In every type of change we make, we must first reflect on the where we truly are. We have to really know where we are in order to find out where to go from there. One of the worst ways to start a transformation or positive change is to lie to the person in the mirror.
In my experience, something very common among men that have fallen out of fitness is having a hard time admitting how far they really are from their best shape. It IS very easy to say, “I was one of the strongest guys in my high school, I just need to get back in the gym a few weeks and I’ll be better”. It’s NOT very easy to say, “I was one of the strongest guys in high school and now I might be one of the weaker guys at the local gym”. But, making a change isn’t easy. So we need to pick the uphill road that would give us the better view once we reach it.
Now, I’m sure that a lot of former athletes really aren’t that far out of shape. But being in that position puts you at an even tougher spot. Because you feel like you aren’t really that out of shape, you may lack the urgency necessary to get back to being athletic. You may be able to talk yourself into eating a little worse or doing a little less each day because you don’t think you are out of shape.
But let’s think about what that mindset does?
Say you get a job that makes you wake up an hour earlier than your previous job did. Your few first days would be rough, showing a constant grumpy expression before noon and desperately wanting a nap in the afternoon. But, over time, the waking up part becomes routine. However, if you only have to wake up early twice per month those two days would feel much like that first day of work. Because you haven’t built a routine your body would not make the proper adjustments needed. I use this analogy to point out that if you keep yourself in limbo between really out of shape and great shape you’re going to keep feeling that unwillingness to drive to the gym or start your workout because it hasn’t been made a routine yet.
The importance of building a routine
A very important part to point out is the amount of work it takes to actually maintain a level of athleticism. Research has shown that missing up to two weeks of workouts in a row can bring even trained individuals to back to the level they were at before starting a training program. A lot of professional athletes I work with don’t even know this information and tend to take more than two weeks off before they start training again in the off-season. What this means is that if I start a training program for one month and then take off two weeks straight, I will be shifting my strength levels back down closer to where they were when I first started the training program. This is like running up a hill halfway and then sliding down again only to try to climb the hill again later. I want you climb the hill once and enjoy the view at the top!
So here are a few actionable plans to make sure you check yourself throughout the process:
- Start by really reflecting on where you are to establish a starting point
- Then, using this starting point make an accurate, realistic goal of where you want to go and what you want to do at the end of 2018
- Build a routine by following workouts everyday, like the ones you can find posted on Instagram daily @AthleticAgain.
- Stick with a routine and climb the hill once, avoiding the halfway up halfway down pattern.