I have been successfully “doing fitness” for a few years now and it’s fair to say I have learned a hell of a lot on my journey. I have learned about my strengths, weaknesses, abilities and sometimes my total lack of ability. But quite possibly the hardest lesson I have learned is that every single progression and regression is temporary. This means that those gains or #goals are more than likely going to be transitory in nature. They can slip through your fingers faster than they were gained in the first place. What goes up, must come down and this is the oscillation of “success” and “failure” on which the entire fitness industry is based. Many of you reading this will know that even the best-laid habits can slip, and the routines that were once well-planned and well-executed can become dull or no longer in line with your current lifestyle.
Take a break
Admittedly for me, there was a moment where the #FitFam lifestyle stopped being fun. It slipped into some negative behaviours and fuelled an anxious mind. It became a stick with which I beat myself, so even though I was putting in the hours and the gruel, I wasn’t seeing the results because I was so fucking stressed out with trying to get the work right. For me, the lifestyle became counter-productive and I began to feel that balance was so much more than just a hashtag, bae. So, I took a badly-needed step back from it all to turn down the dials a bit, and I don’t mind saying it now; I have oscillated. I have enjoyed. I have chocolated whenever there was chocolate to chocolate on. There have been reckless moments of rampant cider consumption; my forehead burning in the afternoon sun. I have fallen out with MyFitnessPal; an app that could recently be more appropriately called MyFitnessLong-lost-acquaintance. And here missus…don’t get me wrong…I’ve enjoyed the absolute shit out of every bite, crumb, crisp, chip, bar, beer, and fermented grape juice. I have laughed. I have reset the dials and now I can firmly say I am ready to get my ass back in the game.
All great breaks come to an end
With a sparkly new job on the horizon and new adventures in my life, I want to make sure my current habits are kicked firmly to the curb. It’s time for me to snip back some of the recently-rounded edges and get my shit together. For reasons of accountability, I have felt inspired to share some of my reset tactics here (obvs…) and over on my Instagymwhore account where I will be updating some details on my day-to-day approach. But before I get into that…If you are new here the blog is called “unqualified to comment“, so please…I am not a professional in any way, shape or form. I am merely a reformed 20-something year old looking to compete with all the social media hooches and embrace my own inner social media hooch. What I am going to say here is not gospel preached by a pro. It’s probably not even new news. It’s not going to be the first time it’s ever been written, but it is my approach to kicking my own ass back into gear and some of it may work for you too.
So if you are interested, here are my tactics for getting my ass back in gear, and some of them may just work for you too…
Was there a time that worked well for you? Maybe a food diary from when things were good for you? What habits served you well in the past? If you are someone who has kept a food diary or regular check in’s or routines, why not take some time to sift through and examine what was going on at a time in your life that may be closer to the “you” you would like to see now. If it worked before you can learn from it and adapt it to suit you today.
Set some actual goals, lads.
“I just want to feel better, generally” is not a goal, it is a result…and a pretty damned subjective one at that. A goal is not something that you can debate or rationalise your way around. It will be a big, black and white target with a bullseye in the middle, and you want to be damn sure of it when you get there so you can actually celebrate your success. Take the time and set some targets or mini goals to give yourself something to work towards. Be reasonable with yourself…you won’t lose fat, gain muscle and run a marathon at the same time. Pick a goal, be specific and werk.
Make a plan!
You wouldn’t go shopping without a list. You wouldn’t do an exam without study (…well…) So why would you join a gym without a plan and expect the end results to be different? Even the most seasoned of gym bunnies get caught up thinking “ok, I’ll hit the gym 5 times a week and I’ll be winning”. Without a plan or structure you can’t possibly monitor progress. 5 times a week is great, no doubt, but what are you doing? And more importantly, why? If your goal is to build muscle but you are in the gym 5 days a week doing spinning classes it’s not going to take long for you to give up. Simply put you don’t have a plan to match your goals.
For my own mini-cut I am dedicating 6 weeks to the process with some decent daily calories (the same for rest & active days). I’m focussing on getting my energy and nutrition from a diet filled with colour and variety so I never feel like I’m missing out. I have learned that a commitment of 4 days a week training is a nice level for me, and my N.E.A.T. is high on my rest days. I have considered sharing my workout split here so you can see what I do on each of the four days, but I don’t think that it’s the right thing to do. My w/o split is defined by what my body responds well to and what I enjoy doing, and you should invest in taking the time to devise a plan that works for you and meets your goals. Someone else’s programme is never going to be perfect for you, so do a little thinking and build a plan that works for you.
Here’s a 6 week template!
When I had the amazing good fortune to be a client of one of Ireland’s top coaches, Larry Doyle, he provided me with a simple but effective reporting tool, which over time I have adapted to suit. I will be blowing the dust off this and putting it back to good use for the next 6 weeks. Even though you won’t get my workout split here, I am still a sounder and I love an oul spreadsheet so I am happy to share my 6-week tracker. Click here to access the sheet. Copy the cells and save it to your own Google drive and edit / amend to suit your own needs. Each evening I fill this in, and at the end of each week I check my averages and hopefully the progress will speak for itself. It keeps me honest and most importantly it keeps me on track or allows me to be realistic if I have gone off track a little.
Give it 3 weeks…at least…
You will always feel those changes immediately… “like…I worked out this morning and I STILL haven’t lost weight?!” Your body is going to take a little longer to catch up with your mindset so don’t be surprised if it takes a couple of weeks to start to notice changes. Be patient with yourself and give the process a chance, committing yourself to 3 weeks at least before you throw your toys out of the pram.
There will always be an excuse, stop derailing your own progress by being a self-indulgent snowflake
There is always something to celebrate. You will always deserve that third biscuit. Your day will always be hard, so you will always have earned that glass or two of wine. You are awesome and no one debates the fact that you deserve all the treats in the world. But you also need to flex your restraint muscle and find other ways of rewarding your awesomness. I will literally talk myself into all the reasons why I absofuckinglutely deserve that piece of cake; “sure, it’s a Tuesday isn’t it?”. But when you renew your commitment to your goals you have to be prepared to say no to some of the indulgences. I always find, when I switch my mindset and say “no” to the little things; that’s when I see the big results.
When it comes to the body and physical improvements, we often forget about monitoring the most important piece; which is your very own StunHun body oddy oddy. Take weekly photos using the same lighting and camera position and allow these to be your guide to your progress. If you spend all your time looking at the scales you can miss the all-important changes that are taking place just above your bones. Strike a pose. Get into your skanties. Vogue.
Everyone slips up…
When life gets in the way (and it will…), just pick things back up immediately and get back on track. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day in the gym. Get on with it and make the most of the days you have left in the week. If you blow your calories, don’t try to regulate with shitty poverty cals for days. Just get right back on track and take the hit. Really, you should have that plan to support your goals, so if you are going wildly off-course every week then maybe you need to re-examine things but overall, a little flexibility now and then is not going to kill you.
So, it’s not really rocket science, is it? Get practical. Get a plan. Get tracking. And when you celebrate your successes, don’t celebrate so hard that you de-rail the whole show!