When the best plan is not the best plan!

Every January you rush into a new fitness regime, give it everything for two weeks and then things start to slip. You miss a workout. You eat a full packet of biscuits instead of the one biscuit you had intended. Soon you realise it’s been two weeks since you did a workout and the weekly treats have become daily treats. You’re back to square one and self loathing kicks in. Sound familiar?

I’m not a psychic but I think I may be able to predict what happens next. At some point in the future you’ll decide, once again, that it’s time to get your act together. So you’ll rush to the gym and train at your maximum. Alternatively you’ll seek out the most intense, challenging plan you can find. The one that is “hardest” because you need results. And you need them immediately. And therein lies the problem.

Consistency trumps intensity every time. An average plan done consistently is better than the best plan not done at all. What does that mean for you? It means if you haven’t trained in a while it doesn’t make sense to go after the most intense workout. The best plan is actually the one that you’ll stick to in the long run. For somebody who is relatively inactive that probably means starting small and building it up gradually. That “hardest”, most intense plan you were seeking might be the perfect plan for an elite athlete whose body is conditioned to training five days per week. However, if you’re at a less advanced stage it’s probably not the perfect plan for you.

The very same principal applies to your eating habits. The number of people who decide to get in shape and quit within the first two weeks is staggering. For the most part it’s because they make the exact same mistake with their nutrition as the training mistake outlined above. They try to be “perfect”. Determination and will power take over. This time it’s going to work, no matter what. So we cut out all treats, we reduce our calories more than we should, and we decide we’re going to live off Broccoli and Chicken forever. The problem is that, for most people, willpower is not enough. A solid plan is a better option. The more you deprive yourself of something, the more you’ll want it. At some stage a binge is likely to happen when you’re willpower caves.

So what’s the solution? If you’ve been following the Good4U challenge you’ve probably made a nice steady start. You’ve been implementing small changes, which were relatively easy to work into your daily life. This is a great way to go about the process and it’s a strategy I would typically use with those who are new to a fitness journey or who have fallen off track. I call this one the Compound Effect. In essence the idea is that small changes, while seeming like not very much at the time, stack up on top of each other to lead to great change over time. Typically when people rush into a fitness goal with an all or nothing approach, they overwhelm themselves. The goal can seem a million miles away and they start to feel like a failure when they’re not reaching it. The Compound Effect works the opposite way. When I set a small challenge the client will feel that it’s very manageable. When they complete the challenge they’ll usually come back and ask “what’s next?”. As each little task is accomplished confidence begins to build and the client wants to do more.

With those at a slightly higher level I use what I call the 80/20 rule. This is the concept that we will eat nutritious, healthy food 80% of the time. I actively encourage my clients to aim for 80%, not 100%. This means there’s room for the occasional bar of chocolate. If you are on track 80% of the time you’ll get away with the 20% for the most part. Progress may be slower initially but you’ll still be feeling positive and moving toward your goals in six months time.

Long term change has to be the primary thought for those looking to create a healthy lifestyle. In that regard, consistency is king. So that intense, perfect plan may not be the right plan for you. The right plan is the one which you can stick to. Progress, not perfection. Whatever you do this week is more than you were doing last week. That’s the approach that will lead to lasting change. We’ve all got it within us to create change and to be the best version of ourselves. In order to do that it’s worth consider the approach before diving in. All the best going forward and if I can be of any assistance don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Alan.

30 Minute Beach Workout

30 Minute Beach Workout

Why not make the most of the sunshine and trade your usual gym session for a workout on the beach? Exercising on the sand offers not only amazing views and an opportunity to soak up the sun but also it’s good for your joints and can be tougher than running on a harder surface to work up an extra sweat!
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Running for Health

Running-you may love it, you may hate it. Like me, you may find it difficult to motivate yourself to get up and just go for a run but afterwards you feel amazing! It doesn’t matter if you are a first time runner or running your 56th marathon, I applaud you. Running is such a great way to improve Continue reading “Running for Health”

Walk towards better health

Walking is good4u

Walking is good4u

Walking. Some of us do a lot of it. Some of us do NONE. I know myself when I’m stuck at a desk nearly every day I have to remind myself to get up every once in a while and move around. When it comes to 5pm it can be extremely difficult to force yourself to head for a quick stroll (especially if you live on the West coast of Ireland and it’s absolutely BALTIC!). Continue reading “Walk towards better health”

Skinny Fat

Skinny Fat

I think we all have that one friend who eats and eats and then eats some more and NEVER puts on weight. Pizza after pizza washed down with a litre of sugary drinks and followed by a tub of ice cream. Sound familiar? Yeah, thought so.
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Snacks For Pre and Post Workout

Pre and Post Workout Snacks

Nutrition is extremely important when it comes to physical activity and sometimes even knowing what to eat and when to eat can be difficult. No one wants a stitch half way through a run but we don’t want to be starving either. Let’s chat a little bit about what to snack on before and after a workout.
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5 Reasons You Should Conquer A 5K

Conquer a 5k

Conquer a 5k

A 5K is the perfect race for beginners and is surprisingly easy to prepare for, here are five reasons you should conquer yours;
 
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Good4U Myth Busters: Protein

Protein

Protein: why do we care so much!?

Every day it seems that another product is promoting it’s protein content, but why? What is it and why are we obsessed with it!
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Stay Hydrated for Summer!

Lemonade

Lemonade

Beat The Heat- Stay Hydrated During Summer!
 
It’s no secret that getting your recommended intake of water helps your body function properly, so staying hydrated is essential for your healthy living check list. Though many of us simply assume that we are hydrated enough, it is essential that we make absolutely certain – especially when it’s hot outside. Continue reading “Stay Hydrated for Summer!”