So, yesterday’s blog entry was heady, I know. But as I’ve said before, these posts are as much about me working through my stuff – getting it crystallized in my heart as they are about possibly helping someone else do the same.
But let’s take a turn for today.
I had a friend message me last:
Hey! So I’m trying to motivate myself to stay on my diet, and go to the gym other than my paid trainer sessions. Any advice?
So, I sent him this photo:
That’s me in the middle of shame eating a bag of Bridge Mix. (It was a rough day and I needed some comforting.)
He had been having a few rough days too and we’re both emotional/stress eaters. So, Solidarity, my brothers and sisters! ✊🏼✊🏼✊🏼
The first thing I told him was to:
Be more kind to yourself.
They call these “Fitness Journeys” for a reason. They’re journeys and as with all journeys, it’s the journey that’s important. The destination isn’t. You don’t suddenly arrive at fitness one day and say, “Hey, look, I found fitness!” You walk the path and become more fit along the way. That’s true whether you’re starting with a beer gut or 6-pack abs.
Everyday that you put in the work makes you one day more fit than the last. It’s the process of becoming the fittest version of yourself that’s important.
So, I asked him some clarifying questions and he relayed that he was in a gym class and that the trainer started with technique building and now he was increasing the intensity of the workouts. My impression was that my friend had lost interest in the classes and was struggling to build a program he could adhere to. He also confessed that he struggled to get to the gym when class wasn’t in session due to low energy.
I asked him what level of experience he had and he said he was a beginner.
My next advice to him was to make sure he attended those classes. Why?
As men, we tend to want to do it all on our own. And that attitude especially rolls over into the gym where testosterone is encouraged. The problem is, if you walk in the gym and start throwing weights around without a good foundation of technique you’re likely to walk out with an injury – sprained muscles, torn ligaments, slipped disks. And then where are you? Well, wherever you end up, you’re probably not back in the gym – for a few days, a few weeks, a few months, or even longer. Our bodies can take mere seconds to injury and sometimes a year to recover.
So, technique is your friend – your best friend.
Take the time to learn it and if your trainer is worth their weight in salt they’ll take their time to teach it.
The next thing we talked about was diet and while we didn’t go into much detail he said he was doing Intermittent Fasting (IF) on a 24/24 split.
Ok, so wow! That’s hardcore IF.
If you’re not familiar with the concept, intermittent fasting simply means that you have a designated window for eating and a window for fasting.
Because my friend is a stress eater like me, the 24 hours he was fasting probably caused his cortisol levels (the stress hormone) to skyrocket.
High cortisol levels means his body is storing as much fat as it can. So even as he was working out, his body was storing fat around his midsection.
I recommend an 16/8 or an 18/6 split. That means you fast for 16 hours (most of that time you’re sleeping) and then 8 hours reserved for eating.
For example: eat from 1:00 PM-8:00 PM then fast from 8:00 PM-1:00 PM the following day.
With these IF splits your get to eat every day so your body doesn’t freak out too badly when it is fasting. Low cortisol levels = less fat storage = a leaning of body = happy camper
There are a lot of ways we begymmers (gym beginners) can accidentally sabotage our own success. Trying too much at first, doing what the vets do…
You gotta learn to crawl before you can learn to walk and you have learn to walk before you can learn to run.
Heck, I’m guilty of it too. We all are.
My best advice to him and anyone else (including myself) is this:
Motivation will wax and wane. Dedication; however, shouldn’t be dependent upon your motivation or lack thereof. Some days you can’t wait to get your workout in. Some days it’s the last thing you want to do but you do it because you have a specific goal in mind. That’s your why.
Dedicate yourself to your WHY. Eat a balanced diet. Incorporate a reasonable IF schedule if you want to IF. Be patient when learning the technique because it’s soooo important. Enjoy one cheat day a week…then one cheat meal a week later due the road and dig into your workouts. Make your workouts fun. Make friends with your fellow gymbers. Ask for advice, and ask for their help. My rule is, if they don’t have on headphones, they’re available to help.
The last thing: if you want that hot body, you know to do the work. They don’t magically appear over night. They take years to craft sometimes. Love the body you’re in now so you can love it as it transforms. You won’t ever hate yourself into a body that you will love.