On Sunday night past I posted a quick gee-up to our Facebook group aimed at getting all my athletes to ‘pull their fingers out’ and start the week with intent. Too many people go through life doing things when [only] they feel like it and wonder why their results are limited.
Let’s be honest: We all want to have better bodies and clearer minds but so often we find ourselves (in the business of life of course) not doing the things we should be doing in order to get what we actually want – It’s crazy but it’s true.
As it turns out, all you need is a little bit of momentum and that starts when you make a decision and stick to it. That’s what we call INTENT. Everything starts with a decision but so many people don’t realise that if they’re not the ones making the decision – there are industries built on making them for you…
I decided to expand on what I’d written on Sunday night (eat right, sleep right and train right) and share with you what’s been working for me other the past few months – ok, so over the past few years then…
Everyone knows that you can’t out train a bad diet. So start this week by preparing yourself some wholesome and nutritious meals that combine quality sources of carbohydrate (eg. sweet potato and leafy green veggies) with protein (red and white meats + fish) and healthy fat (eg. avocado/olive oil/nuts, etc.) for the next couple of days.
Cut back on the amount of sugar in your diet and if you haven’t already, go and hire/buy “that Sugar Film” It’s a real eye opener to the actual amount of sugar contained in today’s perceived “healthy” food choices.
Track your food.
Write down everything you eat for a week. It’s hard to make changes and tweaks to your food intake if you don’t have a clear picture of what you’re putting into your body. Keeping a food diary for a week (or two) is a great way to take ownership of your nutritional choices as well as become more mindful of what you do eat on a daily basis.
I’ve been keeping one for the last 2 weeks and you’d be surprised how empowering it’s been. After less than a fortnight of keeping a food journal, my body fat percentage has dropped and I’ve had greater mental clarity. I’m not saying that I haven’t had a beer (or 3) every once and a while but knowing (with certainty) that I’ve been fuelling my body and mind for performance – well the proof is in the pudding…
To get the most out of your training it is absolutely essential that you get enough sleep – every. single. night. Unless you’ve recently had a baby you actually do have control of the time you get to bed. All you have to do is make the decision to go to bed at a specific time and stick to it.
Get a nighttime shut down routine.
Let’s just say you’d like to get 8 hrs of sleep a night and you’ve committed yourself to training at tomorrow’s 5:30am session. If you’ve got to get up at 5am, get dressed and get to the session then you’re really going to want to be lights out and in bed by about 9pm. If that’s the case then your nighttime shut down routine should commence at least 1 hour before you’re supposed to be in bed – eg. 8pm
A shutdown routine should include the switching off all electronic devices like tv, tablets and smartphones at least an hour before bed time to avoid brain stimulating blue light.
While I never really got into the whole calming herbal tea thing I don’t mind a bit of relaxation yoga to stretch out and really wind down for the night. My yoga sessions take between 15 minutes to half an hour or so but if I’m really pushed for time I might skip the yoga and do a quick 10 min meditation where all I try to do is focus on my breath.
Every time I’ve managed to hit a session before bed (yoga or meditation) I find that I’ve fallen asleep much quicker then when I don’t. Try it out – you won’t regret it.
Newbies always ask me “how often should I train and/or how heavy should I lift?” and the answer always depends. It depends on your goals. It depends on your current life situation. If you’re new to training then I’m a big believer of jumping in to as many sessions as your body can handle. If you haven’t got much of a training background then the initial 2 weeks can sometimes feel like a bit of a beat down – eg. you wake up feeling tired and sore but the best way to combat soreness is to move.
Consistency is the key
Make a decision to show up to training – every. single. day. Just make the ‘showing up’ part a total non-negotiable. Decide at the start of the week (Sunday morning) on which days you’ll train (make a decision) and then stick to your decision. Just. Show. Up.
Adjust your output to suit your current situation
While we program workouts with prescribed loads and percentages you still have to be smart and actually listen to your body.
Just say we’ve programmed 5×3 back squat @ 75-80% and while hitting your warmup sets you notice that you’re ‘just not feeling it…’ eg. each rep feels like a 1RM (and on a bad day) and you’ve already pictured yourself crawling out from underneath the spotting arms -> Yeah, you might try and battle through or you could be smart and dial the load back to suit where you’re at. That’s smart training. In the great words of Kenny Rogers…
“ You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run ”
~ The Gambler
On the other hand – If you’re feeling great -> Go for it!
Recovery – Take it seriously.
Mick Roach popped into the box yesterday for a coffee and was interesting to hear him speak about some of the injuries that he’d experienced earlier in the year. Mick used to coach and train out of CrossFit 2600 and with an extremely heavy training schedule Mick made recovery a top priority by scheduling weekly physio and massage appointments with the team at MoveHappy. After the move to his new box he continued to train hard but spent much less time on recovery (perhaps due to a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind) and subsequently injured himself only a couple of weeks into the open.
If you do have a big training load and/or you’d like continued progress in your fitness journey than you’ve really got to take your recovery seriously. Get massages, do mobility work, address little niggles before they become full blown injuries. Hey, here’s a crazy idea… how about a day off every once and a while?!
That’s about all I’ve got for you today but it’s definitely been on my mind for the last couple of months. If you guys can get this than I guarantee that things will start happening for you. If you have any questions and/or comments leave one below or speak to me next time you’re in the box…