This post has been inspired by a few things I have heard going around in the last couple of weeks and I felt compelled to put it into writing and (after a little while of keeping it private) share it with the public.
We have been measuring and getting (mixed) results all week, but one thing that has consistently come up that I’ve been talking about with clients is you need to find what works for you. That seems to be really important. For example, as far as fruit goes, you really cannot top a banana (maybe blueberries), but I can’t eat bananas because I get sick. But there are plenty of solutions (one, for me, is to cook all the fruit I can’t eat because then I don’t get sick, I have no idea what the cause is, but obviously something that gets cooked out, like how alcohol gets cooked out of wine) if you try to find them. It’s all about finding the key for you.
If you are not getting the results you want and are really at a loss to why, I think it’s a good exercise to do to sit down and lay out some home truths on a piece of paper. Dissect your life into areas, anything that could possibly affect your results (breakfast, lunch, tea, sleep pattern, bed time, exercise, stress, work, snacks, medication, health – physical and mental) and then sit down and cross off things that you know you’re doing a good job with. But, before you cross it off the list, be sure you know you’re doing it right. Don’t cross off exercise if you know most of the time you coast at 60% or just enough to get a sweat up and look like you tried. Don’t cross off diet if you consistently eat from packets without knowing what’s in them. Don’t cross off sleep if you don’t know how well you are really sleeping once you get to sleep.
See what is left on your list and try and take care of one thing at a time. Speak to your trainer, your doctor…a nutritionist. Find the key to getting, or improving, your results. Everyone has a key, you just have to find it and sometimes a fresh (expert) set of eyes can help you discern the forest from the trees. One of the most important things though is that you have to enjoy what you’re doing. If you hate the food you eat and the exercise you do, it’s not going to work long term, I don’t believe. If you are in a rut like that, it might be time to shift your focus for awhile. Forget the scales and the results and just do things that are good for you for no other reward than feeling good doing them. If you focus on the end, you tend to miss the journey and get stressed out.
I’ve said this to a couple clients, but it is kind of like love. I know this is true in my experience. I went through a period a number of years back where I hated being single, hated it! I was doing anything I could to find someone and get into a relationship. I was working out, I was trying new things, I was being charming and funny and all the other things that are supposed to make you attractive and no one was picking up my option. The reason, I came to understand much later, was because I reeked of desperation. People could sense a mile off that I craved a relationship, I had nothing else going on. It wasn’t very attractive. I got tired of the rejection and decided that I would just work out to become in better shape and I’d change careers and try and do something I was really interested in. It was both a subtle and momentous change and let’s just say up to and including the period where I went around the world (this was the ultimate “time to focus on me” splash) I became a lot more popular.
The reason I told that story is because at the start, all I cared about was the results of what I was doing. I only wanted to be at the gym to get buff to meet girls and it didn’t happen. When I started going to the gym for the sake of looking after my body, focusing on the satisfaction that I got from working hard, being passionate about figuring out the most effective workouts and getting good results from them….I started meeting girls without effort. Suddenly at my room mates parties, instead of trying to strike up conversation with every female with a pulse and sharing the same awkward 2-3 minutes of conversation throughout the evening, I hung back and made conversation with the guy who wanted to know what Zap I went to…and this was his friend Penelope, and Penelope wanted me to meet her bestie Zoe who is totally single right now.
So, if you’re getting good results, that’s awesome, well done, you deserve it. If you’re not happy with where you are or the progress you’re making, you need to arm yourself with information as to why. Not a generic “eat better” or “maybe you’re stressed” but sit down and really hone into what is holding you back. You might need the help of an expert (trainer, doctor, nutritionist, sleep therapist etc) to help you figure this out. Once you know, stop focusing on the end (there is no end) and try to get to a place where you can enjoy what you do. If you cannot achieve that, the results you have a burning focus on will likely get further from your grasp rather than closer. Put your head down and your bum up and focus on what is in front of you, drawing satisfaction from the things you can control and if you do that long enough, when you come up to take a breath, you might just find those results have fallen right in your lap without you even noticing.
Yours in training,