Back to Basics

As I’ve written recently I’m looking at going back to basics to get back into a routine.

Over the last week my training has been more consistent, my NEAT has been decent and I’m drinking plenty of water and nailing a few other habits. There’s two things I’ve struggled with though have been my nutrition and getting up in the morning.

I’ve not eaten terribly but I’ve not eaten what I’ve planned and as such have ended up going over my calorie goal. The reason? Stress.

It’s been a stressful week, work and personal stuff combined has meant I’ve been anxious at times and just generally strung out at others, feeling a bit like I was never going to fit everything into each day.

I wish I was one of those people who lost their appetite under stress. I am however a person who turns to sugar instead. Between snacking on sweet stuff and then opting to not eat the nice balanced meals I’d prepared and instead eat more carb based high calorie meals has meant that my nutrition just hasn’t gone to plan.

In reaction to this though I’m not going to do anything drastic. I’ve got food planned for the coming week and I’m hoping for a quieter week so I won’t be as tempted to reach for a high sugar stress release.

The key here I think is to not beat yourself out when the week doesn’t quite go to plan, not react by going on some drastic campaign to make up for it and just focus on starting again the next day.

So I’m taking the same approach to my mornings too. Last week I snoozed my alarm a lot, this week I’m reverting back to a cheap old school alarm in the next room so I have to get up to turn it off. A few bad mornings last week don’t need to define the coming week and other than trying to make a few small adjustments to improve my morning routine I don’t need to do anything crazy.

Do the basic things really well

How are you feeling about your nutrition right now?

It’s really tempting when you aren’t feeling on top of things to look for radical solutions. But what we really want to do at times like that are revisit the basics.

If you’re currently feeling a bit lost think about

– Your TDEE

– Macros / proteins

– Your calorie deficit

– Your habits and anchors that make you feel better

Remind yourself of the most important principles.

You don’t need to drastically cut calories or change what you’re eating just remind yourself of the basics. Once they are in place you can think about more in depth aspects of your nutrition, but until then you will likely be sabotaging your own results by ignoring the foundations in an attempt to build the house quicker.

Do the Basics Well

Successful people do the basics well and consistently

Sometimes it’s easy to look at things and think- they’re too simple there must be more to it than that. The reason I’m not getting the results I want isn’t that I’m eating too little or too much it must be how my body responds to certain foods… and so on.

Now the truth is there are lots of variables to our health and fitness. But, you can take account of all these things and yet if you don’t nail the basics it won’t be effective.

Think of your fitness and nutrition like levels in a game- to get to level two you must master level one. Each level acts as a foundation for the next level. You’ll often hear of things like the nutrition pyramid – that’s the same concept, you need to establish a solid base (in nutrition that’s getting your energy balance right as we discussed yesterday) before looking at macro and micro nutrients, meal timings or supplements will be useful- you basically don’t want to build on a shoddy base!

It’s human nature for us to want to look into the specifics, the idea that little tweaks will be the things that makes everything fall into place for us is tempting. But it’s the little tweaks at the basic level that will first make the difference. Once you’ve cracked those then feel free to move onto looking at the specifics of what and when you eat if you still want to- although you might find that you feel less of a need to.

Just Get Going

At the end of February (feels like a life time ago now) I travelled to Belfast to attend the Only Just media Summit.  This was just as Corona Virus was starting to become a ‘thing’, before Social Distancing had become a ‘thing’ and the week that Northern Ireland had just had their first case.

The event was a full day of speakers, all experts in their fields, talking to a room full of bloggers, Vloggers, content creators and brands.  My plan immediately after the event was to write some blogs on the speakers and my key takeouts.  Life then got in the way, CoronaVirus exploded and took up all my time at work and this idea got left in the notes section of my phone.  Until now.

Today is the first blog of ten where I want to outline my key take outs for the day.

Why?  To be honest it’s probably multipurpose (like that kind of cleaning product you but to clean the kitchen and bathroom if like me you are not a ‘Mrs. Hincher’.  Partly I think it will help me solidify the key points I took away from the day, because although I’ve not written about them here until now I have started to take action.  But also because I think you as the reader could also benefit from these takeouts.  You might not be interested in branding or social media or content creation but some of the ideas I took away could just be useful for your approach to your job or you life in general.

So introductions over today’s blog will focus on the talk given by Cody Wanner, a YouTube content creator for Pennsylvania, USA.

Cody talked about how he got started with Vlogging and creating a YouTube channel and providing lots of tips for budding Vloggers, but for me they were not only relevant for Vlogging, they are key mindset tips for whatever project your are currently working on or about to start.

Lesson 1 – If you have an idea – Just Get Started

This goes for everything.  You have a business idea, a hobby you want to try, a fitness goal to work towards.  You could wait forever, for the perfect time, perfect conditions, this to happen, that to happen, to have spare cash, to get Christmas out the way, the list goes on.  But the sooner you start the nearer to that goal you.  It doesn’t have to be the perfect plan, things could go wrong or change along the way, but ideas themselves do nothing.  Successful people are the ones with the most creative ideas, they are the ones who act upon their ideas.  Which leads me to lesson two.

Lesson 2 – Let go of perfect

You don’t need to have the perfect conditions or be super polished.  You can get started and let things evolve.   See what works and build on that, see what doesn’t and learn from it.  This blog wasn’t like this at the start, I wrote about different things and as I learnt, I changed my content, but had I kept my writing unpublished at the start it would never have evolved, I needed the feedback, the ideas, to know what people liked to read about.  Same with my podcast.  I’m much newer to Podcasting than blogging.  My podcast is still very rough around the edges, but only by publishing it can I learn to make it better each time and find my style.  Waiting for the right time or when you think you’ll do something well reduces the chance that you will ever do it well, because it’s the practice that helps make perfect right?  By the way this includes your fitness goals.  Are you planning on doing that class once you’ve lost a few pounds?  Waiting to be a certain size or shape to do something that would actively help you get to that size or shape is utterly bonkers when you think about it logically.  Stop waiting for the right conditions and just get started whatever that looks like right now/.

Lesson 3- Consistency is better than perfection, in all walks of life.

So from lesson two, if we aren’t looking for perfect what are you looking for?  Consistency.  One amazing blog, post, podcast, Vlog will not establish you in your field or as an expert or the go to person. Consistently useful content can. One excellent result at work won’t establish you as a vital part of the team.  Consistent good work will.  People like people they can rely on and trust, in all walks of life.  So be the person who produces consistent results or content with a consistent message.  Do that and it won’t matter if sometimes you have a technical hitch.  Content really is more important than what it’s wrapped up in.  Beyond social media, think about your fitness goals or diet.  Maintaining your routine most of the time will always produce better results than being perfect for a few days then going spectacularly off the rails.

Lesson 4 – Focus on connection and engagement

An amazing piece of content is all well and good but people will lose interest if you never engage with them.  We naturally interact more with people we feel connected to, who share our ideas and views or engage in debate.  So whatever job you have, whether you want to grow a brand online or just be more effective in the office, focus on the quality of your engagement with people, how you make people feel and what you can offer them instead of take and you should see an improvement in the outcome of your interactions.

Lesson 5 – Authenticity is important

Finally, be you.  You can shift and shape how you convey your message depending on who you are talking to to help it sit better with that audience, but your overall message should always sit within your values and be comfortable for you, it will come across more effectively.

So in summary my take out from this talk was, to improve your success in whatever field you are thinking about:  Take action however messy it may be to start with, be consistent and be you.