Archive for September, 2011
A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook, “Choose one, the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. And tell me why…”
This was an easy one for me to answer, because I talk to my clients about this all of the time. Here was my response:
“The pain of discipline is short-lived and is without regret, but the pain of regret can last forever”
The next time you find yourself making a decision about what to eat, think about how that food is going to make you feel afterward. Better yet, ask yourself if that meal will help get you to your goal, or will it hold you back? It is amazing what we will do to sabotage our own efforts, wants, needs, and goals for something that is so insignificant you will never remember it. What did you eat at your business meeting 2 months ago? What was your late night snack last Tuesday? Do you now wish that you would have gone with a healthier choice?
What has been holding you back from achieving your fitness goals? Business goals? Personal goals? Write it down. Seriously! Go grab a pen and write down what it is that you need to change. If you don’t, you will start feeling the pain of regret set in the next time you think about your goal and how you blatantly put it off. Now act on your goal. Do just one thing that you know you have been putting off or not putting enough effort into. I promise you that the feeling you will get after some time is put in will far outweigh the pain of discipline!
I get a lot of questions surrounding this topic. What is a plateau? How do I avoid plateaus? I hit a plateau; how do I get through it?
Put simply, a plateau is a speed bump in your progress that feels like a dead-end. Whether you are trying to build muscle or lose fat, this can be very frustrating. In my opinion, “plateau” is also a word that is WAY overused! People think that they hit plateaus all the time, but this is not necessarily the case. Just because the number on the scale isn’t moving, doesn’t mean that you hit a plateau (are not getting results).
That brings me to the first problem: over-diagnosis. I don’t know about you, but my weight fluctuates by multiple pounds every day. If I consume too much salt or don’t drink enough water to flush out extra salt, my weight goes up. Women: you know what this is like. Every 4 weeks you have a few days where the last thing you want to see is a scale! Right?! People, this is normal! So why weigh yourself every day if your weight can fluctuate so easily? Doing this is just asking for disappointment. Keep the weigh-ins to 1x per week, MAXIMUM! Also, weigh yourself in the morning before breakfast, ideally after a bowel movement. Also very important- don’t weigh yourself after a “not normal” day (heavy drinking, ate way more than normal, didn’t eat enough, ran a marathon, etc…) Doing this is just asking for an inaccurate reading on the scale that can result in several outcomes:
- Weigh in lighter than you are, which means you will not show favorable results the following week.
- Weigh in heavier than you are, which means you will ask your husband if you look fat, then get mad at ANY answer that he comes up with
Method of measurement:
Is the scale the only thing you are doing to check your progress? This is very common and is a HUGE mistake! Results should never be measured by only one form measurement. Circumference measurements as well as monthly picture can be a great way to check progress. Most people now know that muscle weighs more than fat, right? The idea of being happy that you lost or gained a certain amount of weight doesn’t make much sense if you are not sure that you are gaining muscle, or losing fat.
Plateau as a Scapegoat:
Do you measure and log your daily food intake? Are you consistent day in and day out with your workouts? Are you pushing yourself as hard as you used to with your workouts? Are you still refraining from alcohol when you hang out with friends? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you have not hit a plateau, YOU ARE JUST SLACKING!!! Be honest with yourself. Plateaus are not common and can usually be explained. If something is missing from your program, replace it. If you are not as dedicated to a part of your program, get back on it!
How to get through a plateau:
Ok, so you hit a plateau. You are having a hard time losing more fat: this is why it is so important to log your food. It is easy to go back through your notes to see what can be changed. Check to see what, if anything, has changed. If you notice that something is in your diet that wasn’t there before, get rid of it and see what happens. You can also start eliminating one type of food at a time until you notice a change in how you are feeling and notice that the fat has started coming off again. This will occasionally happen with dairy, as well as wheat gluten, even soy!
You are having a hard time gaining muscle: when is the last time you switched up your rep ranges, weights used, tempo, rest periods? Are you only doing isolation exercises or are you incorporating compound movements? Are you measuring and logging your food? If not, how do you know you are getting enough fuel to your muscles to allow them to grow? Are you getting enough sleep? Enough rest days?
Here is the bottom line: the possibility of hitting a plateau means that you are trying to achieve a goal. Hitting fitness goals can be tough, especially if it is a big goal. Be honest with yourself. If you know that you are not doing everything that you can, ask yourself why. Maybe it is time to re-commit to your program. Maintenance is easy, and you have that to look forward to. For now, though, show yourself what you are capable of. Prove to yourself what you know is possible. Be consistent. Be disciplined. Hit your goal because you know you deserve it.