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In 1976, John Grinder, a linguistics professor, and Richard Bandler, a mathematician, developed a new field called Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). Initially designed as a tool for psychotherapy, NLP blossomed into a much broader science focused on communication and personal excellence. NLP teaches you a process for discovering patterns of human excellence and then duplicating those results through a procedure called modeling. NLP also teaches you how to "run your brain" and think effectively so you can achieve any result you want. It teaches you how to communicate with yourself. Perhaps most important, NLP teaches you how to use feedback to unfailingly guide you to your goals.

Based on the principles of NLP, I have developed a seven-step fat loss formula that is 100% guaranteed to help you reach the goals you've set. The system cannot fail - you can only fail to use the system. Think of this system as your own personal "guidance system." Here are the seven steps:

1) Know your outcome. Decide exactly where you want to go

By now you should have already established your goals and put them in writing. If you didn't write down your goals on paper yet, then stop reading right now and go back and do the goal setting exercises. Nothing else you read in this book can possibly help you unless you have clearly specified your target. You might try a technique here and a principle there, but ultimately you'll end up floundering because you won't have the direction, purpose or motivation that comes from having written goals. If you don't know where you're going, that's exactly where you'll end up - nowhere!

2) Establish your starting point

It's not enough to know where you want to go; you also need to know exactly where you are now so you can chart the proper course to your destination. Once you've committed your goals to writing, you need to establish your starting point with objective measurements. The most important measurements are your body fat percentage and lean body mass. Your body fat percentage, total body weight, fat weight and lean body mass should all be recorded in the first row of your progress chart (see appendix). It's also helpful to record your skinfold measurements on your chart for accuracy.

3) Formulate a plan of action

The most efficient and effective way to choose a plan of action is to copy (or "model"), those who have already achieved what you want to achieve. Modeling suggests that instead of re-inventing the wheel, you "plug into" a proven formula that already exists. You tap into the collective knowledge and experience of those who have gone before you. You find someone who has achieved what you want to achieve, do what they did, and you'll get the same result. Trial and error can be a long and painstaking process and life is just too short to do it the long way: Learn from the experts by modeling.

If you want to lose body fat permanently, does it make sense to model the 95% of the population who lose weight and gain it back? Of course not! Yet that is exactly what most people do. Following the herd mentality, they do what everyone else does, only to end up one of the 95% who fail in the long run. Someone once said that if you follow the herd, you're going to step in a lot of manure. Don't do that. Instead, model those who have mastered the art and science of permanently losing fat while maintaining muscle. No one fits this description better than natural bodybuilders and fitness competitors.

NLP doesn't claim that modeling will allow anyone to become a Mr. Olympia or a Miss Fitness America. This would be implying that every person has the same genetic potential. What modeling will do for you is to allow you to reach the upper limits of your own genetic capabilities in the shortest period of time using a system that has already been proven to work. It allows you to become the best YOU can be. It also allows you to become your best as quickly as possible by bypassing most of the trial and error.

You are a unique creation. Because no other human being has the exact body type or physiology that you do, you will always have to go through a certain degree of experimentation, no matter how time-tested your plan is. However, all people who successfully lose body fat have certain things in common. The fundamental principles apply to everyone; there are laws of fat loss just as there are laws of gravity and electricity. People who get lean and stay lean have mastered these laws and fundamentals. You can learn these laws yourself and duplicate them.

A master chef produces award-winning dishes over and over again by using the same recipe. A recipe is a proven mixture of ingredients, that when combined in the right sequence and amounts, produces the same delicious dish - every time.

This program is your "recipe" for sure-fire fat loss. The techniques you're reading about will provide you with a guaranteed plan that has already been tested and proven to work by the leanest athletes in the world. If you use the same "recipe," it will work for you too - every time.

4) Act on your plan consistently

You can have the best goals and the best plan in the world and if you don't act on it, you won't achieve a thing. A goal without action is worthless. Faith without action is dead. An affirmation without action is delusion. The bottom line is that you have to put the book down, get off your butt and get in the gym! Work at it! Deserve it! Earn it! Sweat blood! Nothing worth having ever comes without effort - don't ever forget that! It takes hard work and consistent action every single day. You have to do something every day to move you closer to your goal.

5) Develop the "sensory acuity" to know if what you are doing is working or not. If it's working, keep doing it (no matter what anyone else tells you!)

After you've put your plan into action, you need to work on developing the "sensory acuity" to know if your plan is working. "Sensory Acuity" is an NLP term used to describe your ability to see, feel and notice even the smallest changes in your body. In a nutshell it means, "pay attention." As long as you are paying attention, it's ok to make mistakes. In his book Watermelon Magic, Wally "Famous" Amos wrote:

"Mistakes are natural. Mistakes are how we learn. When we stop making mistakes, we stop learning and growing. But repeating the same mistake over and over is not continuous learning - it's not paying attention."

The only person who makes no mistakes is the person who plays it safe and never tries anything. Don't be afraid of mistakes, as long as you don't make the same one twice. Some people have been making the same nutrition and training mistakes for 10 years and they still wonder why they aren't getting any results. You've got to be smarter than that. If you're not paying attention, you may continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over again, and as Emerson once said, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."

Suppose someone asks you, "Is your program working?" If your reply is, "I don't know," then you're not paying attention and you need to focus on developing better sensory acuity. Your program is either working or it's not working, there's no middle ground. Ask any physicist: Nothing in the universe stays the way it is. Everything is growing or dying; creating or disintegrating. You're either moving forward or backward. You must chart your progress towards your goal in writing and pay attention to the direction you're heading - and if it's the wrong direction, change quickly!

Elite bodybuilders and fitness competitors have developed incredible sensitivity to the way they look and feel. They have the uncanny ability to notice even the tiniest difference in their bodies when they change their nutrition or training programs. Then they can decide whether this change was effective or not. Without this kind of sensitivity to your results, your program could be working and you might not even notice. Or even worse, it might not be working - and you don't notice!

High levels of sensory acuity aren't developed overnight. It is a science and an art that takes a little time and some trial and error to develop, but anyone can master it. You simply have to know what to look for and then pay attention. Ultimately, you need to learn how your own body responds and then be able to make your own adjustments. You must become your own expert. Coaches and trainers are helpful tools, but no one knows your body like you do. Once you've locked onto a winning strategy and you're getting the results you want, don't change a thing! Have the strength to stay your course, no matter what anyone tells you.

6) If it's not working, try something else.

The instant you realize you aren't making progress, you must immediately adjust your approach. Don't get discouraged and don't quit! If you didn't get the result you wanted, remember - you didn't fail; you succeeded at producing a result. You have only failed if you quit. You must develop unflagging persistence.

Use the feedback you receive as a lesson. Find ways to learn from it. Mistakes are ok if you are noticing them and learning from them. Once you see that what you're doing isn't working and you recognize it as nothing more than feedback, then try something different. Later in this chapter, and elsewhere in this manual, you'll learn about the many options you have for changing your strategy when things aren't working the way you planned.

7) Be flexible in your approach and be persistent

Be open minded and flexible. Be willing to adjust your approach as many times as necessary until you reach your goal. Be willing to try as many different things as necessary for as long as it takes. Do not do what it takes for your training partner, or your neighbor, or your spouse or anyone else. Do what it takes for YOU.

Motivation guru Anthony Robbins once told the story of a man at a seminar who was extremely frustrated with his lack of results in his business. The befuddled businessman said he had tried "everything" but nothing worked. Here is the exchange that went on between the two of them:

Robbins: "You've tried EVERYTHING???"

Attendee: "Yes, I've tried absolutely everything!"

Robbins: "Tell me the last HUNDRED things you tried,"

Attendee: " I haven't tried a hundred things."

Robbins: "OK, then just tell me the last FIFTY things you tried."

Attendee: "I haven't tried fifty things."

Robbins: "Alright then tell me the last DOZEN things you tried." Attendee: (getting somewhat embarrassed) "Well, I haven't tried a dozen things." Robbins: "I thought you said you tried EVERYTHING! So tell me then, how many things HAVE you tried?

Attendee: (shrinking back into his seat, embarrassed), "Two or three."

Now ask yourself - and be honest - have you quit prematurely? How long have you been working at losing body fat? How persistent have you been? How many different training and nutrition strategies have you tried?

If your initial plan doesn't give you the results you want, the number of exercise and nutritional strategies you can experiment with is virtually unlimited. Don't be too dogmatic or rigid in your approach. Be flexible. It's necessary to have an action plan, but don't get married to your plan. The more options you have at your disposal, the greater your chances will be for success. Leave yourself room to improvise.

In developing the martial art of Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee worked hard to quantify and formulate a philosophy for self-defense and personal growth. His formula was: 1) Research your own experience, 2) Absorb what is useful, 3) Reject what is useless, and 4) Add what is specifically your own.

"Formulas can only inhibit freedom," said Lee, "They are externally dictated prescriptions that only squelch creativity and assure mediocrity. Learning is definitely not mere imitation, nor is it the ability to accumulate and regurgitate fixed knowledge. Learning is a constant process of discovery - a process without end."

Beware of "gurus" who declare, "It's my way or the highway." There is no single best way. By studying, reading and modeling others, you can quickly master all the universal principles and laws that regulate body composition. Once you've absorbed these fundamental laws, then through persistence, action, dedication and sensory acuity, you can go on to evolve your own "personal formula." Your personal formula is based on your unique body type and the way you respond to various combinations of nutrition and training. By transcending all rigid styles and systems, you'll no longer be bound by a particular "way" of doing things and thereby gain the freedom to reach your highest potential.

Successful people all have certain things in common. "Success leaves clues," said Tony Robbins. Model successful people, but instead of limiting yourself to a single way, model from many successful people. Take a little from here, a little from there, keep what works, and throw away the rest. Jim Rohn summed up this process well when he said, "Be a student, not a follower."

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