Macros & training, let's talk about them... A common trend I have identified with most people beginning their training or nutrition journey is their focus on massive changes in short periods. Trying to uproot their entire lifestyle in the blink of an eye, thinking this will lead to massive and lasting changes in their health and physique towards
You'll hear it all the time from someone going 0 to 100 in an instant, "I've given up carbs, no more fast food, no more sugar, I quit soft drinks, no more takeaway." These are not inherently wrong, as they tend to be much more palatable and easier to consume in the sense of calories. The problem is much more than that, in my opinion.
People often fail to comprehend with this method that what they achieve is near impossible to sustain, and isn't that the point for it?
Now for some, like myself who competitively present our physiques on a stage, there are periods where we aggressively limit caloric intake and suppress things like social lives to achieve the desired outcome. If you're just a regular gym-goer or someone
trying to start this lifestyle, going in on that from the get-go is a sure-fire way to struggle, quit, or fail. The idea is to build the lifestyle up to executing and nailing your goals, not trying to shift everything all at once, and wondering why your life feels miserable. This is an approach I take a long time to build up with new clients and get them accustomed to some fundamental consistencies before we take on massive shifts or goals. Seek to set up the life you want so it falls in place, not drastically alter everything on a single swoop of external motivation.
Start With The Lowest Hanging Fruit
A simple example is if you haven't trained 6 days a week for 6-12 months straight, what makes you think randomly going from zero to 6 days a week is a logical approach. That equates to a 600% increase in your workout volume and load without correlating actual reps or sets. So, looking at total days of exercise a week, from 0-6, is an illogical decision. The focus should be on what we call the 'lowest-hanging fruits'. This is the same for lifestyle changes, nutritional adjustments, training programs, and commitments. The easiest fruits to pick from the tree are the lowest hanging first. Then, we can reach higher for the taller parts of the tree.
Let's lay out an example to better understand this idea...
Instead of saying, "Hey, on Monday, I'm starting my diet, increasing my protein, and cutting out any treats, I'm going to wake up at 5 am every day and train 2 hrs a day, 6 days a week."
Why not identify some more minor changes you can make to existing habits and build from that. I know I need to get more protein in, so I will aim to have a protein source at every meal, regardless of numbers or macros. I really want to build some muscle or drop some body fat. So I'll find a gym and aim to get there 4 times a week. Although my job is really stressful at the moment, I might start 2-3 times a week and see how that goes. Maybe a coach or PT can help me learn more in a shorter
period to get my knowledge higher.
Or, "I need to increase my veg consumption, so I'm going to use frozen packs for lunch and dinner, maybe a salad with my protein source for morning tea." You see; It doesn't matter what veg or salad it is, you don't have to cut out flavours and sauces. The easier step to build a habit around this is simply to include it with what you are already doing.
If training 3-4 times a week is too time-consuming in the short term for yourself, see what other activities you can add to your day to improve your overall activity or movement. For example, add an extra walk around the block daily, take a lunchtime walk from the office, and walk your pet when possible. These minor steps and changes should have a minimal impact on your current lifestyle. Then they become less mentally exhausting to implement from the get-go.
Sleep Is The Easiest Element To Keep Us Consistent
The biggest one I find people struggle with the most is sleep and being consistent with rest. So by optimizing these sorts of things, and becoming more efficient with your exercise, nutrition, and work-life, we may open up more time to sleep effectively.
If you are someone that games around the clock or goes out only to get 4 hours of sleep a night and then goes to work, it's a good idea to start with smaller lifestyle adjustments to consistently achieve it and build habits.
An easy option here is to add 15-30 mins per day per week. If you only get 6 a night, let's aim for 6.5 hrs sleep, then 7, and so forth. The goal is to build these habits and systems over time, and optimize your lifestyle so as to sustain any results or programs you achieve. When you go all or nothing with no prior lifestyle established to sustain the course or maintain the results, you increase the likelihood of falling off. One of my favourite quotes is; "we fall to our weakest systems, not our biggest goals."
When Things Get Hard
When things get hard, let's be honest if you've never done 1200 calories a day and sustained that for 6-8-10 weeks if you've never progressively trained to a 6-day program, it will get Fkn hard. The chances of you falling back to a pantry of snacks or take out cause you're short on time and all the things you were absolutely certain about never doing again goes through the roof.
The idea should be to make the easiest possible improvement options and seek to progress on them. You don't need to cut out your favourite foods. You may just need to make smarter choices around them. Perhaps once a week, not never, maybe only an entrée and dinner, not a 4-course meal when eating out. Perhaps a 3-day program and enhancing your sleep health before worrying about the world's best 6-day-a-week weight program you probably can't even do anyway.
The lowest hanging fruit and the minimal effective dose is the easiest way to get started. Rome didn't just start out as the social centre of the bronze age it was paved brick by brick, emperor by the emperor until it became the monumental force we know it was. The same must be said for your adjustment to fitness, health, or physique-based goal. The overwhelming pressure and challenge of changing every aspect of your life are not helping you. It is, in fact, making it more challenging to sustain or even achieve. Make the smallest possible changes and seek to pick your lowest hanging fruit first, then progress from there. Always think, what's the smallest possible change I can make to my lifestyle that will yield a large return on my goal.
A quick take home that I always get people to start with… move fully flavoured drinks to diet versions. Pepsi to Pepsi Max, cordial to diet-rite, etc. I promise you it's a far more sustainable means of approach.
From there, you can seek to make larger improvements. Take our macro course and learn to better understand nutrition, perhaps so you can control more of your physique goals.
If you want to learn more, improve faster, or build your dream physique, don't hesitate to reach out to us. Coaching spots are available, and we are more excited than you will be to push you towards those goals, starting with your lowest hanging fruits.
Purpose, consistency, intensity.