At Sleekgeek, we’re BIG fans of habits.
For some people, being active, fit and healthy comes more easily to them than it does for others because they have built the right habits.
When something becomes a habit, it’s easier to do and requires less effort, freeing you up to focus on other more important things in life.
This is how we feel health and fitness should be: Do-able, repeatable, sustainable. It should make your life better and more enjoyable, not more complicated and stressful.
Why workout plans suck:
(for most people, most of the time.)
Workout plans and clear-cut diets are great for short-term change and temporary results, but they are almost always unsustainable.
Rigid plans are designed for “perfect conditions”.
The times when life is going well, everything is on track, and you are motivated to put in the work… Great!
But what happens when life gets “messy” (as it always does)?
You know what we mean:
- When you’re running low on sleep.
- When there aren’t enough hours in the day.
- When you get invited to unexpected plans with the in-laws.
- When your job is on the line.
- When your family’s needs are more urgent than your own.
- When everything is just spinning out of control.
Even the perfect and most effective workout plan is useless if you can’t stick to it.
You’re either “on” or “off”.
There’s usually very little “in between” or compromise.
Furthermore, when you can’t stick to your perfect plan perfectly, you end up feeling like a failure.
To us, that’s CRAZY! If your workout plan calls for 4 workouts a week and you only manage to do 3, you’re definitely not a failure.
Something is better than nothing.
Maybe the old you wouldn’t even do 1 workout a week, in which case 3 workouts a week is actually a massive success!
Or maybe the old you did workout 4 times a week, but the old you wasn’t smart about it and ended up getting injured or burned out. If the new you now works out more intelligently or sustainably, then that’s a huge win too!
This journey is not about being perfect, it’s about being better than you used to be.
Adjust the Dial:
A core strategy that we teach in the Sleekgeek Coaching Program is called “adjusting the dial”.
You think of your health and fitness efforts as an adjustable dial.
- When life is going well and you want to put in more effort, you dial your efforts up a notch.
- When life is getting a bit messy and you want to make sure that you can juggle everything that is going on, you dial your efforts down a notch (or even 2).
By making small adjustments as the conditions of your life changes, you’re able to keep moving forward and making progress rather than getting stuck or falling off the wagon.
For example, here is an illustration from Precision Nutrition on ways that you might adjust the dial of your movement and exercise efforts:
Adjust the dial scenario 1:
Imagine that you are currently extremely sedentary and doing no exercise at all (let’s say 0 out of 10 on the dial)…
- Suddenly ramping things up to a 7 out of 10 on the dial (4 gym workouts per week and a hike on the weekend) is a BIG jump and likely to be unsustainable for long.
Adjust the dial scenario 2:
Imagine that you’ve slowly worked your way up to being a 7 out of 10 on the dial (4 gym workouts per week and a hike on the weekend)…
- “Falling off the wagon” and dropping down to doing no physical activity (0 out of 10) just because life is not going so well is also an unnecessarily BIG jump and a lot of lost opportunity for movement.
What could be done differently?
The better strategy for that first scenario would be to adjust the dial up from a 0 to a 1 or 2 by parking a bit further from the office or taking the stairs rather than the elevator. These would be small changes that you can sustain and they will prepare you physically for the next stages coming up.
The better strategy for the second scenario would be to adjust the dial down from a 7 to a 3 or 4 by doing shorter more do-able workouts so that you have more time and energy to deal with whatever isn’t going so well in other areas of your life.
Be More “Always Something”:
Earlier we spoke about being “all-or-nothing”.
Well, the opposite of that is to be more “always something”.
No matter what’s going on in your life, you need to have daily habits that help you get some kind of movement in every single day.
Habits that you can adjust up or down depending on how life is going.
3 Daily Movement Habits:
The 3 Daily Movement Habits that we recommend you try to build into your lifestyle are:
- Sitting less (read more).
- Walk more (read more).
- Do “something” active.
We’ll be publishing more on this and Sleekgeek’s guidelines around movement and exercise soon.
But in the meantime, think about how you might be able to sit a little bit less and walk a little bit more than usual.
Also, think about how you can go out of your way do at least one active thing every day of your choice. It doesn’t need to be perfect or the most optimal choice. It just needs to be better than nothing. Bonus points if it’s something that you enjoy.