At least a few times a week the following scenario happens:
I find myself overthinking, overanalyzing, and stressing out about something, usually related to building my business. Each day I learn something new about how I tend to operate and how that is affecting or impeding my results.
But this post isn’t about me building my coaching practice. It’s about you.
You see I’ve noticed that I automatically take each lesson I learn and relate it to health and fitness. Once I make that connection, whatever I am struggling with starts to click and make sense.
Below are some lessons I’ve learned about what it really takes to get your body in it’s best shape and maintain it for life. It’s funny how these lessons can easily cross-over to most other areas of your life too!
1. Consistency always wins.
“Success is the sum of small efforts,
I love this lesson because it is so simple and completely doable for anyone. It just takes discipline and a commitment to yourself that you refuse to break.
One reason why so many of us have trouble staying consistent is because we suffer from shiny object syndrome and impatience. Our fast-paced society has conditioned us to expect quick results and when results are not coming fast enough we stop trying and move on to the next diet, cleanse, or workout fad.
Also, being consistent with a simple habit does not sound sexy at all. It’s much more fun and exciting to begin something new but jumping from one tactic to another will not get you the best results. I’m big-time guilty of doing this. Years ago I would find a great weight training program to follow and by week 3 or 4 I was bored and would jump onto something else entirely. Even though I stayed consistent with working out in general, I would have had much better and faster results if I had finished the entire program.
Being consistent with one small behavior change at a time is the best way to start. For example, let’s say you go to bed at 12 am and your goal is to be in bed by 10 pm. You’re more likely to create a lasting habit if you go to bed at 11:45 pm each night and stick with this new bed time for a while. Once you’ve mastered it, move your bedtime up in 15-minute increments over time until you reach your goal. Conversely, if you moved your bed time up to 10 pm right away it might work for a couple of days, but then you might stay up late a few nights because it was too big of a shift all at once. It will be a bumpier road because you tried to do too much too soon, and as a result, could not fully commit to keeping up your new habit long-term.
2. Trends matter most.
“What gets measured get changed.”
I’m not a big fan of daily weigh-ins, (link). It’s sort of like investing in the stock market. Some days you’ll be up and some days you’ll be down. If you allow your emotions to control how you react to daily fluctuations, then you’re making decisions with limited information.
You could sabotage yourself because you think, “It’s not working anyways, so I may as well eat another couple slices of pizza,” yet maybe it WAS working and you jumped to a false conclusion because you assessed yourself unfairly.
When I get stuck in a rut I start tracking everything I’m doing. I start logging my meals on MyFitnessPal, writing down my workouts and keeping notes on how certain foods and exercises make me feel. After a week or two, the information I learned was eye-opening. I started to see why I was not progressing and where I was slipping up so I knew what little habits I had to change.
3. Make Your Gym Time Non-Negotiable
A big part of why many people don’t work out, or workout sporadically, is because they haven’t decided yet that exercise is mandatory.
It isn’t something you do when you have the time or feel motivated. It’s got to be something you do because what it gives you back you cannot live without.
Make your exercise time your sacred time. It’s a time when you can put aside all the stress of the day and completely focus on you. Don’t think of yourself as a middle-aged housewife or overweight office assistant. Think of yourself as an athlete in training, working on developing your skills. You are becoming strong, physically and mentally. These skills will help you be better at everything else you do outside of the gym.
Tip: As I walk out the gym door I make a mental note to myself of how awesome I feel so that the feeling of accomplishment and confidence stays with me throughout the day!
4. Shift From Possible to Inevitable. I’ll See It When I Believe It!
This was recently a topic of discussion amongst the awesome mastermind group I belong to. Although we were talking about entrepreneurship, it easily applies to any goal you want to achieve – no matter how crazy it might seem. It could be losing 100 lbs, biking 50 miles, buying a new home, or living to 100.
Whether or not you do any of these things depends heavily upon your belief.
Going from believing it’s impossible to possible is a great first step. It cracks open the door a bit but it’s neutral. It’s not impossible but it’s not definitely going to happen either. When things get tough and you’re called upon to rely on faith you might start thinking “maybe it’s possible for others but not for me.”
When you start believing your goal is not only possible but inevitable, you operate in an entirely different way. You’ve taken away the option that it’s impossible. It is certain and that’s that. Your behaviors will align with this belief and the actions you take will propel you to even greater results.
5. Drop Perfection and Follow an 80/20 Lifestyle.
An “80/20 Lifestyle” involves balancing and committing to healthy eating, self-care, quality sleep, and daily exercise 80% of the time. Life happens and knowing you don’t have to be perfect 100% of the time alleviates the stress of perfection…“ being off track” is okay 20% of the time!
Following this principle, you eat healthy, minimally processed foods at least 80% of the time. Meals and snacks include whole fresh fruits, a rainbow of vegetables, lean proteins, and whole unprocessed grains. Drinking filtered or spring water throughout the day is recommended for optimal energy and health. With the remaining 20 % of your food selections, you have the freedom to choose your favorites foods (or drinks) that may not fall into this category.
It facilitates balance, variety, and moderation in the way you eat and deters you from becoming too rigid, too obsessed, or too restrictive.
You can go to a party and have something other than water. You can have a piece of birthday cake. You can have something special your craving. The key is to not go overboard on portion sizes with the 20%!
6. Stay in Your Own Lane. Drop the FOMO Already!
FOMO = Fear of missing out
I remember when I was a kid I never wanted to go to bed because I thought it would be more exciting to be downstairs with the grown-ups. My mom would say I “thought I was going to miss something.” Little did I know one day how much I would value my sleep time!
It still happens to us though as adults. We see others on social media who had great results from following a particular diet (link to Keto), or detox, or training program and think we need to give it a try, right now. We start that program and then read about another program in a magazine at the doctor’s office and now we’re onto that one. One week your Paleo and doing intense boot camps and the next week you’re eating carbs and doing yoga. You can’t get results if you keep jumping from one thing to the next. This point goes along with point number one above, about consistency.
You don’t need to know everything and you don’t need to try everything. You just need to find your method and way of doing things. Trust that your body will tell you when things are working, not an infomercial or someone on your Facebook feed promoting their method.
7. Victories Are Won in Small Moments.
Sometimes we forget to celebrate the small wins because we are so focused on the big goal. Remember to pause and reflect on how far you’ve come. I find that it usually takes someone else to remind me of how great I’m doing because I am looking ahead and not thinking about the most recent leg of the journey.
Walking up 5 flights of stairs without getting winded, get a salad for lunch instead of fast food, and trying a new fitness class that you were slightly intimidated by are all events that you need to recognize and celebrate.
8. Challenging Yourself With Heavy Weights is Essential to Staying Lean and Healthy.
Nothing has transformed my body quite like lifting heavy weights. I never really fell for the idea that women should only work out with 3 lb pink dumbbells or just do aerobic classes. I do remember a very brief period during my freshman year of college where I stopped weight training for a few months and only rode an exercise bike each day for an hour. Big mistake! I was constantly hungry and even when I lost weight I lost muscle tone and felt like crap!
Once I started lifting again I felt better. I had more energy and my clothes were fitter looser. I was able to eat more too because muscle is an active tissue and requires calories and nutrients to support its growth.
Realize that “heavy” is a relative term. It’s individual to you. Performing exercises where the load allows you to complete 8-12 repetitions has been shown to produce the best results in terms of muscle growth. Of course, the “load” can be weights, your own body, or resistance bands, to name a few.
9. Deloading is Good For the Body and Mind
Every 4-6 weeks I incorporate a deload week into my workout regimen. Each week up until that point I am striving to do one more rep or add a couple more pounds to each exercise. I used to do this indefinitely until I started suffering from too sore muscles all the time.
Taking a mini-break from the gym is what made all the difference. I’ve also had good results from cutting the volume and load by about 50% and having a “light week.”
This little reprieve is both mentally and physically rewarding. Usually, I come back from my deload week with higher energy, stronger, and more motivated.
10. Find a Mentor.
Many of you know a whole lot about nutrition and fitness. But knowing and doing are two separate ideas. It takes more than knowledge to get a healthy, fit and vibrant body. You have to change your lifestyle and in order to do
A coach who has gone through the same journey you’re on will know the lay of the land and give you the roadmap to get to where you want to be. A good coach will know where the pitfalls are and be able to prevent you from making mistakes and giving up.
By providing accountability, support
What lessons have you learned along your health and fitness journey? Share in the comments below!