I wrote this six months ago- all still remarkably true and relevant.
- You aren’t perfect.
I think I’m like most people in that when I start something new I want to be 100% perfect or I feel like I’ve failed and need to start again. But it’s impossible to never have slip ups on a long term plan. Getting out of the cycle of deciding a whole week was a write off become of a bad day or bad meal was one of the biggest factors to starting to see results.
- Day 30 (or 60 or 100 or 200) is harder than day 1.
People always talk about Day 1- and in some ways Day 1 is tough, it’s the starting something new, the first step in making changes. But by the same token, Day 1 is exciting – it’s the start of something new, when you feel all positive and hopeful. Sticking to something once the novelty wear off or once results start to slow is the real challenge.
- Consistency and steady progress is boring.
Everyone loves a Facebook status or Instagram post where they can show their before and after pictures demonstrating dramatic results. Realistically though long lasting changes take time and progress isn’t always immediately apparent.
- The loudest people in the gym often don’t have a clue.
When I started venturing into the free weight section alone I used to feel so inferior. All these people claiming space and equipment and confidently broadcasting their strengths and opinions on how things should be done. I tend to assume that if someone is loud and forward with their opinion they must know their shit- and yeah, some do. Get comfortable in the environment and take time to look and you will see however that many do not! Go in, do your own thing with confidence and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing in terms of training or weights.
- You need to eat more.
I used to try and keep my calorie intake low – the bigger the calorie deficit the better. Really, this makes you tired, makes training harder and will eventually stop you getting results. Stick to a sensible calorie deficit and results will come and will be easier to maintain.
- There is no such thing as an ideal diet.
And by ideal I mean those diets you see advertised in magazines- ‘Eat all the cake and still lose weight’ ‘Drink all the Gin and still lose weight’. We would all like that magic diet which would allow us to eat as much of our favourite foods as often as we like and still loose 10lbs per week. Essentially, though, if you look at them, all these diets still involve some form of restriction – eat low calorie meals through the day and allow yourself cake everyday in moderation (i.e. a small slice). You therefore have to accept that you can eat what you want within reason but if you also want to stay within a calorie allowance and hit your Macros you will need to balance that out with sensible options for other meals. I have 4 pretty strict days to allow me the freedom to have 3 pretty relaxed days and stay within my goals. That means for 4 days a week I sometimes have to say no to things I want in return for that relaxed weekend.
- Some days will be shit.
Not all training sessions will be fun, not all will bring PBs, sometimes you will feel like you have made no progress. If every session was a great session they would just be your normal sessions. Accept that even a tough session will bring benefits to you and don’t sweat it.
- Rest is important
When you start it feels like you will get more results if you keep on going and do as much as you can. Rest allows your body to recover and prevents over training though and in the long term will improve your results.
- You can’t do everything.
It’s tempting to try and master as many things as possible. Realistically though unless you are naturally talented at something the chances are you will need to devote time to things to master them. Therefore trying to win a Strongman competition whilst also training for a marathon is probably not going to work. Pick your thing and focus on that. I wanted to run a second marathon but with teaching classes around my full time job I had to accept that finding time to fit the training in would not be possible and as I didn’t want to take a break from teaching I put that aim on the back burner.
- Weight is a bad indicator of progress.
Muscle weighs more than fat, your body is full of water blah blah blah. At first you may be able to monitor your weight- eventually you will need to go off clothes size or pictures if you don’t want to feel completely demotivated.