    To keep the focus on the challenge there must be a goal that over-rides all new interest that may creep in. That goal will be different for each of us but in order to keep that dedicated focus each of us must find that goal.

  • Janine P

    So many things in today’s society are easily obtained and readily available. Companies cater to convenience and time saving. Gone are the days where people have to actually grow or kill and prepare their own food for survival. The survival instinct has been replaced with therapy sessions for stress. To be blunt, we have become spoiled and lazy. Anything that actually takes perserverence and work is viewed as too much trouble. Even when initially motivated to begin, once any obstacle or fall back occurs we throw up our hands in defeat and say why bother. To stick with any program it has to be viewed as a way of life, a necessity for survival, a permanent frame of mind. It is not a step to fit in to a particular dress or pair of jeans. It is a way to empower yourself to be the strong, positive force of nature you can be.

  • Summer Miller

    Quite simply, there hasn’t been a decision to do it. Anyone can do anything they want once they decide to do it. Where there is a will, there is a way, but really, will is when you make an ultimate decision, and consistently make smaller choices (decisions) to support it. With every success story, it’s really the same…. and there is enough information on eating, diet, nutrition, etc. that if you look, you will find something to support your decisions, but of course, you need to decide to do it.

  • Mick Chilton

    I would say the main factor is sustained motivation. The truth of the matter is everyone enters with the intention of completing, however, sustaining that motivation is difficult in isolation. What I mean by this is that although their is virtual support via the website and blogs when it comes to the crunch the majority of individuals will eventually listen to the “inner self” that usually stops us achieving our ambitions and goals and revert to type as a result. This is why there is probably more chance of completion with a training partner to help you through the lows and maintain the highs,and that way you can motivate each other and go the distance.After all even elite athletes have a coach who motivates them and pushes them on to achieve their aims when their “inner voice” is probably telling them they’ve had enough. Everyone needs that prompt, that reassurance,that encouragement, even sometimes that angry voice that gets us to the finish line and stops us quitting. It’s just that the majority of us need it more often.

  • Faith Dumsile Dlamini-Ng'andu

    Well; there are several reasons why people give up along the way. I can think of a few right now! From my personal experience; I had all the motivation from family and friends especially after having trained hard in the past and managed to get rid of a good 30kg and dropped from 90kgs to 60kgs suddenly I was told I had cancer and had to undrgo a measure operation to remove my womb! I was devasted and the dr told me I had to forget about serious training for a good 6months! The body transformarion I had all went to waisted as I was on very strong drugs and had to eat way more than usual! So- yes illness does cause a lot of people to go off track! I was one of them and now 2years later I am starting all over again. Why? Reason: come January 2013 I will be turning 40!my life is starting all over and its gonna be better than ever- the plan: to be 40 and fabulous! That is motivation enough- 20year olds will be shy to tell their ages in my presence! Bonus: my 12 And 9 year old daughters will be pround to introduce me to their friends at their new school; and my husband; well he will appreciate what he has in me even more!

  • Larry

    Its really hard to stick with it without support in the household. If you’re the only one exercising and eating right it’s seems doubly hard because there is temptation all around. While I might personally ban bad foods having them all around and watching others eat them is just too tempting.

  • Lynn Sertcelik

    What is the biggest obstacle involved in the Burn the Fat Program? At which point will some have trouble getting beyond?

    • Lynn Sertcelik

      The biggest reason people drop out of programs like these, lack of support. For example, a mom wants to lose weight and get in shape, but the kids and father dont understand/want it and they fight the process tooth and nail until things go back to ‘normal.’ People dont like change and to make a REAL change and stick to a plan/diet, it takes ironclad willpower.

  • Chris

    The main reason people fail to complete is that the scales are out of balance.
    On one side of the scales are the ingrained diet and exercise habits that have left us in this mess in the first place, the culture of everything being served in huge portions, too much food that is nutritionally poor and the mental and physical effort required to overcome the inertia.
    On the other side of the scales are the motivators that encourage us to get a grip of our lives – knowing that we need to lose fat for our health and for our families, fear that without losing weight we will heart attack, diabetes or some similar health issue, for a sport or fitness goal, to look good, to enjoy life more.
    At the beginning, when we first make a commitment, these are hopefully weighing down on the second side. Every difficulty or setback puts more weight in the first side. At the point that the balance shifts in favour of the first side, we give up.
    The secret is to maintain the focus on the second side and, every tine a setback comes along, re-commit to whatever reasons got us started in the first place.

  • Patty

    As I have been thinking about entering the challenge, I cannot speak from personal experience of why people would quit such an awesome challenge. As someone who has failed many attempts at losing weight and getting to where I want to be, I would think a lot of it has to do with mentality. I know every time I fall off my healthy eating it is due to either a mental need, addiction for sugar. Also the lack of mental “I can do it”. I think it takes retraining to get our minds to REALLY think that we will not fail if we just keep trying.

  • Nichole Roberts

    I believe so many people drop out because are they not fully educated on weight loss and all that factors in. Rather than focusing on how they feel and look, they are focusing on the numbers. They kill themselves in the gym doing endless amounts of cardio with very little weight training expecting instant results consistently checking the numbers on the scale. They spend more time counting calories rather than focusing on the right foods to eat. Not being prepared, at the last minute scrambling for something to eat only to cave for something fast and fried. I really believe not being well educated, prepared and patient are most of the key factors in people quitting and giving up.

    I have stuck with programs for awhile, not completely unsatisfied with my results but getting to a point where I was stuck and not going anywhere only to get off track for awhile. Not until I learned how important your diet is did I really get it and understanding how important incorporating weights into your fitness routine is in order to burn more fat with workouts. I’ve taken the time to read and listen about what really works and adjusting it to fit my needs. Having a support system of a few friends or a board where I can post my workouts and diet have helped hold me accountable. Knowing how great I feel and look now, no way I want to fail and go back to being inactive and eating unhealthy food. That alone if a big reason to stick with a solid program.

  • Dan

    I think people drop out of transformation contests for several reasons. Everyone wants to see a quick and easy way to transform their bodies into the ideal shape and weight, and most transformation programs require time and effort, as well as money, which some people may not have. It easy to stay motivated for a week or two weeks, but beyond that, many people lose the motivation.

    I would venture to predict that most people who enter a body transformation contest enter it alone. As such, without a partner or close support group, it is harder for some people to stick with a program.

    Most transformation programs require some physical activity. Unfortunately, for many couch potatoes and the resultant weight gain, some people just feel too fatigued and too tired to stick with the program. We are unfortunately have grown into a nation where some would rather give up than have some minor aches and pains.


    The race is not to the swift neither is the battle to the strong. Weightloss is not about physical strength. The battle of the bulge is in the mind. The deterrmination to stick with it cannot be found on the manual of any treadmill or exercise bike; it is in the mind. You might join a million exercise teams and sure, they may be really great,like BFFM. But if you don’t DECIDE that you are going to stick with it, then sorry to say, a flop is imminent. Before going on a weightloss journey, as with any other major project in one’s life, you have to sit still, be quiet and meditate. There is a saying “RUSH IN, RUSH OUT!”. Take time out to think about it before you start. “Why do I want to do this?” “What are the benefits?” “How do I plan to go about this” “How do I fit this into my schedule?” “What are my backup plans in case something goes wrong?”. Only when these are settled in your mind should you go for it!

  • Joe A

    These contests are journeys…the people that drop out treat them like a sprint. They go all out and “get winded” and when that happens there desire is put to the test.

    To Be turely successful you need to

    Have a well defined set of goals that are SMART(Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relavent and Time bound)

    Go for Progress not perfection…Like Bill Phillips used to say….Its like people getting a flat tire and saying…well I am screwed, and flatening the remaining tires on your vehicle. Your gonna screw up! Not every workout is gonning to be breakthrough, and not every day is gonna be perfect.

    Compeat against yourself….not against the crowd. There are people here that are already in shape…they will need to go from in shape to shredded…..The winner of the contest is decided on progress. The winner could very likely look like some peoples “Before Picture” Its defeating to look at a real fit contestant and automatically assume you lost.

  • Chris

    The simple answer is because it’s hard, and it requires a change in lifestyle, not just a several week sacrifice. The first few weeks are easy, when all gung-ho, but once that honeymoon phase of feeling good getting in-shape wears off, you either convert to a true change in lifestyle, or you get frustrated and feel it is too difficult to maintain and just start to give up.

  • rotimi titilope

    indecision, or when the result is not up to expectations and also lack of adequate knowledge on how to go about it and lack of good qualified trainer

  • Sue

    I dropped out because I had an adult take my after photos and they looked worse than the before photos – despite having made forward progress! I should have had my daugther take the after photos (She hates it and doesn’t like that her mom would even consider wearing a bikini!). I stuck with the challenge so that I could start the new year better off than I left the previous year and I could jut keep the momenbtum rolling. I did suffer an injury during the challenge, but I weathered it and kept going. The forum is motivational. The accountability keeps you sticking to it.

  • Spending SO MUCH time to plan a meal(s)-shopping, weighing, journaling; guessing at what to do and how much to do with exercising that will work for ME; sticking with it (all the guessing) faithfully for months and seeing nothing more than a few pounds lost at best. When you guess at and think you are doing what needs to be done (even in an obsessive way) and don’t see results worth all the time and effort invested, it is very discouraging to continue on when pressing things (time-sensitive work items, vacations, unexpected visitors) need attention.

  • Troy Harkey

    I haven’t entered a challenge but I did buy your book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle a couple of years ago and it just made a lot of sense to me. I was successful with my own personal challenge initially because I believed in it. Now I’ll share why I think I succeeded long-term and conversely, why others might fail. By the way, all the answers above are very good reasons why some don’t have the succes they hope for when they start.

    But for me, the main reason I succeeded was positive feedback from others. I was 61 years old, 6’1″ and 215 pounds. My wife is 20 years younger than me and most of our friends are much younger than I am. I started a diet and exercise plan based on the book and bought some weights.

    I lost 15 pounds in the first two weeks. My wife started commenting about how good I looked when I came in the bathroom to shower after my workouts. That was my first big ego-boost! However, I was starving myself and running out of energy. I was mistakenly restricting myself to 750 – 850 calories a day!

    After I took my diet up to 1200 calories, my energy came back, I worked harder and the muscles started to grow. I decided to take my shirt off in front of our friends one day and play water voleyball with our group of young, fit friends. Afterward, I got several comments about how I looked younger than a lot of them. That really made me feel good and I resolved to work even harder.

    In six months, I weighed 182 pounds and I’ve stayed around 185 ever since. What made it worth it for me was the positive reinforcement from loving and caring friends and family. For some people, it’s enough to see the results for themselves in the mirror. It doesn’t matter if anyone else notices. But for me, I needed that extra boost of confidence that comes from other people noticing my success and I was fortunate enough to have friends who cared.

  • Chris

    I think the reason why the drop rate is so high is because it requires a total food/fitness lifestyle makeover to be successful. They say it takes at least 21 days of doing something for it to become habit. I am curious to know how many of the drops occur in the first 21 days. For a body transformation to happen one needs to change their shopping habits, eating habits, workout habits, etc. That’s a LOT to change in 21 days! It seems to me that the successful people change one thing at a time rather than all at once. It doesn’t require waiting 21 days to change something, rather adding something new each week & make baby steps toward your goal. For instance it can be one week the goal is “I will work out for 30minutes 3 times this week and replace my sugary breakfast cereal with wholesome oatmeal” then the next week builds on it. If someone can make it through the first 3 weeks-1 month, I’m sure not only will they finish buy they will have a successful transformation!

  • Paula Duncan

    I truly believe the success comes most deeply from the mental toughness & daily investment in positive affirmation. I finished the first chapter last night in preparation for starting my first challenge. It made me realize that prior to BFFM I’d underestimated the positive impact (that getting your brain wrapped around all of the information) would do for my personal success.

    I am very thankful for the Inner Circle as well. There is such value in journaling, and keeping connected with people that are walking the same journey. It’s pretty amazing to connect with people from all over the world. Inner circle will keep me motivated and accountable for each and every step along the way. Having my BRAIN engaged in the correct direction will allow me to purposfully avoid yet another failed attempt. This time…is different…is the ticket to being satisfied with my appearance for life!!! Thanks Tom!!

  • Tamela Smith (formerly Walters)

    I think the biggest question should be ” How committed are you to following a healthy lifestyle”? Many of us are excited about our change for a few days or a week and then get lazy or busy and quit trying.

  • Deborah Wedel

    People drop out of transformation contests because they failed to prepare themselves mentally. They approached it in a casual manner and didn’t make solid goals. Part of it is connecting with others in the contest, but if a person is doing it solely for themselves, they will keep working at those solid goals to realize them. One must write out their goals, check them regularly, visualize their success and have a game plan to achieve them.
    In the last contest (it was my first), I did those very things. I also intermingled with other contestants, read their strategies and successes and kept reassessing my own goals to keep it realistic. I felt an accountability with others, but my strongest accountability was with myself and my goals. They were on my mind every day. I did finish that contest and have kept recording ever since. I’m also pumped about this contest tomorrow and I will be writing out my goals for my personal success.

  • THH


    Thank you for the opportunity to share my mildly informed opinions as to why participants in a transformation contest fail to complete their goals.

    I feel there is a deep and underlying theme in my personal adventures that may resonate with others. The short version is what I call the “wishing to want” phase.

    I wished I would wake up and really want to be transformed. However, that rarely translated into the complete psychic change necessary to make the inward transformation so that the outer would be a happy by-product and really more of a bonus.

    I would see others making what appeared to be the sacrifice and self-denial required to eat for fuel. Those same folks looked like the very act of working out and the benefits they derived from their workouts were quantifiable. In my distorted reality I believed that for these folks eating smart and moving their bodies were the activities that came naturally and for them the effort was not the great sacrifice it would be for my type. I found myself being jealous and frankly judgmental of their serene manner and happy disposition which I snidely marked down as delusional. Being completely two-faced I often wished for their delusion to be bestowed upon me so that I could join the ranks of the converted.

    Today, and this is non-specific to physical changes, I believe that any real changes we can make must be specific to the efforts we make and not the results we receive. I think my mindset has to be about the present. The past and future are things I can not hope to control except in making the effort right now to steer. The chips will fall where they may but I can choose to apply my will now. The trick is being OK with that effort being the only thing I grade and not wasting time fixating on the results.

    In my experience it is important to have goals and aspirations at the onset of any journey, short or long, but once that template is prepared just doing the next right thing is the only reward I can tabulate.

    Now past this meta-physical mumbo jumbo I think three things will make a huge difference in anyone’s attempt at body transformation and this is how I “stick with it”:

    1. Multiple times a day marking a journal will keep your goals up front and remind us that at some point we were more serious while allowing ourselves time to acknowledge what we have done correctly
    2. Expect mistakes to happen and formulate a plan on how to correct the problem while not wasting time beating yourself up (past/present)
    3. Speak with a professional often to find out what you are working with as to your bodies caloric needs and ability to train as injuries, both real and perceived, can derail the best intentions.

    Thanks again for the opportunity and all the great information you have shared over the years. While I still have a ways to go with my transformation today the effort is less heavy and mostly a pleasure.

  • John

    I’ve watched friends and family around me continually cycle – starting, stopping, restarting, etc… at attempts at getting healthier. And wither its through changing their diet, their exercise routine, or both, they always seem to fail for the same basic reason. They set their expectations to high, and when they inevitably do not to meet those expectations, they “believe” they’ve failed already – and thus starts the downward spiral to giving up, and true failure.

    I “expect” to slip every now and then – I allow myself that, and don’t focus on the slips. Instead I attempt to focus on gradual/incremental improvement. If I have one bad meal, it’s not a failure, it’s a reward for all the other good food choices I’ve made recently. Allowing myself that reward, and seeing as such, helps to motivate me to do even better going forward. If I miss one workout, focus on all the other good workouts that came before, and most importantly, how that opportunity to “rest” will improve the workouts to come.

  • Ana

    I think people drop out because most part of the times it’s not as easy as they think it will be. “only x days” and we think it will be ok.
    But then life comes on our way. Work, going out with friends, trips (business or pleasure) and we think “oh well, just this week off” and we never go back…
    Other times it’s because the programs don’t give enough motivation.

    For me to not drop out I think I would need motivation, alternatives to exercise/eat when on holidays, going out, etc…
    Plus, I’ve been on a plateau for a while… If in 1 month I didn’t start to see some changes I would probably drop out…

    But Life is guilty for most drop outs in my opinion…

  • David gray

    COMMITMENT! That’s why people such as myself fail. Plus not acting on the info we’ve been given cause we want instant results even though u say it’s a lifestyle change. I believe wholeheartedly everything in ur book but sometimes it becomes information overload. I love everything about what u do but I can sum up this answer in one short sentence. PEOPLE SUCH AS MYSELF DON’T COMMIT TOTALLY TO THE PROGRAM AND EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW WHAT TO DO WE DON’T APPLY THE PRINCIPALS YOU’VE TAUGHT US!

  • Reji George

    Hi! Tom,
    First of all I want to thank you for the amazing book – Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle.

    The reasons for give up the contest are

    1. People join the program for fun and when they found that fitness is not fun, it is full of hard work and discipline in personal life, they opt for their normal life.

    2. They don’t have the answer for – what they want to see in their body and when and how they see it.
    When I started my work out, I have an aim to reduce my hip size to 28 inch from 32 and I have reached 29 inch in just 45 days. Yes, I have compromised on my daily eating out and my favorite deserts and satisfied with self made low caloric high nutritional food.

    3. Demotivating friends and family members. Each time my friends laugh at me, I have a smile in my face and I repeated my pledge to get ripped one day earlier.


  • Caren

    I hope I will. Rock on, Tom!

  • Dr. Terry L. Puett

    Poor Dietary Foundations, Misinformation and Attitude, Low Motivation, Slow Change

  • Martin

    The biggest reason most people quit, seems to me to be that when they start to confront their addiction to eating they don’t like what they see and go back to the safe place. How I let go of 115 puunds was to go slowly, keep patient with myself, stay persistant and know that I could do it.

  • Christine S.

    I have dropped out so many times because I do not have much of a support group. It seems as though every one has a support group for eating and drinking too much. But, if one tries to control oneself and take better care of oneself – you’re on your own.

    I have to say, right now, I am doing a lot better because I realize that I am the one who needs to ultimately take control of my own life. I surely can take some ribbing if I am going to be healthier and happier in the end.

  • Frank Burton

    The hardest thing for me is willpower I want to do it and I know how to do it it is keeping that will and desire and being succsessful:

  • Rory Lebell

    There might be as many reasons as there are people. Such a program requires commitment, focus, self discipline, ability to see the end resul, support of family and friends etc. anyone of these missing can derail someone. But also in a world of instant everything, many want instant results. When this doesn’t happen the commitment to the program wanes. Anything worth having in life comes at a cost……some may not be prepared to pay the price at that point in their life.

  • Mike Barber

    Hope, Time, and the Perfect Mind Syndrome

    People go into a transformation or contest Hoping they will be motivated to the end, they Hope that their commitment will be repaid with success. Sometime the measure of success is too great and what one visions as success is not possible, then over Time the begin to lose Hope and eventually just give up. The Perfect Mind syndrome, or 100% or Noting way of doing things can also lead to despair after trying to manager every day to perfection the first or second little slip people go from being perfect or applying 100% toward their goal to Nothing.

    Life can also help to derail progress that will cause people to drop out, work, travel, change of schedules, holidays all impact our daily lives, miss a day, two or more then motivation is lost and it becomes easy to say ‘I will get them next time’.

    If we stick to one day at a time, go with it for the duration and take before and after photos, it is remarkable how much change will occur in the given time. Much like bowling and golf, with a little more practice, next time I know I can do better, use what you do for motivation and learn from both the positives and negatives then apply them to your program.

  • Andrea

    I think there are a few reasons for dropping out:
    1. Fear of failure
    2. Fear of success
    3. Not adapting to life situations and throwing in the towel on what seems like a time zapper.

    How do I stick to it:
    1. Find an accountability partner
    2. Food/Exercise Journal daily
    3. Help and encourage others to accomplish their goals 😉

  • sam


    I have many friends who come to me and ask to be given a fitness programme, what nutrition changes should they make etc. I am happy to do this but experience tells me that they will take the information away and probably throw it in the bin.
    From my friends The reason I find are
    1. That they are in their comfort zone and it’s just to much like hard work, they want it now.
    2. That they are not comitted enough to make small changes to their routine in order to give them a healthier life. Fear of success stops them from moving forward.
    3. There is emotional issues related to their eating pattern and it is too painful to deal with why they eat a certain way.
    4. They concentrate on the negative body issues rather than the positives, it is a form of negative attention.
    5. That they allow other people to keep them in that diet yo yo fat place and they don’t take control.
    6. That they allow themself to go so far, they see results then stop half way never reaching their goal, did they have a goal to begin with.

    I am sure there is many more but I feel most people I know have extreme emotional issues with food and are not happy eaters.


    Despite being fit and a vegetarian since childhood I have suffered from ulcerative colitis with tumours for many year. Getting surgery and steroid treatment is not fun. I did a great deal of experimenting with my health and am at a place now where I feel that I am treatment free. I turn 40 in september, so my training has changed I do more strength than cardio now. I am a single parent, went back to university to do a doctorate, juggling all the time etc. etc. fitness is my meditation.

    I stick to fitness because
    1. It has been part of my life and at times part of my sanity and part of my daily routine.
    2. That I set myself a goal and visualize it.
    3. I come out of my comfort zone and challenge myself.
    4. That I make a promise to stay healthy to be a healthy mum.
    I became aware recently that If I wasn’t living the lifestyle that I have I would definetly have bowel cancer.
    5. I get bored easy so I work a lot with muscle confusion and change my routine often.
    6.I tell people what my goals are so that I am more likeley to reach them.
    7. I read a lot… sports psychologyis part of my training.
    8. I enjoy being fit, it’s fun.

    I have a young daughter and feel it is a right for both of us to have perfect health, I am my daughters role model and I am her guide she copies me so therefore she trains beside me. I need the energy to keep up with her, I dont want to be one of those parents that is too tired to swim in the sea with her.

  • Amy N

    I lost 40 lbs in 2010 and haven’t regained any weight 20 months later. I successfully completed one challenge that Leigh Peele did, but I’ve dropped out of challenges during and after my weight loss.

    I think the idea of the challenge, the fantasy of it, is very different from the reality. It’s easy to believe that this will be the time that you finally lose weight/ get fit. You see the amazing results of past challenge winners and you envision the body you believe you can have. The “visualization” part of body transformation can be very easy indeed. Also, it’s easy to contemplate a large caloric deficit when you are in a fed state. You draw up your plan for, say, 1400 calories a day 6 days a week and your workout plan.

    So, you start out all fired up, but things get tough when you first start to feel the effects of the deficit and get sore/exhausted from your tough workouts. You’re depressed due to sinking serotonin levels from being in a deficit. You can’t sleep well because you’re hungry and sore. You get cranky from not being able to eat the birthday cake someone brings in to work, and not being able to take the easy option and pick up a pizza on your way home. You decide that being hungry, tired, AND sore is just too much, so you decide that you “deserve” a big dinner and a day when you’re not hungry. Once you’ve slipped off your plan, the feelings of disappointment, shame, and loathing set in. You avoid challenge check-ins and visiting the forums because everyone else seems to be doing so well and you don’t want to admit you’ve messed up already.

    People who win challenges tend to be freaks (I say that with admiration!) who can focus single-mindedly on their goal and avoid all temptation. They are one in a thousand, or at least a hundred. I think the key to a successful challenge for the rest of us is a) setting realistic expectations, b) anticipating that you’ll have times that you can’t stick to your plan, c) having a solid plan to deal with those times. Realize that the need to eat and store fat is one of the strongest drives we have. Write down scenarios that you might encounter (a work lunch, your birthday, vacation) and go through the ideal outcome as well as more realistic outcomes where you eat too much and skip workouts. If that happens, don’t see those moments as failures that confirm your belief that you can’t lose weight. Realize that re-committing yourself to your plan and getting back on the horse is a victory, and you should share it during check-ins and with the forums. Understand that “two steps forward, one step back” is the kind of progress that most of us make, and that it will eventually get you to your goal.

  • M

    First know thyself. I think that not quite getting there is STILL to do with subconsciously comparing oneself to those ‘ideal’ images of physical greatness with which western culture bombards us. And with plastic surgery being commonplace and fully accepted as ‘normal’ now the pressure increases. I mean, I will never, ever look like the pics in the magazines. I know that I CANNOT be like that. I know why (I can’t photoshop myself in real life, and I have my own unique physique, not theirs.) As, like most people, I have never achieved my physical best I cannot come to terms with what that might be. Maybe we firstly need to change our minds to be content with ourselves as we really are – and to want to work at being the best that WE can.

  • Shawn Sibit

    People fail because they do not set achievable, measureable goals – a fixed point that they can set their eyes upon and focus on getting there. They fail because they do not develop a “liveable” action plan to get them the results they desire. They fail because they fail to realize the true goal of positive health which ultimately must be quality of life.

    What I do to stay on track is think of my life, my future, with my children and wife. I want to have a long, healthy, active life with them. I don’t want anything to shorten or diminish my time with them, especially not something over which I have a high degree of control such as my health (i.e. weight, cardiovascular, etc). I set goals and compete yearly in bodybuilding competitions and the ocassional 5k or mudd run. These things give me a point to move towards in the forseable future but again, ultimately the goal must be long term. More accurately Life-Long Term!

    Thanks for hearing me out.


  • Aipery

    Tom, I think the only reason is lack of motivation.
    Of course, in the beginning we all see the future 6 pack and muscles in our imagination and we strive to do it. You have a goal and you do a lot of things in order to achieve it. You have immediate results while adding trainings or changing nutrition plan, you see the first results, you get the first compliments and… here it comes… we got stuck… Plateau… Such a beautiful word with such an awful meaning…
    You don’t understand why it’s happening even though you’ve read a lot of articles on plateau and body’s functions. Ok, then you train harder, you strict your diet and nothing! Then you start thinking maybe I am not so good genetically to deal with that belly fat? Maybe I am not so blessed to have perfect ABS? One day you train less, another day you eat some ice-cream in the night, you like that feeling – to feel free and do whatever you want! Because everyone tells you why are you losing weight? You’re looking good! You believe them and they eat all that delicious stuff (your cravings) and you cheat on your diet, you promise that’s only 1 time! but then it repeats again and again. Anyhow you don’t lose any weight, so why you couldn’t get some pleasure? Still having some hope to lose that fat, but motivation is gone!
    You start to believe that’s really not your cup of tea! As a result: you drop off the competition or training program…

    The solution of a problem is to find new motivation! Find something that you want so bad, that you would never change it for chips, chocolate, burgers, etc!

    I know that well because I had the same feeling and I gained weight instead of losing it. It’s sad, but I hope to get your books and be a member of Inner circle to burn the fat and see my ABS finally!!!

    Thanks for attention! 🙂
    Always your fan! =)

  • Antonio Mario Angotti

    I think that the most difficult thing is consistency. We are all very busy and have a ton of excuses not to do what we really wish to accomplish. Work, children, wife/husband, all demand attention, but we rarely are able to break into a successful mode, because we give up too easily. It is not a question of motivation, it is a question of firm commitment to change for the good.

  • cynthia varamo

    I feel that people drop out of weight loss programs because they expect the weight to drop off immediately with little work on their part. It takes work to change your lifestyle-eating habits and exercise. I stick with them because any change is a good one. You didn’t put the weight on overnight, so why should you expect to lose it overnight. I have found success, by accepting exercise and clean eating as a way of life and not a quick fix.

  • BC Wildman

    Belief! Do I believe I can do this? I have struggled with my own participation in the “Burn the Fat” competition since it was announced. So far, I have lost 150 pounds. The next 40 to 45 pounds are the most difficult. I won’t ever be “buff”! I will have loose skin. My age (63) and gender (female) are there to work against me. How can I change my body composition in 98 days? I will need to follow what I preached to students for 40 years “Do your work!” I can’t just say “If I can” but need to apply what was written in Mark centuries ago, “All things are possible to him who believes. I do believe; help my unbelief!”

    People drop out because of a lack of focus. Keep your eye on the prize. It takes TIME to do what is right. It also takes encouragement, support, and being accountable. Accountability is very important.

    Goal orientation! I achieved one goal in my weight loss. I went off all medication. No insulin (N and R), no blood pressure or cholesterol medicine), etc. I floundered for a time and a season because of a lack of goals. I had to resolve the issue around “loose skin”. I have! It is a time to move forward and be the best I can be, loose skin and all. That is why I am still moving forward and sticking to my weight loss goal.

  • Susan F.

    I believe the answer is that many people either don’t set goals or they set unrealistic goals. It’s easy to lose focus in either case. I know from experience that if I don’t have a strong reason and specific goals for losing weight (or anything), I never succeed. I have always succeeded in reaching my goal weight, however, maintaining is another story. That’s where I usually lose my drive. Still working on that one!
    I love your insight and articles, Tom. Thanks for all you do to keep us all motivated!

    Susan F.

  • Hi Tom: No need to put me in the Body Transformation challenge as I’m a trainer, but here’s my take….I think it’s because there is a lack of support….I have an 80-90% success rate in my 10-Week Challenges I think because “I’m always there supporting them….24/7 thru various ways” and I think that’s what people need more than anything…to do a Challenge like yours in community….strength in numbers. Food, training aside, the human psyche is a powerful thing and it can override anything…put a fe psyches together in a team event and there is less likelihood that that will happen….or so we hope! Good luck in your contest! You ROCK!

  • Stumbling blocks include the all or nothing attitude:” I’m too busy and I didn’t make progress this week because I skipped two workouts and ate too much.” Then the towel gets thrown in. Why health gets put on the back burner, I’ll never know because without it, life is the pits.

    I’ve tried a number of times to get people back “on the wagon” during the challenges, and it seems that once that decision is made to throw in the towel, it stays thrown. Like an “on/off” switch.

    I stick to it because health is a priority and I know that if I don’t, there is no chance in hell in succeeding. While teams help me walk the straight and narrow, I don’t need one as long as I know a lot of people are running along beside me. I do maintain this lifestyle between challenges but end up getting a little sloppy when life gets hectic. During challenges, I am totally consequent. The lure of the chance to go to Maui must be the reason. 😉

  • Sherri

    Laziness…we want the quick fix, the painless gain, sure success in a bottle, instant manifestation. To finish any challenge we need to find the kind of accountability that works for us…group support, rewards, journaling, training with a partner or group, personal chef, cheering section. We need to want it in the worse way. Sometimes change only happens when we are up against a wall and have no other choice…to live instead of slowly die. For some we need to find an affordable solution that won’t drain the bank. We need to be single minded, to focus intently on the surety of success. We need permission to back slide knowing that all is not lost if we miss our footing and have to begin again. We need alternative eating plans for vegan/vegetarian diets. We need personal role models to monitor our progress and believe in and encourage us. We want to win but we need the tools and confidence to do it.

  • Sylvie

    Why do people quit?
    Because it’s easier. You know how you wake up one day to realize you’re all of a sudden x lb/kg heavier and then pretend it isn’t true or just live with it until it gets so hard that doing something about it doesn’t seem that hard. So, you take up a fitness and nutrition program, accept a challenge, etc. But then as time goes by it gets harder and harder so you just quit.

    What’s my experience?
    I have quit a few times. I usually tell myself the goal hadn’t been realistic in the first place. Other times I get satisfied with the results. And then there’s plain old injury.

    What would be different if I were to enter the BFFM body transformation contest?
    Actually, just by thinking about your question, Tom, I have come up with the right answer – at least the right answer for me. I’d give myself constant reminders that being fat is hard too and even if finishing the contest seems harder, quitting would be way harder because I hate being a quitter. Besides, if I never reach my goal, I’d have to start all over again and again…

  • Roger

    I think that the biggest reason that people fail to complete programs is they fail to prepare. The preparation has to be mental as well as have a plan in place. This plan should be in writting.

    I forget who said it but “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.

  • Connie Keiser

    Why people don’t finish… well here’s my story…. i really never finished getting started. I purchesed your books, a tape measure, and the pinch measure tool. I read the boooks and that’s about as far as i could organize myself. Just the kickstart i need is me and pain is what sets off the mindset. I’ve tried fasting to kickstart weight loss, I’ve purchesed weightloss programs, I even started doing short walks. Past and current injuries creep in, challenging me even more,, knowing if I would get these 30 lbs off my joints I would feel better! Support must be key I have not tried that. I even fathomed the thought of me nana sugar babies

  • Kristy Fox

    There are multiple reasons why people don’t finish challenges.
    They get thrown off by the competition. They have an all or nothing mentality and one slip off there game and they throw in the towel. They lose sight of the goal or don’t have faith in there own potential. It is easier to quit than to fight. I personally have struggled with all of these issues. I think the biggest reason really has to do with mindset though. You must have a clear objective as to what your challenging yourself for. It may be a competition but your really challenging yourself. Without a clear path, goals and a plan to get there you have nothing but a set up for failure. Yes, I know even the best laid plans of mice and men can fail but you have to want to do it for yourself if you don’t there is no finishing until you do. We can not all win the challenges obviously there is always a winner and a loser but you don’t lose when the focus is on you and your overall health. I attempted the holiday challenge and failed myself for the reasons above. I lost sight of my goals and what I wanted to accomplish. I got sick and let it knock my off my game and then the excuses took over. I failed to see my own potential and visualize where I was going. I stayed away for a while because of my own guilt and shame. I committed and failed, but did I? In the course of all of this I have learned a lot and know that I must try and try until I succeed. It is all about mindset and where you want to be, where do and what do you see for yourself.

  • Maricela

    How do you stick with it ?
    WOW , how do you really stick with it, In my personal experience, I would have to say that taking it day by day was what worked for me .I didn’t become a transformation story that you can read and say WOW ..she transformed ..but In my mind body and spirit I new that for 98 days I didn’t not once cheat ..I worked out and felt really good.I looked pretty much the same ..and was mortified ..when I weight myself ..I’d gained 3 lbs ..and felt like a complete idiot ..who gains weight during a challenge ? ME…LOL
    I came to the conclusion that the stress in my life altered my results.having work stress and personal stress at home ..really kept me up at night ..sleeping 4-5 interrupted hours a night is not good for your recovery process.
    I can understand people dropping out when they figure out that after the first 3 weeks they didn’t lose any pounds ..for me I would say ..not losing any weight was a big problem .
    People fail these challenges because they simply love to eat, they are to lazy to exercise or they expect big/fast results. Plain n simple right ? so then why did I fail if I exercised ate right and
    worked my butt off..
    LIFE life is complicated enough ..this just added more stress to it .

  • Gregg Lyon

    I am 5’9″ and 213. I was in decent shape my entire Life until I hit the 30’s. Then it was a struggle back and forth between in shape and out of shape. Then I hit my 40’s, and currently at 45, cannot even yo-yo anymore. I have come to the conclusion that the reason is very simple. Your Mind!! I can convince myself it is ok to eat bad whenever my brain would like me to. I can rationalize eating garbage food like no tomorrow. My will power has gotten weaker, and my ability to cave into my stomach driving my brain seems to get easier and easier with age. I start each and every day with great intentions, then, at the first opportunity for greatness, my stomach talks my mind into doing something very foolish, and greatness turns to foolishness. I am extremely angry about this, and looking for anyway I can to break the mold. I consider myself an intelligent individual, so you can imagine how upsetting it is to know that I am not intelligent enough to put my health first! It’s only the most important thing in our lives, yet, we can’t seem to do it!! Maybe if I get your hard copy book, I’ll push myself again, and it will stick this time!!?? Your brain is an amazing thing; it can rationalize it’s way around anything. Fix the mind, you fix the drop out rate!! Let me know if you figure it out, I am anxiously awaiting!! 🙂

  • BabyA

    Failure is truly easy! Nothing worth having or doing is easy in this life- children, health, a good job, a great marriage. They are all worth working tremendously hard for. Excuses, we are full of excuses as a society. There are millions of reasons why we can’t or don’t want to do things. I think of all those like my grandparents that struggled through the great depression to find food, shelter, and work. They had no choice, but to work extremely hard to keep it all together.
    I have multiple health problems and I have not had the energy or stamina to really focus on a strenuous workout routine, not to mention what hypothyroidism has done to my metabolism! But, those are excuses and I refuse to have anymore excuses. I will quit focusing on all the reasons of why I can’t exercise or how much harder it will be for me to see results. There are no more excuses- I have no choice, but to just do it!

  • Samantha Farewell

    The reason I think people drop out of weight loss challenges is because people get intimidated by the results of others in the contest. I know personally I start to feel like I’m not progressing fast enough, especially with some people that have a lot of weight to lose, I see them losing 5 lbs in one week where as I wont see a pound lost until a week or two.

    As for fitness programs in general, I have dropped out of a lot and the reason usually is because I don’t have the discipline or enough support. Sometimes because I’m not seeing results I want to quit one program and jump into another too fast. So I guess not having patients to keep pushing to the end.

  • Vikki

    I have had success and I have dropped out so to say. I have dropped out mostly because of not seeing insant success. I know it doesn’t happen in one day but my mind is geared on seeing results right away , I step on the scale everyday (which I know is a downfall) and my weight goes down and then goes up or doesn’t change at all and to me that is dicouraging and failure.
    We are creatures of habit and if we don’t commit to doing the eating habit and exercise routine daily it doesn’t work. If you slip up you have to get back on track imediately and a lot of people get the frame of mind I goofed up so it won’t work , they fail to get back in the routine.
    Most people try one way and if it doesn’t work they see failure. I think people need to try a variety of different ways of exercise and foods to keep on track.
    Some people need family and friends to help encourage them and sometimes family anf friends can be the worst enemy. Having a coach is also a way to stay on track.
    Another reason for the high drop out rate is they think about the person they will become (mentally not physically). Some people become not so nice in their attitude and that can be a setback also. Some times your partners attitude changes and that can also be a deterant and cause of failure.
    Setting big goals is another cause of failure I find setting small realistic steps are better.
    I am embarking on a new weight loss challenge now so hopfully this will work I have mt mind set in a better direction this time.

  • Stacy English

    I think the reason for this is most people start out strong, myself included, but not just strong, obsessive is the word. Instead of slow and steady wins the race, you come out of the gate poised and ready to take on the challenge but instead of giving yourself room to make mistakes, easing into it, you go in full steam ahead and peeter out before you even get started. I believe this is just human nature. You want to do something fabulous and think of your goals as short term instead of long term. Weight loss and getting healthy is a life long change, its not something that you should do just to win a contest, your health and your life is the contest. Also, instead of what you might consider as “failing”, its easier to quit, like you didn’t even try, that way you lose nothing and “save face”.

  • Rhonda Carr

    1. I have never participated in your weight lost contest, but I have dropped out of plenty of programs in the past. The main reason I dropout is because I don’t see immediate results. when I say immediate I mean within 2-3 months I expect to lose some weight. I have always had a difficult time losing weight. I would give 100% to a program and then after about 2 months if I see little to no results I stop.

    2. The thing that would make stick to a program is individual help. I am one of those people who have such a difficult time losing weight. I wish I had someone to work with me one on one to look at what I’m eating and work with me to find the right way to eat and exercise for my body. So many times I feel like a failure and give up. Most of the time it would cost a fortune to have someone to work with you one on one and I don’t have a fortune.

  • paul marshall

    Just as it is a person’s choice to be happy or mad/sad, it is also their choice to decide what they desire most, weight loss or their lifestyle. I have friends who were brought up vegan and have no desire for meat. The same can happen to those who want to transform their body.
    It can be hard at first to give up or even cut down on unhealthy eating and the lifestyle that goes with it but after a time, it becomes like driving a car or riding a bike. There are times when I have things that aren’t the best choice but I am at the point where I can limit those choices and that is how I stick with it, by making the choice to have a better body than I did before and I’ve been doing it now for over 40 years.

  • Mike

    When it really comes down to it, I don’t think many people see themselves as the type of person who can compete in such a contest. Sure, maybe they delude themselves for a few weeks, but the mindset, belief, whatever you want to call it, is not a reality for them.

    At least that’s the case for me. My reality is that I’ve struggled with my weight since I was 13. I’m now 33. My reality is that my life gets in the way. My reality is that I’ve always been the guy with the pudgy belly but that it’s ok because at least I can enjoy a good meal and kick back a few beers and not worry about it. I have absolutly no idea what it would be like, feel like, look like to have a body that could win, or even compete, in a contest like this.

    Maybe more people, myself included, would be more successful if the action was supported by belief. Writing goals, eating nutritiously, monitoring calories, working out – these are all actions. I can do these. But I don’t really believe that I can ever be the guy in the before and after photo’s and I don’t know how to change that.

  • CJ

    Instant gratification or rather a lack thereof! People want change and they want it now. With hectic daily lives and commitments to family and work, people look for the easy quick fix. While 49 or 98 days does not sound like a long time, come day 4, 5, or 6, if they aren’t seeing results, most quit. They have to remember, they did not get out of shape overnight. And they won’t get back into shape overnight. Realistic expectations help you continue to the end.

  • Sola Somade

    Commitment to weight loss program cannot be achieved by making resolutions
    Or will power. I believe the determination to remain in shape and stay
    Healthy should arise from wanting to serve God in good health, not
    Overworking the heart due to uncontrolled eating habit. Most people
    Drop out of keep fit programs because the motive for joining the
    Program is not spiritually based and may not have asked for help
    Through prayers to Successfully finish the program.

  • Kathy-ann

    Fear of failure – there is alot of accountability in your program. And we see pictures of persons who did phenomenally. Somehow its hard to see that for yourself. We have years of practise in eating poorly and being lazy and we just think that will come back and we won’t do as well as we should, as well as we think others are doing so our fear cripples us into quitting. The way for us to stick to it, is to see how it benefits us. Make note of how better we’re sleeping, how stronger we’re feeling. Personalise the little goals and realize any step forward regardless to whether its a big or a small step is progress.

  • Most people are looking for the quick fix. That’s our society today. I’ll eat my way into sad shape and then after looking at myself, I’ll think “Wow, I’ve gotta lose weight, burn fat, eat better, whatever”. When people don’t see results right away, they lose focus and, ultimately, pack it in. Having the body you want or the look you want is like anything else–playing the piano, physics, flying an airplane–you have to do it in order to get better at it. It’s practice. It’s repetitions. It’s focus, It’s a mindset. You want to get stronger…then go practice being stronger. You want to lose weight..go practice losing weight. It has to become part of your mindset…a habit. Then, and only then, will the results come.

  • Jennifer

    Personally, I have quit contests/general weightloss before due to lack of results. Quick results, the results that keep you going and focused on the ultimate goal. How to stick with it? Mental strength. Change up happens in life on a daily basis and understanding how to work with a change. Also, knowing how to visualize yourself accomplishing a goal from begging to end. I did a marathon a while back and completed it. Not once during training or the day of the run did it cross my mind that failure was an option. Yet, I don’t know what mind set I was in or how to turn that back on.

  • Carol

    I think people drop out of contests and don’t stick with it because they don’t plan. It’s easy to just wing it. If you have a general idea of what to do it is very easy to get up every morning and think you are doing all the right things. Then at 4 in the afternoon when the day hasn’t gone just as it was suppose to it becomes very easy to fall into the old comfort zone of bad habits and vow to “start again” tomorrow. Then this becomes the pattern and pretty soon weeks, months go by without progress. It takes a lot of discipline and hard work and most people are more comfortable doing what they have always done.

  • Jennifer

    Hey Tom, great question! I think people drop out of the contest because they’re not prepared for it before it begins. By this I mean they don’t have solid goals or a clear vision for their new body. Solid goals would eliminate the possibility for failure simply because there is a solid plan in place to overcome all obstacles encountered.

    How to stick with it? Make a plan, and work the plan! Having been in the 90% group, that was my failure. I did not make a plan, I did not have my accountability established prior to the contest, and I did not have a solid support group at home. All of which are essential to achieving any goal worth having.

  • Kat

    The reason people drop out of body transformation contest?

    The immediacy of the reward is the issue. If someone believes the reward is far away and more difficult to achieve,then it is harder to stay motivated for it versus the immediate reward of the reduction in tension one gets from quitting.

    To put it more simply, if I had a one and several thousand chance at a trip to Hawaii, but I have to bust my butt just for the mere chance to win, as the process gets harder to get to the end, the more apt a person is to feel the reward is just not in reach, or just not worth it. But if I knew for a fact the reward was waiting at the end, then staying the course would be easier, the reward is a sure thing. If I do ‘X” then I know I get “Y”.

    It can be very stress relieving to quit doing all the hard work, which provides a guaranteed immediate reward, even if there is long term consequences. As we all know long term consequences seem too far off to matter in the moment, particularly when a 5:30 am workout calls versus staying in a warm bed.

    This is where proper support for the journey is invaluable. Peer pressure alone is enough to pull some people up out of the bed, some people it will take more than people on the internet to do that. Proper support in their own environment may be necessary. And that takes a personal dedication on the part of the individual to find that. An internet contest cannot do that for them, sadly to say.

    My 1 1/2 cent….for what it is worth.

  • Juan Mantilla

    I think there are three reasons:
    1. Lack of realistic goals. There is a lot of information on the web about miracle products that can confuse people.
    2. A lot of people don’t like Gyms (including me), and prefer to working out at home or outdoor, but there are a lot of workouts to do in the Gym and a few for home.
    3. Cardio or no Cardio, that’s the question. This issue is key depending on your goals. How much cardio should I do?.
    4. Constant support from your friends and family, or from anybody else.

    How stick with it?
    The first thing that I would recommend to do is to teach people on how to set realistic goals based on their current physique. This could include planning of cardio sessions (time and intensity) and weight lifting goals. All of this must be complemented with the understanding that everybody is different and the process of getting to your goal is trial and error. Second, a home workout routine will be helpful and I think it could be attractive to more people. And last but no least, finding some support from friends an family is very important for a continuous improvement.

    PS: Sorry for my english…

  • Steve Z

    I did finish the one time I entered. Why?

    Well, I made the committment to the process, took the photos, and so on. And did an OK but not great job of following through. But part of the the committment was to take the end of contest photos, too. So I did that. And once that was done, submitting them was easy.

    I guess that the committment I made at the beginning is what let me see it through to the end.

    Best wishes to everyone involved!

  • From personal experience it’s because of shame. My biggest hurdle in these transformations has been that I feel the need to be 100% compliant and 110% perfect at all times; being human is not allowed. I set myself up for failure because my high expectations don’t leave room for life to happen.

    So, learning from past mistakes, I will be much more relaxed going into this Summer Challenge and won’t take my eyes off my goal – to create a healthier, trimmer body in which I feel comfortable!

  • Kurt

    Why do most people quit? Well, it is because it is hard. It takes a lot of discipline and commitment to training and nutrition to make it. Many people like to throw out excuses for why they can’t do it today. There are times when I felt tired from a long day at work but I go work out anyway and most of the time by the end I feel better than when I started.

    How to you keep going? I found that having a training partner helps out so much. I also like to have a plan for training every time I do it. I also find reading inspirational quotes and videos to help also. I think it’s mostly mental. You really have to want it.

  • Douglas R. Harczak

    Why do so many people drop out of body transformation contests? Because they don’t set specific goals. You need to write the goals down on paper. You need to update and review them at least once or twice per week. Utilizing a training log and food journal would be imperative for a 49 day or 90 day body transformation contest. Of course staying motivated goes without saying. I would think anyone who is entering a contest like this would have to be motivated. It always makes me wonder why someone would enter a body transformation contest in the first place if they were not extremely motivated.

    Having the necessary tools in place for your fitness challenge is just part of the equation. You have to add your own commitement, dedication and will power to take the steps necessary to accomplish your goals.

    One of the biggest obstacles is dedicating the time for proper meal preperation, shopping for all the right foods, bringing the proper foods with you where ever you go such as work, kids baseball games, cook out’s, relatives houses on holidays, etc.

  • Katie B

    A body transformation is seriously hard work. It takes an immense amount of selfdiscipline, dedication and committment to carry on through the end. Many times people get wrapped up in the big picture, and get overwhelmed at the size of the task and all it involves. Self doubt and fear of failure sets in and may cause us to drop off. So what does it take to combat this? A mindset shift. Do make your goals and overall plan to accomplish them, but once it is set and in place, simply focus on the task at hand. One day at a time, one workout at a time, one meal at a time, one moment at a time. Focus on the here and now and the overall is less overwhelming.

  • Jeremy DeWitt

    I think the biggest question is the one that i hear my self and others ank the most.
    What am I doing wrong?

  • Rose

    Once I make a commitment to a diet and exercist plan, I can stick with it for a while but I end up quitting, usually by a series of falling off and getting back on the wagon episodes, because it is hard to stay focused and make a sustained effort. I tell myself I am making a lifestyle chnge, but the old habits get in the way of the new, fragile ones. The old temptations seem to win in the end every time. Food, after all, was involved in the first sin! I am not vain enough to care about how I look that much. I do care about my health now that I am facing the consequences of my bad habits. I have a list of obstcles to a succesful body transformation, and to overcome those obstacles, it takes sustained hard work and focus. I tend to feel guilty about being self-centered and self focused during attempts to change, but that is exactly what is required to accomplish the goal. I have read about all the ways around these obstacles, and it works for awhile, but it feels like being one of those people who spin plates on a pole – sooner or later all the plates crash to the ground.

  • Lisa Meeks

    Why do people drop out?Possibly a low sense of self worth, or living in the role of caregiver to others. My personal experience is that while they start out with the right ideas, information and goals, they don’t feel like they are worthy of the time they need to devote to themselves.Relationships, family, children,it’s often easier to take care of everyone else rather than to take care of yourself..

    On thisline of thinking..what do the finishers have? TO stick with it and give 14 weeks to total improvement of themselves, I believe one needs a high sense of self worth, and the ability to keep thier own needs and wants at the top of the list.

    I AM WORTH IT!!!

  • HiTom,
    I would love to help you out and to hopefully win a hardcopy of your book. I have been a Burn the Fat reader for two years. I really enjoy what you have to say and have tried to encorporate some of the information into my daily life. I think for me the reason that people quit is that Life gets in the way! It is difficult to shop for the right foods, to afford to buy the foods that we know we should be eating, to find the right things to eat when you go out( even though that is improving), to find the extra time to work out, and to enjoy it enough to keep at it. For myself, kids get in the way and need more of my time, my job requires more from me or I am so busy trying to make all the wheels turn in the right direction that it is just easier to go back to the old routine than to fight to do what I want to do for me! I really feel that is why many of us can’t stay on track. It is a constant struggle and there are too many other people that need things first. The desire is there but there are only so many hours in the day!

  • Nicole Stewart

    Most people feel that they cannot do a challenge because it’s complicated and feel like a failure when they drop out or quit.I know this because I feel like I failed when I go on a diet or take a challenge and quit because I don’t feel strong enough to continue.

  • I think they drop out because it takes a lot of dedication and commitment that most people don’t have. Having said that, I also think there is an all-or-nothing mentality that derails people. If you have one bad day, you often give up all together instead of dusting yourself off and getting back on track.

  • Nizamudin Sikkandar

    In my opinion, most people drop out because of the following reasons:

    1. Frustration due to not being able see the desired/expected result
    2. Not believing in oneself and having a negative attitude
    3. Complaining or blaming all on to genetics
    4. Feeling de-motivated or dejected seeing others’ results

  • Ami Williams

    “GETTING BACK ON THE HORSE,” or lack thereof, is one reason failure thrives in weight loss attempts. We seem to have an “perfect or nothing” approach and the minute we eat that cake at our daughter’s wedding or drink some wine past 8pm, or whatever weight loss rule we break, we figure we have failed.

    I once saw an interview with the CEO of a massive, successful corporation. He said that they may not get their business 100% right all the time, but if they could get 80% right most of the time, then they could be successful. I think that it’s important to remember we are all human and can and WILL make mistakes, in our life, and most certainly in our diet.

    I agree with Tom that we should “Train hard and expect success,” but I think we need to embrace that ALL THE MORE if we have experienced a set back or a road block and GET BACK ON THE HORSE that leads to BETTER HEALTH and a BETTER BODY!

  • rotimi titilope

    one of the reasons why people dropped off transformation contest is indecision you need to make up your mind that you want to it takes you to succeed. secondly it takes a good certified trainer to get a transformed body they know what it takes you need to have them to do it but they are hardly available thirdly, you need to create time for the rules and routines they are prerequites for goal achievements i had done it in the past and it actually works but i got a new set of adiposity after i had another baby iam ready to do it again if iam given chance

  • joan

    Why I DIDN’T quit?

    My family is my inspiration. My health was rapidly declining as my health and energy were being sapped away from me. I found myself only able to get my kids off to school in the AM, sleep the day, and open the door upon their return. Depressed and not getting any better. The weight held me back, I couldn’t fit any of my clothes. One day I had to attend a Mother/Daughter tea, ( I had stopped leaving my house) so I needed an outfit. Yup that was me wearing a size 16; up from a size 8! It didn’t feel good, although others thought this new healthy look was fine. For me that was enough. My only Princess conscious of our looks, and of me especially not looking like the “other moms” sent me researching ways to lose.

    I found that I needed a long-term “life-style” change not a fad diet. Gradually I made the proper changes, mind, body, and spirit. Today I am up and about; a functioning member of my family again. I have a great body, energy, and healthier than I have been.

    Sticking with the new me is possible because I have not made impossible demands upon myself. I haven’t restricted myself, and my family helps keep me accountable, we all eat much healthier and encourage one another.

  • Melissa Rafanello

    I think one of the main reasons people drop out of competitions is they get discouraged. If they don’t lose 40 pounds in a month or whatever unrealistic goal they have set themselves up for, they feel it’s a lost cause. I know this from personal experience. I’ve had such a hard time losing weight since I’ve quit smoking that I have been yo yoing all over the place. But, I plan on using the Summer Challenge as my “just stick to it and see what happens”. I have not been this weight in a very long time, and it does a lot to your psyche. So, my plan is goi g to be 1) set realistic goals and 2) go for it 100%. I have Nothing to lose, except fat of course….

  • Lara Wright

    I believe the biggest reason for failure is the willingness to accept it. We live in a society where technology has made our lives easier, and when something gets difficult, we just don’t want to bother. Unless we are truly committed to defeating our bad habits, they will not change. My father used to be a smoker long before I was born. He had tried many times to quit, but would always go back. One day while driving home from work, he reached for another cigarette, and then he asked himself why he was doing this. It wasn’t good for him, it was dirty, and smelled bad. His own father had died from lung cancer. Is that what he wanted? He realized he hated the way it made him feel about himself. He was giving his freedom up to a smelly cigarette. After that, he was truly committed to quitting. He never smoked again. I have often thought of his commitment when I face my own challenges. Sure there are times I get frustrated and want to quit, but I step back, analyze my method, make some changes, and start fighting again. I can’t quit because it makes me feel hopeless, and I need to hope. I have been trying for two years to lose 50 lbs of built up baby fat. Finally, this year, I found the right method, and have lost 25lbs so far. I had done several popular weight loss plans in the past after prior pregnancies, but they didn’t work for me this time. It turns out, I had lost too much muscle mass in the past from those diets to have them work the same way this time. Thanks to your site, I have returned to weight lifting, and hope to continue to lose weight and get my body back.

  • Suzanne Phipps

    The reason that most people quit is motivation. They will be motivated for the first week or so and even see some great results. Then the excitement wears off and then all of the excuses start on why they can’t or don’t finish.

  • Amy

    I’ve entered several transformation contests over the last couple of years and have never completed any of them. I’m glad you asked this question, Tom, because all this time I haven’t really thought about why! It could be a general lack of motivation or discipline, but I’ve had very successful periods of weight loss and increased fitness. I’ve used many different fitness programs that I have completed with great results. So contest failure would appear to be something else for me. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had a more and more difficult time getting/staying in shape. My body changes the rules of the game and I have to keep figuring out what the best ways are to respond to those changes. When I figure them out, I have another period of success and fitness. Sometimes when I think I’m on to a good solution I’ll sign up for a transformation contest expecting great results, but then I won’t have as much success as I hoped and I’ll get discouraged and forget about the contest. Or I may sign up for a contest to try a new strategy to get fit and will find that it doesn’t fit into my life very well and I’ll get discouraged and forget about the contest. Interestingly, however, I’ll have periods of great success between contests. I’m thinking that stress may play a role in this story. When I’m in a contest counting down the days I feel pressure to see results and show them to the contest forum community, etc., even though I’m excited about it and have experienced nothing but wonderful support from other contest members. I just put too much pressure on myself, I suppose, and worry about embarrassing myself with poor results. Perhaps at this stage in my life (I’m 45) a steady stream of cortisol from that pressure is enough to keep me from seeing results even with strict adherence to the plan I’m following at the time. That same strict adherence to a plan and dedication to living a fit and healthy life – minus the added pressure of a contest – always give me great results. My problem is that when I see great results I enter another contest thinking I’ll keep doing great and I’ll win something – and that’s when I stop seeing the great results! It’s a vicious cycle! LOL!!

  • Sam Johnson

    I think people quit for different reasons. I think men often quit when they percieve they have let themselves down, and then do not like to have to “admit defeat” to anyone else let alone themselves.
    I think women often quit when they feel they have let someone down who believed in them.
    Additionally, in general, I think people quit when they did not fully understand what was going to be required of them. Often people may make rash decisions to committ to something but are not fully ready to follow through. Sometimes people will stay committed even though they did not know what would be required so as not to have to face the “defeat” of paragraph one. But the further away from the person to whom one committs I E the difference from letting your mom down versus letting down someone you talk to by phone once every 5 months also factors into this.
    Thanks for letting me share my views.

  • We live in a pay now-expect now society. Its difficult to switch to a pay now-expect latter kind of mentality. Success is always a “pay in advance” kind of investment and most people have difficulty excepting that.

    We battle the perceived “easiness” of change through all the quick help books and programs and people seem to expect for change to happen instantly.

  • shari Wilkinson

    I think people give up too soon. I remember when I got to a certain point the transformation took place. Patience is the key.

  • Skye Richards

    A loser didn’t even start properly. Didn’t think it was possible. Didn’t fantasize about wonderful and pleasurable things that never happen to them–like health + beauty. They felt they weren’t worth it. They had too little guts, weaker souls.

  • Susan sullivan

    I believe that life just gets in the way. I live in Maui and we often have company. I try in the beginning of their visit to stick with eating healthy and exercising but with them begging us to go to dinner and join in most of their tourist activities, my health soon gets pushed to the wayside. We have been to weddings where we spend 5 or 6 days on the mainland. It is hard to stick to healthy eating when everyone is constantly celebrating. If I become it then my taste change and I tend to crave fast food. Things like this… just gets in the way.

    I am going to start the challenge tomorrow. We have a wedding to go to in June but instead of staying with relatives we have de died to get a hotel room. That way I can bring my juicer and healthy foods so when we go out I will have already eaten making it less likely that I will cheat. By staying in a hotel we will not beinvolved in as many of the activities, by choice, in order to maintain a healthy routine. I love my family but I have to learn to love myself first and this will not happen as soon if I continue to let meh self go due to …… Life getting in the way.

  • suzanne

    People see the contests and think “I can do that easy”, without realizing the commitment and time involved to get to the finish line. As soon as they realize it’s going to take actual WORK to get there, they drop out. Maybe if they hired a trainer to motivate them on, or joined a physical group (not online but right there with them), they could be held accountable. But…they are only accountable to themselves and that makes it easier to just give up. In order to be successful, you have to invest in yourself. Make a contract just for yourself with all the benefits you WILL recieve after you’re done. Good health, low body fat, maybe even a six pack. Then put the clause in your contract that states what happens if you quit. All bad things. Read this contract EVERYDAY. Memorize it. Do whatever it takes to get to that finish line.

  • Marianne Romano

    People drop out of body transformation contests because they haven’t reached the point in their life yet where they REALLY want their body to look a certain way. I think it’s because of fear ~ Fear of the next step, fear of failing and fear of the unknown. Leaving one’s comfort zone is scary, but totally necessary to take the next step in a better you. So the negative talking happens in one’s head, instead of constantly realizing that body transformation is a hard one. I do believe that MANY people have the best intentions when they begin, but realize too quickly that 98 days is a long way off. They have to just look at their goals and what they want to accomplish. It’s a process and a long one at that!

    As you know, Tom, it really starts with having a plan in all areas; goals, nutrition, weight training and cardio. All components MUST be looked at carefully and treated equally. One has to have a Plan A and then a Plan B just in case Plan A isn’t working effectively. To actually finish, one MUST really want this for themself and realize that it REALLY takes a lot of planning. One also has to be willing to change their behaviors, and sometimes that means not going out to dinner. One must be okay with these choices. Speaking of choices, it doesn’t matter if you live in NY, LA, Vancouver or Singapore, there is ALWAYS lean protein available and complex carbs. We all have a choice to be more or not. See you at the finish line!

  • Melanie

    I haven’t entered a challenge yet because it’s too daunting. The eating part I find easier to do than the exercise, but the regime you need to stick to in order to actually win this type of competition is quite gruelling day in day out. It is like having a full time job on top of what you do already – it’s alot to take on. I think most people find this too much after a few weeks because other things just get in the way. I follow a BFFM eating plan the vast majority of the time and don’t find it difficult to eat the right foods (though sometimes I’m too busy to fit in all 5 meals). I’m not into junk food and don’t have a sweet tooth so I don’t have food binges. I do however have a weakness for weekend drinking (alcohol) socially. During the week all I drink is filtered water, maybe a decaf tea in the evening and 1 morning coffee per day. The weekend drinking however has made my weight loss after my second baby very slow. I could give this up on my own quite happily, but peer pressure is another matter. I also find it really difficult to get enough workouts in. I love weight training, but find the cardio more difficult to stay motivated with. I have thought about joining the Inner Circle, but what put me off that is I think I would really struggle to log on frequently enough. 2 years ago I had a personal trainer and achieved a small transformation, it was brilliant and I didn’t mind the hard work at all. But then we had to relocate with my husband’s job, I now have the baby full time and I’m not working so can’t afford to hire anyone. Otherwise, I would do that again as a first choice. I don’t think an online support group would work for me. I could really do with entering the latest challenge to get rid of the baby belly and get my figure back, but at the moment all I see is a 12 foot brick wall in the way!!

  • I have never had the courage to enter a body transformation contest but I can say that I have been a quitter when it comes to training hard and expecting success. Many times, after training hard I can hardly get out of bed for a few days. This obstacle has been very discouraging.

    When we endeavor to become better than we were yesterday we are always faced with obstacles. Sometimes, we do not anticipate those obstacles and they take us out. Then upon failure we give up, recoiling at the bitter taste it leaves in our mouth. Looking at this from a body transformation perspective it is imperative that we embrace the truth if we are to pursue excellence. What is that truth? That truth is, we have not yet attained it. An even deeper truth for chronic quitters (myself included) is that we are already failures. I believe that once we fully embrace this the fear of failure can no longer keep us from pushing thru to completion for, what have we to lose? It is in this position that we can succeed.

  • I’ll start with HOW I stick to a program… NO CONTESTS! The only way any “program” works for me is that a complete lifestyle amendment occurs. Eating around the perimeter of the store was a big one , I had to get back to it after twenty plus years away.
    Another point, reasonable exercise to begin with, body weight and walking with deliberate pushing strides, and occasional running intermediately to build wind and muscle endurance.
    Good supplements, Nutrilite for me, and good sleep, use melatonin when needed. There are other good supplements by NeuroScience, Calm PRT, and Kavanace PM that help in reducing elevated Cortisol, Nor-epinephrine and epinephrine,aiding sleep.
    More time with loved ones and friends that support my efforts, Not competitive, high stress, must accomplish loss mavens.
    Make it a point to eat 6 times a day between 100 and 600 for a total of between 1500 and 2000 calories a day to establish a baseline target for loss and a solid foundation to accommodate muscle building with increased protein and increased raw foods for short term energy.

    Why do people stop in contests and programs? Simply put- no long term lifestyle changes foreseen, not enough enough connection to family and friends and their lifestyles (don’t want to feel like the freak), or no buy in to the hyped goals or body look. Goals and vision for a program must match the vision of the attendee or participant. Too often the emphasis is on looks or “sexiness”, more emphasis needs to be put on living longer to enjoy life with your spouse into old age, or playing with the grandkids. These are motivating factors that nobody in a person’s inner circle would argue with. In fact, most family and friends will support it and not try to convince you that your program is extreme or out of line with normal.

    Enjoy the day team, My change for this week has been to plant a garden for fresh organic vegetables outside my door instead of having to drive to the store. YEAH! Come on September harvest.

  • Raquel

    98 days is a long time. 49 is not that short, either.
    And either you chose to change your lifestyle, or to do it just for the sake of maui won’t be enough. We all have busy lives. It’s not that easy to include the right mental behavior, the right alimentation, the right training (which ideally would include cardio + weighs). I work from 9.30 am to 8 pm. Either gym is my hobbie, or it’s impossible having “too much time” to do my other hobbies and gym “cause I have to”. I just don’t have enough time. Gym as to be my hobbie! I know that, but I’m still struggling to feel that. Not easy! I guess there are many others like me!

  • Chris

    I think that people drop out of body transformation contests because it is really hard work! It takes a ton of effort to plan your meals and macronutrients and then stick to it, and it’s hard going to the gym after a long day at work when you’re so tired and just want to curl up on the couch with a bowl of comfort food. Even though I KNOW I will feel great after a workout, it’s so hard just getting there. One must have a rock-solid goal, written down AND visualized constantly in order to be successful. You have to want it so bad that you will resist every temptation to skip “just this one workout,” or eat “just this one brownie :)” I’m looking forward to completing my 4th BFFM challenge this summer!

  • Marian

    I can share of my experience of bouncing between 210 lbs to 160 lbs (for 1.76 meters height, 34 years old, male) during one year of hard training. It was very hard and therefore very hard to maintain this result, so I quit overwhelmed of the program and the pounds piled up quickly to 190 lbs. Now I keep myself around 170 lbs in the range of +/- 1 lbs since near half a year and I’m very happy with this.
    I think the reason of quitting in the vast majority of the cases is the failure to make a fitness program as a lifestyle. One comes in this place due to several reasons:
    – putting unrealistic targets in terms of speed of getting the results or the results themselves. In my case, I wanted from a “puffy” boy to reach the “6-pack” state and I finally failed. I realized it is more important to stay healthy and in an acceptable range of weight rather than to be the proud owner of a 6 pack abs (which nobody sees it most of the time, to be realistic). So the first step was to relax the target a little bit, to make it more “achievable”.
    – another reason it definitely the reluctance to embrace “CALORIE COUNTING” advice. It was definitely my case and I can say it was the main culprit for the failure to stay in balance. When I finally accepted the idea and I started to count calories, I was shocked about how many mistakes I was doing by underestimating the caloric value of “snacks” or even the amount of fruits I was eating. Yes, the fruits are a healthy choise but still they “carry” calories. The same with almonds, walnuts, etc – their caloric value is very high. All accumulates over the day and it is very easy to step over the maintenance limit. Now I can maintain myself in a good balance even sometimes due to my schedule I cannot reach a gym several months a year…but I don’t forget to go back as soon as I can.

    In the end, everybody must look his way to a healthy lifestyle without making this a burden or just a momentum of will-power. Be reasonable with yourself in this process. Look for the long term and do not ignore the CALORIE COUNTING advice – this makes all the rest much easier.


    PS: Sorry for my English.

  • alena

    that’s because people are being too tough during thier diet. they start with motivation so they eat very few calories and work outfor hours and hours most brobebly the wrong work outs like cardio and qranshes.Soon thier bodies will get tierd and boreded, they are not motivated any more so they drop it and start eating unhealthy foods and end up gaining wieght rather than losing some

  • nicole nordli

    I think the reason most people fail when they set out to transform their bodies, is because they are looking at it as a “diet” and not looking at it as a “lifestyle”. There is no end with it being a lifestyle….this way of eating and exercising is for life! I also don’t think their “why” for starting it in the first place is strong enough, you need to write out your goals, being specific, right down to the date you want to accomplish and what you will be wearing when you reach them, you need to clearly visualize your success!!

  • Grumpypumpkin

    People sign up thinking “it’ll be easy”, that they’ll get amazing results by simply entering the contest, without any effort being required. It applies to all aspects of life, “I’ll pass my exam because I bought that book”, “I’ll pass my driver’s test if I employ an instructor”, “I’ll make amazing furniture by watching that show”. We all think it’s a good idea at the time, our intentions are good, but we simply lack the willpower/understanding/goal-setting skills (call it what you want, it’s what keeps you going!) to follow through…

  • Drew

    I can answer this question from two different perspectives.
    1st, I have managed to maintain a weight loss of 60 pounds for over 6 years now. I have done this primarily because I have an interest in nutrition, exercise physiology and how those things relate to performance. I am far from an expert but my interest keeps me reading books, blogs and listening to podcasts, and thus the topic is never far from my conscience mind.

    I also enjoy physical activity. Both the pure fitness kind like weight training and cycling, as well as the fun kind like surfing and softball. Being fit helps me do better in those activities. Working out is a part of my habits and so it is easy to do, like eating or brushing my teeth it is simply a habit I formed years ago.

    I can tell you however I am far from my goal weight, and I stopped my program for over a year, so I can answer the question from the drop out perspective as well.

    At one point I was the epitome of fitness, I could run all day, fast. I could knock out 100 pushups without thinking about it and often performed at physical levels most people dream about, for days on end. I was in the Army and in a very physically demanding job. I was also young, which helps. I ran into trouble when I left the Service for the green green bank accounts of civilian life. But I kept eating like a pro athlete, increased my smoking habit as I had more time and cash, and went from 215 pounds of lean body mass to 330 pounds of tar saturated fat. I was probably on the fast track to Death when I hit rock bottom. I quit smoking on my 30th birthday and about a year later tried running again.

    After a few years my lungs improved enough that I joined a gym and devoted 1-2 hours A DAY to treadmills and other implements of body fat distruction. In the Fall I could barely run a mile, but Spring I had completed my first triathlon (a sprint distance race), several duathlons and 5k’s, and the next Fall a full MS150 followed the next weekend by the Army 10 Miler race. I was on my way back it seemed, but then I crashed.

    Maybe it was burnout. Maybe I felt intimidated and overwhelmed by recent events. The Army 10 Miler was not long enough after a 150 mile bike ride for me to recover, and it was in record heat. I went through three water stops that were empty when I got there, I saw someone drop dead at the finish line right in front of me. Indeed that same weekend the Chicago Marathon became a killer as well. I had been looking forward to all the base training I would be doing in the off season. I did none. I kept eating though! I shot up from 230 to 290ISH by the following Spring. I only finished my first race, a 30 mile bike/10K run AFTER everybody, including race organizers had packed up and left. Officialy that is a DNF but I crossed that line damnit.

    I got back down to my current swing of 265-275. I can’t seem to go any lower no matter what I try. I am beginning to get depressed over it. I work hard and try to nail my nutrition but I always seem to get sidetracked. Then I binge on carbs. But even when I nail it, I don’t lose anything anymore. I just started up a strength routine. At the very least increasing my strength will help move my body around better. At best the increased muscle mass will push my metabolism over the edge and I will see the results I am getting desperate to experience. I havent moved the scale but I feel like I am looking better. More than likely I am just standing up straighter. My wife says she can see a difference. But I only started a week ago, so it must be placebo, wishful thinking. Only sci-fi pills work that fast.

    At least I can say one thing about all this. While I am obviously doing it all wrong, I have not stopped doing it yet. And I haven’t resorted to miracle pills and grapefruit diets either, though I am starting to see the appeal even if I know they don’t work.

    Anyway, sorry for the long post. I have forgotten your question at this point, I hope somewhere in all that I answered it…Drew

    • SC


      Do not feel bad. (I write this as I head out to the gym dreading “starting over” yet again!)What I took away from your post was this:

      You work out as a lifelong dedication to not quitting and no matter what our weight is you acknowledge your progress and do not lie to yourself and you articulate clearly your hopes and failures which serves to humanize you to others. We are after all, HUMAN AND NOT MACHINES. Most of us are not pro athletes with lives that sail a smooth course all of the time. Like you I am currently navigating over turbulent waters for various reasons but I read Tom’s BTFFM and get right back at it no matter WHAT MY WEIGHT and as a woman it seems like men drop it so quick it is EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING to lose so slowly.

      Thank you as someone who has a similar story in weight fluctuations but has disabilities that make me often take a hiatus from working out. What we have in common though is that I never give completely up. You have NEVER lost if you always have your health in your mental mirror.

      Thank you for your poignant honesty and in your disclosure you have encouraged me to put my shoes on, grab my MP3 player loaded with my music and have at it again today. YOU made a difference in my day. Thank you as honesty is always a great incentive for others to relate to because when you admit your a human with flaws others draw strength from their own setbacks. True strength is in admitting our weaknesses. See my own post below for what I am struggling with if it helps at all.


      • Drew

        Thank you for the kind words SC. I try to be positive and upbeat but there are times I seem to only focus on my weakness and failures. I am glad you were able to relate and find some motivation.

        As for yourself, training and grinding through disabilities is something I can not imagine, only admire. I have had my share of injuries, but luckily nothing serious and always temporary. Having to work around a disability, or waking up wondering if you will have issues today or not is something I have no experience in.

        That you keep driving on day in and day out says alot about your character. Many who might use your lack of visible progress as a means to feel superior would most likely whither under “fair” conditions.

        I will add what you have shared to my excuse library. That is my source of motivation when I know I need to get in a workout but would rather flop on the couch with a bag of chips. Thanks for sharing…

        • SC

          Thanx Drew!

          Don’t ever feel down on yourself. We all cycle in and out of motivation if we are honest and being honest means drawing strength from our failures in the respect that we can get back on track over and over!

          I know most people have lived through injuries, and I feel life is the biggest obstacle to overcome in staying motivated on top of those injuries.

          Other people make comments, give advice and criticize especially in the community of those who workout the most!

          I always tell people “progress” is not just visible its also inside such as health indicators of heart, cholesterol, and muscle memory!

          I have family members who for decades have never felt the guilt of not being dedicated to working out ever and I marvel at how much guilt I have over missing a few days! LOL

          With work and school I often had huge setbacks and one of the worst is this:

          When you work out consistently you want to work out more but when you stop consistently you want to work out less!

          I have had 7 major surgeries and one of them brain, and when others make faster progress..I just smile because they do not know what I am working out through. Sometimes I share it with them, sometimes I do not but I have stopped feeling the NEED to tell them about disabilities they cannot see and therefore cannot understand.

          Drew, I hope you always remember to reroute and get back at the effort and even when your on the couch, hand on the remote and the chips..WE ALL ARE THERE SOMETIMES if we are honest and that is part of the cycle.

          If nobody ever stopped to cheat or take a break, we would all have perfect lives!

          We all may be different but we have one thing in common..we know it is nothing but hard work that gets us where we need to be.

          Be proud that you have always tried to be healthy even if you have had setbacks and that most people lose sight of health as the primary reason to exercise and engage in good diet and nutrition besides physical appearance.

          My cholesterol is lower than a teenagers my doc says! That made me feel good as someone who endures chronic pain and has to take medications for numerous reasons.

          do not give up entirely forever and you have never lost Drew!


  • Sandi

    People drop out of body transformation contests for the same reasons most of them never finish their weight loss programs. Regardless of all the stuff that we take into account, it always comes down to one short sentence.

    Losing weight is simple, but it’s not easy.

    To achieve your goals you need to have goals first, and it doesn’t really matter whether or not they have anything to do with losing weight. I can say from my own experience that most of the time people think they’re going to go through with the weight loss program and there’s nothing in this world that’s going to prevent that, but in fact that’s just superficial and has nothing to do with an actual weight loss goal.

    In order to lose weight most people need to hit rock bottom, almost like drug addicts, before they’re able to come to peace with the way they look and feel and gather the willpower needed to forget everything and everybody and just focus on losing weight and achieving their goal.

  • SC

    Hello Tom and BTFFM community. I am a person who has used this system for years and highly endorse it. I have given advice premised on this system and other family members have lost weight on it. It is on my computer which I reference weekly. That being said:

    I read the comments here and understand where others are coming from in not quitting but as someone who lives with disabilities I see no mention of this here in this forum or how specific disabilities are not always obvious to others such as neurological, autoimmune or systemic that inhibit or slow progress although we work and stay educated for the entire challenge as well while enduring these. The typified image of “transformation” should be more inclusive and encompass more than young, 10-20 pounds to lose and how many abs are popping out.

    I have lifted weights and exercised all of my life. That being said, it is easy for me to gain weight as my family is short and curvy (hourglass figure) and often tall and thin people are the first to comment on “people who quit”. Or people who have never had a severe weight problem or disabilities and medications that cause weight gain as a side effect.

    I am not a quitter. I work out with disabilities when others stop who are young and healthy. However, I see these “transformation” pictures and I would not even start based on these alone. Transformation of all forms is excellent and to be commended but it is always these people with almost no weight to lose, young often and male.

    I have a lot of weight to lose from my disabilities, the medications and am limited in many areas these other participants are not. I am in a gym, and work out hard. My diet is the tough area because like other people who want to transform they have work and often sedentary office work with huge and frustrating commutes as well as children, advancing their education and other commitments. I believe we must make our health and fitness a priority under ALL circumstances but things such as surgery, accidents and medications and disabilities flare and can cause massive setbacks. I never quit getting back on the proverbial horse and do not see success as an all or nothing proposition.

    Personally I have finished 12 week transformations and keep exacting records for years on my progress in diet and exercise. However, the people who win these transformations look like every other diet program “before and after”. (Not to in any way diminish their successes.) I see a relatively thin person who needs a little 10-20 pound weight loss and some toning. Hardly what most Americans need as inspiration. Some comments here are very harsh too as if it is a reduction of all effort to that of mind over matter, not taking into account disability, age, body type or other limitations such as children and some who are single with no commitments can be especially critical. I was 20 once too. Just as in a physical gym in can be daunting to deal with the hyper critical stance of younger more abled people who just have no life experience with struggle that makes progress a lot more difficult. That comes with time and experience. DISCLAIMER Some younger people do however live with disabilities and massive commitments and help other young people be more COMPASSIONATE.

    Since most of America is obese not just overweight..seeing “transformation” as a category where an obese or overweight person makes a huge difference even if their not “ripped or skinny” would inspire me. Also, seeing someone with disabilities invisible or visible win would also prove inspiring. Some of us are not quitters and work out just as hard as our thinner or more abled counterparts. We just have no symbols or success pictures that are realistic to inspire us. Looking forward to a before and after transformation winner who maybe weighs over 200-400 pounds and that picture as a inspiration. Obese and disabled winners who drop down as much as is HEALTHY and possible in 12 weeks as a winner for total overall success and not just how many “abs” popping or tanned skin is showing would be awesome. Success for people who are overweight or obese is slow, but still a true transformation in increments as often those in this category have more to transform.

    Continued wishes for success to all body types and lifestyles though as any effort is to be applauded in this highly stressful hyper busy world we are living in that bombards us with images of before and after that are little like any before and after body types most of us inhabit.

    Remember please the disability community and those who live with medical conditions and are beyond the “tweaking last 20 pounds” stage. Not all of us can be measured with the same physical yardstick.

    Thanks Tom and everyone else for your efforts..every little bit helps.

    • SC

      BTW I forgot to add how I stick with it:

      I never quit. Ever.

      I do not usually look at pictures of people whose bodies are not like mine. (I am short and curvy so tall and thin non curvy bodies are unrealistic to my own.)

      I put on muscle easily and so I enjoy my muscles and when people say..”Gross muscles on women are NASTY!” I laugh and proudly kiss my bicep and say to them..

      “…and being unhealthy and having no muscle tone is attractive?”

      I encourage myself RIGHT AFTER I FAIL and say..”lost my way, NOW REROUTING” like a navigation device would.

      I eat for health first.

      I allow cheat days and do not berate myself for them as failures.

      I work out hard and do HIIT in a manner that I can do not what a magazine or a younger person can do.

      I change my habits and thus my life.

      I own weights and a treadmill and I am in a gym. I contribute to my own not quitting by having at least the minimum tools to succeed!

      I tell my family what I do and have helped them lose weight even when i do not!

      I document my changes and my workouts ALL YEAR.

      I look at my records and use Excel to chart them and I am not good with computers!

      I draw strength from my failures as they make me more determines to not be an allor nothing woman!

      I love muscle and focus on changes in my muscle to fat ration and not how thing my WAIST IS.

      workout the weaker areas first and accept I will always need to “reroute”.

      Success is in not quitting and in acknowledging who I AM and not comparing myself, my progress or my personal situation or body to ANYONE else.

      Keep my blinders on and get going.

      I also read all the time..articles magazines and look at others success and more importantly their FAILURES and how they overcome them.

      Most importantly I never give myself ANY EXCUSE TO COMPLETELY QUIT FOREVER.

      • Irene Stephenson

        HI SC,
        I love your answers, and everything you do to keep going on your health and fitness for yourself.
        Way to go!

        • SC

          Thanks Irene!

          I worked out yesterday and looked around the gym at all of the different body types and reaffirmed that in my mind..nobody has mine exactly. Though I may be vertically challenged and a shape more like ScarJo and Janet Jackson then the typical tall runner type women who are on the treadmill next to me..I love my curves! I just want more muscle and less chub! I workout and focus on gaining muscle and losing FAT and not my waist size. I realize my pants size and how my clothes fit is a better indicator of my goals than the scale most times.

          Losing weight when your a bit of a smurf and very curvy is hard work! I stand 5 foot 1 and a half and so I always feel like I am under others armpits..but being lower to the ground I have a better center of gravity than most and leg press and squat a lot of weight with my naturally muscular calves.

          I may never grow taller but I can appreciate my body type like everyone else and improve upon it. I used to long for the kind of shape other women had where a tank top went on easy and not tight (curves) but now I just realize those curves are what make me me.

          I also noticed the majority (as is usual in a gym) were men and the ration of women to men was 25 to 1. So just being a woman and a vertically challenged one at that in a gym was hard on top of the workout where sometimes just seeing over the top of the treadmill is work! LOL

          That made me realize that just being there was good. Just being willing to have armpits hovering over my head, and have to ask constantly..”excuse me please..can I get in here?” When so many tall men with bulging bodies eclipse me. I think as a woman, that is a powerful DIS-incentive to even be in a gym. The feeling your not welcome or in the way. I also loathe being called “cute” just because I am short. I am all woman and not a child so that comment belittles me. So I tell the people who say it to me..”Aint nothing cute about my strength!” HAHA (channel a little bit of Snooki there with the attitude of I am who I am!)

          Men walk around the gym with their arms high and their chest out and women seemed to just “walk”. That is a big difference that confidence or arrogance or strut or whatever between the genders at the gym.

          I also decided to help my mental workout I would walk with my head high and my arms high to help my posture and my mood.

          Its funny..but it made a difference in how intense I did my HIIT for the day and I left feeling less like a minority ratio. LOL!

          Hope your workouts help improve all the right ratios girl!

          🙂 SC

          • SC

            Oh and I alwasy do a 12 week transformation without a contest and keep track of the following in an Excel spreadsheet (and I suck at excel!)

            HIIT Cycles
            Calories expended
            Time and miles on treadmill
            Protein-Carb ratio

            and I try to dance for an hour a week in small increments EVEN in the shower to elevate my mood..I highly recommend LMFAO, Enrique Inglesias and FAR EAST Movement as great mood music!

            I NEVER workout without music and I have hard core music for the most intense times..(Rocky, metal, rock speed..)
            techno for mood to make me smile and freak people out when I am smiling and pushing past fatigue!
            and I have come down music like the Eagles and a little Van Morrison among others to calm down.

            Small techniques, strict organization from tracking progress to music selection to buying the right shoes makes my commitment easy.

            I have a whey protein shake in the morning pre workout and eat smaller meals like most people working out and I never let anyone tell me what my progress should be. (They usually like most people want to see me transform overnight while their eating cookies “evaluating me” LOL)

  • Kacey Waggaman

    For me the key is finding what motivates you to continue in addition to what motivates you to start. I have had a successful challenge and a failed attempt in the past. Same challenge, just different years. On my first go at it I received a lot of encouragement from my trainer and peers in the challenge. I actually won the challenge (5 free bootcamp sessions in the following year); however, never used them all. I didn’t re-establish goals after winning the challenge so I let life take over and pull me back into my old ways. Two years later the I signed up for the challenge again, but was very unsuccessful. I did not have the same encouragement as before and I could not get my mindset right to push myself to the next level during the workouts like I had done before. I also had a lot going on in my life that made it very difficult to put the challenge as the top priority.

    So for me, I need to realistically look at my life and if I will be able to put the effort needed for the time period of the challenge as well as make sure I have people to encourage me along the way. I’ve figured out that Third party validation is huge for me. Unfortunately I can’t depend on it, so I also need to challenge myself daily with improving my workout performance vs. focusing on the end goal. Then as I do better (more push-ups, running longer distances, etc.) I can validate myself.

  • Ruth

    I think it’s a combination of things… But it’s all MENTAL.

    1. The determination to succeed is shadowed by an expectation of failure. After trying countless times to lose weight/ get in shape/ etc, one doesn’t expect that anything will be different “this” time around. So when the offer of pizza shows up at the door, you’ve already decided to give in and eat it, because, after all, you always fail and you can always start up again on Monday… and so the cycle continues…

    2. Your desire to change has to be your greatest motivation. If it isn’t, you won’t give it your all, and simply put, you won’t change.

    3. You have to be willing to make a lifestyle change and not settle for a quick fix. People aren’t usually prepared for that sort of thing. And even if they are, they don’t anticipate the challenges and obstacles that are bound to come along.

    4. If they don’t expect only failure, they expect only success and throw in the towel the minute they gain back a pound or they have a binge night. One has to be prepared for both – and take it in stride and keep going.

    I’ve always started off strong: I pictured myself lying on the beach in a favorite bikini, or squeezing into a pair of skinny jeans… I’m good for a week or two… And then it’s somebody’s birthday. And I’ve exhausted all of my willpower on working out every day and eating nothing but lean proteins and veggies and I give in and eat the cake. Feeling guilty, I accept the soda and chips too and by this time, I’ve slid back into the mentality of “ah, screw it. I already messed up for the day.” So I skip my workout… The next day, I feel sick to my stomach. I failed, I can’t help thinking. So instead of rallying myself and just going back to my new healthy routine, I let myself go and there I am, two months later, five lbs heavier and dreading our weekly beach trips. So I try again, only starting at half-speed, because I know I’m going to fail again. And there the cycle continues…

    A few weeks ago, I made a decision. It’s taken me five years to reach this place but I think I’ve finally figured it out… It’s not always going to be easy. It’s not always going to be fun. But it’s going to be worth it.
    I’m working out and eating healthy. I’ve finally found workouts that I like doing (short HIIT workouts – they’re crazy intense but I can get them over with quickly and reap the rewards of the endorphins without spending a long, tortuous hour running or biking) I’ve decided that even if I have a bad day – even if I miss a workout – even if it takes me YEARS to lose these 20 lbs, I’m going to stick it out and KEEP GOING. I’ve finally come to the conclusion that it’s going to be HARD work and I have to be willing to sweat. And since that’s the truth of the matter, I make sure I push as hard as I can during my workouts and enjoy the burn- whereas, I used to avoid sweating and stuck to only doing the “easy” stuff because I hated pushing myself, hated putting forth any sort of effort. I’m glad that I’ve finally come to this place… you have to be fully aware of what you’re getting yourself into. You have to prepared to put your all into it. But once you come to that conclusion, it all falls into place. Then… it’s just a matter of DOING it. 🙂 And I finally am!

  • Fotios Kontos

    Dear Rob,I Exercised In gyms in Cambridge,Massachusetes for the past 40 years doing all the wrong exercises particularly long slow cardio,spending hours on treadmills,bicycles,elipticles,etc.going nowhere.Maybe! I lost some fat and I put on some muscle so I haven’t seen much of a change.Right now I am retired In a villiage in Greece and I don’t have access to a gym.I walk and do some body weight exercises every morning particularly planks to strengthen my core because my lower back hurts me.Because I was consuming too much omega 6 by eating Too much tahini,made from sesami seeds(60% Omega 6.)My doctor wanted to give me cortizone shots to relieve the pain but fortunatly I leaned long ago medicine can not heal;only mask the syptoms.I am carefull with my diet and gave up bread and sugar;I still eat sweets,drid fruit especially cranberries and pineapple.Diet together with exercise will keep us healthy and fit!

  • David Chikousky

    To answer this question I am first going to relate a personal story, followed by the answer.

    I’ve always been one of those guys who has to get really big before you notice how fat I am, with clothes on at least. And so that was how I found myself at 250 pounds, thinking that I was still fit. I was 23 years old, popping pain killers to stop the ache in my knees, convinced I had some genetic defect. And I was also convinced, all the way down, that if I lost a single pound all my muscles would fall off and my strength would suffer. I had a fiance who thought I walked on water, parents who loved me just the way I was, and in my circle of friends I was the skinny one. I had no point of reference to point to and say: “oh, I’m overweight.”

    And it likely would’ve kept on like this, my weight slowly climbing ever upward, if it hadn’t been for one of my friends finally getting tired of being so big. The day he, at 25, hit his highest point of 320 pounds is the day he said “enough.” So he told me that he wanted to get down to 210 before he wound up on one of those reality tv shows about the obese. Well word spread and before long there was 5 of us forming up our own fledgling inner circle. We decided that since we were nearly all the same height it would be a competition, with prizes for hitting the goal weight of 210 first, as well as who had the best physical appearance once they were there. Making muscle a priority in this way was our attempt to insure against crash dieting.

    That was in january. So what are the results now, 4 months later? I was the first to reach 210 as of last week. Only one other person is still playing. Now, I’m going to give you a list of the starting weights, and you try to pick out which one it is first. You already know I started at 250 pounds.

    Lorne – 320
    Matt – 225
    Scott – 245
    Mike – 235

    So, four months later who’s the only one still playing? It’s Lorne, who went from 320 pounds to an amazing 230 to date. So why did the other guys drop out, when they started out with a huge advantage? After accounting for people who will skew results, like Matt who is a pathological quitter, I come to one conclusion.
    Every single one of them found out just how much fatter they were in reality than they thought they were.

    Allow me to expand on that. When I first started this contest I thought to myself, quite smugly I might add, “I’m so fit I don’t have 40 pounds to lose. I’ll be ripped by the time I’m down 10.” It was very similar to how a woman will pinch the love handles on the sides of her skinny jeans and comment on “the last five pounds.” And it was also similar in how, 10 pounds later, those love handles were still there. And much like how this imaginary woman would be unsettled and perhaps ashamed at how little 10 pounds actually accomplished, I was looking in the mirror with the dawning realization that I had a long road ahead. One that extended beyond the contest. I did the same thing as I passed 20 pounds, then 30 pounds, and again at 40 pounds down without a hint of abs.

    Being the type of person I am I used that shame of “how far you’ve let yourself go” as fuel to keep trucking. Two pounds a week, ten pounds a month, only looking in the mirror every five pounds so I didn’t get discouraged. That’s what kept me going, and it’s that same thing that, I think, kills the drive in most people. And to be honest, had I been given a three month deadline, it would’ve killed me too.

    The people that drop out have been given the unwelcome realization of just how bad a position they’re in. They thought, really and truly thought, that they were going to be contest ready in a few weeks, just like those IFBB pros they hear about. And now here they are, two months in to a 3 month contest with a deadline swiftly approaching and they suddenly realize they’re not going to make it.

    And I think I’m going to expand on that even further yet, using myself as an example. It took me 4 months to get to the point where I can say with confidence I’ve only got another 20 or 30 pounds to lose. Four months to get to the point where I can say I’m going to take a two week break from eating at a deficit and spend another four months yet cutting away at the fat on my frame. A combined total of 8 months. With built in “diet breaks” and allowing for the occasional “cheat” I’m talking about spending a year of my life on the slow goal of leaning out in a healthy and sanity preserving way. That’s a long road for anybody who thought they had five or ten pounds to lose. That’s an impossible road for someone with a deadline.

    Would I have joined the 98 day summer burn challenge? You bet. Would I have been one of the guys dropping out 60+ days in? You can bet on that too. Because I didn’t realize how big I was, didn’t realize how long that road was going to wind up being, and you can bet that they didn’t either.

    • Irene Stephenson

      Hey David,
      I think you’re right on. I started into a body transformation journey July of 2011. I had approx.40 lbs, to loose, and 13% body fat. My journey started with an unhealthy diet, which I could not see doing as a lifestyle change, so plateaued for a while, while I was looking for something else to do. In the last 10 months, I have had many plateaus, and have come to the realization that as long as I am committed to reaching my goals at some point, “it takes as long as it takes”, and I will not give up. Had I only given myself 90 days, to totally transform and reach my goals, I would have been very discouraged, and likely given up.

  • Joely Palmer

    I think back through the years of all the “diets” I have been on and all of the pounds I did lose, but ended up gaining back.I know for me not sticking to a weight loss and exercise proram has alot to do with motivation or lack of motivation, but I think it goes a little deeper than that. I feel that I have a fear of reaching my goals. I feel that because I have low self esteem and I don’t feel good about myself and the way that I look, I not only don’t believe that I can achieve success in my weight loss goals, but I don’t believe that I deserve to look and feel good!That is a very sad way to feel about myself and I want to change that so bad.

  • David Bolding

    I think there are a few reasons people quit early. First, it is not easy, they may think it is, but after ever a few days, it is just not easy, all the exercise, food preparation, logging, it takes time and it just seems like too much. Second, people sometimes have success early, they get praise and they fall off the wagon. Third, they get discouraged because they see other people’s early success and feel like they can never catch them.

    How will I stay with it or complete the task? I was reading a book recently and in it it described a couple of guys going through SEAL training, now grant you a weight loss competition is no where near their training but at one time, the guy wanted to quit, his friend got in his face and told him, “stop thinking about how much more there is to do, think about the next task or the next event and get through that, that’s all”. To take that to heart, I will think about my next meal, my next work out and completing the day, then start on tomorrow, not the entire length of the program.

  • Karen Stone

    They fail because they are not committed to make it a lifestyle . There maybe that small voice still in their head that says its to hard or they are afraid of how awesome they will look. So I would say fear and commitment!
    I have not made my goal but I keep striving for it.

  • Sean Clonan

    The reason most people drop out of weight loss programs is because it isn’t as easy to lose weight as it is to gain it. I know because I have tried and failed many times before but now I have the right mind set and my head is back in the game, been following burn the fat, again for the past 6 weeks and have dropped 23lbs so far, still have a long way to go as I still weigh 270lbs but I’d be more than ready to take on the transformation challenge.

  • Zizi

    I have never managed to finish a contest. I think the reason for myself and others not finishing a contest is motivation. In the beginning you are all geared up and excited and think you can do this, after a while your motivation wanes and if you don’t see results quickly enough you start to lose focus and don’t believe in the program. My problem is that I try to do it all by myself. I think the best way to stick with it is definitely having a buddy, someone to help you when you aren’t motivated, someone who wants to lose the same as you or has been in the same boat as you. Someone who will make you accountable and will help you to reach the finish line. People who are successful usually have someone to help them when they want to give up or are so motivated and want it so badly that something clicks and they do it. Unfortunately I have not yet reached that place where I believe in myself, that I can get that body. I know I need to start believing in myself. Good Luck to all of you in your weight loss goals.

  • Peter

    I believe people drop out of body transformation contests because many want the results, but very few are willing to put in the commitment it requires. For me, my success has been consistency, my diet may not always stick to exactly the way it should be, my workouts may not always be at the highest intensity they could be, but; I do stick to eating well for whats possible within whats available to eat where I am, and how much things cost; and I do constantly keep my activity levels high, and reach my minimum number of workouts for the week goal, by that I’ve gleamed success, but it was nowhere near as easy as Ive made that sound. What would be much easier is to try fad diet after fad diet, on some science that was misinterpreted by those reading it; or going from pushing myself past my limits in the gym and suffering an injury leaving me unable to train, or put off the idea of training. I know these mistakes so well, because I tried them all, and even though they’re much easier, they got me nowhere. What has gotten me fitness, strength, quicker reflexes, a more appealing physique, all the things I wanted all along, is consistency, otherwise known as hard work, because sticking to something is the hardest thing of all, and that’s why people drop out of body transformation contests.

  • Bo Smith

    I think most people that drop out don’t realize the effort, commitment, hard work, etc… that a venture like this requires. Bottom line–this is HARD, not easy. It takes a lot of dedication and discipline.

  • Kye C

    I think the answer here is pretty obvious. The main reason people quit (I will not call it drop-out) is because they are lazy. It’s the same reason everyone takes the elevator rather than the stairs, or tries to find the closest parking spot at the store. It’s easier to take the shortcuts in life. It’s the little bit of hard work that separates the winners from the losers.

  • I have tried weight loss programs and given up. The main reason is because of my mindset. At the beginning of the program I was excited and motivated. I knew my goals and I knew that I wanted to achieve it but after a while I got bored. Sometimes it has to do with not seeing results at all and actually gaining more. I know there is something that says that sometimes you gain and then you begin to lose eventually. It all has to do with your mind and the type and amount of support you get from friends and family. Sometimes when I see no results a few good words can get you back on tract but then I always stop again. Another thing is changing the diet which I find very hard to do. I could do it because sometimes I start on a healthy diet and then at the end of the day end up on fast food. This I think is because I have people around me that are always eating. Somehow I can’t resist food after seeing them eat, maybe if I really decided to commit myself to it.
    What I would do to actually stick with the diet is get into a support group, with people facing the same situation as me. We can hopefully be each other’s support. Like I said before it all has to do with your mindset, being around the right people and the right environment can be a gr8 step towards achieving any goals. Everybody have the ability to do anything they want to and I believe and I know that I have the ability to change my shape. I just have to really set my heart and mind to it .

  • paleomaven

    The United States is not in the midst of a weight-loss epidemic. Recent research has shown that many Americans who begin a diet program do, in fact, lose some weight. More accurately, what we are experiencing is an inability to successfully lose weight and KEEP it off. What factors contribute to this problem?

    The causes of obesity are complex, and include biological, behavioral, and environmental factors. Historically, cultural and social mores have considered overweight and obese individuals the victims of faulty decision making, impulsive behaviors, or flawed psychosocial development. However, obesogenic environments, or the physical settings that promote population-level obesity by encouraging increased food intake of non-healthful foods and physical inactivity are ubiquitous in the United States. The pervasive nature of obesogenic environments in the U.S. is evidenced by the fact that nearly seven out of every ten Americans are overweight. In fact, for most people, it is difficult NOT to become overweight.

    Factors external to an individual, or those within physical and social environments, such as the influence of neighborhoods, communities, and organizations inhibit the ability to maintain a healthy weight. For example, a person’s neighborhood of residence is strongly correlated with their level of access to healthful foods and obesity rates. Residents of low-income, minority, and rural neighborhoods often have poor access to healthful food resources, including less availability to retailers offering fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products and plentiful fast-food and convenience store locations. The larger sociopolitical economy of food, including policies, laws, and social institutions, including the healthcare industry and mass media influence our ability to maintain a healthy weight. For example, federal nutrition assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly the Food Stamp
    program), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant’s, and Children (WIC), and National School Lunch Programs, all of which are designed to improve access to
    healthful foods for low-income families, are not uniformly aligned with national dietary recommendations. Further, the mass marketing and advertising of unhealthy foods, particularly to children, contributes to an environment promoting and perpetuating
    unhealthy eating.

    Even in light of increasing knowledge, awareness, and education about obesity, current strategies are not reducing the incidence of people becoming overweight. Messages extolling people to change obesity-related health behaviors and alarmist media headlines, such as: “Americans are eating themselves to death” and “digging their own graves with their forks and knives” are berating and have been ineffectual in reducing obesity. Given the intimate relationship between the personal and environmental factors contributing to obesity, expecting that individuals can automatically assume personal control over obesity-related behaviors, notwithstanding changes in environments is not practical. Because obesity related behaviors are dynamic conditions that evolve across the lifespan and are powerfully influenced by external factors, interventions that create most change will effectively integrate environmental elements.

    Dr. Phillip James, chair of the Global Alliance for the Prevention of Obesity and Related Chronic Diseases eloquently stated:
    “Blaming individuals for their personal vulnerability to weight gain is no longer acceptable in a world where the majority is already overweight and obesity is rising everywhere. It is naive of ill-informed politicians and food industry executives to place the onus on individuals making ‘healthier choices’ whilst the environment in which we live is the overwhelming factor amplifying the epidemic. It is even more naive to tell people that they just need to make a little change in their eating habits or their daily activity and suddenly the obesity problem will be remarkably easily solved.”

    Historically, epidemics have been controlled only after environmental factors have been modified, yet this concept is often neglected in obesity management. Analogies have been made between the tobacco
    industry and obesity. The ecological approach to tobacco
    prevention has been enormously successful in reducing smoking in the U.S. due to their ability to incorporate the physical and social environment. Tobacco use, which was once considered an individual behavioral flaw, is now regarded as ‘public enemy number one.’ Much can be learned from tobacco prevention efforts regarding how to adopt board-based societal interventions, including how to influence industry practices, public opinion, legislation and regulation, litigation, and research.

  • paleomaven

    I guess I should say, these comments are from my own dissertation research, available in full-text at:

  • E Gore

    I appreciate your no BS information Tom.

  • Casey Francis

    The main reasons people quit any good fitness program are lack of preparation and lack of determination. The preparation is mental and physical- changing eating habits really is a matter of changing how you prepare to eat- planning, shopping, and prepping prior to eating is the reason people eat well. Failure to do so leads so undermining the goal. Determination gives you the ability to keep doing something that isn’t yet a habit. Without that grit we get sidelined before we’ve given ourselves the fair chance to succeed.

  • Rita Johnson

    I think the biggest reasons most people quit and drop out of body transformation contests is they have not clearly and specifically defined their goals, set a clear goal date and found a big enough why to reach their goals. If they do not have clear, specific goals with a deadline they don’t have a clear target to aim for. Then they haven’t set a specific date or even searched within themselves for a big enough why. You have to have a big enough why to drive you when the going gets tough. Just to say I want to loose 10, 15 25, 50, 75 100 pounds is not enough. You have to have a big enough why you want to lose those pounds; such as to become healthier to live a better quality of life, to have more energy to spend with my kids, and grandkids, to look sexier and younger, to be an inspiration to my family and others, etc. This drives you when the going gets tough. The day to day activities of weight loss such as the diet, food and exercise programs are just how you get to the goal after you discover the mechanics of your goal setting and the big why deep within your soul.
    The reason I can stick to it when the going gets tough is I have done what others have failed to do and have set my specific goals, a deadline, and I know clearly the big why I want to be successful. I have changed not only my body and weight but my mind and my lifestyle. I will never go back to the person I used to be. I truly have transformed in body and mind.

  • Hi Tom,

    I just wanted to share my $0.02! I attempted the summer burn two years ago and eventually dropped out becauseat the time I could not actually see myself maintaining a fit body. I felt i would rather remain out of shape than know how good i could feel and then lose it. A lot has changed since then. I believe that i deserve health and happiness, and i see myself as an athelete. I am giving the competition another shot!

    Thank you for creating such a wonderful resource!

  • Sherri

    Tom, I believe most people quit for several reasons.
    1) Lack of dedication to ones health,they don’t want to do the work.
    2) progress is generally slow & the interest is lost.
    3) lack of self control on nutrition.
    4) lack of support
    5) lack of time
    6) lack of confidence or self worth
    7) health issues that limit exercise
    Basically it boils down to excuses, poor attitude & lack of knowledge for getting desired results.

    Me, I’ve tried so many things it all starts to sound alike. I haven’t given up in 2 years & not about to stop. I continue to believe in myself & a solution to my weight problem. My endomorph, menopausal body has gone through many food challenges & exercise programs. Maybe you’ll be the one to help me??? Fingers crossed xxxx Thank you, Sherri

  • Claire Gibbons

    People drop out for a number of reasons but personally I believe the biggest reason people drop out is a lack of focus.

    Focus on long term results – the initial excitement of a transformation contest for many wanes when they hit their first plateau, or don’t drop as much weight as they expected so they figure it s not worth continuing, forgetting that their health goes way beyond what happens in those few weeks, its your life.

    Focus on steady progress – the all or nothing approach cause a lot of people to drop out. The idea that “Oh well, I missed my calorie target today, I may as well have that piece of cheesecake… cupcake… chilli fries… 6 beers etc etc”, rather than “ok, so I’ve missed my targets (be it calories or workout) today, but that’s is ok, the world isn’t going to stop rotating and fall off its axis. I just need to make sure I keep going and do what I need to tomorrow.”

    Focus on adapting – just because you injure a bicep, or a quad, or tear your archillies tendon, does not mean you can’t train the rest or your body or keep your nutrition meticulous.

    Focus on self – people get caught up in how everyone else is going, and what they’re doing, rather that concentrating on what they are doing. It’s great to be able to see/read about the progress that others are making but when your results aren’t stacking up its easy to to question why and then use it as an excuse as to why they gave up.

    Focus on accountability – to someone, to anyone, to yourself. You can make excuses in your own mind as to why you “couldn’t” do something, but it’s a lot harder to make excuses when there are all these amazing people doing things out there, and lets face it a lot of them in trying circumstances. I think some people pull put because they’re afraid of having to own up to their own short comings, and because they don’t want to admit that they blew off their workout or nutrition.

    Focus on a plan – Fail to plan and set goals = Plan to fail. Enough said.

    Focus on belief – this is a big one… belief that you can do it, belief that you can be better than, healthier than, stronger than you are now. Belief that if you work hard, you can achieve what you’re trying to do. Doesn’t matter if it takes longer than the duration of the contest, if you believe in it strongly enough, and you’re commited to the process you will get there. If you don’t think you can do it, you won’t.

  • Jack Schean

    I believe most people drop out due to the fact they have not clearly defined, within themselves, a reason to finish!

    Their reason for finishing, not starting, needs to be their focus, so that when (not if) outside distractions occur, they do not lose sight of their reason to finish.

    The reasons why have to be bigger than the reasons of, why not!

  • Miriam

    Why do people drop out? Because the honeymoon is over!

    If you start something new, then you feel motivated. You put everything aside for it. And then life happens. Your husband gets ill, your boss asks you to work overtime, and all of a sudden, your motivation drops.

    What made me stick to my goals:
    – don’t set unrealistic goals
    – remind myself every day why I do this
    – accept that life sometimes gets in the way.
    – Start again. You only fail if you stop.

  • Ryan Magoffin

    I’ve had one failed attempt in one try. My biggest reason I failed is because I let a one really bad day (eating wise) cause me to believe I was done. Cheating once or twice (or really big in my case that day) doesn’t mean it’s over. Just get back on track. This is a lifestyle, not a race. It’s ok to cheat every once in a while. 3 hours will pass and it’s time for the regular meal and you are back on track. I think that mindset, that it is a lifestyle change and not a one shot for perfection contest, will help me finish the Summer Big Burn.

  • l

    I just joined…I have had some health problems and trusted doctors with tons of medication that made me feel worse and gain 30 lbs. In March of 2011 I was in marathon shape so I know i can stick to a challenge,I am hoping to learn more about food selection and building muscle. how do I join the challenge that starts tomorrow?

  • Thor Gauti

    They don’t see results soon enought and they don’t want to put in the work and time it takes to get the results!
    For some people I think it boils down to feeling they don’t deserve to be healthy and to have a great low body fat..IE Nothing for them, it seems ever works out the way they preceive mentally, and it takes a certain mind set to accomplish the task at hand!
    Doing this on your own takes a lot of will power, plus time and energy which a lot of poeple just don’t seem to have!
    Foe instance if I had you to help me to work out and have as motivation
    on a every day schedule then it’s still all the hard word I would still have to put in to getting my body in the best shape ever it as been! Of course it would be easier than doing it myself…

    Any way hope this has helped you

    Yours in still trying to be there,
    Yours in spirit
    Thor A Gauti

  • Emily

    I’ve gone through with a 60 day fitness challenge, and I did it without missing a day, I think because I really wanted to see a change AND I did this challenge with my partner, so that support really helped.
    However, I did not follow the diet recommendations (5 meals/day) as that was more difficult of a habit to change. I used excuses like work schedule made it challenging, but I really could have done better with that. I think changing eating habits is more challenging because there are emotional and boredom factors tied in to it. As a result of I think eating too many carbs, and not enough small meals per day, probably the main reason for a lot of people, I did not see big changes in my appearance after 60 days, 6 days/week of intensive training. (The Insanity program.)

  • pete lee

    well Tom, i have tried many different regimes over the years ,trainers partners, and just about anything you can do ive tried, except steroids and i even thought about that, and when i see people like the guy who won your last competition do what he did in 49 days,,, well, you just think that im wasting my time , if he did that in 49 days then i have trained for over ten years and never looked like that, (and i know what you will think ,not training properly) and perhaps your right , but i think that rather than motivate ,pictures of super ripped super successfull contestants just makes people think im not even close to achieving that kind of change, just de motivates anyone who is trying and not getting anywhere fast and therefore they chuck in the towel and quit ,

  • Brad S

    I’ve been trying unsuccessfully for years to get the body that I want, but always end up pretty much looking the same.

    I think it takes more than willpower, determination and planning. You must have a desire and something that resonates deeply within you to take it to the next level.

    There is also way too much information out there, we need to have simple guidelines and a way to build on it one step at a time. Now if only I could put this into practise!!

  • Kristin

    Excellent comments from all! I just want to add one more to the pile. While I have dropped out due to the work/travel/kids, all those pressure cooker reasons to drop something off the plate, I also think one key reason is that people want to have fun. And fun for many, including myself is meals out, cocktails, parties, dinner with friends with wine, etc.

    I have finally matured enough to know that there is always going to be another party, evening event, work dinner, kids birthday, family holiday, vacation… but that my FUN on/at these events can’t be defined by food and drinks if I want to succeed. And, I bet I will have to remind myself of that everytime I step foot outside the door until it becomes my new habit that fun does not = overindulging.

    So, with that, I plan to succeed by evaluating each coming day, what is involved, what hurdles there are and committing to put in my data in the system each night before my head hits the pillow. Best of luck and planning to all!!! Kristin

  • This is fairly easy. COMMETMENT and reaching a plateau. Its a tough road to put the work in, follow a diet if U R addicted to soda popand chockalate, much less have a diet that you have to do twice the work to see results. Then when you reach a plateau and the weight stops falling off(muscle does weigh more than fat)then its tough to reach down deep and keep lifting, start taking supplements to help gain muscle. Bottom line is you have to have major DESIRE and back it up with refusal to fail. Thats why Im on my way down from 325- Im 290 no, give or take, so after Im a winner, I want in on the contest- I have health issues but have read every email you have sent and NOW, Ive paid for a membership in the new fitness center- tons of machines and weights along with youga, basketball court, steam room. For a small coal mining/farm town, Benton, IL. is moving on up- just like the Jeffersons.
    regars, Tony lang aka”TonytheTiger” cause thats my car. LOL

  • M. L.

    It’s all about priorities. I have finished some contests and quit some others, depending mainly on whether or not I felt finishing was a life-or-death matter at the time.

    When I became a working mom, it got a lot harder to prioritize fitness goals in the face of so many competing demands for attention. But I’m still on track after 5 months now, by dramatically amping up accountability and recruiting a support network. I post all my workouts on Facebook, where my real-life friends and family are watching and cheering me on, and it would just be embarrassing beyond belief to stop doing it now.

    I’ve also been continuously re-reading The Body Fat Solution to keep the voices of self-sabotage at bay. Thanks so much for taking the time to write that book, for “the rest of us”. It’s helped me burn 28 lb of fat so far this year, and I spent the weekend throwing out a lot of big ugly clothes.

  • Gary Vollhoffer

    To me it’s all about beliefs and expectations.

    If I asked an Olympic athlete, if they would eat healthy and exercise for the next 98 days, they would think I was an idiot asking such a stupid question. If I asked an obese person who was say 200lbs over weight and spent most of their time on the couch the same question, they would also think I was an idiot to suggest such a stringent routine.

    This challenge will be easy for some and next to impossible for others. I think most that enter this challenge have a real desire to succeed and have made a conscious decision to do so. The first hurdle is so many people live to eat instead of eat to live. If we want to succeed we need to learn to change at the subconscious level. They say (whoever they are) it takes 21 days to create a new habit but if the old programming is stronger than the new habit the old programming will win out every time. For example if you’re stressed out about anything, work, kids, relationships, you may eat something to comfort yourself and mask the pain and you know what, it actually works. It’s automatic and it’s programmed in our subconscious. However there are healthier alternatives… but we have to choose them and this takes effort until the new habit is stronger than the old.

    If you enter the challenge and you have too many unhealthy habits, it could be too much for you unless your commitment level is unbelievable. If you want to succeed start from where you are at, no one else is like you and no one else has lived your life. What can you actually commit to doing? Enter the challenge and just walk half an hour a day and change nothing else, change a few things at a time once they become habits then add more.

  • Samantha Reynolds

    People quit because it is no longer a priority in their lives. If something is a priority to you, you take care of it before you take care of anything else. At the time of entering the competition it probably was a priority, but maybe it gets hard, they get busy, they feel like they will never reach their goals, or they think they dont need it, so they change their priorities.

  • Tea

    I started my weightloss transformation 12/3/09 and as of 5/29/12 I’m still working on it. I started as 286 lbs and I’m currently at a very athletic 213. I Still have 83 lbs to go…

    Here is why people quit from a personal perspective. They lack determination and support.

    First, when you are making a change in your life you’ve got to be really committed, not just have a desire. I call it hitting the “done” place. It’s commitment you’ve never possessed before, and now you’ve got to manufacture it from somewhere. That isn’t easy: to refuse those bites, to get off your butt, to learn how to say no to people and mean it. The first couple months feels brutal because you are your own worst enemy, your behavior is how you got there and suddenly you are trying to be someone else. Everyone has motivation to lose weight, it’s the determination to see it through that’s a key divider.

    It’s then that you realize how much the people you know are working against you, not for you. “One bite won’t kill you.” “You look just fine to me.” “That’s crazy.” “Be careful you don’t hurt yourself.” “I could never do that, I would go crazy.” “Whatever you do, don’t lose your butt.” “Gah, you will look like a stick!” “Skinny is so ugly.”
    I started my transition by going vegan, effectively cutting myself from fast food, prefab food, and previously easy meals. Friends and family fought against my choices, saying I would get sick etc, and doing everything they could to sabotage including guilt… “…but I made your favorite food!” it made me come to the conclusion people really suck.

    Obviously with the progress I’ve made I’m not perfect all the time, once I managed changing the food I was eating I figured out how to eat unhealthy and still eat vegan, but that didn’t last very long. Found I was trying to prove to those same people that I wasn’t weird or different and I hadn’t lost anything. But frankly I’ve lost tons and I’m thrilled.

    I used to have Asthma, and take COPD medication, Arthritis, tendonitis, and allergies, my doctor said I was kissing a heart attack, diabetes, stroke and cancer. I couldn’t walk from the back of a parking lot to the front door. I am now running 5K’s and training for my first triathlon. So much for getting sick, hurt, etc. Also I eat amazing foods.

    Also, in working so hard for the past couple years I’ve also learned how addiction works in reguard to food. I’ve learned what real hunger is and learned the difference between craving and hunger. Restaurants, prepared foods, etc work REALLY HARD to make sure the most addictive substances are present in their foods. Salt, Sugar, and Fat! And to trigger gluttony by presenting huge portions, sweet makes you hunger, salt makes you eat more, and fat causes satiety, but there are no nutrients in that food!!! So it creates toxic hunger, with your body ringing the dinner bell all the time trying to get some nutrients it can use.

    Then we have the problem of GMO and highly processed foods, even raw theses strange frankenstined foods don’t have what our bodies need and then they are covered with cancer causing poisons… GAH it’s no wonder our cancer rates, heart disease, and obesity are at epic proportions.
    How do I stick with it? I’m determined. I weight myself everyday. I spent years ignoring it, so I don’t anymore. I establish new goal… not just weight but general fitness and happiness. Like Doing the triathlon or knowing how incredibly cool it will be to do some Parkour as a 40 year old formerly obese woman. If I indulge, (which is rare) I make sure I increase my activity to balance. I am strict, have shown my friends through determination that I am successful so they seek me out for support. I look at my 10 year old daughter, who’s thin as a rail and tell her I can’t wait to look like her and show her the work I put in so that she never has to get where I am.

    More incentive?

    I don’t have asthma anymore, and I don’t take any medication for anything. I’ve dropped to 0 risk for Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and stroke and every few months I get my numbers checked and continue to watch then drop into ranges that are for teenagers… not for 40 year old women in the US.

    My clothing gets smaller every couple months, and I’m maybe 10 lbs from wearing a medium… I haven’t seen sizes without an L in them in 2 decades, let alone without an X.

    Let’s just say, that keeping a man’s attention is not too difficult these days either. Who dosn’t like holding the attention of potential suitors?

  • I’ve never done a challenge, but used BFFM starting in 2007 to learn about body transformation and apply it in my life. Now five years later I continue to eat largely following BFFM principles and have maintained the body composition improvements I achieved.

    I came close to dropping out in 2009. Why? Because I had made most of the progress I had been hoping for and found that the goals that started me forward were no longer enough to keep me moving. ‘Fitness’ for fitness sake was just not enough. Fitness for what? What was I going to do with the new me?

    Tom talks about it all the time – goal setting. You have to have a ‘why’ and it has to be powerful enough to motivate you to act. More importantly, you have to recognize when your life has changed and you need a new ‘why.’

    I found my new ‘why’ in long-distance running – ultramarathons – choosing a goal race in 2009 that I now hope to complete next year. That’s a goal it will have taken me four years to achieve – that spawned a whole series of short-term and medium-term goals along the way. I have never found it hard to continue to eat ‘clean’ and train hard with these things in sight.

  • People drop out for various reasons. Here are my TOP 10 reasons why:

    1. The reason WHY is not great enough to start with
    2. You overkill the first 2-3weeks (eating too little, training too hard). With little energy to spare, you throw in the towel
    3. People don’t like the idea of having to hermit-ise for 49/98 days because “I’m on a diet”. We still want to be social creatures 🙂
    4. We compare our ‘slow&steady’ results to others who are showing incredible results, fast and believe our efforts are futile…so we give up
    5. We fail to plan & thus, plan to fail
    6. There is no back-up plan for a)when you can’t get to the gym b) you have to attend a social function where snacks/food will be served c) you have no alternative outlet for stress/boredom/loneliness & reach for the cookie bin (woman’s perspective)
    7. You have not learnt how to wage war against the EMOTIONALLY hungry monster
    8. You have no real-life support system (IC is part of the puzzle, but not all of it..)
    9. Your self-sabotage demon kicks in: “Who are you kidding!? You’ve ALWAYS looked this way, your body will never look like Michelangelo’s David”
    10. You reason WHY is not great enough to start with (REPEAT #1 – yes it is that important)

  • John Hislop

    The reason most people fail at these challenges(Including myself). Is that people try to make too many changes at once. Everybody wants to be the big winner and start to layer too many elements into the process. Completely change their diet, start resistance training, start a cardio program, walk every day, etc. It can very quickly overwhelm them and leave them lost and struggling. After my failed attempt I sat down and evaluated what went wrong and started over. This time, I changed one thing and allowed it to become a “habit” before I layered in another element. So far I’m losing weight and getting stronger and don’t feel like it’s a “grind”.

  • Randy lane

    I think people, myself included, are mostly lazy. We start with good intentions but laziness sets in. We want instant and easy results and when that doesn’t happen we give in to our laziness. We know that it will be worth it in the end if we stick to it but we just can’t force ourselves to push through. Excuses to quit are far easier to come up with than reasons to stick with it.

  • Jennifer

    When the novelty wears off, people tend to throw in the towel. Very often, I feel that people are interested in losing weight/fat, but are not really committed. Commitment shows up when it would be easier to stay home. Commitment gets in the kitchen and preps the food when it would be easier to grab food thru the car window. Interested does it when it is easy, when it is convenient. When it gets tough and inconvenient, interested gives up…..just my 2 cents… 😉

  • People drop out of fat loss programs (even good ones) because the find out that for even the best programs it is still not easy. It still involve hard work. We are in a society of instant gratification with minimal effort. They don’t stay in long enough to gain momentum.

  • Silvino

    I believe the the mental aspect of change is reason why people fail or drop out of body transformation contests. The physical part of change is usually the easiest, especially when we’re talking about human beings. Our bodies were made to adapt, change and strengthen. Our minds though, are both a limiting factor and at the same time our greatest driver. Most people (including myself) dive in to body transfomation with unrealistic goals of what we want to change in too little time. WE, not someone else, set ourselves up for failure. If we had somebody come to us and say “I’m going to build a 3500 square foot, four bedroom, three bath, three car garage home by myself in four months!” we’d look at them sideways and tell them they were out of their mind. Not because it’s not possible, but because it’s not a realistic goal to have knowing that life happens and there will be bumps along the way. Initially we are excited and very driven and then somehow a few months down the road we lose that drive and desire. You have to be mentally ready and strong just to accept the fact that even though So & So was genetically gifted and was able to get results in a month, it might take you a whole year to do the same. We didn’t get fat and out of shape overnight, so why would we be able to transform (Think about the meaning of that word), not change, our bodies and minds that fast too? I believe, actually, I know that I am ready for the challenge of body AND mind transformation. See you all at the goal!

  • Adam B

    Simple answer: Unreasonable expectations that yield disappointing results.
    “Get ripped in 49 days,” Mom lost 87 pounds in 6 months.
    These are not typical results for the average person. It’s a long-term lifestyle change for most people that takes time. If people stick to these programs, will they see results? Probably. But for most people, it is going to take time.

    I have completed two challenges (not BFFM) and lost 15 lbs the first time and only 6 the second time. Both times I definitely increased my muscle mass and got a lot stronger, however, I got bulky and didn’t look like I had lost any weight. Why didn’t I get ripped or lose 30 lbs? Well I was too fat to get ripped and I’m not sure why I didn’t “lose” more weight. Had I done the program for a whole year, I would have probably lost at least 24lbs? Maybe 40 lbs or more if I did it for two years? In 3 years I would be in pretty decent shape, but 3 years is not 49 days or 90 days.

    I don’t have a chance to win a contest like this and I probably wouldn’t enter a contest anyway. But why not “restructure” the program into multiple 49 day periods that makes it more likely for the person who needs to lose 50-60 lbs to achieve success. (You don’t have to actually “restructure” the program, just make the expected results more reasonable/attainable?) If someone does 7 49 day programs/contests in a year and they averaged a pound a week then they would lose almost 50 lbs! But when I do a 12 week program and only lose 6 lbs and get bulky and others are dropping 20lbs or more and getting ripped, it’s very frustrating. Why can’t I get those results?
    Either I’m doing something really wrong or maybe that program just doesn’t work for me.

    Am I looking for a quick fix? Maybe. But I think a program for us larger people that touted the average results for those who completed multiple short term programs would give us more reasonable expectations.

  • John Crosby

    I think that the majority of people that drop out just get discouraged and/or frustrated. They (think) they failed and “ate bad” one day, and instead of cutting their losses and getting back on track, they throw in the towel and say the heck with it. And if they don’t see results as quickly as they think they should, instead of stepping back and evaluating their diet and exercise plan and looking for places to change, they say “this is too hard with no results” and quit. My personal experience with contests in the past have been to set short term goals and celebrate little victories to stay encouraged. Some weeks I would not lose any weight, but lose and inch or 2. (Measuring AND weighing is a KEY step in staying motivated. I know I would have been discouraged had I just looked at weight alone) And personally, getting back on track ASAP after a “bad” meal/day of bad meals was key. Don’t focus on your failures- you can’t fix them since they are in the past- you CAN fix the future by learning from your mistakes and charging forward!

  • sarvenaz

    I feel the reason why people drop out of transformation contests is that they expect easily and soon received results. What I am trying to say is that they join the contests , hoping against hope that they will lose their weight in the blink of an eye. Having such an idea, sooner or latter they would be sorely disappointed and leave the program.
    I mean being consistent is one of the most important aspects of changing your body. Success comes with those who are persistent. Persistence is the key element to achieve your goals, especially fitness goals. You can’t change your body over a night. But not all of us have this perseverance to keep up with the program. There need to be a motivation for such things, I personally have been participated in 3 kinds of these programs but I ruined them all .

  • Gloria Sun

    Just when you think you’ve found yourself, you decide to slack off “a little”, and everything goes downhill again.

  • Ruth

    Yuo have to have willpower. Most people go on crash diets and hope to see instant results, but nothing happens. People go to the gym and they kill themselves working out for 1 day, and then go stock up on chcolate, and lo and behold, they get fat. All you need to do is realize that diets and excercise are not miracles, but things that take time to happen.

  • Why do people drop out of the body transformation competition?

    I have a few ideas that come to mind:

    -They are scared of the success of their competition
    -They act on impulse-either entering without thinking it through or impulsively binge or impulsively hit snooze and then afterthoughts are that they failed so they quit
    -In general they feel the work outs are too hard
    -Feel nutrition plan is not working fast enough, get confused as to why and give up

  • Desiree

    I’ve been through four challenges. Officially finished 3, was on a winning team for one. (All the others fell apart by having at least one person drop out, even when I finished personally.) People often talk about laziness, but I don’t think it’s necessary to be that judgmental; it takes a *ton* of emotional effort and energy to keep retrying to get back on the fitness wagon despite sustained strings of failure, which is how most people perceive their fitness journey. I think the reason why many don’t finish is simply that a truly healthy lifestyle involves a lot of commitment and real, deep change for most from the lifestyle they’re coming from. Most people can’t truly lock in to or sustain change with more than a few small habits at a time, and something like the BFFM challenge is a total makeover for some. That means most of a person’s waking energy needs to go into focusing on unwiring a lifetime of layers of unhealthy habits for it to stick. And it’s tough. You can even do well for days or weeks or months… or years… but start to slide into old habits under stress and wa-la, it feels like all your old work is completely undone for a fraction of the slack (by definition) that your body is more psychologically comfortable with.

    Personally, what has worked for me, when I’ve been doing well, is to ‘simply’ put my health first, always. Simply with quotes, of course, because it’s always easier said than done. But really, when I start to get on a healthy kick, it becomes apparent that so many of my struggles in so many areas of my life are made better by having my body chemistry in order, and that means eating, exercising, and living well to get anything else done. So it really does mean focusing on health even to the momentary exclusion of other things. Health first, the lynchpin around which all else revolves. Both the base and the endgoal, the alpha and the omega.

  • Rowena Huser

    I challenge myself and then I end up quitting because I don’t see results quick enough and I get discouraged. I have some health problems which sometimes make it hard to exercise consistently…fibromyalgia and plantar faschitis and achilles tendonitis….I try to work thru it, but sometimes it gets difficult and then I get discouraged.

  • Younus

    I have lost 45 pounds over the last two years, and I kept going in cycles of eating unhealthy and working out. I understand why people quit, because I have done it myself many times, however I have finally managed to break through that and live a healthy lifestyle.
    The reason is this. Losing weight requires motivation, moreso than any other fitness goal. You have to adhere to a diet in which you cannot eat any junk food, and the entire world works against you. From the restaurants who force feed you trash to the friends and family who say “Today is okay, you can eat whatever you want”, everything around you is not caring for your health. Unhealthy food is like a drug, the more you have, the more you crave. This, combined with the extreme discipline required to work out and eat healthy, forces most people to break down and go back to being unhealthy.

  • ruth

    People fail/drop out, because they do not truly believe that they are able to attain their goal. They allow themselves to believe that they do not have what it takes. Their self talk (the words they use to tell themselves what is going on for them) convinces them that they are not worthy of becoming so healthy, that they will fail, that they are doomed. They have not learned to fuel first of all their minds and hearts so that they know 1. that they, like any other human being, are worthy of attaining radiant health and a strong flexible body, 2. how too feed and fuel their BODY so as to enable it to reach its true potential, 3. how to use the power of self talk to get them through any obstacles that may arise, and to keep them riveted and focused on their final goal.

    In order to finish, you need to set a goal, then think, eat, train, and walk as if you have already achieved that goal, every hour, minute and second of the challenge period; and anytime any doubt creeps in, or something/someone tries to knock you off course. it is imperative that you refuse to be swayed. Focus only on the end date and conform your actions accordingly. And enter more than one challenge, so that you get BETTER at getting the thing done (see you on the FORUMS!)

  • Gord Gasper

    Why people quit?

    It’s death by a thousand tiny cuts….when you try to lose weight or get in shape there is so much conflicting information on how to best go about it that it overwhelms you and you slowly lose your motivation to try due to all the tiny cuts from all the different opinions. I Recently lost 65 pounds and am coming up on 1 year of keeping it off but when I was researching the best way to lose the weight I came up with every plan imaginable through my research. I ended up using a low carb approach, basically atkins but only because I had used it in the past and found it effective without too much hassle about counting calories and such.The problem I find is that a lot of programs talk trash about other programs in an effort to get you to use their program and that is just another tiny cut to your confidence in sticking to a program if you don’t see immediate results. Some programs aren’t festivals for some people to obtain results but the sellers of those programs can’t our won’t invest the time to make sure the program will work for that individual….another cut….ideally if the company would suggest a program more suitable everyone would be better off……less people quiting and referrals going between programs.

  • Joe

    MONEY MONEY MONEY!! I would like to know how much money previous contest winners spent on supplements, nutrition, and personal trainers. This is a CONTEST….people will take that extra step to win. Yes, you still need commitment, motivation, and all the other things that were posted.

    The sad fact is…eating healthy is expensive. Probably that’s why so many people are fat. It’s much cheaper to buy crap than it is to buy healthy organic food.

    And that could be one of the reasons why some people drop out. There always seems to be someone better than you that is making the big changes. How can you compete and keep up with these people? You can’t….it doesn’t mean you should quit though. Participants need to look at this as a lifestyle change to better themselves, and not as a competition to win a trip to Maui.

  • Gord Gasper

    Why people quit?

    It’s death by a thousand tiny cuts….when you try to lose weight or get in shape there is so much conflicting information on how to best go about it that it overwhelms you and you slowly lose your motivation to try due to all the tiny cuts from all the different opinions. I Recently lost 65 pounds and am coming up on 1 year of keeping it off but when I was researching the best way to lose the weight I came up with every plan imaginable through my research. I ended up using a low carb approach, basically atkins but only because I had used it in the past and found it effective without too much hassle about counting calories and such.The problem I find is that a lot of programs talk trash about other programs in an effort to get you to use their program and that is just another tiny cut to your confidence in sticking to a program if you don’t see immediate results. Some programs aren’t reasonable for some people to obtain results but the sellers of those programs can’t our won’t invest the time to make sure the program will work for that individual….another cut….ideally if the company would suggest a program more suitable everyone would be better off……less people quiting and referrals going between programs.

  • Lynn

    Lack of confidence in oneself. Not being able to tie all the necessary elements together. Lack of support and encouragement. Wanting to see results too quickly.

  • Tiffany

    Intrinsic motivation reflects the desire to do something because it is enjoyable. This is why people succeed and win. We all need intrinsic motivation and it doesn’t take much to throw you off course. People quit because of many different reasons. Life happens. I’ve been there soooo many times. I recently moved to a different area and I know no one. I used to share my success with others and help them with their fitness journey and it motivated me internally. Because I am “on my own” now I find it difficult to stick to routine. If I mess up a week or 2 in I find myself starting all over again and feeling like I failed. Motivators are key and we all need them. They can be different for everyone but still needed.

  • Janet Frazier

    Why do people drop out of body transformation contests? In my humble opinion people drop out of body transformation contests in an act of self-sabotage. Drop outs have an internal matter to address involving their mind set and self sabotage.

  • Sally Warner

    At 36, having been over weight all my life,is it too late to get ripped enough to start a new career as a personal trainer? If it isn’t where do i start?

  • Marek Szczecinski

    I think the reason why people drop out of (such) contests is because it’s almost impossible to be rewarded for so much time, energy, hard work, patience and dedication put into body transformation. I mean if the sheer fact of body recomposition sufficed them, they wouldn’t need to join such contests. They’d do the job anytime. In fact, those who are driven intrinsically have already transformed their bodies. They want the prize: a trip, money, popularity or whatever there is. Their motivation is extrinsic. However, (only) the winner takes it all, don’t they.

    Tom, suppose you gave the first prize, not your book or membership (we can easily afford them without sacrifice) to everyone who’d lose/burn, say, over 20 pounds (mostly of fat) during your contest. Don’t you think the number of dropouts would reduce dramatically? However, (only) the winner takes it all, don’t they.

  • des

    I really don’t know why people drop out. Maybe it’s too hard for them. When you enter a body transformation competition, there are alot of changes taking place. Changes in diet, fitness and muscle. If you overload a person and it becomes too painful for them, they just give up, they don’t think it is worthwhile. Changes in diet, fitness and body shape are a lifestyle change, and the change compared to how they have been living may be too much and too fast, so they give up?

  • Dwayne

    People quit programs that they start because something in our mind is programmed to make/accept excuses for our laziness. So we will tell ourselves “oh i want to finish the challenge but I have to do things for work or do things for the kids”. Why not include the kids/coworkers in your challenges. No matter ones health/fitness levels everyone likes to be challenged.

  • Ja,mes Mawhinney

    The reason why people fail to complete any program is, in my opinion, because they are not truly commited. The goal that has been set is too agressive or not reasonably achievable. The process is not broken down into realistic steps. Because results are not achieved, people quit prematurely. To complete a program, people must be commited,set a reasonable goal,break down the process into realistic steps and most importantly–visualize the end result !!!

  • CeCe K

    I have always been interested and involved in my own personal health and fitness.
    I was fascinated when i discovered Burn The Fat and Feed the Muscle.
    I read almost all the daily blogs and even bought the online book.

    The Challenge I have is time, time, time.
    I still work out as much as I can, try to eat as healthily as possible, but problem I had was getting through the e-book; while reading it, I was working out and eating the way I had been for years.
    I found reading and finally getting to the nitty gritty of what I needed to actually do to get results that I wanted took soo much time – between work, a family and being a part time student, it was easier to just stay with what I know – exercise wise – and balance rest of my life, while the e-book sat there half way read.
    I found it an easy read. the blogs are easier to digest – but I do get that the book has ALL the info that you need.

    I still do need to make a point and finish the book and get my act in gear.

    take care – and as Tom says – Train Hard and Expect Results.
    Happy Training!

  • Andre Kleynhans

    Hi Tom,

    I used to be a competitive powerlifter and won a world championship (100 kg) in 1995. I continued with powerlifting until 2004 when I ruptured the distal tendon of my left bicep during a deadlift. Full recovery took about a year, after which I started focusing on bodybuilding type training.

    I never struggeld with aspects like motivation and determination and was able to stick to demanding training routines when I was younger.

    Although I am still training, I now find it much more challenging to find the time to exercise. The main reason for this is that I have grown professionally and that career pressures are making it very difficult to strike a work-life balance. I had to cut down to three super circuit training sessions per week supplemented by a bit of cardio work.

    An extremely busy meeting schedule makes it very challenging to stick to a good nutrition plan an I rely a lot on liquid nutrition.

    Although a busy work schedule is often used as an excuse not to exercise, my persoanl experiece is that it is one of the reasons why some people are not able to stick to a regular training and nutrition plan.



  • Theresa

    I believe with a lot of people it’s not really taking the advice in chapter one of BFFM. Until I read the e-book I had heard about goal setting, but never really “bought into it”. I truly believe that 95% of any weight/fat loss, body transformation is mental. If you don’t have the right mindset – and continue to focus on the goals – 100% success won’t be achieved.

    I have been through 4 official (and 2 unofficial) challenges and have completed all of the official ones (didn’t finish the unofficials). However, when I found myself neglecting reading/writing my goals I didn’t do as well and found myself faltering. I have completed all of these official challenges, but know if I had focused more on my goals I could have had much better success. And this applies even after the challenge is finished (reason for not completing the unofficial after the challenge challenges). I’ve found myself falling back into old habits, eating junk again – and a lot of that is I quit focusing on what I really wanted – the goals I had written in the beginning, but lost focus on.

  • Sandi

    A lot of people will drop out because they realise they won’t win the competition and if they can’t win what is the point in continuing.
    One way to get round this mind set is to have a little side bet with someone else to help maintain the focus once the initial enthusiasm has passed.

  • Hi Tom, Drop out Reasons are lack of solid: Performance Ability Goals, Body Comp Goals, Nutrition Plan Design and Execution, Mission Vision Powerful Reasons Why, Training Design and Execution. “WHY” is the most important, and feedback physically measured as well as affirmed by friends and family.

  • Aluko Babalola

    The factors that contribute to your question are: Timing,commitment,and
    deceitful. Many people fail because of time,there is no enough time,some spend a lot of time by do other daily activities. Commitment is also contribute to this in many ways. People may thing bias on the matter and concluded everything in mind that it cannot work.

  • Barbara

    In answer to your question of why we don’t finish – I am sure that there is as many reasons as there are people who don’t finish.
    I know that I went into the Challenge last year unprepared for the project. The training is hard – but it is the mental game that you need to address first in the Challenge. You must have your goals clear and defined. You need to address the issues that have kept you failing in the pass. Until you know why you have failed in the past – you make those same mistakes over and over and over. I realize for me – I panic when I’ve lost about 30 pounds and feel that I am losing myself. Foolish! This year with the help of my teammates – I will lose 14 pounds of fat at a minimum. Yes, I have a weight goal – still the most important goals are as follows – I eat clean every day, I walk or swim for 1 hour each day, I train hard at the gym every other day and that I do my Tai Chi daily for flexibility.
    I know that I was talking to my sister last week – we are both on a voyage to accept ourselves and find the real us under the extra poundage – she got the idea of small frequent meals in an AH HA moment. Eating clean is not that hard if you remember to plan and cook ahead. The failure rate on the days that I don’t have food prepared or that I have missed 1 or more of my meals is 100%. My will power can’t overcome hunger. If I don’t let myself get hungry, I find that 1400 – 1500 calories is more than adequate for me.
    I may not win the any of the rewards that you have posted – the reward I am looking for is that each pound makes my knees feel better – my clothes fit and my energy gets better. So for the rest of my life, I will train hard, eat clean and glory is the easy of movement when your body works correctly. I want to thank you for BFFM – the book spelled out what I needed to do win in my life. So I have won the Challenge by getting up and going to the gym, eating clean, doing my cardio and keeping up on my flexibility one day at a time.

  • Hi Tom,

    There can be many factors, but imho the main one is that they skipped doing chapter 1 in BFFM! With other words, sincere, deep planning (where are my real priorities) is the foundation to reach goals.
    The second factor is the motivation for execution (and the execution itself). We have to recreate the motivation every single day for the action until it becomes habitual. Some people say it is 3 or 4 weeks while a new action will sink in. And recreating the motivation depends on self-discipline. Will I do something that I don’t feel like to do but because I know it is good for me? (That’s why coaches are invaluable, they can move us over the idontfeeltodoittoday feeling.)
    And if someone found an excuse once, very likely that it will happen other times as well, so the habit that will be formulated is that someone will be doing it a little and not doing it a little, so the person will get use to mixed execution. That would result in mixed result of course. And the consequence can be:
    The third factor, that is shame. It is more difficult to admit that I am weak (at the moment) and cannot keep on track, than finding a reason, or making up one (or an excuse) why I drop the program entirely, rather than confronting the situation and finding someone/something that can help.

    So maximizing that someone follows through:
    1. Solid Planning
    2. Recreating Motivation every day + Self-discipline or help from a friend/coach
    3. Measurement of the actions and strength to face the mistakes and be able to get back on track.

    If any of these elements are missing – it is then very easy to not follow through.

    (I did your BFFM program for 4 months, worked off 12 kg fat built 2kg muscle – never felt better before! Since then sport is part of my life, nowadays I do yoga 5 times a week, plus 1-2 other workouts. Sport became habitual for me 🙂 )

  • Lauren

    It’s the psychological aspects – there are a lot of personal beliefs and values to break down before behaviours change. 48 or 98 days may not be enough. For me-it’s taken 5 years to develop consistent good habbits that will lead to health. I come from a family with a strong theme of substance abuse and dying young. I wasnt taught respect for my body. I dont fit in in support groups. I feel like an outsider who doesn’t belong. No matter how positive or encouraging it is, I would have trouble believing it. I would probably start something, but maintaining a change in behaviour would be near impossible without breaking down my psychological blocks, and negative view of myself. It’s taken me years and despite massive improvements, I still struggle with it almost daily in some way or other. I can’t say why 80%-85% are dropping out. but my guess would be that you’re program is designed to make radical behavioural changes- but for the majority of people, such change cannot be developed in such a short amount of amount of time, and cannot be maintained for that long.

  • Candice McMillan

    Hi Tom!

    I completed the challenge last year, and I must say, being accountable to my team-mates helped me get through it. I think that the reason that people drop out is that it is hard to maintain the same excitement and motivation halfway through as you have in the beginning of the challenge. Maybe you lost a few ponds, you are already feeling pretty good, and there seems to be reasons to stray from your plan everywhere! I realized after the challenge that you have to stay balanced(diet and exercise) if not daily, then at least weekly…if you let it go for a week LOOK OUT! You are in danger of going off completely!! I actually found maintenance AFTER the challenge harder that completing the challenge. Good luck to all the contenders this summer!

  • Chris

    I believe that the main reason people quit these contests early is due to not being prepared mentally for the challenge. I got to a point with my weight where I was done! I think you need to be ready mentally and also set realistic goals! I have lost nearly 60 lbs in the last six months by setting up my expectations that are achievable so that I can continue to see results which keep you motivated. I will be entering the Burn the Fat challenge and I will finish! Thanks Tom!

  • Anne

    I personally find that something like a challenge or any weight loss venture needs huge amounts of dedication and willpower.Unfortunately most people lack those qualities when it comes to their own body.Work,school ,friends,family,even TV are bigger priorities.Then you have peer pressure to eat out,drink alcohol,or whatever.One of my personal downfalls is not seeing enough progress soon enough or losing weight and not starting a maintenance program.Other people I have met have gotten so used to being overweight they are afraid to change.Anyone who enters a challenge I am sure has every intention of following through,sometimes their motivations for doing it maybe aren’t strong enough.I plan to enter this challenge and for me part of my motivation is that I made a deal with my husband that I would follow through to the end,so he will be there to help keep me accountable,let’s see if I can make it.

  • There is not a one size fits all answer to this. People are motivated for different reasons. For some it’s money, others it’s a trip to Maui, others it’s the satisfaction of the transformation or being included in a circle of supportive friends… still others it’s pure competition.

    When there is a PERCEIVED value, one will find the way to stick with the entire transformation contest. Money, time, injury, age, even fear of failure and so many of the things mentioned here in the comments are seldom the reason people do not complete the challenge. Some are thwarted by the social aspect… “everybody’s looking at me”…and the list of “reasons” goes on.

    Many times people really don’t see the value and are unable to commit, which is understandable. As long as a person uses the excuse and the language of “no time”, “too old”, etc, it will persist in their life and they will draw to them others in the same situation.

    Sometimes people have very deep limiting beliefs so the patterns of their reality continue. Sometimes people are so dissociated to protect themselves from the deep fear they feel, they fail to take advantage of the opportunities that are placed before them to help them get out of where they are.

    Consider if you had all the time and resources needed to complete the challenge… what else would stop you? Nothing changes until you change.

    BFFM program gives you the HOW TO change. It even gives you the CHANCE TO change. The DESIRE TO change comes from within you. If there is a perceived value, your desire will be there. You need all 3.

    Everybody is on a spiritual path; some paths are easier than others by choice. I’ve done both ways in different contexts. I made different choices. And those choices have made all the difference in the world. The transformation isn’t always easy but it sure is worth the reward.

    I completed the summer 2011 challenge and I am back for this summer’s challenge!

  • Mark Lewis

    I think the reason why people fail is they want to see results and weight loss overnight and when that doesn’t happen they fall off the wagon and go back to there old eating habits

  • T. Moffett Flournoy

    I believe the reason many of us fail to complete a body transformation is because we fail to make a true decision with the commitment needed to follow through. When you make a real decision, you cut yourself off from all other possibilities. Too often in life we say we will “try” to do something. When you tell yourself you will “try”, you give yourself a way out. In the beginning you put in some effort but then something comes up such as birthday, wedding, or other special event. We eat bad during that occasion. Instead of viewing this as a small setback and renewing our healthy habits, we say we’ve blown it. Then we say we will start over next week or next month and resume our unhealthy lifestyle.

    In order to successfully complete a body transformation, you have to decide to actually do it not just try. You have to back that up with serious commitment. The kind of commitment the samurai had. A samurai was committed to reaching his goal or being killed in the attempt. I am not saying we should die in the attempt. After all the goal is to get healthy. But we have to stop coming up with excuses and actually commit. You cannot fall back on excuses and reasons for failing. You have to have an attitude of there are no excuses just challenges to be overcome.

    You have to realize that none of us are perfect but all of us have the potential to be so much more than we are. Push yourself to reach your potential instead of settling for mediocrity.

  • Mark Lewis

    Hi tom I think the reason why people fail is they want to see results and weight loss overnight and when that doesn’t happen they fall off the wagon and go back to there old eating habits people get frustrated an lazy when things don’t happen overnight

  • Al Reid

    I think life gets in the way.

    I know that when Ive tried to be ‘good’ and stick to my work out plan for as long as possible, something eventualy comes along that you just can’t get out of, whether it’s work related or something in your social life or family commitments.

    It’s important to ‘get back on the horse’ as soon as possible and not let it get you down. Don’t think that the previous weeks have been a waste. Get back into it straight away.

    In an ideal world, if I was to attempt one of these challenges I’d want to take the 98 days off work, tell all my family and friends that I’m not available for the next 98 days and do nothing but focus on this. Therefore I think planning is really important. Cancel as many social things as you can, don’t over commit at work, make promises to yourself to work out and eat right 100% of the time. Tell friends and family what you are doing and explain that you won’t be around as much for a while.

    This is the way that I’d like to do it but I understand that this just isn’t possible. Perhaps some time in the year is better for some people than others and the contest doesn’t fall at the right time for all people.

    This is just my opinion of course.

  • Rebecca

    I believe that people give up before finishing because they give up on themselves. They begin to see results, and it turns into a ‘good enough’ scenario. They see people having better results and don’t think they can compete. They don’t have enough faith in themselves, or self confidence to carry through to the end.

  • Kris

    I have started but not completed challenges with BFFM before, but I have been successful in completing my own 12 week self made challenges. I think it has a lot to do with where you are mentally. If you are at your wits end and are just sick and looking and feeling the way you do and are ready to do what it takes then I think you will have a higher probability of sticking it out.

    Then again you could get started all gung ho, like most people do then cool down on the thought once your results start slowing down, or you are just too sore, or you fall into temptation and just decide to throw in the towel because that is the easier thing to do.

    Lets face it, making a change in your body is not easy!! It takes hard work, dedication and some sacrifice for a little while to make it and be successful. Some may come into these challenges without a good understanding of what it takes and their mindset, or their “why”, may not be strong enough to get them over the hump and actually finish.

  • Debbie

    I have never entered a transformation contest, but I have tried many different ways to lose weight since I was a teenager. I succeeded in reaching my goal weight with Weight Watchers when I was 29, but as I reached 50 the weight started coming back. I returned to the program a couple of times and am now back to a different goal weight which is 25 pounds higher than the weight I reached when I was 29, but within (although at the top end) the normal range for my age and sex. It seems a lot harder to lose the weight and keep it off now at 62. I first became interested in Tom Venuto’s books because a friend of mine told me about them and I realized my body fat percentage is 39%. I was puzzled at how I could be at an acceptable BMI and acceptable weight for Weight Watchers, but still be at 39% body fat. It made me feel FAT all over again, kind of taking away the good feeling I have of doing all the work to reach that goal. When I read Tom’s book “The Body Fat Solution” I realized I must be one of those “skinny fat” people.

    I do eat healthy and I do work out, a lot more than most 62 year old women, but I guess it is not enough. I probably will not put myself through a competition, but I will work towards adopting the steps that Tom outlines in his book.

    What I know from losing weight is there are many reasons people quit. If a program is too restrictive and you feel you can’t go out and enjoy your life with your friends and family, you quit. If you don’t have enough success, you quit. If it is too much work, you quit. It is not easy to learn what and how to order when eating out. It is not easy to grocery shop carefully, read labels, and cook more of your own food instead of eating fast food. Some people don’t know how to cook in the first place which makes it harder yet. It takes time, thought, and focus to do all these things. On the positive side, it can be done if you take it one step at a time. Exercise is another piece of the puzzle which is being stressed more now in Weight Watchers than it was years ago, but their main focus is the food you eat. I know exercise is important and have been a member of a health club and attending classes since 1981, but I do wonder as I am getting older how long I will be able to do the amount of exercise required to keep in shape and burn the required amount of calories. This is another problem I have noticed. When people are overweight and start an exercise program, their joints hurt because of the weight they are carrying, but they need to do the exercise to lose the weight. It is a vicious cycle. This causes some people to quit also. I myself am starting to have little aches/pains in my knees from the vigorous class I take which involves 50 minutes of non-stop mini-circuits with weights and usually involves squats. By the way, our excellent instructor is a 65 year old personal trainer who can whip anybody’s butt. She is an inspiration to me and my husband.

    What is the reason people quit? There are many. It is not easy and it takes a lot of committment to do all the many things that are necessary to succeed. It IS a lifestyle change, not a temporary thing you do and then go back to your old habits. For myself, I don’t think I could take the rigors of a transformation competition, but I will incorporate Tom’s ideas into my already changed lifestyle a little more slowly than would happen in a competition, but still I will get there. We are constantly evolving our diet and exercise to make improvements and this will be the next step for me. Funny thing is, since reading Tom’s book, I found (despite all the books I have read about nutrition and losing weight) it all goes back to a physical education class I took in college in 1969 where we kept track of our calories in and calories out and the calorie deficit. There is no magic–just a math equation. Refreshingly simple in a way. I just finished Tom’s book and have not had a chance to put this into practice yet. I hope it works.

    Tom: A question for you. Is it possible to get the muscle definition and a good looking body at the age of 62? As I am sure you know, skin begins to lose elasticity and you get those bat wings on your arms and other sagging skin. Will this get rid of those if I work this program? Not that I am looking for the fountain of youth or anything 🙂

  • mary loren

    the reason why so many people drop out of transforming their body is they get just so far, and then seem to back track and get very frustrated. also, they have no one to really encourage them to stay on the program and have no confidence in themselves and are teased for trying to do something for themselves.

  • Why do people drop out?
    Specifically to your challenge Tom, I think people would drop out near the end through justification. “Reasons such as I’m not going to be able to win now”. Perhaps seeing others results on the forum contribute to this. “I have lost enough weight”. “I am happy with my effort and need to focus on work/kids”. Irralavant excuses such as these being justified with reason so they can go back to their normal diet and lifestyle. Burn’t out will power has a factor and people can rationalize quiting being a logical decision.

    How do you stick with it?
    What helps me is every time I face a tough decision I ask myself do I really want these results. I then answer I really want this and take the write decision. When it comes to times like these people don’t really really want it. Positive affirmations help great too. Things such as: “I’m gonna be so ripped avoiding all those carbs in that pie mum just offered me” “I’m a champ I have so much will power” “I’m a lean mean fat burning machine”. Also checking in with self daily making sure you still want these results and are staying true to acheving them. Most people don’t have the mondset for it. When faced with a tough decision you basically have to look at it. Stay the same or loose weight, so 9 times out of 10 people should be taking the harder option.

  • Denise

    Hi Tom!! Firstly, we all need to say a huge THANK YOU to you and your Team! Without all your time spent, effort and drive to ensure that the best possible program is available to everyone…we would not be participating in this blog and posting feedback and comments….and of course possibly be in line for the AWESOME prize you are willing to share with us all…..again, THANK YOU !!

    Well… ask “Why do people drop out of body transformation contests?”. I suppose it is a combination of many factors. First being mind set. One needs to change your way of thinking from being ‘on a diet’ to being on a ‘change of lifestyle program’. It just triggers different thoughts in your mind.

    I also think motivation has a huge roll to play. If you are not motivated to change how you feel about yourself and look, no matter what you try…you will fail.

    You also ‘need to put it out there’, speak to family and friends, you need a loving support cushion to fall back on, on the hard days and assist with keeping you motivated with positive feedback even when you feel ‘you are not seeing / feeling’ the results.
    We tend to forget, we ‘see’ our self’s all day, every day. Family and friends may not, and will notice any slight change. By voicing your intention it also makes ‘them’ aware of your intention and ‘sort of hold you accountable’, keep on on the correct path, as it were.

    Also, I suppose there is a bit of ‘feeling left out’ also thrown in the mix that could contribute to someone ‘throwing in the towel’. At social gatherings, parties, going out for supper…..on many ‘diets’ you are constantly having to ‘turn away from’ the foods you love the most. Or worse yet, the constant counting of calories or fat intake….it just becomes to much of a mission on top of not being able to ‘socially participate’ like you used too…..all the above thrown into one mixing bowl spells ‘chucking in the towel’.

    Once you have given up, then you feel guilty for the time, effort and money wasted and promise yourself ‘never again’. Until one day is one day, you are of positive mind again and possibly the previous ’rounds’ memory has faded enough just not to remember why you gave up in the fist place…as so the yo yo weight roller coaster starts all over again.

    I truly believe having visual aides as well as sticky post it notes up in the house and pics as well all helps with keeping you on track. Contact with other participants and members as well as feedback from trainers could also has a huge impact, which all swings the pendulum in the right direction to staying with any life changing program.

    I wish all your participants good luck and good health for their challenge’s ahead, its all worth it in the end!!

    I do hope I am fortunate enough to be part of the group to be lucky enough in the draw as I cannot afford to purchase your program for my husband. He works very long hours, very little exercise so of course with age, the kilo’s have picked up.

    Take care & good luck !!

    Best wishes.

  • Juanita Davis

    Life is busy and if you have a busy job and a family, it’s even harder. People drop out cause they can’t keep up. Some get sick, some have family that get sick, it all takes a toll and sometimes something has to give. If you miss a weeks gym because you are sick, chances are you aren’t going to return in a hurry.

    I think changing your eating habits is also really hard. I enjoy going to the gym and if I miss a session, I really feel like I’ve done myself an injustice. It’s the food I have a problem with. I know it’s a lifestyle change but I can’t seem to train my brain into thinking that way. Dieting guidance is what I need most and not those ridiculous recipes that I need to purchase 30 different items to make it.

    So when I train hard and don’t see any changes, it’s really depressing and sometimes I want to give up. I’ve been going to the gym more off than on for the last 20 years.

  • Ed

    As someone who has tried to encourage others to excercise/shape up, I’ve experienced the frustration of seeing them give up and fail. In my (admittedly hugely limited and entirely non-professional!) experience, one of the biggest barriers is simply…”change”. Pretty much most people tend to find they get into a rut of some kind, be it what they eat, what they do, where they work, who they hang out with, etc, etc. This appears to be something that sets in during what is usually termed “mid life”…i.e. 30’s and 40’s (though this is by no means exclusive). We’ve done the “wild and crazy” stuff in our teens and 20’s and usually by the time we’re in our 30’s, most of us have started to “settle down” and have some kind of regular employment, possibly a family too. Whilst this is good in some ways, it tends to get us into the dreaded rut…a routine of work and home life that rarely changes from a regular pattern – or if it does, then only briefly. Consequently we subconsciously get comfortable with this because it has become the norm and our life becomes a series of routines. And whilst we may bemoan them on the surface, deep down it’s something stable that we have pretty much built our life on.

    So when a situation comes along that requires us to change those routines and get out of that rut, it’s something of a shock to the system because we’re simply not used to doing something that we’re….well, not used to doing! And because we tend to be creatures of habit, it suddenly feels very strange to be trying to do something that isn’t part of our normal routine…and subconsciously, we actually start hearking back to the rut that we were in before, simply because it is something familiar to us and that we were comfortable with.

    So I believe a major reason why people fail is because they don’t know how to handle change in their lives; they don’t know how to adapt to a new way of living that’s different to how they’ve lived most, if not all, of their life so far. Motivation plays a huge part as that is one thing that can drive us to continue, even if we’re feeling uncertain or insecure…and finding something that truly motivates us is key to achieving success – if we want something bad enough, then we’ll find a way to adapt.

    There’s probably a ton of better thought out, better written ideas on here but for me, this is something that I believe presents a big problem to a lot of people.

  • amanda

    I’ve dropped out of quite a few transformation contests and plenty of my own little challenges. For me I find I have to be willing. It’s hard especsilly once the honeymooin period wears off. I have to only think about 1 day at a time. Just like an alcoholic really. Only focus on what I have to do today. I can do anything for just 24 hours. I have to let go of the outcome too. Just do the footwork and the results will take care of themselves. When I have dine this I’ve been stay on track longer. Up to 8 weeks

  • Kathy Smith

    I myself have started the contest twice and have not finished. Both times I didn’t pace myself and reinjured my
    back. By the time I was able to workout again, the excitement of the moment had passed. I have since realized that I was not committed enough to my health to continue when I realized I didn’t have a chance to win the contest.

  • Dan indenbosch

    I think it all boils down to…”HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?”

  • Edgar Acevedo

    I believe people get excited when they start a new diet or exercise program but then quickly lose their drive. Like the informecials for P90X, TIEBOW, Fitness Made Simple etc. People see the informercial and get excited so they order the DVDs but then they find out that it is acually hard work and so they lose their drive and motivation.

    With diets people set up goals that are not achievable in such a short time. It took a decade to gain 100 pounds and they want to lose it in a few months but when they see that this is not achievable, they give up.

    Its better to set up small goals both in fitness and diet which will start the momentum going to build up on and eventually lead to success.

    6 years ago I was sooo lazy and didn’t want to work out even though I was 340 pounds. I convinced myself to walk just 5 minutes everyday. It wasn’t much but it was a start. On some days I didn’t even feel like going out to walk for 5 minutes but It was easy to convince myself and say, dude its only 5 minutes so I did it. After a month I moved on to 10 minutes a day, 15 minutes a day and pretty soon after a year I was walking 1 hour a day. I took baby steps and build momentum.

    The end result was that I lost 40 pounds and kept it off. Even today I still walk most days for up to 60 minutes. However, my body got used to the activity and the walking only helps me maintain the weight loss. Like my doctor told me its time for me to challenge myself and start weight training and/or jogging..

    In summary I don’t think most people can dive in to a full blown weight loss/exercise program. Sure they might have 100% drive at first because they do want to lose the weight and get in shape but the motivation is short lived. People need to build up a diet and exercise program gradually until they get used to it and becomes a part of them like getting up everyday to brush your teeth..

    My opinion and comments comes mostly from my own personal experience

  • Tyler

    People drop out of the contest not because they dont have the desire to get in shape or to improve their health (which should be the ultimate goal), it’s because they are doing this for the wrong reasons.

    Most people want to get fit so they can fit into a smaller dress to look good at a wedding in front of a lot of people who couldnt care less. This is ruining weight loss and health improvement. If people would stop focusing on the mirror and start focusing on the body (the way it feels, the way it functions, its health) their results would be much better and there would be many more people who complete the transformation.

  • Rachelle Burkert

    I believe there are a few reasons that take place when people drop off.

    1) Get overwhelmed with their everyday life, and just give in to other priorities. (I think health is the #1 priority, without good health, you wouldn’t have any other priorities to worry about).
    2) Get injured and instead of working thru it, have a pity party for themselves, and end up putting on more weight, so they just throw in the towel.
    3) Not asking for help with friends and family to support and inspire them to keep going.
    4) They aren’t looking at their GOAL Card regularly/often enough.

    5) The biggest reason I believe people give up is they do not have a PURPOSE to go with their goal! Their PURPOSE isn’t strong enough to keep them going…..

  • Andria Francisco

    We live in lazy world where most people want immediate gratification or the easy way to do everything. Most want to take a pill to treat a health problem rather than make true lifestyle changes. In the past I have thought that I was ready to change my life, but was lacking the complete conviction needed to make the change permanent. It seems easier to deal with the known, even if it is making you miserable, than it is to put forth the effort to jump into the better unknown. I’ve noticed with many people that I know, that as soon as they start to feel better, they act as though they have lost their identity and don’t know who or what they are anymore. They then quickly fall back into the old habits, because they feel mentally and emotionally more comfortable there. Most don’t like getting out of their comfort zone.

    In order to stick with it, I have to remind myself daily of how much better I feel when I’m active and eating well. I also have to prepare well. Have a solid plan of what I’m doing in the gym and what I’m going to eat. If I haven’t planned ahead then I’m much more likely to abandon my goals altogether.

  • Jay M.

    I think the main reason that people fail at these challenges is not only the fear of failure, but also the fear of success. What happens if I actually accomplish this fitness goal? Do I now have to maintain the program (and my body) from now on? The thought of ‘forever’ is a fairly daunting idea. Basically, fearing of success is actually a lack of fully committing…not only to the program but to your life.
    We humans are a funny lot. We want what is good for us, but tend to runaway when the “good” is right in front of us.

  • Roger A C

    Seems to me I have signed up for weight loss programs on the average of every two months… for years. Yet, about 2 years ago, I made a decision that has changed my life. I committed myself to walk daily. After a year, I had lost some 25 lbs and I sharpened my plan. Something was different: I was living in senior housing and decided that living there would not be like living in a used car lot, but a launch pad for transformation. From my high point of 280 pounds, I dropped to 246 and then to my present 190.
    Now I am less concerned with weigh loss and more focused on body sculpting. I am not satisfied with being a skinny version of my former self. I cannot make myself young again, but I can become a restored classic showpiece. My biggest change in attitude that made me stick with it was my refusal to give in to challenges when I met them and to stay focused on my long and short-term goals. I stopped trying to change and committed to doing it. I can already see myself at the finish line. I thoroughly enjoy seeing people look at me in shock over my transformation. It never grows old.
    Success breeds success. I am literally living in the body I spent too much time fantasizing about for too long. There is no going back. My nutrition changes were not for a fixed period of time, but for the rest of my life. The old habits did not work for me, and I’m not going back there. I’m happier where I am with what I’ve got. Any future change will be for more refined changes, not for less than I’ve achieved so far. This time around, I’m going for body sculpting, I plan to be a museum piece, not pawn shop dust-covered has-been.

  • Kimberly

    I think that the reason most people drop out of body transformation competitions is because they don’t have enough encouragement. Making permanent lifestyle changes is extremely difficult on its own, and the competition can make it a lot more difficult because seeing other people outperforming you can cause a lot of negativity and self-doubt about your own capabilities. This, coupled with a lack of encouragement from people that you see on a day-to-day basis, can make success seem almost unattainable.

  • Johannah

    The obvious success determining factor is adherence. If people are unable the stick to their training and eating program long term, they are unlikely to be successful in body transformation (even for just 50 days). For this reason, I would advise beginning applying some of these lifestyle changes (eating and exercising habits) gradually a good amount of time BEFORE the competition start time so that the changes made are not done cold-turkey, rather have already begun to become habit. This way the onset of the competition is not going to be such a shock physically and psychologically – and therefore easier to stick to. Secondly, an important factor for adherence is enjoyment and not feeling too deprived. To ensure these, one must find exercise modes and healthy foods they enjoy.

    The other psychological factors including motivation and goal setting are also of great importance for stickability to a program and achieving a goal. Tom Venuto’s book ‘The Body Fat Solution’ AND ‘Burn the fat, Feed the Muscle’ cover these very well.

    These are some incomplete and brief factors, however a few which I believe are most important for completion of a body transformation competition. Good luck to anybody reading this and planning to compete (although, luck won’t get you far.. its hard work that will get you there!).

  • Tim O'Hearn

    I’ve started every January for the past many years and I usually go back to my old habits after Easter.

    I would have to say that the main reason why I dropped out was out of boredom of exercise and the many temptations there are during the summer months with cookouts, picnics, etc.

    But I also believe it goes much deeper than that. I believe that it all starts with being in the proper frame of mind. I was not in the right mindset before compared to now. I now set goals. I’ve joined the 2012 Summer Challenge and told my family and friends what I’m doing for the next 98 days. I’m also entering it as a part of a team. So I’m now accountable to others, not just to myself. My mindset changed because I finally got sick and tired of being sick and tired.

  • Arohaina Nimmo

    Coming from personal experience, I always found myself dropping out of diet/exercise programs simply because I found it hard to support that type of lifestyle change. I feel that because this change in style is required and applied across your ‘life’, the consequences of such changes are not easily predicted, nor are they straight-forward. Planning for these consequences is difficult – departing from your lifestyle change is usually the easier or smoother option to take. This particular change definately has its consequences within my social and personal spheres, I find that Id rather give in to these pressures rather than go, against the grain so to speak…
    So, to answer the second half of the question, I feel that sticking to programs like these just requires a really good level of support (and a really good dose of strong mental focus too!!!). Finding that support may be a challenge for many (like myself) but I feel that if you are able to find it, youve already passed the halfway mark to success! In education, the high dropout rate for post-graduate study is usually because of social isolation as it is often a lonely, lifechanging journey with minimal support. And like most ‘lifestyle’ changes, it can often be a lonely journey until you find that support, that group of people with whom you can identify, share and communicate with. I suppose thats whats so great about weightloss forums!! But anyway, this is just what I think 🙂

  • Laura

    I’ve taken a 90 day challenge about 3 years ago (a program based on BFFM), and not only finished, but went for another 90 days! Unfortunately, I was only 20 lbs from my goal weight and moved across the country. The life change was so drastic that I lost track of where I was going and what I was doing! That’s my theory, anyway. Or was it an excuse? I’ve now put back on all the weight I worked so hard to lose plus about 20 additional pounds. Yes, my plan is to hop on board find that groove again with BFFM!

    During that initial 90 day challenge, I had seen many drop out after only a few days, and some after 30 or even 60! The reasons/excuses ranged widely from “it’s too time-consuming” to “I just like to eat and have decided to accept my body just the way it is.” I think it all comes down to priorities. Yes, it takes some extra time to put forth the effort to change your lifestyle and start working out and learning how to eat right, but once you get into that “groove”, it all just falls into place.

    I think some people get discouraged because they aren’t losing WEIGHT as fast as they wanted to (the scales are NOT your friend when you’re weight training). Some give up because of family members that aren’t very happy about the time it’s taking away from THEM. Some give up because they think it’s just too difficult to get rid of their bad habits.

    They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, good or bad. That’s only 3 weeks. Hmmmmm…

  • Lauri Crow

    Old habits. Doing it alone. Takes more time and planning to eat healthy. All events. Celebrations. Funerals, seem to include food. Unhealthy food often tastes great.
    I have only been successful when there is accountability. And when that is over I go back to bad habits.

  • Bonnie

    I know why I personally haven’t stuck with specific diets — it’s simply because I often have an all-or-nothing mentality. When I go off track — when I eat something “off limits,” for instance — I feel as though I have failed, so therefore why keep going? One slip-up often leads to another, which increases the feeling of failure.

    I think what would work would be to have an EXACT eating diet plan — to be told, here is what and when you eat today, and here’s your workout. Seeing quick results would provide the extra boost of motivation to keep going — once you’re over that initial hurdle, it’s easier to keep going.

    Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts! I love your email newsletter!

  • Lisa V.

    Hi, thank you for this opportunity to win your awesome gifts. I believe the reason people fail at a transformation contest is because people don’t totally devote 100% into their transformation. You cannot just go in and think you can still cheat or even not work out. It takes a lot of time and effort on your part to transform your body. Another reason people fail is because they are afraid of change. With change it may lead to more attention brought to them. This may make them feel uncomfortable. Also, most of the time people are uneducated on what nutrition is best for them to lose weight. They will try these fad diets that fail. They need to get educated so they will learn that it their food is a way of life not a diet.

    Everyone needs to remember to get anything worth while you need to work hard for it.

    I was 200 lbs. I was tired of looking that way. I have four children that I needed to raise and didn’t want them to be embarrassed by their mom. I changed everything about me. I have done two figure competitions and one of them my brought a trophy home. Anyone can do what I have achieved you just need to want it.

    Thank you and have a blessed week.

    Lisa V.

  • Beckie

    The biggest reason I have given up on a diet/training regime is lost motivation due to lack of visible results. If I don’t see fat loss or strength gains I kinda feel like I have failed and I beat myself up psychologically. I have always looked at things in black and white,even to the point of not seeing ‘some’ progress as being important. I realise having a ‘global’ view of a goal is not helpful and am striving to break things down into more manageable ‘bites’. I think this is relevant to any training program or ‘diet’ so I need to get better at setting regular short term goals and reviewing them.

  • Laura Milczarek

    I am the expert on not finishing contests lol. I have entered every BFFM contest since 2009 and dropped out of every one. For me I think it comes down to mindset and staying motivated. It is hard. It’s not a piece of cake and you really have to have your mind in the right place before you start. Even when you think you are ready you may not be. What if you have a trip up? How will you react to that. There was my problem. One bad day led to another and another and then suddenly I was thinking, “well why bother even finishing now?”. They way you react to hiccups really determines whether you will finish I think.

    I am going to enter the BFFM summer challenge this year and I am going to do one thing which I never did in the last ones I have entered. I am a part of a TEAM! I think this in itself will be the major factor that helps me finish. The support and extra accountability is what I need to see me through these 14 weeks. Already in prep for the contest I can feel the support and I know I am in a different mindset already. Knowing that my other teamates will have bad days too allows me not to quit and just get back on the wagon and continue on with the journey.

  • Dee

    I think the biggest things that have stopped me again and again in my personal fitness improvement programs are these:

    1) A fear that, no matter how hard I work or how perfectly I do a program, results might not be as great as I hope. What if I can’t get as shapely and buff as I used to be when I worked out 20 or 30 years ago? Somehow it seems it would be a terrible let-down to work and work, do everything right… and still end up with a somewhat mediocre physique when all is said and done. What if my body just can’t or won’t get “all the way there” no matter what I do? This sort of fear can be very erosive of motivation to even start, let alone continue a fitness program. I don’t think many people articulate this fear, even to themselves, but I suspect that it is a (mostly hidden) “biggie” for many of us. We fear that even if we knock ourselves out, we’ll just look OK (i.e. nice in street clothes), but never really great (i.e. awesome in swim wear).

    2) I often haven’t had a structure to reward the BEHAVIORS that will (eventually) lead to the results. And, especially in the area of fitness, results are not nearly fast enough to reinforce the behaviors that are necessary to create them. So, somehow we need to focus on PROCESS and on making the right behavioral choices, hour after hour and day after day. Maybe this is what logging and tracking of food and exercise does for some people. I (mostly) have not done that, and probably that would make a big difference. For many of us a personal trainer or coach is not affordable, so free support is needed.

    3) Not making my fitness goals a high enough priority. And by high enough, I mean “ironclad and idiot-proof.” Perfect example: Last fall, I had once again launched a daily exercise program and was really starting to see great results. Along came “the client from hell” and suddenly the need to work with this unreasonable person (since they were paying and my family needed the money) was allowed to eclipse nearly everything else. My daily exercise was one of the first casualties. Soon all my fitness progress was lost, along with irreplaceable quality time for myself and my family. Needless to say I felt very angry and ripped off for all the potential progress that I had lost, by allowing some doofus to come along and steal so much of my time and focus. (Need I add that the deal went sour and paid poorly?) So I need to have a mindset that says “Taking care of myself comes first, no matter what.” Life tends to accommodate our commitments when WE stick to them.

    I could say more, but I think that’s a good start. If nothing else, it has helped me to get more focused again. Thanks, Tom!

  • Betsy R

    The reason I have not even entered a weight-loss contest is because the program is too impossible to achieve success. I am 68, female, have Fibromyalgia & Type 2 Diabetes. I would totally wreck the gains I have made if I lifted serious weights, & I am not willing to suffer 6 months of agony to prove it. I am not a couch potato..I exercise 4x/week,no longer use insulin,have regained range of motion from complete very painful 7 year incapacity & already eat a healthy meat & veg diet. Yet still I weigh a horrid 190 lbs and have a fat belly. I would truly love to lose the weight, but can’t believe the photos of before & after.They are just taken at different angles to trick the eye and have a shave, a smaller bikini, a sucked-in belly & a tan to mimic better health. So if I don’t believe the results, already eat well & can’t lift weights or do squats, what hope is there?

  • Beth

    Excuses. I was in an abusive relationship and had big ideals that I could do it but gave in to the low self esteem, can’t succeed mindframe. Fear of failure, fear of success. Trying to implement everything at once was a bit overwhelming and contributed to my dropping out. Also,being so overweight did make it harder to get any type of gains to feel like I was getting anywhere. The Mind is the total kicker.

  • AMI

    An interesting question, really.
    I took part in one competition in 2010 and placed second to my great surprise. After that I did not compete, because I thought, that my rivals would be too much to be won, perhaps even on a professional level? When I saw their photos, I realized, that they were nothing of the sort! So I was very much disappointed. This year I have been training again very hard to be a winner! If I will not , I must admit, that some others have done more and better work than I did. But I still would be a winner. Why do I say that? I did do my best. The others did more. So simple it is. Next competition will be hard, but I will do more, work harder than ever before, and perhaps I will place myself higher.
    Never quit, never let yourself down my friends! Work hard and never let yourself doubt about your possibilities!

  • dave

    they quit because they want instant gratification. if the fat does not fall off quick enough they give up.

    i am 54 years old and have been 40 pounds overweight since i was 30 years old. marriage, kids, job (life) pushed aside my will to stay fit. then in november of 2011 i decided to get back to a healthy lifestyle. i live in indiana, one of the most obese states in the nation. i read a statisic that said………70% of indiana residents are overweight. and sure enough i started looking at people at the malls, movie theaters, church, etc and that statistic was just about 100% correct. right then and there i decided i wanted to be a minority and get my body back that i had in college.
    so i started reading your website, started following your suggestions, started lifting weights and eating healthy.
    i have lost 25 lbs since november 2011 and i feel i need to lose about 15 more and i will have a body fat of less than 12%.
    i work out one hour per day, no matter how i feel. i lift weights 4 days a week, and do aerobics 3 days a week, all at my home. once i get down to 160 lbs ( i am 5’9”) i will be joining a gym and hiring a trainer to help me add muscle.
    i realized if i kept the lifestyle i was living, i might not see 60 years. i want to be around to see my grandkids graduate from college.

  • jeff

    Good day Tom, and thanks for the opportunity to comment on such a profound but troubeling question. Why do people drop out of body transformation contests? I believe the answer to be quite simple…..shame. They likely feel shame in their ability, or lack therof, to bring about change. the dieting, excercise and constant effort to do what they need to be doing, instead of what they have been doing is difficult, and almost always challenging. But, as they continue on down the road of body transformation, any bump in that road could upset the apple cart as it were, and leave them defeated, and ashamed that they percievably could not compete with those other people doing the same thing as them. Thus, it is the shame associated with a perceived or real feeling of failure when faced by the competative nature of others, that leads the average individual to drop out of a body transformation contest. My question to you is, “Do they stop trying to transform their bodies when they drop out of the contest, or do they continue without showing you the results?”

    Thanks again Tom,

    Jeff Cote

  • Eric

    I have completed two very successful body tranformations. The first was in 2009 with Adam Water’s RTP system (based on BFFM and promoted by Tom). I lost 50 lbs in 12 weeks and as far as the contest part was concerned I placed high in the top 10. More importantly, it
    changed my life – not only my health and my body but most importantly my perspective on what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle.

    The second was the first Holiday Challenge here in 2009/2010. I was on the winning team and also placed in the top 10.

    So first – how did I stick with it and succeed? For me, it was two things. The first was I was part of a team in both cases. In addition, I built a very close partnership with one individual and we became extremely and fanatically accountable to each other. Her name is Sarah, you might recognize her from her picture on every page of the Inner Circle site! She has gone on to do amazing things with her transformation as a foundation. We held each other to a standard and level of compliance that could only lead to amazing success.

    The second reason I found success was that I got invested in the success of others. I did the work and wrote the blogs and connected and related and befriended a whole community. I became PASSIONATE about their success. So I did everything I could in my power to be a success – so that I could be of service to them with credibility.

    Since those days, my life has taken all kinds of twists and turns and my commitment to that lifestyle has diminished. I’ve lost some ground, but have kept enough elements of health and fitness in my life
    to stay in reasonable health, but not in the shape I would like to be. I’ve attempted probably three or four transformation contests since then and have not been successful at completing them. The stress in my life has led to bad habits for stress management which has led to an inability (recently) to stick with the lifestyle needed to be successful at health and fitness for the duration of a contest.

    So why do people drop out of body transformation contests? For me, it has been three things:
    1. Lack of TRUE accountability. I have had friends get together and work on encouraging each other, but it wasn’t nearly the level that
    Sarah and I had that led to our success.
    2. Lack of PASSION. I have lost sight of what really fulfills me and what I am passionate about. For me, this has to be the foundation for lifestyle change – emotional investment.
    3. Lack of stress management. I have always used food for stress management, which is what led to my being in a place from which I could make such an “amazing” transformation. As the stress in my life has increased, I haven’t found better ways of managing it which has led to old patterns creeping in.

    I look forward to working with all three of these and having another successful transformation this summer and getting into what will literally be the best shape of my life.

  • Val McBeath

    Why do people drop out of body transformation contests?
    I think the over riding factor is that after a while they believe they won’t win. This could be driven by:
    1)They don’t see results quick enough and believe other people will be doing better than them
    2)They get distracted by life, principally work. This can stop them working out as much as they should or it can make eating the right foods all of the time difficult and so again they think they are falling behind the competition

    Once the thought of the prize starts to look a distant dream, the motivation disappears and they drop out.

  • Denise Cavender

    I think people drop out because it is easier to give up than stay committed, especially when you have a low self-esteem and no one person around you to help mentor you, support you and to help you be accountable. Your faith in yourself can go right out the door. A blog is cool, but an actual body, a person who truly cares about you, believes in you and is with you all the way when you sign up to transform your body, to me means so much. So along with handing myself over spiritually and trusting the Lord will be my strength (at least He never leaves me)a real person to help give me a pat on the back, make me work hard when I need to, provide a hug when I do would be awesome!

  • John

    Lack of self discipline. Americans are used to being told what to do, despite the hype they arent self tarters. Tom’s Inner Circle is useful because it introduces structure and peer pressure. However, no group or trainer can substitute for inner drive.

  • Pamela Robinson

    I would like to submit this entry for your contest.

    Why do people drop out of body transformation contests?

    I believe its because they feel like its not worth it, that they have tried in the past without success so why try again. They dont have a support system in place, they dont have any positive self esteem. They could also have a lot of negative people around them or maybe they are just plain lazy. I, myself have a problem with needing to lose some FAT.
    Mainly a FAT stomach which I wish I could lose and a lot of cellulite. I guess I just need to let go of all the food that is making me fat. I read the letter of Corpulence by William Banting and now I see what I have been doing wrong. I have been stuffing my face with a lot of the wrong foods. I had no idea that all those foods would make you fat. Who knew?


    Well lets put it this way. If I want to get into my wedding dress on Feb 14 2013, I had better get my butt in gear and do something about it, lol and just to let you know, I am going to have to return the ebook I bought from you (burn the fat feed the muscle) because I cant afford to pay for it, I do not have the money, I am unemployed now. I am on your 21 day trial. I wish I could afford it but I cant. I am so sick of being fat and I am also going thru HELL with Menopause which is not helping any at all. I get so hot from the hot flashes that I turn red and almost pass out. I am 50 yrs old.

  • Lisa

    I know the reason I have not fully succeeded w/my transformation is lack of support from my significant other. He LOVED the results he saw BUT when he saw how what I was doing didn’t fit into his hillbilly ideas of a meal, he sabotaged all my efforts. Then, when the results started to disappear he turned to negative comments to try to “encourage” me to loose weight again. All that did was make it worse.

    Trying to juggle taking care of a child w/invisible special needs; SERIOUS food allergies of myself & above child; battling Clinical Depression; working 3rd shift; significant other works 1st shift & starting a new job that requires us moving to the DC area…. ALL this w/o much support from loved ones.

    SUPPORT from your loved one HAS to be ONE of the TOP REASONS why people don’t succeed @ their transformation. IF I HAD that I think I could make it this time.

  • Ruth Skinner-Smith

    I recently took part in a 10 week challenge at my local gym. The goals were to lose 10kg in 10 weeks and run 10km. I completed the challenge , although only lost 6.64kg – I only had about 12 kg to lose anyway.

    A free bootcamp was included in the cost of the challenge, but you had to complete at least 1 PT session (at your extra cost) per week.

    The reason I completed it was that I was totally focused on my goals for that 10 weeks, but that meant that other things had to suffer – I was spending so much time at the gym each day that my family life suffered. I was short of money due to having to pay for the PTs.

    So I think the reason people drop out is because of the commitment that is needed to complete these challenges. Although fitness and weight loss is a journey and life change, mostly we can do it in our own time, at our own pace. In programs, you have to commit something or things – money, time, emotion and this is hard for most people in this hectic life that we lead.


  • Therese Figueras

    I think the reason for quitting or a failed attempt is POOR PLANNING; that covers factors such as personal and work schedules, meal plans, workout sessions, stress relief techniques, and craving control.

    I’ve been through at least three 6-week transformation contests and have had to drop out during at the start of the fifth week. The only constant and consistent factor was my workout schedule; I go to a 45-min high-intensity bootcamp session in the early mornings and then run 3miles in alternating afternoons. Everything else was so “played by ear” that I was cheating 50% or more the rest of the time with fast food & microwave dinners because it was just convenient.

    If I was to enter another contest, I’d have to buckle down and stick with. I’ve found out the hard way the variety (in the food I ate) is actually not good for me. I needed a diet that has been planned out, specified foods to the letter for each day I’m on the challenge. I’m in the middle of a nutrition program that my dietician friend had designed for me and it’s working well. Habits have changed dramatically and drastically for the past 2weeks and I plan on bringing these in for this awesome contest!

  • Barbara Bilodeau

    Why do people drop out of body transformation contests?

    I’ve talked about this with a number of people…we discuss how to avoid it, get around it, stop it, etc..It’s the ‘F$#k it’ attitude! It happens that quick..1st it’s just a little cookie, then it’s missing a workout, then it’s a huge meal. For me the cravings for sweets and carbs becomes overwhelming. I have to stay away completely or I’ll set off the triggers that will send me spiraling out of control. The other thing that helps of course, is to ‘talk’ about it! That’s why the BFFM IC really helps me. If I can talk about what’s going on, what I’m thinking, others can help bring me back to my senses. Or if I’ve caved in to cravings or to procrastinating they can encourage me back. Getting away from an ‘all or nothing’ attitude and understanding the hunaness of it all is huge for me. The disipline needed to join and complete a challenge like this is difficult. It is also completely worth it. Last summer I am proud to say I completed the summer challenge. Thursday I am in it again and looking forward to being on a team and getting back on the right track again.

  • Sabrina Yuille

    Why the large drop out rate?

    First, some may quibble about the relatively short time frames of 49 or 98 days. For example, my goal at 65 is lifelong health. How quickly do I have to attain it? Experience, tells me I have occasionally wandered down some unproductive byways, but I’ve also built up many compelling reasons never to return there. This makes healthy habits much easier to set in stone.

    After a major accident, I swim 3 times a week for 90 minutes doing about 3ks a session, and find my injury rate is minimal, compared to gym work. The rewards are gradual but the process is an absolute joy. Also belonging to a squad fulfills some of my social needs too.

    What do I do to succeed?

    Secondly I don’t see the process as a contest. I dislike competition, probably from childhood experiences where as the smallest child I always lost. So I set up my own goals and allow myself to win so long as I’m on the right track with regular objective checkups.

    A good software eating program is essential. There aren’t enough around that do the job easily. I have an ancient one from my Zone days which works like dream but it has taken many hours of my own time to enter specific foods available where I live. the software is on its last legs so may I suggest you sponsor the development of another one. Of course I have to do the work, prepare the menus, buy the correct food and make time to prepare it but that goes without saying and is relatively easy once you accustom yourself to the discipline. The end result of being healthier makes this worthwhile.

    I like your idea of the inner circle but agree about some aspects of its exclusivity. Also I’m not terribly computer literate and need more help in working out how to access forums etc Can you possibly address this for the less technologically able? It only needs to be done once and will be a lasting benefit for those like me.

    I’ve read your work for years and applaud what you’ve managed to achieve on a worldwide basis. You’ve corrected so many of the myths about food and fat and all the other mysteries. Congratulations on your work and really. it’s up to us to succeed. maybe it just takes some a little longer. For me the joy of my brand of exercise is the real clincher. I love it and will be doing it till they cart me out.

  • Kathy Ford

    I think people drop out because of the length of time and slowness of progress. Weight loss is tough, I haven’t had much success even when I stick to things. I find it helpful to have smaller goals along the way. Shorter time frame goals and rewards through out. When I don’t see the weight loss I look for other positives, like I can breathe better or endure longer or move more freely. Without those things to see it is just too hard to keep at it.

  • Gabriel Padilla

    Tom, I believe people drop out of a contest, or a weight loss program, because they lose the focus necessary to stick with it. Last year, I lost 101 lbs in the calendar year of 2011 using your program. It was great! I jotted down my progress. Jotted down my mistakes and the whole year I stayed focused on my goal and achieved it! Well 2012 began and I started off the year celebrating the fact I reached my goal that I began to lax on my disciplines I acquired. I’ve gained 8-10 lbs since New Year’s day and have been fluctuating back and forth from 224-229 lbs (I was 219 New Year’s Day). It’s the focus, Tom. I haven’t remained focused. Life’s little issues take over if you let them and you lose focus. The discipline I did acquire though has prevented me from ever gaining it all back and for that I’m grateful but I want to continue going forward so I have to refocus. Thanks, Tom, for letting me share.

  • Heather Gale

    Why do people Quit?
    Ah tom it’s a hard question because it involves delving into the soul. 
    I was on steroids for years and very unwell with my asthma. Then i got well again and came off steroids. But over the years I had put on 12 stone. I tried every diet. Nothing!! Steroid weight is hard to lose. Except by chance this witch gave me a diet for my exczema as I was covered in it. It got me down more than my weight. It was the anti candida diet very very strict but what you could eat you could eat plenty off. There was also Supplements to take none of the ones you warn against but probiotics garlic capryllic acid etc. Basically an introduction of healthy bacteria in the gut. One of the side effects of this diet was weight loss! Weight dropped off me I lost 6 stone, half a stone a month. I could have done a stone a month but I slowed it down as I was worried about quick weight gain.  But then I plateaud for a couple of years then pow asthma exacerbated and I was on steroids again. This time I put on two stone. I’ve lost one of them but I can’t shift it and well although I’m back on a diet I don’t adhere to it all the time. Because to cut down and not lose weight us disheartening  I can’t tolerate fat due to IBS etc so can’t fry and even grill, I use a George foreman grill for everything yet don’t lose weight . 
    Anyway so I back on the diet even though I’m not losing any weight. One if the factors no weight loss and why it’s  hard because I’m disabled and every day I’m in bed a lot. Go to the gym to swim(only exercise I can do so I swim and run in water etc). That knocks me off for the rest of the day and next day then gym again etc etc so I only go three times a week but my hubby works 12 hour shifts so if he can’t take me I can’t go. So sometimes it’s once a week. So it’s hard to lose weight. I have to eat very little if on bed rest just one meal a day fruit the rest of the day

    But now  the government has changed the benefit system and although I can’t work ( osteoarthritis. Fibromyalgia. Chronic fatigue.etc) my money will stop on 26th June. So we can’t afford to eat healthy. We will be left with £25 a week to feed me my husband and the 2 dogs. So we will living off whole meal bread and apples and meat once a week  we literally won’t  be able to afford anything else.   My husband Luckily can eat at work 3 times a week. I will have to give up the gym etc. I do get DLA but it’s not enough. Luckily my meds are free but I buy lots of things to help with the pain. I buy so many electric blankets it’s unbelievable. I can only go by car to appointments so there’s petrol money. I have an electric scooter. Insurance on that etc etc. it doesn’t cover it all. 

    So to summarise many factors to quit is losing heart when you don’t lose weight despite matching calories to activities 

    Sticking at it though is because of the image I see when I look in the mirror or the horrible comments I get from people and health professionals. 

    Also I weigh myself daily to evaluate correct calorie intact and it also keeps me on track 

    But the only way now I could shift weigh is money. I am going to appeal but I don’t hold up much chance but From the end of June it has to be what fills me up the most with the least amount of money. I react/sensitive to bread so I get bloated etc which is a plus cos I feel full with very little. Apple during the day for vitamin content and Marmite on bread/toast for more vitamins. I can make nettle soup etc but it’s affording the stuff to go with it

    So I’m not the only one will power and low money factors for coming off 

    Self loathing and people’s perception and wAnting to be healthy reasons to ‘stick on it’

  • ShirleyN

    Why do people drop out of body transformation contests?

    I did attempt it once last year and, of course, I waited till the last minute. I was not prepared. I couldn’t get the photos done in time. I suppose when it came right down to it, it meant being accountable in front of all those other people which I was not ready to do. Though I did not officially enter, I was committed to fitness. As much as I would have liked a “transformation,” I just could not commit to it. I will say, though, that my small commitment to fitness has not allowed me to gain anymore weight for over a year and has improved my fitness level abet without the fat loss. I know what the problem is and it has to do with setting goals in writing. Still a work in process…

  • Karesa Dickamore

    I’ve been on my own journey towards transforming my body into a healthy and fit machine since January 9, 2012. How do I stick with it? That’s the only simple part of my body tranformation journey. I only focus on today. Although, of course, I have a plan, it’s all about making good choices just for today. If I don’t do everything right, it’s only one day in my life. It’s a small error in a big plan so I just let it go and focus on making better choices for the rest of the day. Most importantly, I’ll worry about tomorrow when it becomes a bright new today.

    Why have I always failed before? I made unrealistic goals for myself and, when I took a wrong step, went into a tailspin. I allowed myself the mentality of “I’ve already screwed up so why bother continuing? I’ll only screw up again”.

  • Erica K

    This may not be a popular answer, but I think challenges can be problematic. They can force people to make multiple, drastic changes at once. They set unrealistic expectations as far as speed. They encourage extreme measures rather than folding new habits into a sustainable lifestyle. I have seen more than a few contest winners revert back.

    I enjoy the challenges as an opportunity to sharpen the saw, so to speak. I have spent years building up a healthy routine and so it is more a matter of buckling down and quantifying things. But if someone is making lots of radical changes — sure, the failure rate will be high.

  • sogogo

    people quit because they are afraid. fear is a huge issue in our culture. people quit because they lack discipline.
    we live in a lazy culture. for the most part, we want everything now, most of us don’t want to work hard. we want a quick fix. since this is a long contest, it is easy to quit.

    best of luck to all!

  • Doug Reykdal

    I think the majority of dropouts do so because they are not accountable to anyone. If they teamed up with someone in life or online they would be more committed and less inclined to quit.

  • Scott

    I have never entered an official body transformation contest before but have done several “unofficial” ones on my own with varying levels of success. Last year was the one instance where I stayed the course for any length of time… I managed to lose 36 pounds and 7.25″ from my waistline in about eight weeks, which seemed like an eternity to me owing to my previous commitment issues. LOL

    What enabled me to be successful last year was the fact that I met a girl online that lived in a foreign country. We made plans for me to travel overseas to meet her and her family around Thanksgiving so I knew that I wanted to look and feel my best when the time came, so that was my initial motivation. I began my fat loss journey on August 1st and ended up throwing in the towel by October 1st…However, not before losing the 36 pounds and 7.25″ from my waistline.

    For me the impending visit to a foreign country was a powerful enough reason to stay the course for any length of time. Otherwise, I would have thrown in the towel much earlier. Knowing that I would be under a microscope and that everybody would be judging me bolstered my motivation and sharpened my focus like nothing I have ever experienced before or since! I think everybody has to find a compelling enough reason “why” for successfully undergoing any body transformation or lifestyle change. Otherwise, their success will be short-lived.

    Since that success in 2011 I have attempted to lose fat a multitude of times and each time I have failed! One of the reasons why is because I couldn’t come up with a powerful enough reason to put my body through the rigors of any program other than vanity, or wanting to look better. Vanity is fleeting means it varies from day to day….However, having this contest on the horizon may just be what the doctor ordered as far as providing me with that additional layer of motivation needed to get over the hump and finally make my body transformation goals a reality!

    Another reason why I have failed in the past is having too much of an “all or nothing” mindset which is emblematic of my type ‘A’ personality. Oftentimes I would attempt to go from being sedentary and eating nothing but junk food ad libitum, to suddenly running 5-7 miles day and eating only healthy fare in calorie controlled amounts. The pendulum was simply going from one extreme to another too quickly which ultimately caused me to burn out 🙁

    Having learned from my previous failures I echo what so many other have said and that is “slow and steady” wins the race. You have to be patient and do a little bit every day, without overdoing it on any one occasion. That is the only way you will ever cross the finish line! People need to practice patience and be willing to delay gratification in order to ensure long term success.

    With fourteen weeks of diet and exercise now staring me in the face I’ve decided to pace myself from the get-go….Instead of trying to run 6-7 miles a day I will run a “mere” five miles for my cardio and perform three full-body strength training sessions per week. As results dictate I will keep my activity level constant or adjust if need be…However, I’m not going to “bite off more than I can chew” on this occasion and go all-out from the beginning. That for me, is a recipe for disaster!

    Perfection is NOT needed for success but rather consistency in application. Once I’m able to remaster the whole consistency thing and couple that with a powerful reason “why,” which in this case is to complete the BFFM Summer Challenge, I will be primed for success! This time I’m going to finish what I started many moons ago. Destiny awaits!

  • I can say that the only times I succeed is when I make a 100+ Percent commitment to MYSELF in the following:
    1.attendance to the workouts either at home alone or a bootcamp program planning, shopping and preparing for success by having the meals ready for the week. If I go off I get right back on the next meal or the next day.
    Back in October 2011 I went to Hawaii and planned to go off my food program…I did not plan to get back on( I did not set a date) and the next thing I know I’m up 50 pounds by February 2012. I joined a bootcamp because I like the comradery. I have dropped 24 pounds in the last 5 weeks just by committing to show up and following the Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle principles. I have used strategic fasting to bring my weely caloric average down too.
    So, COMMITMENT to myself has been the best motivator to prove to myself I can keep my word, ESPECIALLY TO MYSELF!!! What we do when there is no one looking is who we really are and I want to be a good/ great person even when no one is looking.

  • Evette Eickelmann

    We live in a society that says it’s OK to quit; OK not to commit; OK to take the easy way out; OK to pop a pill instead of eating right and exercising (I could go on and on but I think you get my line of thought). Eating right and exercising to most people sounds good, but if it starts to make them uncomfortable, they just bail. Integrity is a rare trait indeed. But there are those people who generally are not quitters, who try to demonstrate integrity, and a lack of vision can be one of our worst enemies. Chapter One of Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle is probably the most important chapter of that whole book. Our pride tells us we don’t need to set goals, but pride comes before the fall. We cannot stay focused without a goal.

  • Kimberly

    Lack of committment is my answer. Just incase you did not get that from my earlier post;)

  • Ben

    One reason for dropping out is that people could enter a contest on a whim or without the right motivation. I have failed to achieve body composition goals in the past because I set the goal and deadline fairly arbitrarily and didn’t have a really good reason for achieving it. I have managed to achieve body composition goals by putting in enormous amounts of dedication and not being swayed by poor food choices.

  • Virginia

    For me the one thing that has set me back in the past is having the wrong mindset, aka, the all or none mentality. I used to think of fat loss as only a 12 week change that I had to make in order to reach a certain weight and then I could go right back to my old eating habits.

    Turns out that, after a while you just wanna go back to eating whatever you want whenever you want it and, guess what, all the weight comes right back. After discovering BFFM, I realized that fat loss is not a straight line path, but a zig zag. I realized that there will be times when I will not eat perfectly or I will miss a few workouts, but now I think of fat loss as a change in lifestyle rather then just a temporary diet or fix.

    I can see myself eating healthy 90% of the time for the rest of my life. I can see myself exercising at least 4 times a week for the rest of my life. And it doesn’t scare me, because I now that I don’t have to be perfect, I just have to do my best and the rest will come by itself.

    So, for me the right mindset is by far the single most important factor in fat loss and most of all, in maintenance. I really wish I had realized this a long time ago. But it is never too late. And I am proud to say that I was one of those who finished the 2011 49 day holiday challenge. And I have been able to lose a few more pounds after the contest and keep it off.

    • Francesca

      This absolutely strikes a chord with me. Zig-zag is just what it’s like! I think that if I can eat properly 90% of the time and keep up a regular exercise program at least I will maintain a healthy weight and look OK. Maybe not perfect, not a fitness model, but I will feel confident and healthy. Thanks Virginia, we don’t have to be perfect – just good enough!

  • Warren

    Q. Why do people drop out of body transformation contests?
    A. Because the pain of change outweighs the perceived benefit.
    How to fix >>>
    1. decrease the pain
    2. increase the perceived benefit.

    Decreasing the pain :
    i. change the attachment to to those habits that have contributed to the problem. This is usually by mental reprogramming of self image,hypnosis,meditation etc
    ii. providing alternatives to the old habits to help fill their space until the new programming kicks in. eg. healthier alternatives to the old diet that will still provide similar sensory satisfaction.
    iii. provide support through training partners, teams, family

    Increasing the perceived benefit:
    i. provide feedback via instruments,measurements,charts so motivation is maintained. Don’t focus on just one parameter, otherwise a failure to continually improve this parameter may result in loss of motivation. eg. not just bodyweight, but also heart rate, blood pressure, miles walked, weights lifted etc.

  • michelle

    I always fall into the trap of not doing the things that I want to do and doing the things that I don’t want to do…I feel like I have no control. The more I want something and am determined to succeed the bigger the bomb! (I think there are 12 step programs around this problem :). When I was listening to the new mind training that was added to the inner circle, i was convicted of the idea that I hate how I am and punish myself when I do the things that I don’t want to do. I am hopeful about working through the “Program Yourself Thin” material this time through. I have tried the contest 3 times and failed a few weeks in each time. Knowledge is not the problem (I have a master’s in Education coaching studies and have had sucess training elite athletes- but not myself). Loving myself how I am currently seems wrong. I remember being trained by schoolmates that being smarter than other kids or better than other people is a recipe for being outcast. I don’t want to be better than other people and be proud- elevate myself above them…vanity, pride arrogance… My other problem is that each time I start to succeed I convince myself that I’m fit now and I don’t need to follow the rules- I’m above the rules- I’ve made it- and then fall into overeating and regaining the weight. Being a mom strains my time and my eating plans (the kids don’t like my meals and the budget doesn’t like separate meal plans for each member of our house). I have a million excuses but no clear view of how to stick to the hundreds of incredible fitness and nutrition plans that I have created and bought. over the years.
    I’d like to change the focus to completing the challenge this time. I’d like to have 3 levels of compliance. An ideal plan, a slightly off-track plan and a meets minimum requirements plan. If prizes were awarded randomly to people who complete the program and best outcomes were posted…I get discouraged knowing that someone else has more time, more desire etc. and so there is no hope of being the best at this. I just want to finish.

  • Karina Cerda

    Come for ma tea a.k.a conformity.To me,the decision to enter a fitness contest is just as important as the decision to get married.People have to have a serious understanding of the fitness contract and be wholehearted committed to *R.E.A.C.H* beyond the deadline.The world around us may not change for the better or the worse when you *R.E.A.C.H* a goal,but*YOU* most certainly will.The end of a fitness contest in my opinion is not really the end ,rather the *BEGINNING* of an even bigger fitness opportunity but to accomplish this,a persons *HEART* has to be in the write place because temptation never rests,and neither should you.*MY HEART* and *MY LIFE* are TWO*PRECIOUS* TO:*DROP*!!!!Lucky for me (: *I* (: found Tom Venuto’s website in *2009* and ever since then (: it’s been (:*The Biggest Fitness Adventure of MY Life* (: one *Trust Walk after Another*.The *TRUTH* is *I* owe Tom Venuto and his famiglia my *LIFE*….*STICK TO TOM IF YOU WANT TO LIVE*…….I KNOW *I DO* I HAVE TO GO NOW…
    GOODBYE (:

  • Laci Scharf

    Why do people quit is a great question that I feel there are multiple answers to. I feel it is different for everyone, so I will answer for myself. I tend to self sabotage. I do really well and then set myself up for failure with negative self talk and an all-or-nothing approach. After that happens, defeat shortly follows, then pure laziness sets in. I feel that deep down in the core of my being there is some crazy voice saying I don’t deserve it. Then I find ways to make that true.
    To the more important question- How do you stick with it. I have declared mental warfare against myself. I will defeat my negativity. Every day is a choice, right? I have just been making the easy and wrong choice. I will harness my mind and body which takes effort. The way I have personally started on the right track is by surrounding myself with people who believe in me more than I do. I feed off of them. When they are not there, I have a picture of the strongest man I knew- my Grandfather. He was not afraid of hard work. In fact that is a point of pride that he handed down to me. It is a reminder to dig in and get my nose to the grindstone.

  • Why do people quit, I will be as frank as possible here but from a non dieter/weight lifter/exerciser, I generally know that trying to stick with anything when time and weather take from you that drive to succeed. I walk on average 2-4 hours a day to maintain 230 lbs of weight and can tell you first hand that if it was not for the fact my cat demands me to walk him like a dog I probably would get more sidetracked by the daily stride of TV video games and PC work I do. I am a Maintenance/sales floor clerk at Walmart and a computer programmer and spend a lot of time on the PC when not working my varied schedule of odd hours at work. If not for having my cat bring me his leash and my commitment to making my cat happy I probably would not walk as much as I do. In short not having someone or something there to share with or motivate further I would most likely fail miserably and quit. That is as honest as I can be about it. Hope this info helps you Tom.

  • KennyC

    Biggest drop put reason? Lack of early success.

  • Jeanette C.

    Why do people drop out of body transformation contests?

    I am one of the people who finished the 98-day challenge last summer, but I am also one who failed to finish 3 times before.

    What was the difference last summer? I kept my mind on the goal. I kept in my mind (and on my desk) reminders of the leaner body I wanted by making a screensaver with pictures of my old self to remind me of why I was going through such hard work.

    The times I failed to finish, I let fear of the hard work steal away my vision of what I truly wanted to be. I was so afraid, I wanted it so much, that I froze and the I lost sight of the goal. Then one day turned into a week, then two weeks, and I felt like an utter failure, too embarrassed to try and return to the IC and explain my lengthy, weak-willed lapse.

    The few times I lapsed last summer, I was able to see the visual reminders I had made on my computer every time I went by. That helped me realize that the pain of being fat was worse than the pain of working to be lean. I was able to quickly get back to the business of burning and not worrying about what others might think of my weaknesses.

    Now that I have succeeded, I know I need to somehow remind myself continuously about why I am doing it. And I know I can be successful in this way.

  • Jo Wilson

    I believe people drop out because they have an all or nothing attitude… when they cheat instead of getting back on the horse they will have a wee binge before getting back ‘on the wagon’ depending how long this takes and how often it happens they will get to the stage where they think – I have not got a hope of getting anywhere near the results I wanted by the time specified so they drop out. Interestingly – the people closest to the contestant are often the ones who induce them to ‘cheat’ and start the cycle… maybe not openly as they want to appear supportive, but if this person near to them is successful it changes the relationship dynamics meaning they will have to either change themselves to keep up or accept they are not as successful as their peer.

  • Jill Marie

    I believe with all of my heart that this issue of dropping out and not finishing is all about deep subconcious core beliefs, and arrested development . We acquire profound and indepth “life commandments” from our parents, peers, environment and mentors throughout our youth. We will do whatever it takes to please our mother or father and win their love and approval. If they say you are not worthy, you are a loser, you will NEVER make it, you dont have what it takes, etc. etc.. those beliefs go very deep into a childs psyche. That child will grow up believing in their inability to succeed, their unworthiness, their unimportance based on what they have been told, or what has been inferred. If they were not validated or cherished, they did not feel loved or accepted . This core belief leads to sabotage. Why? Because most of us wont betray what our parents believed about us subconsciously. Or what we have accepted about ourselves as truth. Maybe if we are what they say, even if it is negative, maybe we will find love and acceptance somehow. ( this is still a child’s mind, btwn the age 1-10) We hang on to deep subconscious beliefs, unknowingly most often by the way; and when success is in the forefront, we must sabotage and fail in order to be consistent with our core beliefs. If we can change our core beliefs, first by recognizing them, then by diligently working on changing them for an ongoing period of time.. ( which differs for each individual) .. there is a possibility of success. It is absolutely easier and way more comfortable and familiar to fall back on what we know, and how we have believed and how we have always acted and thought. We have lived like that most of our lives, and we will create a negative scenario, or sabotage our success just to support our beliefs about our inabilities that lie deep in the back of our minds. Fear of being different than we have been, fear of being stunning, amazing, phenomenal.. good ole radical change!

  • Daniel

    i think it comes down to experience or lack there of! My favorite Bruce Lee quote “knowing is not enough, we must apply. willing is not enough, we must do”. what this means to me is trial & error. first we must attain information & run trials to see if it works. most people don’t possess the knowledge of a veteran bodybuilder who’s already gone through the bulking/cutting phase. that’s just it, they don’t know. i’m sure if more people knew (information wise) what that vet bodybuilder knows from his experiences, then they’d come out feeling more confident. people need to arm themselves w/information! back in the 70s & 80s, there was like no internet so how do you suppose people got their info. by reading books or going to seminars. in a way, you have to think like how the people of the past thought. if your not reading or applying your own trial & error than its cause your lazy or theirs some self esteem issues. look, it’s either you want it or you don’t. people treat you different when your lean/built but that’s part of the package. why, cause they look at you in admiration “of what they don’t know”. same as you just like when you started (after having accomplished your goals of coarse, lol).

  • jaret w bogedain

    thank you Tom

    The number one answer to the question is subconscious sabotage!
    The number two answer is injury. That is for me.

    Last year I lost 80 lbs I made the weight goal I had set for my self but maintaining that weight was hard. I have put 20 lbs back on.Subconscious sabotage didn’t even cross my mind until I read about it. I probably wouldn’t have to run 8 miles a day to maintain 215 lbs.

    Injury #2! Four years ago I broke my back I weighed 215 lbs at the time and it took 3 1/2 years to recover. Befor that I weighed 290 lbs.

    So anyone should be able to lose the weight or transform. It may take a longer time then you mingt think; 48, 98, 365 days what ever happens from day one don’t stop fighting for good health.

  • Glenn

    I think there is no one reason for dropping out. Generally to stop something there are a combination of things that lead to dropping out. In weight loss it could be as simple as “fallen off the band wagon” and perceived as failure from that or too hard to get back on. Work, social life, family and other commitments all play a roll in our life and to be focused so hard on one goal is sometimes more than we can bear.
    I think we need to get our mindset on the fact that we are trying to achieve an outcome of overall weightloss, don’t worry what others are doing, this is our own personal goal. Sure you may not get all the way there without any hiccups, that is life. Put the negative behind and pick yourself up and continue with what you set out to achieve. Break the long term goal into smaller pieces, celebrate those, the intermediate and final goals.

  • Jen C

    I believe the answer to both questions is a one word answer:


    We start out excited and determined but then life rears it’s ugly head and we loose focus. Mates, children, laundry, aging parents, dinner, work….it will all come up and meed attetion everydat. But we have to remember that if we do not care for the vessel in which we reside we will not have much to give to those we love.

    This is not to say it is easy but you have got to try to take care of yourself so you can give your family your best.

    It reminds me of the emergency landing instructions they give you on an airplane. You have to put your oxygen mask on first to be of any help to those around you.

  • Kim

    I believe that people drop out of body transformation contests because the carrot (finish line) is too far away (in both days and pounds). It’s mighty hard to sustain enthusiasm for a long-term goal for 49 or 98 days without intermittent reinforcement.

    I think the way to get more people to stick with the program until the end is to give out a combination of prizes along the way — both prizes randomly drawn for participating and prizes based on success. These prize incentives need to be offered every week or two weeks to everyone who posts their stats in their online journal. I believe people need to be rewarded for their EFFORT, and not just for their ending NUMBERS and PERCENTAGES.

    I haven’t ever taken part in a transformation contest before, but if I knew that there would be a chance to win prizes along the way, it would motivate me more and I’d think of it as a fun game.

  • Val

    I love this site…..thanks for all the inspiration.

  • elizabeth

    since getting married 6 years ago, my husband and i have put on about 25kg each. we so badly want and need to loose the weight as its starting to effect our dialy lives. blood pressure and joint pains have become an issue. we have 2 kids aged 4+ and 2+. we need to be healthy. we eat healthy and walk 30 mins most days but i dont know why but the weight just isnt coming off. both of us carry our main weight in our tummy. i still look 6 months pregnant eventhough im not. we cant afford gym memberships. pls help us to loose this weight and keep it off. we’ll be forever grateful.

    kind regards,
    Elizabeth Schutte.

  • Mark

    I think the biggest problem is that we look for a quick fix and the first sign of trouble it all becomes too hard. I have been suffering from depression for quite a few years, trying to change my life, my body etc and every time something goes wrong, I bail. I can’t help it sometimes.

    I really do want the best body and I know that it will assist in the rest of my health issues but the first backwards step ruins me. I believe that it comes from setting goals that are either unachievable or don’t have intermediate goals.

    I think that if I focused more on a 2 week goal as part of a bigger “transformation” challenge it may assist in keeping with the program. Sometimes the finished product, as good as it sounds, is just too far away.

  • Anne F

    Complex but simple. Insufficient knowledge before starting out (about how to achieve goals, about themselves and about mitigating risks and triggers), ‘campaign’ mentality as opposed to sustainable changes in behaviour and faulty thinking about food and exercise. Food should be seen for what it is – fuel. Food should not be a passion or a way to feel connected to the rest of the community. Exercise should be not be considered as optional (nor should healthy eating for that matter) but rather like brushing your teeth. We would never consider not brushing our teeth, so why would we consider not eating healthy food and exercising? Because developed countries condition people’s thinking. There is a lot of money to be made from fat, lazy people and money drives everything in the developed world. Every where you look there is advertising for unhealthy food and labour saving devices. We’ve turned into a group of animals that soft and lazy with very low tolerances of discomfort – worse still, we believe we shouldn’t ever experience discomfort or do without anything. In developing countries, fat is not an issue and work is not an option. Either you eat what you get and you work hard or you starve.

  • Francesca

    I think people drop out because they don’t really want the result enough. They are not prepared to pay the price for long-term success. A mindset of deprivation means people want to get back to their comfortable eating & exercise patterns and they see the competition or diet & exercise plan as a temporary means to an end which will last without continuing that level of effort. Perhaps it would help to make a mind-shift toward seeing that feeling uncomfortable in your clothes, self-conscious & awkward or unfit & with no energy is the real deprivation.
    How do you stick with it? By incorporating sound, healthy eating and regular exercise into a permanent daily routine which can become a lifelong habit. Don’t worry about the details, stick with the basics forever and develop a different lifestyle.
    I remind myself that diabetics, coeliacs and people with life-threatening allergies can’t eat everything they want, so is it such a hardship for me?

  • Todd LeFort

    Why do people drop out of body transformation contests?

    I think part of the reason why people drop out of body transformation contests is because they don’t have a strong enough “why?”. They enter because they were dared or challenged by a friend or family member. Perhaps they entered because a friend asked them to do it with them, but their heart and mind really weren’t in it. Maybe it’s something that they’ve always wanted to do or thought it would be fun, but didn’t realize the work that would be necessary to complete it and they were just too lazy to do it. Maybe they are a short-term thinker and didn’t see results fast enough to stick with it, knowing that consistent, persistent action would give them the results that they are looking for. Maybe it’s because they are treating it as just another diet instead of what it truly is – a body transformation.

    Another reason why people drop out of a body transformation contest is because of lack of belief. They don’t believe in the system. They don’t believe that their body can be transformed. They don’t believe in themselves…that they can do it; that they have what it takes to see it through…to finish…to transform their body. They don’t have the self-image needed to make the decision and the commitment and the stick-to-it-tiveness to see it through. They lie to themselves with excuses or reasons why they can’t do it. Rather than looking for a reason TO do it, they look for reasons why they can’t.

    A final reason why I think people drop out of body transformation contests is because it’s too much of a lifestyle change for them. They are used to a certain type of eating, a certain type of body activity, a certain type of lifestyle. A body transformation contest is totally foreign to them and they are not willing to give up their lifestyle to complete the contest. What they don’t realize is that the payoff is worth it in so many ways. They don’t know what they don’t know. They have to believe what the people who have already achieved a body transformation say about the process; that it’s worth it. They don’t realize that in order to change, they have to change. If they continue to do what they’ve always done, they’ll continue to have what they’ve always had.

    What it boils down to is thought process or mind set. You have to change your mind about your lifestyle, what you eat, why you eat it. You have to change your mind about what you believe about the lifestyle you live, the food you eat, your level of exercise. You have to change how you think about yourself. You have to believe that you are a winner; that you have what it takes; that you can transform your body; that you can finish the body transformation contest; and not only that you can finish it, but you can win it. So many people have been told their whole life by weak, average, lazy people that they can’t win, that they can’t do it. “C’mon, stay with us. Be average. Be lazy. Don’t do that. It’s too much work.” There are so few people out there who have the mental strength to break from the mainstream, to make a decision, to take action, and to discipline their mind and their body. They have to change what they allow into their mind; what they allow people to say to them; what they say to themselves. Get away from the negative. Change your associations. Find a mentor. Only allow into your mind and thoughts what affirms your goal and motivates you and encourages you and drives you and pulls you to that final destination. That’s where the real daily work is. If you change the way you think, you’ll change your life. If you transform your mind, the body will naturally follow. It has to.

  • Jill

    People drop out because they do not look good. You want pictures. The pictures will be exposed. The winner will come up on a google search and we all search nowadays. You look great Tom–do most of the winners look as good as you? If you are looking for a job in the next 20 yrs, do you want a picture of you in a swim suit looking bad on the internet where your employer or even your children can find you?

  • jami roberts

    Very good question to post. I have my own demons regarding that question. I have myself failed many times to get to the point I feel comfortable about my body. At this time in my life, I am making a new and stronger effort to finally get to my inner peace. Knowledge is power for any aspect in life but especially health. I believe if you know what to take in and expend you will succeed but it also takes a deep seeded desire and devotion. Once a person starts to question why they are doing all this hard work, I think it is over. A total mind change needs to come first and all will fall into place. Change the mind and the body will follow.

  • Myrna

    I think is the same reason why many people don’t achieve their weight loss goals: most of it is lack of mental programing and lack of a detailed plan and written goals.

  • Laura Burke

    Before BFFM – which was tranformational, I tried a weight loss program (not a fat loss program, note). That was not successful. I was part of one of those “boot camp” exercise programs but it was inflexible and they were unsympathetic when I came down with a bad cold.

    I had been a member of the Inner Circle a year and a half ago but left because, again, of what is an annual cycle of colds (which I think I’ve solved).

    But it’s not the colds. Why did I then not go back to the program? Why did I try a few more times to get in shape and abandon them?

    I have 4 reasons that people leave:
    1. Losing body fat is HARD.
    You have to change EVERYTHING. It’s hard work, you have to stay focused. And, for me, it’s different than in my 20s when I wasn’t losing weight correctly anyway. It used to be I could skip some meals, work out a little and next thing I know I’m down 10 lbs. Now – it just seems harder, because I’m doing it correctly.
    2. Goals were not properly set, or they were and then abandoned. Look, I have never seen my abs. And it’s one of my goals – but I have to constantly remind myself that my abs are in there. I start to doubt and then forget it. I’m done.
    3.Slow start or slow progress. After a summer of hard exercise last year, when my fall colds/migraines/winter bronchitis came along – I gave up. I just couldn’t get past the seemingly impossibly slow progress. I “only” lost 5 lbs the entire summer (and inches and body fat, but I was ignoring that). So when I was sick – I ate whatever I wanted. I said, the workout didn’t work. And gained 15 pounds.
    4. And a last reason, definitely the one I’ve had to fight:
    I’m not worth it.
    It goes deeper than – I’m a single mom of three kids and I barely have enough time to take care of them much less focus on me.
    It is at the very core of my being. Overcoming that, focusing on the fact that I am worth it – that’s the challenge, and that’s really the main key to success for me.

  • Dawn Smith

    One of the things that have made it easy for me to drop out of programs is the lack of supportive people around me. They might tell me I’m doing great, then in the next sentence ask me to go out to eat with them or have drinks with them.

  • Ginger B

    Hi Tom,
    Why do people drop out of body transformation contests? I’d have to say my reasons have been…
    1) Life gets in the way
    2) Injury or illness
    3) Lack of support and temptations from friends
    How am I going to succeed this time around?
    1) Keep the focus and end goal in the forefront of my daily life.
    2) Get a buddy and support system
    3) Set myself up for success via planning which will make following through much simpler.
    Thanks for all your great info!
    Best Regards,
    Ginger B.

  • Ladydahdah

    I was very excited to join the challenge and was convinced that the concept of the “challenge” itself was exciting enough to keep me motivated. Once I set up my profile in the “inner circle” I was ready to begin corresponding with fellow participants. At first it was very comforting to see the number of people posting their pictures and their stories. It made me more aware that I was in the company of people who shared similar issues with food, body image, etc. I read people’s posts and made comments here and there. I became overwhelmed by the level of detail that people were posting, in terms of listing every calorie of every ingredient of every meal consumed every day. And every rep and every minute of every workout. I realize that some people like to keep track of things but in some ways it seemed quite obsessive. And while I realize that body transformation takes great effort and dedication, I also know that any kind of maintenance requires habit changes and lifestyle changes. The calorie-counting/food-measuring is something I find the hardest as well as the visualization/self-affirmation part. Which is where I hoped the “inner circle” would benefit me. I believe ultimately that I was discouraged by a couple things: 1) feeling like I wasn’t posting enough or that I didn’t have/make the time to post something on a regular basis 2) I had hoped to get more interaction from others, which I didn’t get 3) At some point it seemed to become a popularity contest amongst the people who had the time to post most often. 4) I did not read BFFM in its entirety.

  • Why do people drop out of transformation contests? I think because these folks allow the excitement of the contest to drive the transformation. And I suspect that works in many cases.

    The person most capable of completing a transformation process is one that began the journey based upon the OWN motivation, their own incentive. THEY WANTED IT!

    It takes a lot of effort to successfully transform your body: good exercise, nutrition, diet and INFORMATION.

    THAT INFORMATION is what I want from you and your program.

    I have been working hard on my transformation for almost two years. I am extremely happy about my progress. And I want to go further!!

  • The reason why people drop out is that they don’t set goals for themselves. They don’t set small goals to do everyday to reach the bigger goal. We are creatures of habits and unless we write it down and become committed to the small steps the goal becomes to big to reach. It’s hard stay motivated without focusing on a little step everyday.

  • Yes, I am very interested in your Free book of “The Body Fat Solution”
    I can follow the guidelines and proceed from there.
    Thanks & Rgds.

  • Rob

    Love to win free books and memberships from such a pro as Tom Venuto

  • Ms. Inga A. Routledge

    Dear Mister Venuto & Readers,

    Thank you for offering the opportunity for us to freely express our opinion/s.

    One can only draw on personal, life experience (and some intelligence) in an attempt to define just why people drop out of body transformation contests.

    Humans, by their very nature, are not hardwired to change with ease. They can adapt to change but are not willing participants in being creators of it. If we were; our planet would evolve much faster than it has been. (I.e.: If people actively chose to exercise “the road less travelled” of being always honest, loyal, genuine and sincere creators of integrity … religions would drop away – and we’d move into a spiritual union, as one; women would not be suppressed – there would be an accepted equality of the need for both genders; children would not be abused – because we would all know the damage of creating a human that has only learnt and experienced negativity and would we move to a higher level of being.)

    Often; I tell people to change the world, we must first change the self. It is when we make that active committment to become more (and better) than we were yesterday; that each step of being a more enlightened person becomes easier … and we inspire others.

    People find it extremely difficult to tell the truth – always; or to turn the other cheek, when they have been so unjustly wronged. They miss the very first step in THOUGHT before applying the ACTION of lying or lashing out (with negativity) at the person who harmed them. What we think creates our reality and it takes (first) awareness and (second) dedicated commitment to change the way we think.

    The same process can be applied to something like a (fitness) competition. To achieve the result; we must first be honest with ourselves and be aware that we will actively have to CHANGE what we THINK about how we spend our leisure time and what we consume, for energy.

    Sadly; the regular human being has absolutely no interest in altering the way they think and the reality is the majority of the masses take for granted the body they have been given, to experience life with and the basic health they know today (just as most take for granted the planet they live on and it’s health.)

    I’ve never entered a fitness competition but I have achieved changes to my health through the way I think. It has been a gradual process but I have made progress and I know it must be contributing to my overall health and longevity. As an excellent high school athlete; I succummed to peer pressure and began smoking. When I was 21 and worked with a trainer, for a month, in a gym on weights; I’ll never forget the night we went down to Langley Park (on Riverside Drive, in Perth) and I was asked to do 3 x 100m sprints. I embarrassed myself and in the elevator, in the way back up to the gym; I said to the trainer that I couldn’t believe that I couldn’t execute the task with ease. He said, “Now you know how much damage one cigarette does” and I vowed to never smoke again – and I haven’t. I had to experience the measure loss of health (in the capacity of my lungs to perform) to value what I took for granted.

    Growing up on a farm; we consumed a lot of red meat. As I educated myself about health and food, I learnt the downsides of the consumption of meat and realised that if I chose; I could sustain my body without the need for animals to be killed for me. It took a long time but I eventually weaned to only chicken and in 2007; I’d finally reached the point where I knew it was time to let it go.

    Sitting alone, on New Year’s Eve, in 2010; I was drinking a couple of stubbies of beer and writing up what I wanted to achieve in the coming year. I’d not put it on paper but the idea flashed into my head that I had just drunk my last lot of alcohol and I was done now. From New Year’s Day, 2011; I’ve not consumed any alcohol.

    These goals have not been achieved on a whim. They are ideas I had in my head for a long time; so the awareness was there. The alcohol one was quite a hard one for me because I’d always been more of an alcohol abuser, than consumer. I have ideas in my head, to achieve for the future. The next one (and I think, the hardest) is the eradication of processed sugar. Like others; there are times I still emotionally eat but I will conqor it and one day, it will float away. (Far away is the idea that maybe I could become a vegan but I’m not thinking that will happen anytime soon.) Small steps on stepping stones, along the way, is the realistic way most people can set a goal for change and achieve it.

    My belief is that Mister Venuto isn’t aspiring to have everyone looking like the buff machine he is; I think he is just genuinely trying to do his bit to help change the world, by causing people to care about their bodies. A competition is a fun way to push the limits; if one’s mind is in the right place.

    The key to sticking to anything is passion. One’s heart has to be in it and we all know (inside) when we’re genuinely in it. People go into Tom’s challenge hyped up; they don’t actually apply any THOUGHT to a process that requires ones ACTIONS to change. If we convince ourselves that we believe we can achieve the challenge – we will but we have to sit down and ask ourselves that basic question first.

    I’ll leave my lecture there and trust I’ve been of some value.

    All the best to those that aspire to be better than they were yesterday. xo.

  • Amanda O.

    I still haven’t found the one thing that works for me and that makes me want to stick with it. A huge part of it for me (and I know I’ll get scoffed at) is time. I’m a single mom to a 4 and 5 year old. I’m sure I’ll have 50 people jump down my throat and tell me to MAKE TIME, but it’s just not that easy at this point in my life.

    Other reasons I’ve quit include:

    1.) It’s just plain hard. Being out of shape sucks. I understand that if I keep working at it, at some point, working out will become easy…but that month or two in the interim? It just plain sucks. It’s not fun.

    2.) Fear of failure. It’s easier to “accept” being fat if I’m not actively trying to lose weight. I’ve embarked on past weight loss programs, only to someone about my efforts and be mocked. I hate that. It’s embarrassing and vaguely soul crushing. It’s easier to just not try, than it is to try, fail, and be mocked.

    A friend strongly recommended this program. I’m still not quite ready to take the plunge. But I’m intrigued.

  • abigail mitchell

    I have had really tough time losing weight and keeping it off. The only time I have had any diet success is when my husband and I divorced I lost 60 lbs. to show him what he was losing. I was able to keep the weight off for 5 years but then i started having to have surgeries and the weight crept back. I am now 100 lbs overweight, I have arthritis in my hands and knees. I have severe problems walking and climbing stairs. My thumbs have been fused from arthritis and i cant lift weights or do aerobic exercise. Is there anyone who can come up with a diet that could help me with my problems? I desperately want to loose this weight and get my health back.

  • Tracey Kendall

    When I bought the book last year I was granted a free trial membership to the Inner Circle. For the first time I decided to enter the BFFM challenge. I was doing pretty good (although not perfect) when half way through the contest my trial expired and I was locked out of my log page. I thought my personal log page was supposed to continue but I couldn’t get in anymore. I tried to continue on myself but without the food log and results tallies I had compiled over the previous number of weeks my resolve started to slip and I gradually lost motivation. I cannot say with 100% certainty that I would have finished the contest. But not being able to track my progress caused me to get discouraged and quit.

    So to sum up, it is crucial to track experience because without seeing tangible results in black and white it is impossible to stay motivated.

    On a side note, if I had won people would have seen my before picture… the one drawback of winning! 🙂

  • Kris Reichl

    I have been both successful and failure at transforming my body. I think it is 90% mental and 10% environmental. Change is a choice. Your friends may influence you, the stores closest to your work at lunchtime may not sell many healthy options, and you might have a busy schedule that doesn’t allow much time for planning or excercise but in the end you usually make things a priority if you choose to. If I choose to spend an hour surfing the web or watching T.V. instead of making a healthy lunch for the next day or working out, that is because I really didn’t want to. Bottom line. You make a hundred choices a day and if you really want to change you will make it a priority. I have found that taking some of things that are tempting out my life, like T.V., does make the choice easier but I still have to choose to make my health and fitness a priority.

  • Raul Escatel

    I believe people (myself included) tend to quit weight loss programs/body transformation contests, etc. is due to not having a support system or others to facilitate the process. Living in a city like San Francisco, social drinking, eating and great Napa wines a hop and skip away. Further, although I consider myself active, my partner does not share my activity level or concerns about what I eat. He’s a mesomorph and I’m an endomorph. Transforming one’s body is not an individual task; so many people contribute to its success or failure. I’m working on learning to say no to temptation and not feel that just because I don’t have a 4 four course meal or that extra martini, that I’m not being a stick in the mud.

  • Irene Stephenson

    Why do people drop out of a body transformation contest, or any good fat-loss, and/or a well designed training program?

    I believe there are many reasons why people drop out of a body transformation contest. I have entered cotests from time to time, and have formed these ideas from not only observing other people’s actions and psychology, but also my own.

    I believe there are three top reasons why people quit:

    1) A lack of a strong commitment to the desired outcome. When the “honeymoon” phase of doing something new has worn off, and the difficulty of the commitment has set in(and it will) then one thing that will keep a person going, is the commitment to follow through to see the desired outcome. If this commitment is not strong, the person will most likely quit.
    2) Lack of accountability: The chances of staying committed to the end, increase substantially when someone else is “checking in” on a regular basis to see how you are doing. Also, when someone is counting on your success to motivate them as well, the commitment becomes stronger. Without this accountability to someone, or a group of people, a person will likely quit before the contest is over.
    3) Lack of tracking weekly or biweekly measurable results. When I see the inches getting less, or the body fat going down regularily, that will give me another boost, or reason to keep going.
    4) Lastly, I will say that people do not look at the challenge as a lifestyle change, but rather as a temporary contest. When I look at my eating habits and exercise program as a lifestyle change, that will bring me continued results, my determination to follow through to the end of the contest and beyond, becomes very strong.

    People drop out because their commitment to reach their goal is not strong enough, to ride the ups and downs of the commitment. . They do not have a “no matter what, I will follow through and reach my goal” or “I will do the work I committed to, no matter what”

  • Steph Barker

    There are normally a combination of reasons.
    The commitment to a lifestyle change.
    Changes in priorities during a challenge, be it internal or external.
    Unrealistic expectations of steps towards a desired goal and end result.
    Lack of balance between the kitchen and the gym.
    Lack of support and accountability.
    Confusion or inexperience as to how to plan or stick to a plan.
    On the deepest level a fear of failure or self esteem
    On the a lighter side, the prize and reward is not big enough!! Jokes.

    Thanks Tom, you rock

  • Virginia

    I feel like the initial excitement about getting into shape and looking good sparks people’s interest. They think, if they can do that than maybe I can. I am one of those rare people as far as out of people I know, that actually like to exercise. I do know that to get into Awesome shape that it takes Hard Work, Consistency and Dedication. I think that the rate of people finishing is so low because half way through the program most people didn’t realize how hard it would be and they choose to give up, plus you have your friends and family who are supposedly comfortable in their own skin telling you that your crazy and that’s not what real people do, or that you are obsessive. I have reached a goal actually many by working out and eating right, but after I was finished with one of the programs i did I didn’t know what to do or who to talk to about where to go next, so I gave up and life got the best of me and I gained all my weight back. I believe that the inner circle is so important for people who give up easy or don’t have the knowledge for after they finish a program as well. I also know that some people don’t feel comfortable going to the gym if they are over weight -myself included, but you can always find a way to get in shape at home if you really wanted it! Do you want that Jelly Donut and do you want to look like one too, or do you want the lean hot steak and to look lean and hot when you’ve accomplished your fitness goals. People sometimes have unrealistic expectations and load their plate full! I believe in starting small totally and work your way to transformation, that’s we’re I’m headed this time around! Good Luck to Everyone who shoots for their dreams, I hope they all come true:)

  • Success is determined by the simple answer to the simple question: Who am I. If I choose to call myself a developing fitness buff, my daily life choices inevitably will reflect this state of thinking. The temptation from that donut box a coworker brought in remains just a temptation. I “know” a fitness buff will reject such simple obstacles to long-term fitness. On the other hand, if I instead see myself as a hard dieter who MUST avoid fattening foods (like a donut), I will make an excuse for today, and wolf down two of those donuts, and because I now know I failed my own goals, I may as well also stay away from the gym too. There is an enormous power in choosing “who I am”. I had attempted to quit smoking for a minimum of one hundred times, beginning with that at age fourteen. It took me another 25 years before I came to the insight that quitting smoking was actually not at all what I really wanted. What I wanted was a smoke-free life. And it has been that way for over 20 years now. I have begun to apply the same thinking to my health and fitness choices. I dropped eighty pounds a few years ago, but regained about forty over the next five years. Now, with the choice of living a healthy and fit lifestyle I have got rid of about twenty. My 98 day target is to flare off a minimum of thirty pounds of fat. I read the ebook. I have an extensive theoretical knowledge, and will attempt to benefit from the on-site debate and forums as if it is something similar to the support addicts. And I see much of my flab as a result of near addictive food choices. So my answer to how success is gained begins with the choice of living a healthy and fit life style. I have no intent to dwell on why others may fail, because I do not need to infect my thinking with their poor choices. Join the winners team!

  • Angela

    It’s a huge committment. Easy to sign-up for anything, but difficult to commit to everything. Whether it’s a body transformation contest, adapting a new habit, whatever, … committment is difficult. What makes the body transformation even more challenging is that it’s multi-faceted and lasts 49 or (yikes!) 98 days. Stick to something for that long?!! Change my diet, change my activity level, find support, offer support, … tough. Only those who really want it stick around, and if you do, you get want you want. Body transformation.

  • the biggest weight loss question/dilemma is the fact that so many people find it difficult to maintain after losing the weight! also, the average person is not obsessed with food & diet so we become freaks! I am a freak for sure! very health conscious eating dairy, wheat & sugar free when possible! I watch people eat around the world consuming fruit with meals, having dairy & alot of them appear normal! every person is different, one can not be judgemental! if you are single without partner or children it is easier to look after yourself with better care, so the life situation has alot of advantages as well!

  • Donna

    Why do people drop out of body transformation contests? Fear, most likely! Fear of failure, hard work, the unknown, even success. It is truly a commitment which requires tons of focus, discipline, dedication, and patience. All are character traits many of us lack. The whole concept of setting a goal and mapping out what needs to be done to acheive that goal is almost completely foreign to most. Lots of people are “instant gratification” types that fall for the get skinny quick scheme. We work hard all day at life, work, family, etc and it is hard to come home and work hard on ourselves as well. It is much easier to make an excuse for NOT doing something than put forth the effort of following through.

  • Jo

    Why do people drop out of the body transform contests? Personally the difference to my lifestyle was huge. I found it takes alot of commitment, energy and motivation too change ingrained habits, especially for the long term. I will need continual strong resolve to succeed. In the end, it’s up to me.
    How do I stick with it? It’s easier to go the the gym with friends, then alone, its easier to eat healthy with your families help and support. Once I found the extra energy from eating properly, I had the willingness to exercise. It’s easy to give up when your tired and hungry from eating and drinking unhelpful, fatty, sugary, highly processed foods.
    I am still on my journey and have quit countless times in the past. I really want to succeed this time.

  • Todd Hartsock

    I believe people drop out because they don’t do all the things you need to do like you outline in BFFM. That is why you have a high completion rate in your transformation contest. Some of them follow through with a plan and they keep track of their progress.

  • Martin Dollar

    The lack of dedication and discipline cause people to give up. I was guilty of it for years. I would go to the gym and work hard, go home and destroy all of my hard work through bad nutrition. Christmas of last year I was 222 pounds. For personnel reasons I decided I had enough. I repaired my nutrition problem through dedication and discipline,[cut out refined sugars, read Toms book BFFM 2.0]. As of 28 May I have lost 49 pounds and went from 21%body fat to 11.3%. When you SEE your results of intense exercise by GOOD CLEAN nutrition,you won’t want to quit! That is what happened with me. Six months into it I consider it a lifestyle change and do not want to quit. Dedication and discipline.

  • Keith

    The Biggest Question in Weight Loss History always seems to come back to:

    How can I lose weight without starving myself and without having to spend hours in the gym?

    We live in a society where instant responses andi instant rewards gratify our efforts. We give prizes and rewards for every little thing. People seem to be more and more prone to looking for the “Quick Fix.”. The fact is, nothing takes the place of good old fashion exercise and portion control with your meals.

  • Joanne Zachau

    I think they give up because they settle for less and they think it’s the norm these days to be fat.

  • Kerry Pearson

    People fail to complete a challenge because they have not yet realised that joining a challenge does not make you lose weight any more than buying an exercise bike makes you fit – you have to use it. The application of the rules does not fit in with their pre-challenge lifestyle and they are really not ready to change – it is too hard, and they quit.
    To stick with it you need to realise within yourself that no one else can do this for you. You have to want it enough! The computer games and the gym workout will not both fit in the same time slot. Something has to give. Good food does not just appear in the fridge – it has to be planned and cooked. A little spoon feeding is good at the beginning to get the general idea and offers something to fall back on if you have to start over, but realizing it comes down to you and only you is the only way you will succeed.

  • Dan Brooks

    I know that in the past I have spent ages setting the scene : reading all the material, setting the goals, re-stocking the cupboards with healthy food and renewing the gym membership. I start with all the motivation and dedication in the world but become overwhelmed and anxious trying to stick to the program too precisely. I go out too hard in the beginning and manage to end up sick within 2 weeks. I intend to have a go at the 98 day summer “BIG BURN” challenge (even though its winter in Australia!!) but have learnt from past failures that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. This time I will pace myself, allow all the knowledge and habits time to integrate, not be anxious about doing everything perfectly and most of all, not forgot to have fun and enjoy the wonderful journey of discovery. I will be a tortoise, not a hare!!

  • R. Gonzales

    I’m a notorious all the way or not at all person. Over the past 24 years I’ve lost and gained up to 30 lbs at least 6 times. I’ve been looking at the challenge for over a year and have been scared to enter it because of the commitment yet I’ve followed your eating plan for over one year with fantastic success. (Lost and kept 30 lbs off over a year) I still have times where I don’t eat well or I cheat more than I should but Burn the Fat has enabled me to forgive myself quickly and realize that just because I fell off the wagon that it doesn’t undo all my workouts and the majority of my clean eating. Before reading your book I would tell myself I messed up and just stop working out all together and stop my clean eating and gain back all the weight I had lost. I think people quit because they tell themselves they aren’t worthy of success or they beat themselves up too much instead of praising themselves for every small change and challenge they accomplish on their journey. I also think that if you only look at it like a “diet” and not a life change then you are more likely to quit. When you can change your mentality and realize that every little bit of body fat you lose and every little bit of muscle you put on makes you healthier, stronger, and more mentality fit then you realize that there are not a lot of people in our society who value their health enough to address it every day. Then you can start to change your mindset about it. It also helps me to give thanks for what my body allows me to do and to realize what a gift it is.

    The biggest change has been in realizing that I can’t always rely only on myself. I have two mentors who are regularly consistent with their workouts and diet and when I feel myself getting off track I immediately talk to them and they steer me back. It helps to journal, especially when you aren’t feeling good about your body or your eating so you can identify what triggers you more regularly and identify how you normally get off track. I also have 2-3 friends who workout at the same time and every time we have a workout scheduled we text or call to make sure each other is showing up. Even when you really don’t feel like working out just knowing that they are going to go keeps EVERYONE showing up more. Accountability is KEY!

    Thanks Tom for the regular e-mails. They are always worth reading and inspiring!

  • DougM

    I skimmed through the first half dozen responses, and as I suspected they all started off with, “They failed because of this…” or “They FAILED because of that.”. If the question is why did they fail, then I think it is a loaded question. But it’s not. The question is why did they quit. And there’ll be a hundred valid answers because there may be that many reasons. I can think of a handful, but I’d summarize all this way. The Burn-the-Fat-Challenge is not the real test. The test you’ve entered is one that you cannot stop running until the day you die. This involves a strategy of running it like a marathon, or ultra-marathon runner, much more so than a 100 yard dash sprinter. In the frame of your entire life, the Burn-The-Fat-Challenge is a 100 yard dash. If you happen to have 12 weeks when you’re not particularly stressed by anything, and less interested in training for some other athletic goal, then it should be totally cool. But what’s more important is what happens at the end of that sprint. Those with the long term viewpoint may just not see the sprint as that important.

    Normal life tends to be “naturally periodized”. We work out hard and diet hard for a few weeks, and then —- comes up and we slack off for a week, eating more junk, etc. And then get back on the horse. But the ultra-marathoner similarly takes breaks to preserve the long term goal, and then presses on.

    So have been my thoughts on this challenge, and why, after a dozen invitations, I’ve passed. Also, it has a “Biggest Loser” element, whereby it is not the shape you end up in that’s important, but rather the contrast from start to finish. This encourages folks to get in horrible shape before starting, and really detracts from the good of such a competition. Following Tom’s advice, at 55 I’m in the best shape of my life. If I lose those last 10 lbs, and get slightly more cut abs, I have no chance competing against fatso who lost 60lbs!

    I hope some day to carve out everything else and really go for it, not because it’ll change my life, but just because it’d be a kick, like any other competition. But I’ll be out this time, and I doubt that Tom will like everything I’m saying in this essay to give me a shot at winning this essay competition. But Hawaii vacation or not, the Lifelong-Burn-The-Fat-Challenge beats the 12 week version every time.

    This is why smart people shine it on. The others are just lazy asses! 🙂

  • Elaine

    The reason for dropping out of anything is lack of motivation. I look back over the years and realize when I succeeded at something is when I was motivated. I have not been able to succeed at weight loss for a few years now and not sure how to get myself motivated. I do however realize that no one can do it for me. People can give input but I am the one that has to do it in the end.

  • Lili

    Honestly, I think people don’t finish because they don’t believe in themselves or their dreams for themselves. That’s why people settle. They settle for the body they have. They settle for that job that they hate going to. They settle for dating someone that they know doesn’t treat them right. You have to believe in yourself and your dreams in order to put in the work, commitment, dedication, and sacrifice to succeed, even if success is simply crossing that finish line.

  • David

    I’ve failed a competition before and there were a couple of reasons.

    1. The competition was paleo focused and while I agree with the concept of whole foods and healthy choices the dogma and shame that came along with a slip up made it that much easier to turn a beer into a beer and fries and ice cream and pizza…. You get the picture. Whether this would have happened with a normal diet I’m not sure but I do know that having an excessively rigid diet structure made feelings of failure overwhelming when I was first learning to diet.

    2. Akrasia. When the goal was so far away (90 days, a long time for my first huge weight loss attempt) the consequences of a cheat meal today seemed insignificant when I could just make up for it tomorrow. All of a sudden a month had gone by I had made no progress and others were leaving me in the dust. I no longer thought about how much more I could achieve but how much I had failed. The result was gaining even more weight and ending the competition heavier than I started.

    3. I did it for the wrong reason. A prize is nice (ours was 3,500) but if you’re not doing it for yourself and setting goals you’re confident you can achieve because of your own burning desire to improve the carrot won’t make up for it.

    4. Lack of knowledge. Weight loss is simultaneously incredibly easy to understand and incredibly difficult to implement. While attempting this paleo challenge I knew somewhere that the number one step was eating less than I burn but I got so caught up in the calories don’t matter, no carbs, only whole foods way of thinking that I lost sight of the fundamentals that achieve 90% of the progress.

    To combat all of the above I’ve taken a longer term approach and focused on the fundamentals. I do it for myself now and as I get closer to my goals I get more and more motivated to succeed for me and on my terms.


  • michelle little

    I believe they drop out of physique competitions because they they can’t handle the amount of discipline that is required to achieve great results, whether it be because they can’t put in the training time, or another reason would be because of the dedication to following a strict diet.

  • Massimiliano Conte

    The answer is to leverage the power of your unconscious mind by means of everyday mental training to successfully reach each and every of your goals by the focused massive action that follows. To learn more about mental training… enter the Burn the Fat Inner Circle and listen to the audio-coaching materials provided over there by Tom!

  • patti

    So, I have done both – finished and dropped out.

    Either way you go, I believe the problem is support from the people who are closest to you while you are making huge lifestyle changes. I did the summer challenge without my husband knowing about it. He always made fun of me when I went to the gym, but he began to notice that I was looking better. I told him what I did after the competition was over and showed him the photos. My changes were not very impressive to anyone but me. But, I did finish and felt good about it.The winter challenge was a total bust because he did know about the challenge and made comments when I was not fulfilling my oblgation to the contest. More like put-downs- such as: you aren’t going to win doing “that”. Well that really gets to you after awhile, so I dropped out and didn’t care anymore.

    This summer contest is different.
    I have re-read Tom’s book and have taken it to heart and my desire to make myself healthier and sail into the last part of my life with strong bones, healthy heart and body is greater than any negative comments made by even the closest members of my family. I have been going to the gym regularly over the past 2 years and try out boot camps and yoga and make new friends along the way. I have a way to go, before reaching my final goals. Which by the way are set to be achieved this summer.I love the prize – but I don’t dwell upon it. Also, I took the step to join a team this year. Excellent thing to do for me. I am held accountable to 4 other people.

    One more thing. My secret desire is to have my husband join in on this adventure and quit being so critical. Guess what, he is getting more interested in what I am doing especially since his last doctors visit revealed an unhealthy man. He has high blood pressure, high cholesterol and is considered obese on the weight charts. Maybe he can see the merrits of BFFM-I don’t push it on him and he doesn’t make fun of me anymore. Live by example.

  • Wallen

    One of the problems I feel prevent me as well as others from completing the challenge is the feeling you get of being like a prisoner. Once you start the challenge, it’s like you’re put in jail and your free agency is taken away from you. You don’t have any options, and then you are forced into hard labor. (doing physical work you don’t want to do) You can’t eat what you want, or whenever you want and that drives us crazy. Just the thought of knowing “you can’t” eat this or that, makes us want to eat eventhough we’re not hungry. We start feeling like we can’t do anything and wonder why other people can do those things. We start to even resent the rest of the world because “they can”, and then we feel confined and need to break out. So, instead of having the challenge “free” us from our bad habbits, health issues, extra weight, etc. we mistakenly feel they inprison us and we immediately try to break out. I myself have experienced this 2 times already. Not being able to eat at work parties, or family gatherings made me feel locked up and my innerself immediately started causing me to do things to break free. Once I got off the challenge I for some reason felt a huge amount of pressure lifted off my shoulders, or like heavy chains were taken off me. This challenge can actually FREE you more and give you more options, but our twisted minds can’t understand that yet.

  • Renier Fourie

    For me, there is no single word. Discipline, integrity, honesty, consistency, hard work… These are some of the words I would use to answer your question. People are always looking for the quick fixes and the shortcuts to get lean and sport a great body, but when people actually get down and do it, they never realized it was THIS tough! People are not honest enough with themselves to admit that this will take a lot of effort. All of a sudden they realize what a disciplined sport this is and you have to ask yourself: “Is this what I really want?” The next part to this question is more of a statement: “In order to get what I never had, I have to do what I never did” Speaking out of my own background, 11 years ago is when I did my last BB show and in 6 years I shot up to 35% body fat. I’ve spent the last 5 years crawling and creeping my way back and although I am at 18%, I still am a long way off from being where I want to be. I will be the first to tell you, it’s not a straight line and that you will be “zigging” and “zagging” your way down the body fat ladder. I will further share that I had a glimpse through the BFFM ebook from a friend of mine and the first chapter is probably the hardest chapter for me, because I never could visualize myself being back to that shape again and to be able to set proper goals, is downright a skill. There is a ton of wealth in that book, but you have to take the added step of applying what you read. There are times when you literally want to break down and cry because it just becomes too difficult, but there is one piece of advice I read in Tom’s book that made all the difference to me and which has been my driving force since then: “I can only change my body mm by mm; One meal at a time, one workout at a time and although the progress is slow at times, the needle slowly moves in the right direction. A lot of slow movements equals a great distance covered”

    For those still struggling, I feel your pain and all I can say is stick to your plan because if it was easy, then everybody would have been doing it and everyone would have great bodies!

  • David Priddle

    Hi Tom,

    I think that motivation is the most important factor in successful weight/fat loss with goal setting as the means of maintaining the level of motivation.

    Thinking about why one wishes to loss weight/fat will commence the weight/fat loss journey, but only goal setting will keep one on track during times of temptation or moments when the motivation wanes.

    David Priddle

  • Jeroen

    You have to stay focused on your goal. And you can’t let a small slip become like an avalanche which results in you quitting. I think that last bit is the most challenging. We live in a society were perfection seems to be all around. So we strive to be perfect. This results in us putting ourselves down when we make a slip and that leeds to giving up.
    So to be succesfull, I don’t know from experience yet, but I hope I will in september, you hve to make a plan which is not fixed but flexible. And you have to look at the bigger picture. You’re not going to get fat because you ate the chocolate the gave you with your coffee, or because you you ate a dessert. You’re allowed to indulge, just do it in moderation.

  • Johndavid Metcalf

    I am 55 years old and until 5 years ago have been lean with no real weight problem. I used to do water-skiing, hiking,ultra marathons, road cycling and mountain biking but that has slipped in the last few years and so I have ended up with the older male problem of a spreading middle. What I have found is that a lot of weight loss and exercise programs require quite a lot of time which many people cannot stick to and so do not reap the rewards. From reading and experience over the years I have worked out a few simple exercises which are very intense and do a lot of work on the whole body in a short space of time. The secret to this set of exercises is that because of the intensity and all over body workout my body continues to burn fat long after finishing the exercises. After 20 minutes I am really worked out. basically what I do is: 10 minutes of 5 core exercises for the midriff. Then 7 minutes on 5 exercises done on two independant handles hanging from the garage roof-beams. These work my whole body and are really intense. I finish off with 3 dumbell exercises done at fast reps with two old Alfa-Romeo half-shafts.
    The real secret to this is the intense whole body workout one gets by doing exercises while hanging from the handles. Try it!

  • xynen

    Many a time the body goes into a plateau, no weight loss inspite of increased efforts in exercising & following tighter diet. sometimes when too much of carbs are cut down, there is carb craving & we eat more carbs than required which once again leads to fat storage.
    For majority, the motivation level to lose weight is only for a short period-
    I personally think, we need to have an idol( who is desciplined on fitness, a celebrity) like whom we would dream to be, hang pictures of this idol in your room so that we are reminded of our goal everytime we are low. maintaining a low cal diet & exercise plan along with a friend, creates a sort of weight loss challenge & keeps the body to work harder & stay put each day every day.
    I personally have a trainer, with whom I share my ups & lows and we plan & work together to reach my desired goal.

    IT IS MIND OVER BODY that rules so the body has to work harder to control the mind

  • xynen

    Many a time the body goes into a plateau, no weight loss inspite of increased efforts in exercising & following tighter diet. sometimes when too much of carbs are cut down, there is carb craving & we eat more carbs than required which once again leads to fat storage.
    For majority, the motivation level to lose weight is only for a short period-
    I personally think, we need to have an idol( who is desciplined on fitness, a celebrity) like whom we would dream to be, hang pictures of this idol in your room so that we are reminded of our goal everytime we are low. maintaining a low cal diet & exercise plan along with a friend, creates a sort of weight loss challenge & keeps the body to work harder & stay put each day every day.
    I personally have a trainer, with whom I share my ups & lows and we plan & work together to reach my desired goal.

  • Steve Thresher

    People drop out of body transformation contests because the don’t believe the results will come. Society has been conditioned to expect quick results which leads us to abandon our efforts when progress stalls. Believe in the program and you will get the results you deserve.

  • Fred White

    People are lazy. However this is not our fault, nature is lazy, water for example will always follow the easiest path. Streams bend when they encounter a harder layer of rock. Nature has programmed us to be lazy, to conserve energy, to give in to our cravings, after all cravings are just our mind telling us what it thinks the body needs. These factors have been hard wired into our survival over the course of our evolution. Laziness is instinctive.

    We’ve all been there, whether your a first time gym user or a pro athlete, our minds work the same way. It is all to easy to say “I’ll go tomorrow” or “I deserve to treat myself”. This is what hinders success. To succeed at your goals, you must ignore these lazy instincts (Warning, do not ignore your body if it tells you it’s exhausted, also the breathing instinct is fairly important). Society and civilisation are built on people ignoring their basic animal instincts. Ignoring instincts is what separates humans from animals. No one has the ‘ability’ to ignore these lazy instincts, they simply have the determination to do so.

    Be determined, succeed.

  • Michelle

    The reason many people give up is they need to love themselves and change there congnetic thinking behind their failures. I was beatin & molestered whilst growing up on a continual basis then raped in my teens so I have always felt unsafe and too scared to finish to the end because in the past I was scared that if I looked good I would have something bad happen to me again and mentally I thought I wasn’t worth it.

    Many people have many different reasons example: laziness, keeping up the momentum, too hard pile, wanting a quick fix, cant sustain the lifestyle change the list can go on and on.

    You need to mentally want it and have a self worth to endure to the end.

  • Enthusiasm – Commitment = Remorse. (e-c=r). Einstein’s Theory of Summer Challange failure. This year commit, stick to your plan and look farther than the 98 days! This is your life – your time – embrace the challange.

  • pravda

    I think most people fail in the game of weight loss because they dont have the right mindset. They train only at a physical level. They do not include all the energies within them. They eat emotionally, they have cravings. They are only motivated not commited to do the best they can. They do not plan in advance the workout day by day they are going to do, they do not plan their eating during the day and above all this they do not have a journal to write down thei goals, the eating plan, the workouts, the emotions and all the negative chatter they have.
    They do not use meditations and creative vizualization to achive what they wamt. They focus only on the physcial results and what other people will say about their look.

  • Beth Boletta

    Hello Tom,
    I think many people would like to have a nice and fit body. For this reason many people join contests, challenges etc. But first of all after they ” buy ” the dream or the possibility to accomplish it with a good trainer or program, they have to face themselves and answer how did they get to this point to start with. They drop it because is hard to believe that it is achievable, it is hard to have a vision in the transition time because it takes time to see results, and most people want to change in a couple months a body they abuse for many years. Does not matter how motivated you are with a good trainer or the best program. The change comes just in the moment you say to yourself ” I have enough, I can not stay in my skin anymore “, then you will have the motivation that no one can give to you. You have a great program Tom. You are honest and knowledgeable and encourage people to train hard and expect success. Changes has to come from inside to last forever, because a fit body has a lot to do with the way we see,respect and take care of ourselves. Even though it is a ” physical change”,the key should be to explore the psychological aspect of changes. Best regards! Beth

  • Iku

    I think people give up first in their minds. They go into the program, not necessarily to finish, but just to ‘try it out’. It’s like some people buy from stores without thought because ‘they have a return policy’.

    Laziness is also a big factor, but most importantly, I think it’s because they haven’t come to the point where it’s a must. When people think, ‘This is not the body I want. I must have something better than this!’ those people finish strong.

  • Chrystal

    I use to think that people who exercised had some magic or inherited drive within them that I didn’t posses or was born with. Maybe for me the diet shakes and marketing gimmicks would solve my problem…. I have tried most of them with very little success.
    I have however discovered otherwise in the past 2 years.
    I was fed-up with myself- the way I looked and the way I felt!
    I think that is perhaps one of the reasons people don’t change. You cannot change anything about yourself if you are not fed-up enough about it. You can’t just be a little fed-up, you have to be really fed-up and know with conviction that you have to or need to change.
    I had my really fed-up moment! I remember that Sunday afternoon when I knew I had really had enough! I decided in that moment that I would change that straight away. I committed to myself that I would start gym the very next morning. I had to overcome my instant thought that I don’t have time because I work. I dismissed it with an instant solution which would be uncomfortable. I would have to get up at 4:15am to get a work-out before waking the kids in the morning and getting them to school by 7:15 and then work by 8am. I did it! As part of my routine every night before I go to bed, I lay my gym clothes out for the next morning so that I am prepared and can eliminate any excuses that may be brewing in my head. I have also learnt that the greatest opposition to me attaining what I want is MYSELF! I wake up and have 2 voices in my head. One says – give up, you have tried before or it is too cold & dark or you are tired and the other voice replies – but I have had enough and want to change. You need to learn which voice to respond to and reason louder with the voice that wants to change.
    My days are better- I have the energy and clarity of mind to fulfill my responsibilities as a wife, mother and employee. The pleasure of energy & vitality far outweighs the pain of waking up. The rush of exercise is so worth it, but you can only get it by doing it!
    We do not forgive ourselves for the mistakes we make and break-down self trust and esteem when we don’t do those things which we know we should do or do those things which we know we should not be doing. When we slip up, that same old voice that reasoned louder initially, returns to our heads to remind us of our failings and drags us back into our old ways and back to the pain of our past.

  • Susmita

    Dear Tom,

    Thanks for giving me an opportunity to speak about something so close to my heart. I have tried to have a toned body for several years now and have failed. I admit that the problem is basically due to a lack of discipline. But I am sure if I had a supportive social circle I would have done better.

    I am 58 years old and am slim by Indian standards. But I am constantly hounded by people who comment on my appearance (read physical health). They are after me to stuff myself with sweets, say how terrible I look, a couple of pounds would improve my appearance, question my eating habits etc. On the face of such people, it is easy to give in to temptation though it is not an excuse.

    I am sure that if I had a supportive social circle, where people all believed in having well toned bodies, discussed physical activities as a part of routine conversation, looked good so that others were encouraged to look like them, I would have been motivated. This is precisely why your newsletters and mails from my friend Lee (who introduced me to your newsletter) help me so much.

    I am still looking for such a group in my town.

    Thanks Tom.

  • Alex Ferris


    Its 6pm & the end of the working day, I’ve just walked in the same door I walked out of some 12 hours earlier…sound familiar? I hold a managerial role in a large Australian trucking firm, a position that I thoroughly enjoy & throw all my energy & passion into every day.

    I place my briefcase on the writing desk in my study before swiveling my chair around to my desktop located on a separate desk to the right, opening my personal emails to see one from my virtual trainer & mentor Tom Venuto. We’ve never met…I don’t even know what his voice sounds like.

    As a male of the species at 38 years of age, 220 pounds, 5 foot 10 inches, 28.4% body fat & only four weeks into resuming serious training & a calorie controlled diet after some two & a half years away from the weights, I’m eager to see what gem of wisdom Tom wishes to impart today.

    I still have to prepare dinner, I know I have plenty of documents to look over before I can call it a day, but there’s one thing more important than both of these matters just now. One thing more important than anything to me right now, at this exact moment, after having recently reprioritizing what matters in my life.

    That’s one thing, that most important matter is the knowledge that I have a good long hour in the gym lifting heavy & hard…& I’m looking forward to every bit of it, to hunkering down, gripping that bar with a reverse grip, firmly between my hands for that first time, taking up the strain, rolling back on my heels & pulling up my first set of 175 lbs deads, it being a Wednesday & all.

    Why, after a 12 hour day with more work to come, why would I want to exert myself so much harder still…because I’m motivated, I’m hungry for it. I’ve just finished Tom’s “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle” in three nights reading & I’m motivated by the fact that after spending weeks trawling the net for a superior knowledge of nutrition, his book has reiterated & confirmed the conclusions I drew from the multitude of reading I found it necessary to do in order to cut through all the BS that’s out there, plus Tom’s concise book has given me some further insights, a more thorough knowledge, a deeper understanding & a sustained motivation.

    But today Tom’s not being motivational, in fact he’s not too much help to me at all today, he’s cold cut me with a question I really didn’t need on “Hump Day” Wednesday. Today Tom asks me plain & simple “Why do people quit? Why did YOU quit? Why did you drop out? Why did you stray from the beloved steel?”

    “Well Tom…” I muse to myself as I recline in my comfy leather padded office chair that I’ve fallen asleep in way too often “…because they come home at the end of a hard day feeling exactly like I do right now…bloody knackered!”

    I momentarily start to consider a structured response to this relevant request for insight when I suddenly realize “Can’t type, must train! Deadlifts…yeah baby!” I swap my professional attire & Cat work boots for a tracksuit & pair of Asics & off I go, one more day winning the war against myself, the weights…& the weight. Glad to be back in the fight…

    Two hours have since passed. I’ve done 3x work sets of deads, pull downs, ezy-bar curls, skull crushers & shrugs, all to fail on my last set, pulling up dead on the hour like a well-timed machine. I’ve cooked dinner, sat down & eaten with my family & washed up. Tomorrow, instead of lifting the heavy iron I’ll plug in my earphones & jump on the stationary bike for forty-five minutes…I’ve so far managed to drop 12.3 pounds in just on six weeks, but I’m not fooling myself, I know I still have a long way to go.

    Will I make it…you bet ya’! How do I know? Because I want it, because it has recently become the focus of my being, of my existence…it is my number one priority. Not my only priority, I’m not fanatical, everything in balance. I have a life, a career, personal relationships, but for now they come a close second, my focus is my health & reinventing my body the way I see myself in my head. It’s well worth the 6-7 hours per week, a sure investment with incredible returns.

    If you want something, if you REALLY want something, then you’ll get it, there’ll be no doubt & never can be & you’ll do whatever it takes to get there. It may be a lonely, long journey & usually is, but you’ll get there no matter what, you know that with a clarity that’s an epiphany & the feeling of pride when you do can never be taken away from you…it pushes you onwards to achieve when everything else is pushing against you. Anyone that says different has never really wanted something or is simply too afraid to try; they’ve surely never aspired to or achieved an “impossible” goal.

    Success is about your primary ambition, the single, unwavering focus of your mind’s eye, if something is not your primary ambition then you’ll get distracted, you’ll find a reason not to train, not to drag yourself into position & take up the strain on that first set, or plug the iPod into your ears, pull your hoody over your head & start jogging down that cold wet road. That cold lonely road to success is lined with distraction.

    If you think to yourself “Stuff it…I’ll go to the pub instead & knock over a couple of beers. I can train tomorrow!” well it’s obvious that your health, body & soul aren’t what your mind’s eye has an unwavering focus on. This doesn’t just apply to training; it’s applicable to every facet of your life. You can achieve everything you ever wanted in life if you know what IT is & are relentless in its pursuit. I’m a poor dumb son of a dairy farmer that grew up in the Aussie bush…I’ve achieved everything I’ve ever STRIVED for!

    Once you change your reward system so that the benefits, the small accomplishments that result from your pursuit are more important than that beer, that high, that TV program, that internet chat room, whatever…your mind simply takes over & tells your body “We’re doing this because I like the reward, I like the pride, I like the self-respect, you’re the body…you’ll do as your told be me! I’m the mind…I’m running the show!”

    If you want it, if you look in that mirror, focus on your eyes & say “This ain’t me…this is me building me!” & your reward system is triggered by the size of your arms, how thin your waist is, or the height of your traps, the burn, the pump at the end of the session, then hell there’s no stopping that…there’s no stopping you!

    In summary, people fail because they don’t really want IT…whatever IT may be.

    Once you want it, REALLY want it…you’ll know nothing else.

    Wars aren’t won by those that grow weary…

  • Sidney Hart

    I think people drop out of training because they won’t commit to a new lifestyle. Old habits die hard. Regards Sid.

  • Shailesh Rao

    I just loved all the tips you give for burning the fat in our bodies. I just followed your simple basic formula for weight loss i.e. calories in must be less than calories out & lost about 15kg of weight in about 35 days i.e. on 20/04/2012 I was 92 Kg. & on 24/04/2012 I was 77 Kg. But I did still have some fat left around my abdomen also known as love handles please help me with suggesting some exercises for reducing the fat around there.
    Thanks a lot for Your advice.

  • It is just a matter of discipline and knowing that you can. And don’t give up. Tomorrow is another day, but that doesn’t mean if you have one bad day you can stuff yourself silly.

  • zahra

    i am an iranian woman who suffers from being overweight.last year after my 3rd delivery {c section}i was 107kg and i had problems with my usual homework so i decided to lose weight.i lost 6kg in 6months and after starting food for my baby i lost 21kg in i am 80kg.i am overweight although i lost 27kg but i am satisfied because i could overcome .i decide to loose more weight slowly in next coming year to become healthier.`YOU CAN IF YOU WANT.

  • Hi just recently completed a 30 day weight loss program as outlined in my blog link above. I succeeded in loosing 9 kg (mostly fat) and still maintain this weight loss 2 months later. The program organisers, Derek & Saly Boyer have a Facebook page where members can post comments and questions. I noticed few key things that clearly differentiates the successful participants vs the unsuccessful.

    One is preparation. A good program requires you to adjust both exercise and diet. Find out before whats in it and self assess if you are capable of / willing to stick to the requirements for the required period of time. This includes sacrificing private things like food, booze and partying with your friends like you’re used to doing. It may also include getting up early to do exercise, prepare meals the day before, etc.

    Second is character. Even if you assessed you were capable to do it, once you start is your heart really in it? Are you prepared to stick through the tough times and carry on, even if you are tired, your stomach is screaming for food, your family is indulging steaks, fries, beer and wine? Even if you’ve pressed through another week but can’t see much results in the mirror or on the scale, will you go on and trust things to happen in coming weeks?

    Third is motivation. Similar to character. How much do you want it? I’ve seen so many posts in the Boyer facebook page from people with “excuses”. Work was tough last week, I had to go to dinner with friends, my legs hurt so I couldn’t run, etc. Rather than finding solutions to succeed they find excuses to fail. A big part of my recent program was to do a 30 min exercise band focused workout every day. 10 days in I dislocated my shoulder and had it in a sling for the rest of the time so I couldn’t do any strength training. Instead I doubled my cardio, did pool workouts, etc.

  • Shailesh Rao

    People drop out of body transformation contests simply because they lose their focus, their goal & the path to it(which looks difficult to them). They follow a diet & do the exercises in the initial days but as time passes so does our spirit & enthusiasm in continuing & following the diet & exercises that they had set out for themselves leading to their failure to achieve the short term target they had set leading to disheartening feelings about themselves & even doubting the effectiveness of the diet & exercise, the doubt gives them the excuse & impulse to revert to their old lifestyle without any set exercises or diet & even without any aim to achieve. All this happens just because humans are averse to change, from historic times humans have resisted any change in their lives. Although they set themselves out on a path to achieving a body transformation, in the back of their minds they still love their old lifestyle & are willing to return to them at any chance they get until they have achieved the goal set for themselves, as soon as their mind loses focus before they achieve their goal & the diet & exercising rules start haunting them, they are not used to the new lifestyle & they jump into their first love. This is the reason why people drop out of body transformation contests.

  • Daniel Best


    There is so much noise around us every day. Noise comes from our own mind (inner noise) and from those we surround ourselves with (outer noise). Not all noise impacts us, but the noise that most frequently hits us is that which is both the outer noise and inner noise both say…

    We make a decision to change our body composition… immediately we are hit with noise.

    “I can’t do this…”
    “It’s too hard…”
    “My body-type holds me back…”
    “I’ve failed before…”

    And though we have that noise… we push through it. Every weight we lift, every minute of cardio we push through, that inner noise keeps telling us that we are not good enough… we slack off because that is in line with that noise.

    Then nutrition hits and the inner noise continues:

    “It’s too hard to prepare meals…”
    “I’m missing out on pizza…”
    “I can’t eat what I want…”

    Once again, though we have that noise, we continue on with the plan. We go into the plan half-heartedly… and when we don’t hit our goal… the noise gets even louder.
    That noise then combines with outer noise. We listen to the noise of our friends and our family… or whoever is in our social network:

    “You look fine…”
    “How do you have the time to do this?”
    “Haven’t you ‘dieted’ before?”
    “Yea! We’ll see how long this lasts…”

    That outer noise combines with the inner noise and when they are saying the same thing… this is dangerous because we don’t wait for an excuse to give up… WE UNCONSCIOUSLY LOOK FOR IT… this is why people fail…

    Only when we have a change in the inner and outer noise will we be able to really change who we are… That inner noise has to be a positive voice that seeps into your subconscious that tells you

    “You can do this…”
    “Look how much progress you’ve made… keep it up!”

    It’s funny because inner noise will almost change into a visual image of the self you want to be… talking to you, coaching you, encouraging you. That “new self” pushing you harder and saying “catch me.” With inner noise, if there is a bump in progress, you don’t see it as a set-back; you see it as a learning opportunity.

    With that inner noise set, you can confront the outer noise:
    “Restricting myself? Don’t hate me because I don’t want to eat like a slob”
    “Hmm… pizza or abs… which looks better to you?”

    If that social circle isn’t giving you what you need, then guess what… find a new one. THIS IS WHAT IS MAKING THE DIFFERENCE FOR ME! Finding people that will push you along, give you advice, and help you get to the new self that you envision.

    People quit because of noise… I’m not naïve enough to believe that there will not always be negative inner and outer noise… but guess what: the more times you reinforce positive inner noise and outer noise, the easier it becomes and it will become second nature.

    Inner noise is important… you are not only what you eat, but also what you think… Outer noise is important… you are a product of who you surround yourself with because they will influence you.

    Noise makes the difference.

    • SC


      This is so true! Noise does create challenges for us all.

      Music stifles the inner and outer noise for me! I also tape pictures of men and women I admire on my walls to help motivate me. Not because I think my body is their body but because having positive “noise” mental and visual helps me so much!

      I also love that you say you find people who will support you.

      If one more member of my family or friends tells me lifting weights for women is nasty…uggh,

      but when I walk in the gym, I am home and among people who accept me. Because they are there for the same reason..pass the weights please!

  • Waldo

    In my opinion, people easily gets enthusiastic about the golden goal of getting fit, the idea of competing for the prize of getting leaner in a short time, etc, etc. So they decide to start the contest without deep consciousness of the required time, resources and personal empowerment; just as they were deciding what movie to watch on weekend or the color of the shirt to pick from the closet.
    But within few days, they soon find themselves immersed in a new live style they were not enough aware of, mainly characterized by:
    i) modifying carefully what/when/how to eat;
    ii) creating new good habits (exercise, sleep, eat)
    iii) leaving bad habits (alcohol, sedentary rhythms)
    iv) pushing the people around to imitate or at least support them in their goal,
    etc… etc…
    For me, committing such amount of BIG changes is a very short time (few weeks) needs a lot of underlying personal DISCIPLINE that is not easy to find among the population. Additionally, it needs COMPREHENSION and SUPPORT from family /friends.
    For sure, having simultaneously those 3 words in capital letters for several weeks is a matter that depends on a lot of factors that fall beyond the initial assessment of the people who decides to enter. If the failing contestants have complex lives where they do not put the health goal in a high enough priority of their personal values and interests, then you get the perfect scenario for them to leave the contest.

  • Stacy

    Why do people quit? Put simply they haven’t set down clear goals and they haven’t found their reason why…an emotional investment hasn’t been made in to achievement of their goal.

  • Deb Watkins

    I don’t know about all of the drop outs, but I believe there are a percentage of people, myself included, that think they aren’t worth the effort. That have been told they are, or treated as if they are inferior beings. Maybe they even keep the fat as protection from something/someone, even though they wish they were slim, trim, and toned. I have been trying to work on those feelings for a long time. I might be making some progress…but while my conscious mind knows/tells me that I am too worthy of being healthy, fit, trim, etc., my subconscious mind evidently was programmed by others and is resisting the true story. If you hear that you are worthless, bad, will never amount to anything, from people that are supposed to love you, often enough you start to believe it.
    I am not trying to be a whiner, nor am I saying that is everyone’s problem/reason for quitting, but I bet there are alot of people that have that basic reason, whether they will admit it, or even realize it or not.
    I will overcome my self doubt, and I will become the person I desire to be!

    • SC

      Deb, Awesome that you recognize that you can do what you want regardless of what others say. Awesome that you admit how you feel because then you can get past it!

      Read my little blurb girl and realize we all feel that way a lot more than not!

      YOU ARE worth the effort and nobody can take anything from you that you are not willing to give!

      I have so many people who make negative comments because I like to lift weights but guess what? I no longer listen and when progress comes it is for ME not THEM.

      I highly recommend that you keep track of your progress as it will show to you what you are capable of.

      Music helps me tune out negativity and charging my MP3 player helps me get going as i play the music on my computer while I am getting dressed and eating breakfast before a I workout.

      May I suggest music that brings back a nice memory to help you get motivated?

      Remember Deb, you workout for YOU not for anyone else and whether or not people are supportive, you can just keep moving and working.

      I tell myself this..everyday I am working out is a day I win.

      You can do it! From one woman to another I understand the mental strength needed to even put on your sneakers! But Deb, you can do it!


    • ve

      i know exactly what you mean! but i think you have done half the way of overcoming it 🙂
      you write much better than I do ( guess because i am French??? ahaha)
      I think that is it subconciously you feel you are an inferior being… You know what some people used to tell me( beginning with my mum) You have such a beautiful face! ( see what i mean: your body is awful but your face is nice….)
      so you see Deb I undersatnd wat you mean…

  • I have tried a weight loss program and given up. The main reason is because of my mindset. At the beginning of the program I was excited and motivated. I knew my goals and I knew that I wanted to achieve it but after a while I got bored. Sometimes it has to do with not seeing results at all and actually gaining more. I know there is something that says that sometimes you gain and then you begin to lose eventually. It all has to do with your mind and the type and amount of support you get from friends and family. Sometimes when I see no results a few good words can get you back on tract but then I always stop again. Another thing is changing the diet which I find very hard to do. I could do it because sometimes I start on a healthy diet and then at the end of the day end up on fast food. This I think is because I have people around me that are always eating. Somehow I can’t resist food after seeing them eat, maybe if I really decided to commit myself to it.
    What I would do to actually stick with the diet is get into a support group, with people facing the same situation as me. We can hopefully be each other’s support. Like I said before it all has to do with your mindset, being around the right people and the right environment can be a gr8 step towards achieving any goals. Everybody have the ability to do anything they want to and I believe and I know that I have the ability to change my shape. I just have to really set my heart and mind to it .

  • Tamica

    Based on my own feelings, I think people drop out because they weren’t 100% perfect. If you mess up once you are DONE! This is, of course, silly….but it still feels that way.

    I guess the secret to finishing is really taking your commitment seriously and vow to not quit even if you aren’t perfect. At the end of the day, you may not win but you might learn something and you have to live that span of time anyway, so why not?

  • ve

    i think it is the way you see food … the love-hate relationship
    I have realized eating was love for me , it is my way of finding love , it is my teddy bear . So you are feeling down because you are feeling fat and ugly ; what can you do??? well hate yourself so you …eat …
    Im 51 , started dieting when i was 15 … I could write a thesis about nutrition, very courageous and strong ( in the beginning at least 🙂 )
    But but… here I am still fat , depressed , feeling lonely and being alone, i cant stand the way i look so i slowly become a sociopath ; I need love, so I eat , sweet cakes , i feel loved then
    You see, you cant lose weight, i mean reach your goal without being totally surrounded with LOVE more than support LOVE . Otherwise i do think it is impossible
    You might find it far fetched or perverted but maybe when you lose weight , ythere is a time where you come to a point you start to like your body and yourself, but you have such a low self esteem because of that fat body of yours that you unconsciously think: Hey, this is not me , id better stop right? i ll always be a stupid fat woman anyway , let’s go to the bakery and buy some delicious cakes… I love them, and they love me

  • emsie

    I think that people can’t stick at it because the behaviour that they need to display to be successful is too ‘different’ to the norm.

    Think about it – you can’t drink, you need to get up early to go training so can’t stay out late, you can’t have a coffee and muffin, if you go out for dinner you probably won’t have three courses and wine – all of these kind of social situations will set you apart from the norm and people won’t understand or want to talk about what you are doing and why – well they can’t relate, and after the first few times it becomes boring to them.

    Your interests revolve around training and nutrition and your friends interests revolve around the pub and the restaurant. You are going straight home from work on a Friday night to go to the gym and have an early night so you can train first thing on a Saturday while your workmates are going out for a beer and tapas.

    It’s certainly a lot more difficult and sets you apart from the norm. You need to decide if you have the mental fortitude to adopt this alternative lifestyle for the duration and ‘miss out’ on all these normal things.

    To stick with it you need cheerleaders – people who are going to convince you to keep going even when you ‘know’ you want to quit. People who will remind you of the bigger picture, and why you are doing this in the first place. You need a mantra that tells you why you are setting yourself apart, and that you are lucky you are able to do this and not be one of the masses that can’t. You need to be organised and believe that it’s worth it to spend half an hour making your salads to take to work for lunch instead of sitting in front of the tv – you don’t need to know what happens in the latest reality show, you need to be preparing for your day tomorrow. You need to think how you can make exercise part of your day instead of taking time out to exercise and most of all you need that old saying emblazoned in your mind – if you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.

  • randy mattson

    The biggest is mental. A person who sets their mind to something and believes it. In breif; GOAL setting.

  • Steve Cook


    The reason people either stay in or fall out has to do with life and their environment. Typically something comes up that sets one back, then without a support structure it’s hard to get back on track. Once that happens, often people give up.

    Those that are successful are finally done with being where they are and are committed… They either get to the right place in their mind and need to make that big change or they get really lucky to have a support structure to help them through it.

    The support structure needs to be within their daily lives. The best results are when the people from home encourage and support you. Online support can also be helpful, but the environment you’re in really matters.

  • Mary Remmes

    I believe most people drop out for a combination of reasons….it’s hard to stay focused on the goal; it’s hard work every hour of every day; we are a society seeking instant gratification and success at losing body fat is a process – people aren’t willing to commit to the process.
    Good luck to everyone this time…see you on the boards!

  • Jennifer Matthews

    I believe people quit fitness contests and challenges because they’re expectations are too unrealistic. We live in a “instant” society. We cook our food in five minutes or less, we have the world at our finger tips at ALL times thanks to laptops and smart phones, and if we can afford it we can simply go to a plastic surgeon and have the fat sucked right out of us. Why should we have to work hard to get what we want!?!?! I know I personally have entered a few weight loss contests and dropped out before finishing; contests with good nutrition and exercise plans. But instead of embracing the new lifestyle of eating properly and weight training I was enticed by fad diets that promised quick results through ridiculous amounts of cardio or starvation. I have since learned that anything worth having is worth working hard for. I want to be fit and healthy and that means I need to consider the long term effects of what type of lifestyle I live. Fortunately, for the diet industry too many people are living for the short term and not thinking about what these supplements and fad diets will do to their health.

  • Elaine

    Hi Tom,

    I’m a fan of BFFM, so an easy option would be to give you back the answers you have already fed me with. ie, lack of clear objectives, low commitment/willpower or, in its absence, lack of accountability, failing to plan, failing to measure, keeping the wrong company, lack of psychological… they’re all excellent.

    If I were to look around for other clues, they would be in the idea of the “Work Ethic” and the “Values Problem”.

    One of the things I love about the BFFM philosophy is your “Train hard and expect success.” It makes me think about work and organizational theories which are currently ranting on about the loss of the Work Ethic -the idea that nothing is for free, and that you reap what you sow into any project (business, friendships, jobs, families…) The quick-fit, instant-gratification-by-the-mouth, fix-me-but-please-don’t-make-me-change outlook on life counts for failures in all parts of our society, not just the fat-loss.

    Then there’s the Values Problem. Some people look at me after a few years of (quietly) following BFFM advice and say “oh, I wish I could do that,” and then promptly list their whole “excuse list”. So I say, “It’s a values thing. You value the stuff on your excuse list more -be honest and own it.” After reading all the success stories you print, I can hardly believe otherwise.
    Sometimes we start on a fat/weight loss programm, thinking health is one of our values, but it turns out to take a secondary role compared to the values of (for example) “acceptance by the people I already hang out with” or “giving all my time to others” to name a couple of popular (and respectable!) values.

    I have lost 19 kilos, gone from a 48 to a 40, and improved my health and vitality following BFFM. This is within the objectives I set myself, which are now “maintenance, with a slow tendency towards muscle-fat transformation”. I set my objectives bearing in mind my own set of values which include health, balanced among other family, personal-improvement and professional aims.

    I have never entered The Challenge because I found enough inner commitment without it. If I were to enter it, would be to drop the final couple of kilos and “get ripped”.

    How would I plan? Serious and rapid transformation would detract from a balance I now have of time dedicated to diferent areas of my life, so the plan would include getting my partner on board, as one of the biggest stakeholders in my lifestyle (apart from myself!) Otherwise, either the Plan or the Relationship would stumble from the starting line. If I couldn’t get over/around this hurdle, I would have to recognise that the results wouldn’t be worth the journey for me, and I just wouldn’t start out.
    If I did finally choose to commit to the challenge, I would just follow BFFM, marking out objectives, weighing, measuring… once you have the know-how, it boils down to your wonderful sign-off:

    “Train hard and expect success.”

    Thanks for everything,

  • Linda

    As I dropped out last year I have thought about this question a lot. I think for me it is important to celebrate the little success and not have an all or nothing attitude. With several injuries it may not be realistic for me to be a top continder but that does not mean I can make real change. The other area that I think plays a role is having a good support network. Lets face it life just happens and we can be thrown with curve ball after curve ball. Time to celebrate all the success small and big, what is important is staying in the game!

  • The reason that many people drop out of body transformation challenges is because they did not fully commit to the challenge to begin with. To be fully committed to something, you have to be accountable to not only others, but most of all for yourself. If you commit to doing something and you don’t finish it, then you should really be bothered by that fact. When you commit to something, you should set a plan to follow. By setting the plan, you will by critically thinking about what you plan to do to achieve your fitness goals. The plan will make it easier for you to know what to do so that you don’t just exercise or diet haphazardly.

    Keeping your goal in mind is very important in order to continue your commitment. No matter how motivated we are to begin a new journey to reach our goals, we will always have things get in the way which can distract us. Think about the biggest reason that you want to enter the body transformation challenge. Keep this reason in mind every day so that you can stay motivated and stick to your goal. Do whatever it takes to remind yourself of your goal. For example, you can choose to set a daily reminder on your smartphone to complete the challenge. You can also post on your wall a shirtless photo of yourself with a note reminding you of the challenge.

    Step 1 is to commit to the challenge and step 2 is to remind yourself to stay motivated every day.

    I plan to take part in this challenge and I hope to see everyone at the finish line!

  • Jon Barkich

    I think the biggest reason people drop out of body transformation contest is that they are not living up to the goals and expectations they set. The main reason they do not live up to the goals and expectations they set is that they believe that rigid compliance to a strict exercise and nutrition regimen is necessary to succeed. Once there is a slight deviation from the plan, the plan falls apart and there is a sense that “it’s all over now – what’s the use of continuing?”. So they drop out….

    How do I stick with it??? Well, one memorable quotation that I refer to in these instances is “Set your goals in concrete, but set your plans in sand.” There will ALWAYS be something that prevents you from having rigid compliance to your plan. You have to accept that it will happen. You can even plan for it!!! Even 70 – 80% compliance to a great plan will give you good results – 90+% compliance will give you great results!! So if you had a great start and you are going out to a party at night, make a success plan that will keep you on track. If human nature kicks in and you go off track by having a beer or two or five, just write it off – start again the next day. Use the BFFM tools, keep a “streak” calendar to track your successes. When you get a success streak going, try to keep it going. On the other hand, if you’ve been on plan for 10 days straight and you are climbing the walls because you want to satisfy a craving, allow yourself to take a day off, then get back on it. JUST DON”T QUIT!!! As you get better and better at it, you won’t have those feelings as much. You won’t need that pizza or beer as much. Congratulations! You have become a successful BFFM body transformer!!

  • Ramon Bowman

    Speaking from experience, without any doubt in my mind, the answer is time. Not having any time for myself is killing me. I wake up at five in the morning, wake up all four children, make sure they get up and dressed. I then get dressed, get my coffee and get the children out to the bus stop and on to their bus. I rush to school, get on my bus and run my bus route. I then go to my class and teach or tutor students all day then end it buy driving my afternoon bus route. I drive home and I am met with four children saying Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, I need help with my home work. After that, I have to cook supper, kiss my wife as she heads off to work, (night shift). I make sure all the chores get done, the children get bathed, and put to bed. I then have homework to do until late or until I fall asleep. Then I wake up a five in the morning and do it all again. I so desperately miss my weightlifting! Working out was my first love in high school and has kepted me focused over the years. I became injured and was laid up for months. Now I am five foot ten inches tall and I weight 175 pounds. I hate the way I look. I don’t seem to have the energy I used to have and I dread being constantly tired. Every time I try to even attempt to workout, something comes up or someone needs me. Whenever I do get a moment to myself I treasure it and attempt to catch up on sleep especially when on some weeks I only average five hours of sleep a night. I seem to be trapped in a never ending horror story which seems to have no end. My soul cries out for just a taste of freedom from this prison of cellulite. I have reduced my food intake and I have stopped gaining weight, but I don’t seem to be loosing any weight at all. I need to make time for myself. But there always seem to be something of priority which requires my attention every time. Time, time seems to be my nemesis, like a child running away from me and no matter how fast I run, I can never seem to catch it or even catch up to it at all. Time, I never seem to have enough time in my day to do, not only the things I have to do, but to do the things I want to do. I know we go through storms in life, but this one doesn’t seem as if it is going to blow over any time soon. By the time I realize it, my day is over, my day is gone, and another day without any time for me. Not having any time for myself is killing me.

  • Joe M

    Tom you have to want to change. distractions temptations lead us astray

  • Carol MacDonald

    I have entered three body transformation contests–two with you, Tom, and one other one. I have completed all three, which i am proud of, especially reading your stats. The one i was in during the summer of 2010 i was very tempted to quit. I was not making any progress, in fact i was regressing, putting on weight. I stuck through the weigh ins however, because i felt that finishing the contest would be good for my self-esteem even though i wasnt having the results i had hoped for. I have found that no matter where i am i need to be honest about it–if anything is really ever to change, you cannot save your face and your ass at the same time. The reason i wasn’t having the results i had hoped for was i was not doing the work necessary. I was still using food as a coping mechanism for the stress in my life. I did not get this way overnight–it took maybe 17-20yrs of poor nutrition, no physical exercise, and i smoked and drank alcohol. So, for me, staying in a contest is in and of itself a major accomplishment. I think people quit because it is extremely hard to make these changes–they get discouraged and negative thinking takes over. For myself i constantly have to work against the voice in my head that says you’re too old, too fat, too whatever, and this is pointless. Another reason is no support, it is extremely difficult to make these changes and most times folks are doing them with no support from their families and friends who will actually sabotage and undermine their efforts–basically sending the message you will not belong here if you change for the positive–i know, i’ve been through that as well. Another reason is that they just don’t want it bad enough. They want the results but are not willing to do what it takes, so they quit. I think too that denial plays a huge part in this–just thinking it’s not so bad, telling themselves they don’t care. Finally, when i started this whole process 6 years ago now! I naively thought that i would complete one twelve week program and look ripped. Yes, i really thought that. It has been very difficult to look at myself and realize how deep of a change is needed. At times i feel like i am too slow, but i keep plugging along. For me this process is not just about losing weight or gaining muscle, but also developing a mindset to accept fitness, to accept good things–although i am not at my ultimate goal i have been successful and there is a certain responsibility that comes with that success–determining what clothes to wear, how i will present my new body–i must do the emotional work as well as the physical, it is not separate, it is all related, mind, body, spirit.

  • AJ