Consistent training and eating habits are usually build on one common theme: mastering simple routines.
The more basic you keep your eating the easier it is to make progress. You know exactly what you are having and you know how your body reacts to it. This puts you in the driver’s seat and you can choose where you take your “car” to.
Once you get the majority of your weekly meals in order by keeping them simple but tasty and following the same routine from week to week, the easier it is to add some special meals throughout your week. By special meal I mean good, tasty food where you can experiment with your cooking or eating out.
When your meals are all over the place it can be very difficult to track what works and what doesn’t. It’s easier to know how to cook 10-15 dishes really well (and fast as you get better) and keep repeating them than it is to try to cook a new and exciting meal each night.
Not every meal has to be an extravagant affair of new flavors and experiences. Get good at some meals and do them well, make them tasty.
This will do wonders for you eating habits during the busy times. And once work, family and the hockey season ease up, you can learn to use the sous vide cooking machine your Aunt gave you last Christmas.
This same story repeats itself with training. You join the gym and every workout has to be exciting and fun. So you keep hopping from a program to program, gym class to a gym class always searching for excitement. Maybe next week you’ll try the version of Zumba done with chainsaws…
The truth is that those who are successful with their training in the long term are those who persevere when training is suddenly not exciting and fun. Successful people just come in, do what it says on their program and get out. They see the long term plan and goal instead of only focusing on the individual workouts. They know that with each training session they are one step closer.
Not every workout is the best you’ve ever done, it’s not always exciting and sometimes it’s as much fun as getting your eyebrows waxed. But successful people know that their progress is not linear and sometimes you have to go through some hard times. The people who have long term success with their training are the ones who show up day after day.
As Dan John says, “The GOAL is to keep the GOAL the GOAL”, so simple isn’t it. Just follow the map! But it’s not easy when the first excitement wears off. Training is like a relationship, will you stick around when the honeymoon period is over?
Again, simple. All you have to do is keep showing up.
To be successful with a habit it needs to feel almost too easy. Sure it can sound boring but so what? Boring usually works. A lot of folks don’t follow through with it exactly because of it: to them it is just too boring and too simple. They get sick of it and find someone who will make things less boring but also harder for them. It makes them feel as it is harder it must be better. These are the people who pick the hardest training plan and combine it with the strictest diet. These folks are the ones who keep taking on way too much at once thinking that it will get them were they want to go faster.
Since I’ve already used a Dan John quote I might as well use another one here, “these are the same people who keep revving up their engines and making as much noise as possible but they still only get to the next corner”. People who rev up their engines and make a lot of noise are also more likely to crash in the long run. Compared to those who might travel a bit slower.
I see this happen with new gym members all the time. A person joins up and decides that to justify the gym fee he is going to come in and train twice a day for six days a week (I am actually being serious, this does happen). What they don’t see is that the gym fee doesn’t become any cheaper by coming in 12 times a week.
But the gym fee becomes worth it when they get results. If you get better results by using the gym 3 days a week for a year than 6 days a week for 6 months which one is better if you burn out after 6 months and go back to your old ways and lose all the progress you’ve made so far?
You don’t sign up for Netflix and watch 18 hours day just to get your moneys worth.
Eating for health, kicking goals with training and being successful with your habits is a marathon, not a sprint. Your progress will not be linear. If you persevere during the times when it all just sucks, you do better than the other 99% of gym goers who quit and start the same cycle again next year. Don’t be one of them.
Might as well add another Dan John quote, “I said it’s simple, not easy”.