Almost everyone I know is plagued by at least a few "bad habits". Bad habits usually turn out to be impulsive choices and destructive decisions. Maybe you like to snack on junk food instead of choosing to eat real food, or you continually come up with excuses why spending a mere 30min extra time at work that would instead allow you to get active with your friends/family is a better decision, or you like to stay up late watching tv instead of going to bed early to get quality sleep. Whatever your bad habit is, isn't as important as what you do about it and that's wherein the problem lies.....most of us just can't seem to do anything about it that works and sticks. There's the obvious causes, lack of motivation, lack of energy, lack of accountability, and so on and so on, the list of obstacles and your sheer ability to drum up ever more excuses will always impress you, console you, and then quietly sabotage you. The problem is in the approach, the way in which you look at the problem from the start. Today I'm going to use the example of a lack of physical activity. Normally if you've come to the conclusion that you "need" to get more physically active, you will first default to the most socially dominant verb used to define activity, today that seems to be exercise.....from there you will default to the most socially dominant form of exercise, today that seems to be the gym.....and finally from there you will look for the most effective form of gym exercise (because we all want the "best" and no one cares about what's most appropriate), which today will probably lead your search towards taking something like a HIIT class (high intensity interval training class where you'll burn the most calories and "therefore" reap the most benefit). None of this is your fault, all of this processing happens in your head almost instantly based on thousands of inputs you receive daily from your surroundings (all forms of media influence and then the people around you regurgitating that same media influence). The good news is, you can do something about it!
1. The first step to any decision that doesn't need to be instantaneous is Pause, with a capital P. Yes, I said pause...take a pause so that you don't allow your automatic response system to take over and to give you answers based on what you've absorbed from your surroundings instead of from a minute of your own, calm, thoughtful insights. In today's rush rush world, this kind of thinking is almost non-existent.
2. The second step after you've paused and disregarded what your first inclination was (exercise...gym...what ever the best gym exercise is that I've come or come into contact with) will be to work backwards. So instead of what, where, how, we're going to start at how.
3. The third step starts at how. By pausing, disregarding automatic inclinations, and reflecting on how, then where, and then what (which is a given and usually a rephrasing of the problem. ex. I need to get active = what will I do to get active) you will think of ways that you can address the how with what's most innate. The key here is to take 3 of those innate answers and start with your favourite one. The other 2 answers are backups for inevitable days when obstacles or excuses prevent you from employing your first option. Through this method of rotating options, you will also learn which one works best for you. In this example, your answers might look like this:
How will I get active = WALKING to a new location ( the where) around my house/place of work every day, OR = DOING as many pushups, situps, and burpees as I can do in 15minutes at home (the where) every morning before work, OR = going to shoot a BASKETBALL at a different local court (the where) with my kids/friends/partner/solo, 2 times a week after work and once on the weekend.
If you choose to walk every day but one day it's raining and "you just can't take an umbrella and walk in the rain, god forbid", then you can choose one of your other 2 options....maybe just do some pushups and situps for 15min at home, or go to an indoor basketball court you've never been to.
4. Once you're getting active regularly and for a period of time that you're impressed with, then and only then should you start considering moving on to other interests to fulfill the same purpose. Usually these other interests are less innate and more complex/demanding and therefore have a greater likelihood of failure or drop-off. If you do drop-off, simply pause, and start again!
That's it, that's all!
Until next time - BE BETTER!
I've often been asked, "how often should I workout". Different people will give you different answers, but at the end of the day, the answer is not only goal centric, but a very individual one as well .
The answer to this question is often best answered by asking yourself the right questions instead of depending on others generalized opinions.
The following is an example of important questions to ask yourself:
1. Am I doing this just to be active, to achieve some personal goals, or to become competitive?
(if you want to be competitive, you would begin by studying the endeavour AND finding a mentor/coach......if you want to achieve some new personal goal, you would start studying the endearvour OR find a mentor/coach......if you want to be active, just start doing something, you can always progress in any and every other direction from there.). If you're looking for a mentor to get you on the right track, you can connect with Ben, one of our top trainers, by going to our PERSONAL TRAINING PAGE.
2. Am I just starting out without prior training/experience, or do I have some past/recent training behind me, or have I already been training for years?
(the more novice or green that you are, the less you should start with so that you can enjoy the most progress with the least effort and start with whatever is convenient and unburdensome, BUT, make sure you commit to a slow progression from there......if you have some past/recent experience, choose one specific focus that you want to improve and start there, then pay attention to your body and rotate that specific focus shortly after you start feeling your progress drag (plateauing, a developing irritation/injury, any developing physiological dysfunction that wasn't there when you started).....if you have been training for years and aren't sure how often you should train (usually because something about your results or well-being is unsatisfactory), you either did not spend adequate time studying your endeavour and yourself, and/or you need a mentor/coach to reassess your approach, or you need to run a series of tests to see if your health has changed - how - and what you need to address (for the latter, you need to seek the help of a professional* I recently completed an HPA Stress Profile from migraineprofessional.com who treats migraines but also a wide range of other health conditions).
3. The third question I would ask myself, or more so concern myself with, which I've touched on somewhat in the 2 former questions above is, have I developed a method for myself that has:
- an easing-in as a starting point,
- an intensification plan,
- and then a break for active re-evaluation and adjustment
Without an easing-in we cut short the benefits of our own progression. Without an intensification we fail to grow beyond our beginnings. Without a re-evaluation and adjustment, we fail to keep progressing in healthy equilibrium that supports further improvement.
The difference between this methodical and intermittent approach to training and someone that doesn't train at all is clear. But there is also a difference between being methodically intermittent and simply being thoughtlessly continuous. While consistency is a very important part of progress, often there is a level of confusion and false belief that leads people to think that being consistent/continuous means never taking a step back to recharge and re-evaluate, and worse, that consistency trumps method. This sort of false belief, builds fear of losing hard earned progress, leads to unhealthy addiction, and often leads to worse outcomes (injury, plateau, dysfunction) that actually set a person back much further than choosing to take that 1 methodical step back so that they can spring board further forward.
I hope this post helps you answer the question of "how much should I train", for yourself.
Until Next Blog - BE BETTER!
For those of us who are primarily focused on building muscle or losing fat we often taken on a macro focused approach with the foods, supplements, and activities that we choose in the hope that they will deliver our goals with hasty efficiency.
ex. 'if you want to build muscle you need to consume massive amounts of protein, so you eat tons of meat, lots of calories, hundreds of protein shakes, and numerous other supplements'......'but you also neglect the impact of all of this on your insides'.
Most often, this type of shotgun approach is met with a positive feedback loop where we do see positive results and which falsely lead us to believe that such an approach is the right approach. It is only after many months, years, or decades for some, that this approach shows it true failures and costs. In other words, such a narrowly focused approach neglects the health of our gut, in exchange for a more immediate affect on our external appearance. Such an approach has long term affects (negative-internal) that don't show up for a long time, whereas the short term affects (positive-external) show up in a relatively short time. This is akin to taking cocaine to improve how you function in social situations (external and immediate) without any regard for the brain damaging affects that come with its regular and repeated use (internal and delayed). Damage to your brain will affect your gut, and likewise, damage to your gut will affect your brain. Moreover, the gut, like the brain, and most organs in the body, is very resilient, and has a great capacity to recover, and this is the same reason it usually takes so much longer and so much damage on our part for the affects to start showing very loud external signs that a clearly visible and can no longer be ignored. Unfortunately, by the time the signs are loud an clear, unable to be ignored, and bring us to a point in our lives where we have no choice but to address them (IBS, Celiac, Chron's Colitis, Fungal Infections, etc), a serious amount of damage has been done. At best, and if caught early, this type of gut damage impairs your ability to pursue your once prized external goals and only interferes with normal daily life, but at worst, it completely compromises your ability to lead a normal life through a more serious and aggravated state of disease. The road to recovery, if at all available, is a long and painful one that one would not wish on their enemy, so don't impose it on yourself. Take a wholistic approach to your health and fitness goals. Find a wholistic mentor to guide you. Consider your inside health before your outside appearance. I highly recommend a CHEK Certified Holistic Health Coach (for my recovery protocols I have used Mark at www.migraineprofessional.com).
The goal should always be to do more with less, to take out before adding in. Be mindful of your health, respect your body, and show kindness to your insides....Until next blog.....Be Better!
Recovery is definitely tied for the most important factor affecting performance in the gym and out in the arena or on the field next to practice/training itself.