While perhaps not the missing link you would commonly think of, let me explain how the existence of one may account for a lack of progress for yourself. The pursuit of optimal or elite level aesthetics is one where you don’t start off with all the habits you need to get it done right away. Suffice it to say that achievement of such a goal is rather elusive like Bigfoot himself. It is an ongoing process where you build upon habits and what is initially hard to do becomes easier over time. Personally, I’ve built upon small habit changes, improvements, and tweaks to my regimen over the course of years to arrive at where I am currently. And it’s because I built these habits into my lifestyle, and into my daily routine, that they are no longer difficult to achieve.
If the key lies in identifying what is missing from your regimen, then where do you begin?
Like others, let’s say you start off with implementing a workout plan and what was once a first step to getting into the gym has now became a part of your routine. It is now a part of your day you no longer worry about. To be honest, this is where many people begin. It is step one, or the initial habit put in place. If you feel that this has been addressed, yet you are unhappy with the results (or lack thereof) it may be time to consider the missing piece of the equation. I was once in a similar position and the most difficult part of my own fitness journey was getting in proper nutrition and having a diet in place. I have ALWAYS loved going to the gym and putting in the work. Discomfort is a familiar friend and as a genetically smaller individual I have focused on my God given strengths, one of which is an unrelenting work ethic and competitive nature that drives me to push and seek to never be outworked (even if I cannot rise to the level that others do, it won’t stop me from trying).
If someone needs to address their diet does that mean eating clean?
In general, there is a lot of misconception with eating clean. Not to mention targeted product marketing that adds to the confusion for someone trying to make sense of it all. I think it’s important that you eat “clean” but if you don’t know how many calories, you’re consuming it may not matter. I noted a drastic difference in my body and psychological well-being when I began to take my diet more seriously.
I define clean as eating primarily whole foods and opting for a wide range of fruits and vegetables of varying colors (eat the rainbow), while allowing for your favorite foods and being flexible to ensure sustainability of your plan while avoiding a sense of being deprived or creating a negative relationship with nutrition (good food / bad food).
The first part of addressing my own diet required tracking of my current intake to give me an idea of what my nutrition accounted for, rather than making broad generalizations about feeling that I ate well.
Sure there was a short period of what at the time felt like an inconvenience for a couple months as I began to learn about nutrition through using MyFitnessPal to enter in everything I ate, and tracking my calories from protein carbs and fats, but that couple of months changed my life forever.
I now can control my physique whenever I want given enough time to do so. Eat the foods that I enjoy and have flexibility and freedom instead of thinking I need to eat clean all the time. So just like the idea that going to the gym was difficult at first, tracking your macros and calories will seem difficult at first, but once you build it into your daily routine it almost feels weird not to track (perhaps that is just me). I’m a numbers person, so tracking foods is something I find enjoyable and a benefit to my relationship with food. I enjoy that it allows me to make sure that I’m hitting my daily goals and if I’m not seeing progress at the end of a week I now have some actionable items I can change based on the data. This is more effective than simply just saying, “Well I really need to eat even cleaner this week or maybe I need to eat less carbs or maybe I need to eat less fats.” Disclaimer – I’m not a fan of dogmatic approaches and I realize that long-term tracking of macros / nutrition may not be ideal or sustainable for everyone. I do feel the knowledge and food awareness gained from tracking makes it worthwhile to at least do for a minimum time-frame to find what works best for you.
“Knowledge is power, and I prefer to make educated adjustments to not only my training, but my nutrition as well.”
While I do enjoy tracking as mentioned, I’m a 39 (almost 40-year-old) man and If I wanted my life could be mostly about overindulging and sitting on the couch. In fact, I was there many years back before I began my own fitness journey. I have full autonomy to work, go to the gym, and to come home sit down and do nothing. My point is that we’re a lot less active the older we get. Unless you have a job that requires you to be on your feet for hours a day most likely you’re pretty sedentary and although the word cardio was a bad word to me when I first started lifting (recall I’ve always been a smaller dude), you know, because you can’t build muscle and do cardio at the same time (yes that is sarcasm).
What I have found is that including cardio in your daily routine really helps with body composition. Even more there is evidence based information outlining benefits of improved digestion, reduced levels of inflammation, enhanced recovery, and not to be forgotten there’s also cardiovascular health benefits…hence the term “cardio”. If you have the habit of going to the gym in place, now you need to build the habit of being a little bit more intentional with your diet, being a little bit more purposeful with your cardio, and making educated adjustments as you go off the numbers and how your body responds. If you have no idea where to start, or would rather an experienced coach provide the guidance & adjustments, then fill out a new client application form at adaptivecoach.com
I’d love to discuss what we can do to help you reach your goals of looking, feeling, and performing at optimal levels.