It doesn’t matter what your goal may be; lose weight, build muscle, feel better, look better, live happier. There are 5 fundamental principles that, if applied correctly and consistently, will help you reach your goal, whatever that may be.
Top of the list and the most important component that must be right for you and your aspiration. It doesn’t matter what your genetic predisposition is, how much time you have or whatever else you think ails you, exercise is achievable regardless.
You don’t have to train 7 days a week but you do have to train HARD when you do train.
Training smarter is more important that training volume. Understanding that a busy person may only have time to train for 30 minutes, 3 times instead of the prescribed and assumed 6 days a week will mean adherence is almost guaranteed and results WILL COME.
I know that when I fill my training week with 5-6 session of 90 minutes each and aim then to commit too it as I had wanted, my motivation dips. I stop training, I get fed up, defeated, eat crap and wallow because I failed. That’s not smart training. Be intelligent by train consistently and training hard.
Recovery & Nervous System
You have two systems in your nervous system, both autonomous called Sympathetic and Parasympathetic. Without going into too much detail its your fight/flight and your rest and digest.
If you’re highly stressed, you’re going to be in a sympathetically dominated state and this IS NOT conducive to any goal, be it weight loss or muscle building. Its important to note that these stressors are not just the physical its environmental as well; money, family, relationships, work etc can all add up to a toxic cocktail that puts your body into a prolonged sympathetic state.
When you train, we want you sympathetically ‘switched on’ as exercise and training represent a positive stress on the body but when its done, we want you moving into parasympathetic (rest/digest). If we can get you into parasympathetic, we can start the recovery process and will allow you to adapt positively to your training.
A great way to do this is to add in some meditation every day, deep belly breathing at the end of your training, sunlight every day, socialising regularly, sleep quality and even food quality. Understanding where you sit (anxious, competitive, stressed, or being calm, relaxed, laid back) will dictate how your training and diet will look to maximise your very best potential.
For example, if you work 12 hours a day with high stress and limited sleep, hitting a CrossFit class may not be the best thing to do and will most likely be counterproductive to your goals. If in doubt, consult a coach and/or trainer.
If you aren’t mastering this then you can kiss goodbye to any physical progress and you certainly will be putting yourself at risk of any mood related conditions such as depression or anxiety. By now you know just how important we at SPC consider sleep to be in terms of overall health and it should go without saying that the cornerstone of recovery is sleep.
Limit light blue light, processed foods, stimulants, distractions and stressful situations less than 2 hours before bed. Increase your exposure to sunlight, meditate, drink herbal teas, eat quality carbohydrates with dinner, set the temperature if your room to your preference and don’t take any activities into the bedroom that shouldn’t be there, (work, TV, Phones etc.) yur bedroom should be your sanctum sanctorum.
You are not what you eat, you are what you absorb. If you are eating crap all day long, then not only will you be struggling to absorb nutrients due to damage inflicted in your intestine but you are also going to be in a highly stressed state and probably be gearing yourself up to start associating food with emotion.
The IIFYM or calorie counting zealots should spend more time considering advertising food quality rather than just food quantity.
The time you eat also matters so if you eat lunch sat at your desk, pissed off with work or you eat so fast you forget to breath, chances are you will be in a sympathetic state because you are stressed! You’ll be inflamed and you will have a negative response to the food you eat regardless of what it is.
Gut health, digestion, mindful eating, consistent eating times and reducing toxic burdens (plastics, chemicals, rubbish food that fits your calories) are extremely important.
When we put SPC clients on a consistent healthy diet with quality ingredients, they start with an elimination diet that resets their digestion. We then move them onto a more inclusive but healthy plans that start to improve their sleep, skin, focus, mood and body composition. They come to a point where they now no longer crave the rubbish food they used to indulge on a daily basis, and they begin to understand that ‘this’ is how they should feel on a regular basis.
If you balance your nutrition with your goal, nervous system state, digestion and environment then supplements won’t be necessary and your progress will come.
Be the person you want to be. Don’t chase perfection, chase tenacity. Things will invariably go wrong. You’ll cheat on your diet, you’ll skip a gym session and you’ll have that cigarette after 3 months clean.
It important however that you acknowledge these next most valuable 4 words. IT DOES NOT MATTER.
What matters is how you respond. In these instances, a perfectionist’s mentality will be tested and often found wanting. A cheat meal becomes a cheat day and before you know it you are back to eating shit on a consistent basis. In challenging moments approach them stoically; understand that you are fallible, you’ll make mistakes, you’re human and its ok.
The only thing completely within our control is our thoughts. These inform our actions. So when you cheat on your diet 6 weeks into a plan, be proud of what you have achieved in that 6 weeks and set the challenge of 7 weeks, then 8 weeks.
Aim to do your best, count your successes as they occur and strive continuously to not commit faults and in having an unrelenting attention to that quest, you may avoid committing a few.
Combine that with a warrior/winner/this isn’t going to be my life mentality and you’ll realise quite quickly that the goal isn’t the goal, the journey is what matters. Don’t take the easy option. Its easy to eat crap, It’s easy to have one more glass, its easy to follow pursuits that lead you down the wrong path. Easy is not always right. Don’t ruminate over past mistakes. Guilt is attached to the past, accept things and move on. It’s ok to say it’s fine and you’ll try to do better next time.
What matters when all said and done, is that you did the best you could with your body and your mind with the time that is given to you. Have the strength to change what you can control, be content to live with what you can’t control and wisdom to understand the difference between the two.