Sabotage. Whether we realize it or not, we sabotage ourselves every day. No one is immune to self sabotage, as we all do it to some degree or another. Some instances are very obvious, and others are more subtle and insidious.
The key to our success and our ability to reach our personal goals lies within our ability to limit the damage we do to ourselves on a daily basis. Here are a few of the key areas in which we sabotage ourselves daily: Our thoughts: We all have a dialogue in our own heads. It runs constantly, like the background noise/narration of our daily lives. For some, the sound of this internal voice is deafening. For others, they hardly know it exists. For me, I stop just short of having full blown conversations with myself as I walk around the house each day. This dialogue helps us sort out some of the toughest issues we face every day. It assists in making big-time life decisions, how to raise our children, etc. However, this dialogue plays a much larger role in our daily lives than we may realize. It creates the filter in which we see ourselves in the world.
Good and bad, It's the voice that shapes how we feel about ourselves each day, and is responsible for many of the results of those 50/50 decisions we make on a daily basis. Self sabotage starts here. Being aware of this voice, is one thing. Being in control of it, is completely another. As it pertains to our health and fitness, this dialogue can be the difference between showing up at the gym, or lying on the couch with a bag of potato chips resting on your chest watching Netflix (not that I would know anything about that). If you have ever thought these things, you might need to take another look at your internal dialogue:
- "I can hit the gym tomorrow, it's only Monday"
- "I walked up the stairs today instead of taking the elevator, I got my workout in"
- "I just need one more hour of sleep, I'll hit the gym later."
- "I ate a salad yesterday, and dinner wasn't THAT bad, I'll treat myself to cocktails tonight"
Read more about how to improve your internal dialogue here and here. Food We have all heard things like "abs are made in the kitchen" and "your diet is the key to your success". Per the discussion about internal dialogue above, I'm sure we have all said things like "yeah, well bacon tastes good...pork chops taste good..." in response. That aside, there is no doubt that the path to success is paved through the kitchen. So what are the most common areas of dietary sabotage:
- Not fully understanding what to eat and why: Getting started can be difficult, if you over-think it, or don't know where to begin. Learn about what your macronutrient needs are, use an app like Beyond the Whiteboard, or even better, My Fitness Pal to track your progress. Mark Sisson did a great job of breaking down the what and why here
- The "I'm bored" paradox: The thought that even with the entirety of the grocery store, farmers markets, and local producers available, we are relegated to eating only the same 3 items each day. Here is a good way to battle "boredom"
- Cheat Meals: Please, for the love of all that is holy, read this
- The "Everything in Moderation" fallacy: This is probably one of the more frustrating things we hear as coaches. True, we should strive to achieve balance in our dietary life. If, however, you find yourself in a situation where you are metabolically broken, overweight, diabetic, etc. and are in need of swinging the pendulum back the other way, you yourself, as a system, are out of balance. Thus, you will need to embark on a more strict protocol to right the ship. Soon enough you'll be able to get back to having the occasional sweet treat, cocktail, or pizza, but you are going to have to kick start things with a pretty strict first 30-40 days. Everyone has foods that can trigger overeating, understanding what these are, and their effects on your health is critical. Read more about this here.
- For the love of God...show up: I know how easy it is to push off today's workout onto tomorrow's to do list. Believe me. The best way to get results in the gym, is to actually be in the gym. Make your workout times regular, consistent, and SACRED. This removes the temptation to skip workouts that have movements you don't "like" in them and keeps you on a steady path of improvement. Not to mention, full classes are FUN!
- Don't cheat the reps or the movement: We all have movements we don't necessarily "enjoy" (burpees, for yours truly). The temptation to shave a rep here or there, or to maybe not get to full lock out because your tired, etc. comes up from time to time. That said, it's critical that you do each movement to the best of your ability, and do every rep. Failing to do so, just means you delay your own progress. Not to mention, you go home knowing deep down you didn't truly complete the task in front of you, and that can mess with the internal dialogue.
- Trust your Coach: We have seen you every time you've been in the gym since day one. We keep notes (mental and otherwise) on your progress. We also work very hard to make sure we are getting you the resources you need to be successful. If we say "go heavier", or "you got this" we actually believe it and know you're capable.
Sleep: Sleep is consistently overlooked as a critical element to your overall health and fitness. To put it bluntly...if you're not getting good sleep, you're wasting your time. 7-9 hours a night, of good, restorative sleep on a regular basis is critical. This is a blog post of its own (currently in progress). But I encourage each of you to make sleep your #1 priority for the next 7 days and see how you feel at the end of the week. Track not just your performance in workouts, but also how you felt, what was your mood, number of times you yelled at the kids or kicked at the dog for no reason...that stuff is all related to your sleep. A couple of quick sleep tips:
- Black out your room
- No TV/Electronics 1 hour before bed
- Keep your room cool
- No music or TV on while you sleep
- Go to the bathroom BEFORE you go to bed (as opposed to getting up during the night)
A comprehensive discussion of the importance of sleep can be found here...enjoy! In sum, try to identify the ways that you are sabotaging yourself, and put the solutions into action right away! You'll thank yourself for it, and see progress start to kick back up again. That's all for now...see you in the gym!
Cheers, Coach Shane