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Enemies of Consistency: Overwhelm – How to Start Off on the Right Foot

One of the biggest culprits of causing overwhelm is simply starting from the wrong place, and assuming you are better at things than you are (which is a very common human condition by the way – it’s not just you). This leads to taking on more than you’re actually capable of changing in a long-term way.

Most diets and quick fixes focus on higher level strategies, while ignoring the underlying fundamentals that help create sustainable change (I’m thinking of things like carb or calorie cycling, or even individualizing macros).

When I’m working with clients I try to cut through the noise and simplify it right away. I do this by exploring their existing skills and habits with them, and putting their goals in the context of those skills.

It’s sort of like triage. I’m essentially checking their skills and goals against three different “levels” of complexity.

As I’m working through this process I follow a pretty basic rule: don’t level someone up until the fundamentals are consistent.

Big Hint #1: almost everyone, even serious amateur athletes, are a level 1 (myself included).

Here are some (not all) level 1 criteria I work through with clients. Feel free to use it for yourself. Do you struggle with:

– Food choices like eating too many processed foods, drinking too much alcohol or sugar-sweetened drinks, or not eating enough nutritious whole foods?
– Eating behaviors like eating too quickly while distracted, recognizing your hunger cues, or using food to manage your feelings?
– Exercise and activity, such as getting in enough regular exercise, or the flip-side, overtraining?
– Recovery, such as getting enough sleep, and incorporating recovery activities like yoga and massage?
– Life skills like basic food prep skills, shopping and reading labels, or avoiding impulse choices due to being “too busy” or “too rushed”?
– Mindset and psychology issues such as all-or-nothing thinking, a fixed mindset, or busyness and stress?
– Environment issues such as an environment that requires too much “willpower” and mental strength to stay on track, or an unsupportive social network (family, friends, coworkers, etc.)?

Those are all level 1 problems (and that’s just some of them). If you’re checking all the boxes here and are at least 75-80% consistent, then you may be ready to jump up a level, but even that may be temporary.

The complexity, extra work, and physical demands of higher levels often make it a shorter-term strategy geared around a specific event or competition.

In really general terms, I break it down like this:

Level 1: General health, wellness, and performance. The fundamentals that really drive health and wellbeing.
Level 2: High level recreational and amateur athletes who want to improve body composition and athletic performance beyond what level 1 approaches can do.
Level 3: Elite/professional athletes and physique competitors who really need to alter body composition in specific, and seasonal ways.

Like I said, 95% of people are level 1 and will be fine just staying there.

Big hint #2 – if you have at some point felt overwhelmed by the changes you’re trying to make, you’re probably trying to do too much, too soon. You’re reaching past where you’re at, and need to get back to the basics.

It’s not flashy. Starting small and moving slowly can even feel a bit boring at times, but…

The fundamentals drive the results and give you a place to fall back to when life gets crazy.

Admittedly “fundamentals” have never been a super sexy thing which is why they don’t get talked about much. No one likes practicing simple, practical skills. But I’ll tell you what, even NBA all-stars started out doing simple drills. They didn’t get there overnight…it took them years!

So here’s the deal (and the challenge). Take a solid 30-60 minutes and critically evaluate where you’re at. Level this up by bringing in a trusted friend or spouse who truly knows you well. What level are you at? What areas do you struggle with most?

Then, take a good look at what may be your biggest limiters may be and work towards finding a small, behavioral solution that you can start with and grow as you go.

Example: taking at least 20 minutes to eat slowly, and mindfully at one meal each day (so you can dial into your hunger cues and adjust your total caloric intake).

You can then work that up to two meals or more as you feel more confident and competent.

If you do this, I’d love to hear how you shake out in the comments below!

Interested in Learning More About Our Coaching?

We’ve got two great options for you. You can either jump right in with a free, 30-60 minute consultation, or try us out for two weeks at no cost (or obligation) to you. Either option is a great way to dive in, learn more, and see if our coaching is a good fit for you.

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Supertip #1: How to Nail Your Daily Hydration

Proper, consistent hydration is crucial to successful weight loss and performing at your best. Today’s video covers a quick tip to help you make sure you nail it on the daily. For those of you who would rather read, here is the run down:

1) Grab your go-to water bottle. Anything works. Carry it with you as often as possible. This helps remove any hurdles, both mental and physical that may be holding you back.

2) Measure. If you don’t already know how much it holds, measure it using a pyrex container or anything else that is graduated in ounces.

3) Do some math. Take your daily intake goal (lets say it’s 80 ounces) and divide your the volume of your container into that amount (let’s assume 20 ounces for a result of 4).

4) Grab some rubber bands (4 in this example) and stick them at the bottom of the bottle. Whenever you finish a bottle, move a band up to indicate your progress. These rubber bands will serve both as a visual and physical reminder of your progress throughout the day.

5) Establish a time each day to check in on progress. I usually do this around midday and try to be half way to my goal. If I’m not, I take action right away to get back on track. Don’t wait to take action.

Need help figuring out how much you should be drinking on a daily basis?

Rules of thumb are okay, but to really dial it in to your body type, activity level and environment, reach out to us and we can assist you in setting the right goals for your hydration.

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Bathroom Scale

A Day in the Life: Why You Shouldn’t Look at the Scale Every Day

A Day in the Life is a series of real, honest sneak peaks into the lives of our coaches and athletes as they wrestle with the same type of things you do.

It’s common advice that you will hear across the health industry: don’t look at the scale every day. Let me tell you something – I’m pretty bad at following that piece of advice. Recently I started several of my clients on a zig-zag approach to managing their caloric intake. I decided I’d dial up the discipline a notch and join them, especially since I’d like to train and race at a lighter weight for next year. It’s been awhile! I can’t remember being consistently this hungry for a long time. Then again I can’t remember the last time my weight really fluctuated very much, either. Hmmm. Funny how that works. Needless to say, I am jumping-out-of-my-skin excited for my re-feed day tomorrow.

A few things I’ve noticed so far (it’s day 3):

1) Our bodies are excellent at maintaining their set points (normal weight). For me that is right around 180-185 pounds. When I don’t make a conscious decision to establish some discipline with my diet, my body finds a way to get back to energy balance and maintain that weight. Consciously choosing to be disciplined and to have a plan are huge.

2) Along those lines, I recently wrote about establishing an abundance mentality instead of a scarcity mentality and how powerful that can be. When paired with having a plan, that saved me from pounding a package of Oreos during those tough parts of the day. I was able to think about my re-feed day (tomorrow, day 4) and push through the afternoon/evening gnawing in my stomach without faltering. Choose an abundant mindset – positive thoughts are powerful thoughts.

3) I recently decided I have nerd problems. My Garmin 910XT decided to end its life last week so I had to give Garmin a call. As usual their customer service was excellent and they kindly issued an RMA and replaced it for me out of warranty (thank you). But, I don’t get the replacement until they receive my old watch and then they send out the new one so I’ve been without my trusty device for about a week now (Garmin addicts are gasping, I know). I’ve discovered how much of a data-head I am and how much it ticks me off to not have it! I’ve had to relearn how to train without numbers always in front of me. Turns out I can hit run splits pretty consistently without a watch. Unplug every once in awhile. It’s not so bad.



4) Along those lines, I am also pretty bad at following my own advice of not looking at the scale daily. Today was a solid reminder of why. Typically I make the weight checking routine as standardized as possible: right after I wake up, take care of bodily business, and before any food or water. I’m always wearing the same amount of clothing. There is very little variance. Today, however, I got my butt out of bed early for a nice run with friends. I ate a small breakfast, drank some Powerboat Perform and had a good chunk of water after the run. I came back expecting to jump on the scale and see the rewards of my discipline (read: constant state of being hungry) only to find a number higher than yesterdays. That sucks. I was bummed, angry and in disbelief all at the same. I was sure the scale was broken. Until I cross-referrence another scale and found out it wasn’t. Drat! After a few minutes I came to and realized that between the additional food and water, I probably had an additional 2-3 pounds on me that I don’t usually have when I weigh in. Two lessons: weigh yourself the same way every time and do not obsess over it and check every day otherwise you will see weird fluctuations and get bummed out.

5) Even though I unplugged, I am super pumped about the new Garmin 920XT and will be like this when I can grab it at my local shop.

Jack Sparrow Garmin Meme


That’s all for today. See you all on the flipside!

-Coach Shawn

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