We live in an instant gratification society. If you have a job and good credit, you can pretty much own and do anything you want within 24 hours. Department store credit cards are handed out at an alarming rate, car loans are generated without a penny down, and furniture can be purchased on credit and delivered the same day. Spray tanning is relatively instant. Hair color can drastically change within a few hours at the salon. Fingernails, eyelashes, and hair length can all be extended within an hour or two. There really isn’t much that we, as a society, have to wait for or work towards. I think that is why many people find altering their physique so overwhelming, because we’re conditioned to have what we want right now, not 8 weeks or 6 months from now. I believe that is also why many people scoff when they ask me what the secret is and I say, “It is consistently eating clean, working hard, and patience.” Truthfully, I think most people don’t believe me. I think they are certain that I just have good genetics or I am unwilling to tell them my secret. Ironically, my genetics aren’t fantastic for this industry. I am too tall, naturally lanky, don’t build muscle easily, and hold a lot of cellulite in my thighs. But I do have a secret that I am willing to share; my secret is recognizing the power of delayed gratification. Let’s first think about instant gratification. Instant gratification is awesome…until the bill comes due. The bill might be an actual credit card bill or it might be the high cholesterol report from your doctor. The point is instant gratification is only rewarding for the immediate present or a very short period of time. Even a week in Cancun is instant gratification if you’ll pay for it with interest on your credit card for the next five years. A cupcake, one of my weaknesses, is delicious for no more than 3 minutes. However, the time on the treadmill it takes to combat the dietary damage is about an hour and a half and that doesn’t even take into consideration what eating the refined sugar does to your body long term. It is also important to understand that not only is instant gratification shallow and short-lived fulfillment, it is also human nature that if something comes easy for us we don’t value it as much. Thus, in this instant gratification world, we’re hungry for the benefits of delayed gratification; we just don’t know it. Delaying gratification is very difficult to do especially when we’re conditioned to do otherwise. However, when you train yourself to delay gratification, you’ll learn it pays out big-time. Every time I make the conscience decision to not eat the cupcake, not only am I improving my physique I am also making a deposit in my self-esteem account. I am essentially saying to myself, “I am strong. I have will power. I value my physique and my health over a 3 minute thrill.” Each time you delay gratification, you make these positive deposits in your self-esteem bank. Over time, not only is your physique looking smoking hot, but your sense of self is enhanced also. Just like it is human nature to apply less value to something that comes easy, we apply more value to something that comes hard. When you are working toward improving your physique, it is hard mentally and physically so both areas of your life improve. The reward of being both mentally and physically strong is so addicting that you’ll want more and you’ll continue to push harder, farther, and with more sacrifice. And each time you work harder, push beyond self-perceived limits, and make sacrifices, you’ll be rewarded with a strong, healthy sense of self; a much bigger payout than a hot, sexy body, but who’s kidding who? A hot, sexy body is a pretty cool payout too! Summer Taylor is a National level NPC Bikini competitor,fitness model and high school Biology, Anatomy and Physiology teacher. She is a Species 2011 calendar girl, a Team Bombshell Athlete and was featured in December’s issue of Ironman Magazine and NPC Magazine and Lonnie Teper has declared her a ‘rising star’ in Iron Magazine.