Who SAID that?
This one is for fun, folks, be forewarned. There also may be a little venting in the coming paragraphs, so kick back and enjoy it. But first…
In my upcoming October Mature Lifestyles article, I discuss the SAID principle. While I’ll briefly cover the topic of Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands here, I plan on giving more examples of how we adapt in the future, but let’s cover the basics.
The SAID principle, in short, states that you’ll change according to your activity (or lack thereof). For example:
- Lift heavy weights, you’ll improve muscular strength.
- Lift lighter weights, you’ll improve muscular endurance.
- Focus on cardio, you’ll improve your cardiovascular system.
- Eat a healthy diet and live a healthy lifestyle, you’ll improve your quality of life.
- Sit on your butt all day and eat Happy Meals, you won’t be so happy.
Nothing ground-breaking here. Merely the idea that how you train is how you gain. Your body is constantly adapting to the choices you make, the activities you partake in (or avoid), the nutrients you consume (or are deficient in), and so on.
Exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, get good rest and keep stress in check, you’ll feel and look great.
Skip too many workouts (or all of them), subsist off of fast food and drinks that you describe with a color (“I love purple“), brag about how you only get 4 hours of sleep every night, and live your life pissed off at everybody while never enjoying a thing, and…well…you probably don’t frequent this website much.
Got the idea? Good. Now let’s get into some specifics of exercise, food, rest, and stress.
I get asked, “What should I do?” by most wide-eyed new members at the gym. It’s easy to forget what it’s like. You’re new to the gym, you’re unsure of what to do, and you certainly don’t want to feel or look like an idiot doing Lord knows what on a machine. I’m a big believer in keeping things simple for everyone I work with. I used to do the exact opposite, seizing every opportunity to perform an information dump on an unsuspecting, innocent bystander.
“Well, first you have to take into consideration where you’re beginning. Have you ever worked out before? Do you like lifting weights? What kind of cardio shape are you in? How’s your diet looking these days? Getting enough protein? Too many carbs? What about fats? Saturated, mono and poly – oh, and how’s your omega 3 to omega 6 ratio? Would you prefer free weights or machines? Cable machines or the Cybex circuit? How many days per week would you like to workout, to begin with? Ummm. Ma’am? Are you aware that you have smoke coming out of your ears? Is that a common occurrence? Ma’am? Why are you grabbing that sharp, stabby thing? MA’AM????”
And so it went until I realized the best route is to merely find out the person’s comfort level and start simple. It does no good to unload Andy’s Wikipedia of Fitness Awesomeness onto an unwilling stranger. I’ve since learned and have, dare I say “adapted,” to working with clients in a much more efficient manner.
With that said, if you are new to a workout routine the absolute BEST thing you can do is….anything.
Go for a walk. Venture out into the weight lifting wilderness and see what you enjoy doing. Try some yoga or pilates. Give the machines a spin. Pick up some dumbbells. For the love of fitness, just get active. Stop overthinking it so much and just get out there. Don’t listen to anybody who tells you THIS IS THE BEST PROGRAM FOR YOU. Because they’re not you. You’re you, and only you will know what is best for you. Not ”
Go for a walk. Venture out into the weight lifting wilderness and see what you enjoy doing. Try some yoga or pilates. Give the machines a spin. Pick up some dumbbells. For the love of fitness, just get active. Don’t overthink it too much, and don’t listen to anybody who tells you THIS IS THE BEST PROGRAM FOR YOU. Because they’re not you. You’re you, and only you will know what is best for you. Not “Gymbo the fitness master,” even if he has the best Instagrams around.
Simply getting active and forcing your body to adapt to a new habit of sweat and exertion will cause your body to change. You’ll lose weight, you’ll feel better, and you’ll want more. Stick to the basics until you start to plateau. Then switch it up to a new set of basics and stick with those for awhile longer. The biggest thing to focus on for the new gym-goer is to find those exercises, trainers, groups, and activities that challenge you but that still make it fun. Period.
“I don’t eat breakfast. I eat WhackDonald’s for lunch. I swing by Chicken Booger’s for dinner. On weekends I look at the broccoli that’s been in the fridge for 3 weeks, then opt for the green Kool-Aid. I ONLY have 1 glass of wine with dinner…every night of the week. Then I have a glass of dessert wine with dessert. Then I have my bedtime cocktail so I can sleep. So what do ya think, coach? Am I ready to go strict vegan or should it be Paleo?”
Sometimes it’s hard to be a nutrition and lifestyle coach.
Let me ask this, how many New Year’s Resolutions have you made? How many of them have stuck? In fact, it doesn’t have to be a resolution, how many BIG, 180-degree lifestyle changing decisions have you made? What’s your overall winning percentage with sticking to them?
If we start small, we allow ourselves small wins. If we pile a small win on top of another, on top of another, and another, we’ll soon have a growing stack of pretty awesome wins staring us in the mirror. Consider this as you go about your total life overhaul.
It is true that there are those mythical creatures among us who can pull off huge lifestyle changes seemingly overnight and stick their landing like an Olympic gold medalist, but for the more common human being, slow and steady wins the race.
Perhaps that’s why so many of us trip up, fall down, and walk back to the starting line with our heads hanging low to start again because it’s hard to be consistent. It takes time to build momentum. It takes willpower and planning ahead to be disciplined. But that does not mean it’s impossible. THIS is where you should hire a professional and ask for their help.
Would you rather spend a little money to have your problems professionally answered or spend a lot of your non-refundable, valuable time to swim in frustration and self-sabotage?
To keep nutrition simple, focus on getting your vegetables, protein and healthy fats. Eat carbs in moderation and avoid the crap as much as possible. Drink lots of water and minimize alcohol. If all of that seems impossible, keep it simple. Focus on the ONE or TWO things you CAN do, and DO THEM.
Again, small changes, little wins. These are the keys to consistency. Consistently doing the right things is the key to success.
I see a theme emerging.
I blame the internet. I blame TV. I blame the magazines and social media. Basically, I’m the only innocent one out here, ssshhhh, don’t tell anybody. People have the best intentions. They want to be healthy so they look for answers. Or celebrity trainers and coaches want to be successful so they try to come across as smart and sophisticated or hard-assed. There are no rules and regulations online. Few people post intelligently, many people recycle fitness myths repeatedly. I was just sent an article telling the reader that chocolate cake was a healthy breakfast choice.
Like, is this real life? Clearly, I have my work cut out for me. And, dammit, if you’re not sure about the cake, NO.
My only hope is that I’m reaching some of you out there and helping to wake you up. I know this post hasn’t supplied much useful information, outside of telling you not to overwhelm yourself with the overabundance of choices made available to us. Hopefully you’ve laughed once or twice. Maybe you’ve thought about your next step a little. Maybe you’ve even realized what your next step should actually be.
Bottom line, what you do directly impacts who you become. Don’t overthink it. Don’t hesitate. Just start. Get active. Make small changes you can sustain. And live the best damned life you can.
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