Basics Pt. 3. Consistency: Breakfast, Seatbelts and Cigarettes
Coach Dan John wrote something about how people are always asking him for the lastest advice. What are the great new exercises? What is the hippest advice on what and when to eat? He would ask them if they ate breakfast, wore their seatbelt or smoked cigarettes. His reasoning was that if you’re not eating breakfast, wearing your seatbelt, or if you smoke, the rest of it kind of doesn’t matter all that much. These things are the basics. These things are what constitutes the foundation of a healthy life. If you don’t do these things you are starting from a deficit. I might be paraphrasing here, but that’s the gist of it.
Too often we are looking for the latest and greatest without realizing that there really isn’t a latest and greatest the vast majority of the time. Most of what works has worked for a very long time with only a few exceptions. Yes, there are exceptions, but even those are usually reserved for very specific situations and goals. Generally speaking there are just a few rules that we all need to follow no matter what our goals are and, if you don’t follow them, the latest and greatest diet/workout/exercise won’t make much difference.
For the next few days I’m going to expound a little on these basic rules, which means, Yes! The long awaited return of the very popular Basics series! You can go here and here for the first two parts. Here we go!
Basically, each workout or meal is just a “drop in the bucket” in the long run, but do this: put a bucket under your bathtub spicket and just let the spicket drip slowly into the bucket. At first you can’t even see each drop of water in the bucket. Come back a couple hours later. What do you see now?
What does this mean in terms of the gym and nutrition?
It means that every time you go to the gym you give a strong effort. You don’t work real hard on your bench press and then slack on your squats.
It means that you go to the gym on a consistent basis. Don’t go four times one week and only once the next. You can’t make gains that way.
It means that once you commit to a program you stick to it. When gains are made, they usually come so gradually they are hard to notice (like each drop in the bucket). The body isn’t designed to make major changes over short periods of time, despite what you see on The Biggest Loser. Just because you don’t see noticeable gains, doesn’t mean they’re not happening.
It means that you have a good, sustainable diet. Telling yourself that you can never eat pie again probably isn’t sustainable if you really love pie, but telling yourself you can eat some on a Saturday night as a reward for the consistently good meals you’ve eaten the rest of the week is. Again, the one piece of pie is only a drop in the bucket and is fine as long as the rest of the drops are good quality meals.
I hope that you all understand what I mean. In reality all of this isn’t that hard. Consistency will just happen automatically when you make a commitment to yourself to live a healthy lifestyle. You will become someone who eats well, schedules their gym time, and does good work when you get there. Basically, when you truly make the mental shift and start, the rest kind of takes care of itself.
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