Are you an elite athlete? Are you a fitness model? Do you truly understand the sacrifices, time commitment, investment and discipline it takes to look like your fitness idol and guru? If your like me you live in the real world. You have a job that seems to keep you super busy. You have relationships that also demand your time and attention. You want to be fit, healthy and happy and walk around with your shirt off. You’ve made a commitment that this year will be the year that you finally get a six-pack, complete a marathon or whatever your fitness goal is. But then it happens (and it happens to everyone). The wheels fall off. We’ve been making progress, training regularly, getting stronger, getting leaner, getting faster and then…injury, workload increases, other responsibilities or commitments creep into our lives and our training takes a holiday. Sometimes is can just be a few days. Sometimes it can be a fortnight. And sometimes it can last for months or years and all those awesome results we started to see from healthy habits and regular exercise start to fade.
I’ve been training with moderate frequency and semi-professionally since I was fourteen. At times my training has been super intense and regimented. At times due to injury or workload it has been less so. There’s often a misconception that humans who work in the health and fitness industry do not understand what it’s like for our clients or people who are trying to establish healthier habits the daily struggle of finding time to train. We do. I’ve found over the years whether it’s due to study, work or another life event, there’s two types of roads to getting back into training. I like to refer to these as the ‘Tortoise and the Hare’ approach. The all or nothing approach (Hare) or ease back into training slowly working in increased intensity and frequency over time (Tortoise). For those unfamiliar with Aesop’s classic fable have a quick look here http://www.storyarts.org/library/aesops/stories/tortoise.html
The main thing is picking a route that will work for YOU. This depends entirely on your personality as well as what is realistic with your current lifestyle, training goals and commitment to actualisation of the change that you are trying to achieve. The fact of the matter is more research is coming out to highlight that taking a ‘Hare’ approach will not give you the results you are after in the long term. Fad diets, ‘X’ week challenges or fat-burning supplements, may give you short term ‘results’, however in the long-term will not make you a healthier or fitter human. I’ve included a link below for some additional reading from Scientific American https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/6-years-after-the-biggest-loser-metabolism-is-slower-and-weight-is-back-up/
Don’t get me wrong, five years ago, I was the Hare – always the all or nothing. I was on a high supplement, high intensity, under-calorie, high-calorie diet cycles. Training six days a week, in 24-hour facilities to get my workout in no matter what work or life had thrown at me. I had the will and the focus to train no matter what. And that worked. Over the last few years though is that a lot of success with clients and now myself is when I’ve started slower and built solid foundations and actionable strategies and gone from there. Based on the growing body of evidence and recent studies in training, the ‘Tortoise’ approach, as opposed to the ‘Hare’, is the main thrust of what I would like to share today. So, here are few ideas and tips I’ve picked up over the last fifteen years that have helped me get back into training with focus and intention when life has thrown up obstacles.