“Why is getting healthy so hard? You already know the answer – your feelings. If you feel deprived of bread, you won’t stick to your gluten-free diet. The second you consider how you feel about eating salad for the next 113 days, you’ll convince yourself not to do it. The moment you scan today’s CrossFit workout and consider how you feel about doing three sets of 45 burpees with a bunch of people in a parking lot – you won’t feel like walking out the door and going. Will sticking to a diet make you happy? Absolutely. Will seeing your friends at CrossFit and working out make you happy? You better believe it will.” – Mel Robbins, The 5 Second Rule
When I first read this quote in Mel Robbins’ book, The 5 Second Rule, all I could think was “wow, how absolutely true is that?” We seriously do not recognize how much our thoughts and feelings impact every single decision that we make every single day, no matter how big or small.
We rarely follow our instincts and what we feel is right. Why? Because we spend too much time making our decisions and then fear doubt, and uncertainty begins to creep in and we are left to settle and unwilling to face change.
This right here is the primary reason why so many of us struggle with getting healthy and changing our diets: we are afraid of the challenge. We are afraid of feeling uncomfortable, of getting out of breath, of entering into uncharted territory. We let our feelings dominate every aspect of our everyday life, we cannot let them dominate our health, at least not negatively.
Getting healthy can be scary because we FEEL scared of the new things we are about to face, not necessarily because getting healthy is actually scary. In fact, it’s actually the best possible thing you can do for yourself, your life, and your relationships with others!
In order to conquer these fears and move toward the health, wellness, and lifestyle that we want, we have to learn how to separate what we need and want to do from what we feel about doing it.
What do I mean by this? Let’s take a look at my daily struggle with waking up and getting myself out of bed. When my alarm goes off, my brain formulates two very different questions, one being “should I get out of bed?” and the other being “do I feel like getting out of bed?” We don’t realize at the time, but these two questions mean two totally different things.
The answer to “should I get out of bed?” is always yes. I set my alarm to give me enough time to start my day without rushing and get to my appointments on time or to work when I planned. The answer to “do I feel like getting out of bed?” is almost always a resounding no. I’m still tired, my bed in comfy, I just don’t want to start the day yet.
The key here? One question and answer is productive and makes me a better person, the other holds me back and brings me down. But regardless of knowing these things, I usually stay in bed and start my day off the wrong way because I am making my decision based off of how I am feeling, not off of what is best for me.
To begin living our lives the way we want and to begin seeing the positive changes we want to see, we must enter change, every day decisions, and our health with a different perspective. We must work to remove our feelings as often as possible and go by what is right for us both in the present moment and for the long term.
Should I start going to the gym?
Do I feel like starting at a gym?
The answers to these questions are life changing and can either propel you forward into your best life or send you falling backward. Try putting your feelings aside and look at the answers rationally. What is best for you.
We can help you on that journey
Becoming healthy, getting into shape, and building strength are delicately woven together and serve as a journey. No amount of progress or change will be visible overnight; results take time and most importantly only come with dedication, determination, motivation, and knowledge.
It’s difficult to achieve the results you desire if you are not properly educated on what is needed to get there. All too often people will plateau their results or fall off completely simply because they are not aware of the bad habits that are preventing them from moving forward.
What habits will halt your progress and keep you from feeling and looking your best?
Inconsistent in the number of days you work out per week
While it’s important to take rest days so that our bodies can recover and refuel, taking too many can actually derail our progress. All too often, people take a day off from exercise whenever they feel sore, thinking that’s what their bodies need. However, it’s in those moments that what your body really needs is to keep moving! Aim to commit yourself to 3-5 consistent training days per week.
Never changing your routine
Routine is the enemy when it comes to seeing progress and results. When we continuously engage in the same exercises, the same number of sets, and the same number of reps, our bodies become used to the workouts and therefore begin to put in less effort. When our bodies put in less effort, our muscles don’t put in the work needed to progress and build strength.
This also applies to those who “pick” which workouts to show up to. Not only do you lose out on improving in other areas by doing this, but you are also putting your body at risk. How? Variance provides balance. If you always skip a squat day but never miss a deadlift or pulling day, your backside becomes dominant and you create a recipe for body imbalances.
Not eating enough
Healthy food is your friend! Eating less isn’t going to help you lose weight, it will cause you to lose muscle and might even cause you to gain or store weight you don’t want to. Our bodies need food to refuel, especially before and after working out. Without eating enough, our bodies begin to feed off our muscle tissue and lead to us feeling sluggish and fatigued. Eating more of the right foods will not lead to weight gain, but will lead to the body you want and better recovery from workouts.
Focusing solely on cardiovascular exercises
While cardiovascular exercises are very important and necessary, focusing the majority of your time on cardio isn’t going to get you the results or body you want. You will actually begin to lose muscle tissue becomes weaker. Strength training, however, is extremely effective when it comes to burning fat and building muscle mass.
Performing functional exercises and compound exercises like the squat, press and deadlift deliver the most profound results. Now combining your cardio and weightlifting? That’s the recipe for fitness and improving your capability to do more work in less time!
Working out to the point of exhaustion every time
Of course, it’s good to push ourselves to the extreme every once in a while, but doing so every single time you train is a recipe for failure. Your body will become too exhausted, drain your central nervous system, and won’t have the means to recuperate, leading to an increased risk of injury.
Mixing up your training stimulus is an extremely important piece of the puzzle. At Crossfit Daytona, we do this every day. Some days we go short and fast, some days we go long and sustained, some days we mix in intervals, some days we pace, and some days we go at max effort. Some days we will just lift, some days we will lift after a workout, and others we will lift within a workout.
It’s not random, it’s deliberate. Life is unpredictable and will demand different things of you (variance). To achieve the best results for body and performance think about it like this: 20% of time should be spent practicing, 70% of time should be spent “training,” and 10% should be what we call “compete” or go for it.
Practice: Very low heart rate and not on the clock. Loads are extremely light and there is a deliberate focus on improving, whether that be in positions or technique. No stress.
Training: Implementing the aspects of “practice” typically under a duress setting. (You’ve practiced your kettlebell swing a dozen times, now let’s incorporate them within a workout while still focusing on the quality of movement, but moving with a purpose as well).
3 rounds for time:
400m run (or row)
25 air squats
25 kettlebell swings
Spend most of your time here. Not only does training deliver the highest value for results, but combined with a healthy diet, it gets you the body that you want too!
Compete: Go as fast as you can and push up towards your highest output possible.
Those who don’t train CrossFit typically will hear the buzz words “high intensity” and immediately think we “compete” every day. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s debunk this myth here:
- No matter how in shape you are before CrossFit, it is more than likely that even a practice session will whoop your butt. Yeah, it’s that good.
- New athletes to the program will spend the first 90 days focusing on consistency (showing up 3-5x a week) and mechanics (learning the movements and moving well).
Simply put, new athletes are blending practice and training within their first 90 day period.
- High intensity is relative. Each athlete works at their own intensity. 68-year-old Fred’s intensity is different than 32-year-old Abby’s to 20-year-old Elena’s.
We respect all of that. Intensity isn’t a one size fits all for everyone and understanding intensity is a major key to success and moving the needle in the right direction.
DIETING VS MAKING A LIFESTYLE CHANGE
No two people lose weight the same way, there are an endless amount of factors that come into play, but there is one single method that can, will and does work for everyone: making a lifestyle change.
When individuals feel the desire to look better, feel better, and lose weight, they often turn to go on a “diet” to make those changes happen.
The thing with diets? They’re temporary and teach us nothing about the relationship we actually need to have with food. More simply, they’re unrealistic and set us up for failure.
Get this – according to the NY Times, there was a grapefruit diet in the 1930s where people ate half of a grapefruit at every meal out of the belief that the fruit contained fat-burning enzymes. Basically, people paid no mind to the other foods on their plate. All that mattered was that they were eating the grapefruit and that meant they would start losing weight.
Another historical dieting gem? The cabbage-soup diet of the 1950s. On this plan, people ate cabbage soup every day for a week alongside low-calorie meals in order to induce passing gas and thus lose weight. Silly? Absolutely. Realistic? Not one bit.
Although these diet examples are quite outrageous, they’re rooted in the same mentality as all other diet fads circulating the globe today. There is no focus on actual nutritional knowledge and science, but instead a focus on “ideas” that society claims to work, but in actuality are just simply used as money makers.
A diet can characteristically be defined as the following:
- Weight is generally lost quickly in a set period of time
- Foods are categorized as “good” or “bad”
- Eating habits are often based on environmental cues
- Calorie consumption is greatly restricted
- Progress is dependent on the number on the scale
- Temporary plan with an end date
The weight loss and dieting industry are worth over 66 BILLION dollars, yet more than two-thirds of Americans are still overweight or obese.
Why? Diets make you experience feelings of weakness, extreme hunger, exhaustion, mental stress, and food deprivation and do nothing to teach you about balance, moderation, and nutritional value. In turn, people cave from their diets and turn back to their old, unhealthy habits. If that isn’t proof that something is seriously wrong with our nutritional health culture, then we’re not sure what is.
The solution to the issue is pretty clear cut but it takes effort, commitment, PATIENCE, the drive to improve, and most importantly, knowledge! We must work to change our perspective to think about long-term success over short-term instant gratification. We have to make the decision to change our lifestyle rather than just search for a temporary fix. We need to place our focus on learning about various foods, nutritional value, balance, moderation, and feeling good!
A lifestyle change can characteristically be defined as the following:
- Eating healthy, nutritious, whole foods to nourish your body
- Practicing moderation, not restriction
- Exercising on a regular and consistent basis
- Relying on your body to tell you what you need
- Losing weight at a safe and healthy pace (1-2 pounds per week)
- Measuring progress beyond the number on the scale
When you begin to shift your focus to change your lifestyle, you are choosing to be kinder to both your body and your mind. Is there anything better than that? No way! And as mentioned earlier, this is the best way to guarantee losing weight, gaining strength, and feeling good, AND it can work for everyone! No diet pills and no cabinet full of supplements needed.
Great ways to begin changing your lifestyle:
- Choose water over sugary beverages
- Carry a reusable water bottle with you at all times
- Eat breakfast
- Pack healthy snacks when on the go
- Eat more vegetables
- Watch portion size
- Meal prep for the week ahead
- Get active in some way every day
- Exercise at least three times a week
- Focus on how you feel, not the scale
The BEST way to kick off your lifestyle change? Take action today.
Start with just one thing you’d like to see change and use that as your primary focus and fuel to begin and keep going. Set small goals for yourself with positive rewards in place for when those goals are met. Get a friend involved in making the change too, that way you both can work to hold each other accountable. If looking into the foreseeable future is too overwhelming for you, turn it into a 30-day challenge!
Take change one day, one month, and eventually one year at a time and you’ll be amazed by the results. You want to look better, feel better, live healthier and live happier? Don’t try some fad diet, change your lifestyle.
As always we are here to help. Here is a link to set up a No Snack Intro
I know the thought of giving up part of your Sunday to meal prep can be daunting. It doesn’t have to be that way though!
Nutrition coaching at Sweat Factory Crossfit is designed to make it easy using some tricks that have helped over 10,000 people see amazing results.
Here are 4 useful tools in the kitchen!
1. Crockpot/Instant Pot
Instant pots are like crockpots on steroids. The goal is that you set it and forget it! This allows you to throw some ingredients in there and continue prepping 1-2 other options to increase variety without having to do all the manual labor cooking.
2. Muffin Tin
Some of our favorite recipes use a muffin tin, like the egg muffins and meatloaf muffins. This allows your prepped foods to be perfectly portioned in about 3 ounces.
3. Food Scale
What we “think” is 4 ounces, if often not close when it comes to the guessing game. It’s important to dust off those measuring tools to ensure you aren’t getting too much or too little. Weight loss is about calories in vs calories out and we want to make sure if you are taking the time to prep, that you are eating the right quantity to see the results you are looking for!
4. 3-Compartment Containers
Once your food is prepped, take the few extra minutes to portion it out into contains so that your Sunday Meal Prep is truly, grab and go during the week. How often have you had great intentions buying food, maybe even cooking it and forgetting about it or letting it go to waste? We have ALL been there. Portioning your food into containers allows you to just grab and go when in a hurry or exhausted after a long day.
We hope you have these tools, but if not, just start with one! Keep it simple and just take one step at a time!
How else can I help?
While we all started and continue to do CrossFit for different specific reasons, all those reasons ladder up to the same generic purpose – to live a healthier life. On a superficial level, achieving a muscle up has absolutely nothing to do with that. In fact, many more people will live an incredibly healthy life without successfully completing a muscle up than those that do complete one. Certainly, there is a positive correlation between the degree of fitness and ability to do one, but by no means is one required to be fit.
So, why does it matter? Why is a muscle up as important to the 25-year-old young gun as it is to the 85-year-old grandmother?
Simple – it’s the motivation of the pursuit and satisfaction of the achievement.
For most, I’m not talking about the muscle up literally, but instead, I am referring to what it represents – a meaningful, tangible, physical goal. For the 85-year-old grandmother, that might be walking up 3 stairs without assistance. For others, it may be a 400lb back squat. And for some, it’s moving without pain.
In essence, we all need that Moby Dick to chase. (We will ignore the fact that everyone but Ishmael dies when Moby Dick is “caught”. If that was a spoiler for you, I do apologize but I did just save you from reading 135 chapters ). We all need that meaningful something to keep us coming back day in and day out. As with the pursuit of Moby Dick, it will be a journey filled with ups and downs. Calm and rough seas. It will be a journey that requires devout (borderline obsessive) commitment. And it may even be a journey that ends in failure. BUT, it is in that pursuit and even in that failure that we progress, grow, and succeed in some way.
For 99% of us, we’ve stayed committed to CrossFit longer than any other fitness routine in our lives. For many of us, we are fitter now than we were 1, 5, 10, and even 20 years ago. For most of us, going to the gym has become something we want to do instead of something we have to do.
All that is awesome, but we must acknowledge the facts.
Fact 1 – As humans, we naturally seek newness and growth. The first year or two of CrossFit is intoxicating. You’ve never done half the movements and while scary, it’s also exhilarating. You never knew how awful 5 minutes of working out could feel, but somehow it’s awesome. You were never a group class person but all of a sudden you couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Inevitably, all of that becomes the new normal. It’s no longer new, it’s your routine. It’s still better than any other routine, but like anything else in life we do for years, it becomes routine indeed.
Fact 2 – Measurable success breeds motivation and it becomes a hell of a lot less frequent as the year’s pass. In the first 2 years of CrossFit, you look at a barbell and you PR. Not just PR but PR by HUGE jumps. 30 lbs on a snatch in 1 month. 50 lbs on your deadlift the next. Then the gains slow. Suddenly it’s 5 lbs on your clean in 6 months. 10 lbs on your squat in a year. Let’s be clear, improving at a decreasing rate happens to everyone in any fitness program especially as their fitness and age increases. BUT, it still sucks and can be demotivating!
Fact 3 – We can easily combat these issues by chasing our own version of Moby Dick! Our own muscle up so-to-speak.
Out of the 7 athletes that got their first muscle-up, I worked with them outside of class. I’m sure the tips I gave helped, but the main driver for their success was their commitment to the goal and journey. During that process what do you think their attendance looked like? Stellar. Why? They had a goal.
Now that they hit their goal, how do you think they feel? Amazing. Are they motivated to find another one and continue to improve their fitness? Hell yeah.
But guess what, I also worked with 3 other athletes who have yet to get one. Have they reached the goal yet? Nope. Has the pursuit of that goal fueled their commitment to their health? Hell yeah. Is that a success in itself? Absolutely.
In other words, my friends, find a meaningful, physical goal and go get it. Maybe it’s a first pull-up or muscle up. Perhaps it’s a 200lb snatch. I don’t know what it is for you but all I know is you need one. It needs to matter. You need to chase it. You need to celebrate it when you reach it.
Now that the Open is over. I’m going to send out a 2 question survey tomorrow. Question 1 will ask you to write down your own version of your Moby Dick or Muscle Up. Question 2 will ask you to write down the biggest obstacle in your way.
Take some time today to think about those 2 questions. Take the 5 minutes tomorrow to fill it out. Those 5 minutes could fuel your next 5 months.