everything old is new again

It’s that time of the year. Historically, as best as I can recall, this post happens pre new year. This time it’s happening the first day of the new year. You know what’s coming, don’t you.

New

New years day

You have set yourself some goals, haven’t you. And this time the goals are gonna get done, right? I hope so since I’m sure the goals are important to you and they are something you would like to accomplish.

But how will this year be different than the previous years? I don’t know, only you know that. It’s why I’m not a huge fan of new year’s resolutions as it has become the norm that we fail at them. It’s almost habitual and it has become accepted. It’s the time of the year where fitness club owners draw in a huge amount of new members only to resign to the fact that most of them probably won’t be around 6 weeks from now.

But that’s about to change.

Why?

whatever helps

Why will it change? Because I’m going to help you change it, hopefully, let’s see. Let’s start with some pointers to help you achieve your goal(s):

      • Realistic: If the goal is not realistic it really isn’t going to happen because you have created an unattainable goal. I’m not saying it’s impossible but most people fail if their goal is not realistic. An unrealistic goal can easily get upset due to a negative influence. Let’s say your goal is to run a marathon but you haven’t been a regular runner and the marathon is 12 weeks away. To achieve this goal just on a physical training level requires running almost every day of the week. Ok, no problem, you can fit this in you tell yourself. But something happens; work, injury, unplanned travel, a life event such as losing a loved one, or you get sick, and so on. Things like these events can take you out of training for a week or longer. If a goal requires training over a 12 week period you really can’t afford to lose a week or more. You just can’t. Let’s look at this goal of running a marathon and change it to a 26 week goal. Still a lot of training but more manageable if life gets in the way.
      • Maintainable: Let’s look at a common goal people have this time of year; lose weight. What do they do? Usually, try the latest fad diet; paleo, keto, etc. ‘Diets’ are not maintainable. This is why most, the vast majority fail at them. You may be bored of me saying this but it’s as easy as changing to a whole foods plant based diet. I’m reading evidence of this all the time. And it’s maintainable for the most part. You can take pretty much any recipe and google it with adding vegan onto the end. Take out unnecessary fats, sugars, keep it whole foods as much as possible and that’s about it. Doctors have started switching their diabetic patients to this and the results are outstanding! Here’s an excerpt from the article:

…the plan is nutritionally balanced, doesn’t require patients to restrict calories and is reported to lead to normalization of blood glucose as well as an average 3kg weekly weight loss.

Did you catch that, the part that says doesn’t require patients to restrict calories? Isn’t that awesome? Eat until you are content and you lose weight. Isn’t that kind of what everyone wants? And definitely more maintainable for the vast majority of people. No calorie counting, no measuring protein/fats/carbs. Just whole foods plant based, back to basics.

      • Sub Goals: Is your goal a long term goal? Long term goals, goals that may take a few months to achieve are easy to lose sight of and can be hard to remain motivated for. If your goal is a long term goal try breaking it into more manageable sub-goals. If your goal is to increase your shoulder press by 30% in weight over 10 weeks than break this down into 3 week segments. Keep your vision on achieving your first goal at the end of 3 weeks, a 9% increase in weight. So if you are shoulder pressing using 20lb dumbbells, the end goal of increasing by 30% would mean an increase of 6lbs. then a 9% increase would be an increase of 1.8lbs approximately.  Do you get the idea? What is manageable to you might not be manageable to someone else, or they may want to break it down to smaller sub-goals. It’s up to you how you break it out into manageable pieces but the idea is to help to keep yourself motivated while you strive to reach the main goal.
      • Measurable: The goal must be measurable. Try not to set goals such as I want to be stronger, I want to lose weight, I want to be faster. All of those goals are arbitrary. Try instead goals such as I want to squat n lbs, I want to lose n lbs, I want to cut n minutes off of my marathon time. Specific goals will help you to plan what you need to plan to achieve them. Specific goals and the plan to go along with it will help you to keep at it, keep working away to achieve that goal.

That’s it

I hope this helps you to achieve any resolutions you might have to become the person you want to become. I’ll give you one more thing, reward yourself. We spend too much time beating ourselves up over the negative things we do. Don’t forget to celebrate those things that make you awesome, the things that you have done to be a better version of you.

Now go out there and kill it, just like you can.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

failing to plan is planning to fail

I’ve written posts on this topic in the sense of the individual things that can be done to keep on track to a goal be it your goal to lose weight, increase strength or flexibility, run a marathon, or any health related goal you may have. Keeping journals, measuring the food you eat, etc. Without a plan, how do you know if you will end up where you are trying your best to get to?

And it can be broken down into 2 parts, I think: the planning that is needed to get you there ready to rock, and the planning for the actual event itself.

Before

Don’t underestimate preperation

If it’s a sanctioned event such as a marathon, 10k run or something similar where these things happen all the time, all around the world than there should be a wealth of information available to help you plan to get ready for this event. Blogs, podcasts are plentiful for these events with lots of info on what you need to do to be successful and also information geared towards what can be done to complete the event in your desired duration.

If what your event is not a standard event such as above, try to find something similar. If you are participating in an event that is 5 hours long and thus classified as an endurance event than try to find something similar. You could probably equate this to a marathon, or maybe even  a triathlon. Use training information for these events to help with your planning.

The lead up

I recently wrote a post on this. Taking it easy for the week or two weeks before your event. Seems contradictory that you’ve worked so hard to get ready for your event that you would take it easy leading up to the event. How could that help you out? With hard training comes many demands on the body. Muscles breaking down, less time for the body to recover due to lack of rest/sleep, running an oxygen deficit.

EPOC. Do you know the word? I sometimes make the mistake of forgetting that something I understand doesn’t mean that others understand it. Let’s take EPOC as an example, Excess Post exercise Oxygen Consumption. In simple terms, when your exercise routine consists of high intense interval training you put your body in a state of oxygen deficit. Hard to believe when we breathe in oxygen all the time. If fact, this oxygen deficit can last up to 30 hours! This is 30 hours of time that you will not perform at your best. You will perform fine, but not at your best, and you want to be your best, you want kill this event and have that feeling that you killed it. Nothing like a big confidence booster knowing you did your best and your best is the best you’ve ever been.

So I guess my point is you need to take it easy that last week or two so you are in optimal condition to do this. This doesn’t mean you stop everything, it means working at a moderate pace so you are still moving and still active but the intensity is less, about 60% of what you are used to. Also since you will be burning less calories due to the lesser work load, you shouldn’t worry about running a calorie deficit. You might even see some gains in muscle size and strength because of this. And if you aren’t sure you are eating enough, consume more food as long as it’s not processed.

And don’t worry. Don’t worry about working less than you have been. You’ve put in the hard work the last number of months and now is the time to slow down and let the body recover so it’s 100% ready.

The day

The fire inside

Well, actually I’ll start on the day before. Try to do what you normally do. What I mean is don’t just sit around the house. Try to keep moving, eat well and if the opportunity is there, do what it is you are planning to do the next day. This keeps the body moving, lubricated, prevents injury due to lack of movement, keeps the mind busy and will also help you settle down that night and get a good night’s sleep. Consume whole foods that are plant based, drink plenty of water so you have your fuel tank full and are also fully hydrated. Pack up the gear you need for tomorrow instead of doing this in the morning. Double check that you have everything you need packed. And err on the side of caution. Better to have too many gels, electrolytes, and food then coming up short. Now is the time to make sure everything is ready to go, not in the morning where if you can’t find something this will bring on undue stress and is not a good way to start the day of your event.

When the morning comes, be sure to eat a quality breakfast. Steel cut oats with berries on top is a really good choice. The oats and berries will give you the carbs and the fiber will also slow down digestion and ensure you have the fuel you need. Try not to load up on protein as you need carbs to fuel you. Protein will come later, after the event to help rebuild the damage that has been done.

While you are waiting to leave for your event, as your breakfast digests, visualize yourself completing this event as you want to complete it. In your mind picture yourself being the best ever, no mistakes, perfection, poetry in motion. This might be the hardest thing to do for you. We all have doubts about ourselves and often times this is the voice we listen to in our head. We push out the voice that says you did well, the voice that says you are awesome and amplify the voice that says you could have done better, you sucked at that, you were awful and don’t deserve this.

Why is it ok to tell ourselves these things but not ok to say the same things to someone else? Why is it we are so good at disrespecting ourselves? Self criticism is OK if it’s constructive but it becomes damaging when it is not based on reality but instead is driven by other reasons, reasons which are usually emotionally based and thus not constructive. Trust me on this one, I know. I struggle with this all the time and I think I always will.

And when the time comes, and you are an hour, two, three into your event keep telling yourself this: You do deserve this, You can do this, You are incredible and You will do this. Mistakes will happen but don’t dwell on them. Forget them right away. The more you pay attention to them the more you will break down the positivity you have built. Set milestones for the event be it time based or event based. As you complete each milestone, remind yourself that you are doing this, you are in it for good!

I know, it’s all bullshit, right? Woo woo bullshit. But why is it we throw out the food that was left out too long and has mold on it. Why not eat it? Because it’s poison and will make us sick, possibly even kill us. Then why do we let ourselves consume poison food for our mind? Throw that poison in the garbage and eat the positive food. As I’ve said before, the mind will quit before the body will. Keep your mind as strong as it can be.

Yours in health,

Darryl