Scaling Back To Sustain Forward Progress
December 3, 2022 // Uncategorized
Give yourself permission to coast over the next 4 weeks into the New Year.
In the fitness and nutrition world(s), there are a few keywords that define the success (or failure) of any health routine.
When evaluating any fitness program, the determining factor of the probable success is the sustainability of the routine for that specific individual.
Client: “Mike, what’s the best workout to lose weight?”
Me: “The one that is the most sustainable for your current abilities, lifestyle and schedule.”
When evaluating the effectiveness of any fitness/nutritional pursuit, the determining factor is the measured consistency of the prescribed input(s).
Client: “Mike, what’s the secret to burning fat?”
Me: “Being consistent with managing your total calorie intake with a reasonable deficit relative to your body’s needs.”
When a fitness and/or nutritional pursuit is not sustainable, there tends to be a vulgar internal dialogue that occurs at a moment of weakness: “f*ck it”
At the moment when an individual hears themselves say “f*ck it”, the very next action is likely going to undermine their consistency to whatever health routine they follow.
Client: “Mike, how do I stay on track during the holidays?”
Me: “Be realistic with your expectations, go in with a plan that allows you to coast and take a breath before making a knee-jerk reaction when you hear yourself say ‘f*ck it‘.
There are two specific moments when “f*ck it” tends to be said the most frequently:
- The moment when you are about to have a drink (or the next one)
- The moment when you are staring at a delicious dessert/treat
And, it just so happens that these two specific moments occur the most frequently around the holidays (especially in the winter months). Hence the infamous winter hiatus that many take from their regular health and wellness routines.
“I’ll pick it back up after the New Year” is the common internal solution, which can quickly yield a full abandonment of all structure and healthy habits that extends well past January 1st.
There’s a better way to handle this.
Instead of hitting the brakes and abandoning all habits that you’ve sustained for months, try coasting.
Coasting is just that.
You give yourself permission to scale back, slow down a bit and lower your expectations.
It’s all accounted for. And it works.
The difference between a winter hiatus and coasting is that a hiatus is a hard stop from everything, while coasting is still productive and consistent, just at a lesser threshold.
Knowing that the next few weeks include more socialization, more parties, more celebrations, more time commitments and more temptations, this the perfect time to shift to a lower gear and coast.
To coast, select a few components of your regular routine and make them non-negotiable. I recommend whatever gives you the most bang for your buck (since it’ll give you the greatest ROI).
Which component(s) of your current fitness and nutritional routines are you willing to schedule and stick to regardless of any commitments each week?
Next, set parameters before indulging into your drinks and/or desserts.
How many are you allowing yourself to have this week? What’s your number?
Lastly, set your realistic expectations on the maximum weight you’ll allow yourself to gain.
What is the number on the scale you’re willing to live with at the beginning of January?
Non-Negotiables, Parameters & Realistic Expectations.
That’s the basis of coasting.
Here’s how I started coasting for December beginning this weekend:
Non-Negotiables: Daily Walk (minimum 3 miles), Morning CARs, Weight Training (minimum of 1 exercise at a high intensity to failure), Daily Intake of 5L of Water
(I temporarily reduced my expectations with my Zone 2 cardio and mobility training. If I can fit either of these into my day, that’s a bonus for me).
Paramaters: Maximum 3 drinks within a calendar week (I had two this past Thursday and will likely have one tomorrow) and maximum 1 dessert within a calendar week (I split one with friends this past Wednesday)
Realistic Expectations: 3# of Weight Gain by January 1 (If I see I reached this weight gain before January 1st, I will reduce my indulgences by half)
The best part of my plan?
No surprises. I’m in control.
Contingencies that allow me to enjoy, celebrate and indulgence without guilt and within the boundaries that I selected.
This is how I win on all fronts.
And after that first week in January, when I revert back to my normal routine(s), it’s more than likely that my weight and leanness will set itself back to my default physique in no time.
Your body is a byproduct of your consistent inputs, so the more you can sustain your consistency, even if it means reducing your expectations, you are in control.
So take a few minutes and plan your coast into the final holiday(s) of 2022.
You’ll be proud of yourself starting early January 2023.
Happy Holidays & a Healthy New Year!