Many people think that if they work hard enough they will achieve their fitness goals. Whether their goal is body composition, performance, or general fitness, the common belief is that success is directly linked to how hard you work. This can be true but there is a important caveat - working hard is more than just going to the gym and busting your ass. The hardest work is changing day to day life habits. Changing these lifestyle habits give us the vitality we need in the gym. Change takes energy. A well hydrated, well rested, and well fueled body is ready for change. Is that you?
"Never rob health to pay fitness" - Gray Cook
But before we work hard at the gym or at changing our lifestyle there are two critically important steps. Your first and most important challenge is identifying your goal(s). Get clear about what you want and why you want it. Don't be afraid to dream big, but make sure it's a dream that has check points. You want to gain 50lbs of muscle? Great. First goal is gaining 5 lbs!
This brings us to step 2: making a strategic, realistic, and measurable plan of action. Be prepared to revisit and revise. If what you're doing ain't working, it might be time to switch things up. Understand your body has not read any medical studies or textbooks. Your mom was right: you are a unique snowflake unlike any other. The interval training program with which your co-worker had great success may NOT be compatible with your unique body. Your program is to be tailored to your life, your goals, your stresses, and your strengths.
Your program MUST include lifestyle changes. In a week, sixty minutes three times of intense commitment to fitness cannot outweigh 165 hours of treating your body like crap: sleeping poorly, making unhealthy eating choices, and poor hydration.
Once the above are identified execute the ENTIRE plan with vigor and PRIORITIZE lifestyle changes over exercise. So often I see clients rearranging their schedules to accommodate for their training schedules. Meetings re-scheduled and dinner plans delayed to make way for the gym. This is great, but often this same client will not attack the rest of their lifestyle with such vigor and commitment. For example, a client will make the sacrifice of getting up an hour early and forego sleep to make their training session. I commend their commitment, but it is a flawed approach. This is a commitment to fitness that violates their commitment to health. I don't want my clients to get up an hour early if they don't go to bed an hour early! We are making change. Change takes energy! How do you expect to make that change on a worn down body?
If you don't have the discipline to sleep early, you shouldn't be robbing yourself of your important recovery time for the sake of fitness. It doesn't work, and it isn't sustainable. Don't trade health for fitness!
We here at Perform for Life believe fitness is a by-product of health. The four P's of Perform for Life are perspective, purpose, passion, and process.
Perspective - It's important to have goals, but goals serve our larger mission of making fitness a lifestyle instead of an end-goal
Purpose - Be mindful of what your doing and why your doing it. When we are truly mindful of what we do, we can honestly answer the question: Is this serving me?
Passion - Creating a supportive environment for your journey.
- Process - Committing to process that prioritizes health and lifestyle changes above all. The process might start at the gym but for success it must extend into the rest of your life.
So I leave you with the following questions:
Do your lifestyle choices serve your short term goals?
Do your lifestyle choices serve your long term health?
Chances are you are reading this blog at home or at work. What is the easiest lifestyle change you could make right now that will help you become a more vital human being?
If you can't think of any I offer you three options:
- Drink a glass of water.
- Turn off the computer of phone and go spend time without electronics.
- Take a nap or it's past 9:00 pm, GO TO BED!