So I don't post around here much any more due to time constraints with my careers and clients, but I made a comment about psychological factors in lifting and eating being as important or even more important than the biological ones in Brickhead's contest prep thread, and jasper asked me to write some thoughts in a new thread. So, here it is:
In general I find it comes down to adherance...if you like your job you're more likely to work hard at it; if you're not a meathead like us and you like hiking you're more likely to be constantly active where there's good hiking available than places there are none; if you like surfing you'll be way more active living in San Diego than Kansas; if you like tasteful food and you like cooking you'll be much more likely to stick to your diet when you find good recipe ideas vs. if you're like me and you just eat because it's time to eat and you don't care about awesome recipes, etc.
In other words, even if the plan isn't the "ideal" plan normal people see more results with things they like because they're more likely to do them. If weights are 100% effective at body transformation but you hate them, and hiking is say 40% effective....well if you go hiking 4 days out of every week after work but you would only bother to get off your duff once a week to go to lift then you're going to see much more results with an objectively "less effective" method of fat loss or body transformation because you stick with it. It's the whole "a decent plan executed immediately and with violence beats a perfect plan executed next week" thing (Thanks General Patton).
In that sense lifting has the same kind of "flavor" to it. Let's leave age and injury and biology out of it-- maybe you hate doing the same lifts over and over and high frequency stuff bores the piss out of you. You won't stick to a high frequency program then, and thus won't reap results even if it is the most effective way to reach your strength goals. On the other hand you could bomb your legs once a week with a Tom Platz style annihilation and see great results because a) it gives you more time between leg days to do other variety of things and b) there's more variety in the leg day itself, only limited by your imagination and pain tolerance. So it vibes with your psychology--you like variety, you get variety, you work hard and grow.
Just like figuring out whether you learn better visually, orally, writing things down, or by hands on.
A plan or a diet is only as good as the amount of time you spend following it. Sure, you can say "but the metabolic factors in resistance training mean it's way better for fat loss than jogging". And I'd agree. Assuming you can make someone do it, lifting is much better for fat loss than jogging (not to mention your knees). But if you're not going to lift at all, and you enjoy a good 3 or 4 mile run well...you aren't going to stay in the gym are you? This is one of the lessons I was able to learn in my personal training very quickly--fortunately I learned it mostly through other people's mistakes rather than my own!