Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Free advice - from me to you

It seems at the moment that many people I know - clients, friends, family, total strangers who email me out of the blue - are struggling to keep things together in terms of training and especially nutrition. In many cases, it's obviously got a lot to do with coming off the back of the Chistmas/New Year Woohoo! let's eat everything in sight and lie around like sloths period. But it seems that everyone has an obstacle - something so insurmountable that they simply "can't" do their workouts or eat properly.

I've been doling out advice like nobody's business, but then I remembered that I wrote something on the subject some time ago, so I thought "Hey - why reinvent the wheel?" And then I thought I'd post it here, just in case it might help somebody:

I see a lot of people who manage to eat well and exercise regularly when life is going smoothly. But the minute an obstacle crops up, they crumble and fall off the wagon. Unfortunately, many never get back on the wagon. They can spend weeks, years, or even months, floundering around, all because something unexpected messed with their plan. The obstacle may be an illness or injury, extra hours at work, travel, house guests, or something as minor as an invite to a special occasion meal or some other interruption to their normal routine.

At some point in everyone’s journey towards whatever goal they’re working for, an obstacle is going to pop up – that’s just life. So how do you deal with those things? You can’t anticipate the unexpected, right? Well, maybe you can.

I spent many years working in a sales job, and one technique we used as part of our regular training was something we called an objections clinic. The object of this exercise was to brainstorm every possible objection a customer might come up with in response to a sales pitch, and to script replies to those objections. The point was to anticipate a problem and figure out in advance how you might deal with it. Then when the situation actually arose, you wouldn’t be taken by surprise and left standing open-mouthed, with no idea where to go.

You can use this same technique with training and nutrition – if you invest a little time in thinking ahead and anticipating potential obstacles, you’ll be prepared with your ‘script’ if they happen.

For example, if you train first thing in the morning, what will you do if you oversleep? Sure, you could just blow off training for that day, since you don’t have time, but perhaps you can fit a session into your lunch break, or do it after work. Or if you don’t have time for an hour-long weights session, maybe you DO have time to squeeze in a 20-minute interval training cardio session and do the planned weights workout tomorrow?

How about injury? Obviously, this one depends on the location and severity of the injury, but let’s say you have an injury to your right arm, leaving you temporarily unable to lift anything with that arm. You can still train legs and abs, still do cardio, and still eat right.

What if you’ve had your free/treat/cheat meal or day for the week, and you get invited to a restaurant for a friend’s birthday? You could get the restaurant to email a copy of their menu so you can pick out something in advance that will fit with your meal plan. If you know beforehand what you’re going to eat, you’ll be less likely to be tempted by other choices. You can drink sparkling water or diet soft drink, and forgo dessert. Think about how you’ll deal with pressure from other people – you know, when they press you to have some birthday cake or something similar. If you feel you can’t say no, perhaps you can ask to have a piece of cake wrapped to take home “for later”. Once you get it home you can freeze it for your next cheat meal, or just throw it away – they’ll never know.

If you invest just a little time in running these sorts of scenarios in your head, and coming up with possible work-arounds, you’ll be far more likely to just automatically put “Plan B” into action when the situation actually arises, instead of just throwing your hands in the air and giving up.

Life never runs smoothly all the time, and perhaps you won’t always have an answer to every little problem. But with some careful thought and planning, you’ll have a really good chance of staying on track even in the face of considerable adversity.


Chris H said...

That is AMAZING!!! I just posted a bleat about having fallen off the wagon.... and you do a post on how to get back on! Awesome.

Unknown said...

great strategies Kerryn- preparation is the key here I guess most of us don't ever prepare for the unexpected. It really helped to think of 'planning' for those times.

Unknown said...

Love this post! So much, it deserves linkage :-D

LizN said...

Great stuff here my friend. Certainly good tips to knock your inner whiner fair on the nose and get moving again.


Em said...

Thats a great post hun, fantastic strategies :)
as they say 'always be prepared!'

Lily T said...

Great tips! Thanks!

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