This year was an exceptional year as I was able to combine exercise and nutrition. The first year I did this challenge I lacked commitment on both exercise and nutrition. The second year I was very good with cardio, not great at lifting weights, and my nutrition was mediocre. This year I did a good job with cardio and weight training and nutrition! It’s amazing how long 90 days can seem, but then when I look back it feels like time flew by.
This years top 3 keys to success…
1. Consistency/habit building: Consistency is hands down the easiest concept on paper and it makes sense that if you are consistently striving for a goal that you can achieve what you are pursuing. The strange thing about consistency is that it takes a lot of upfront work but if you remain focused then momentum can build and eventually your goals become easier. What am I talking? What’s an example…? Well, the biggest area that I realized habits are instilled is with nutrition. My diet was deeply involved with foods that simply aren’t healthy for the human body. I was eating a lot of fast food, chips, and the amount of food I was consuming was beyond my necessary needs. So, I started to really focus on eating vegetables, healthy snacks, smoothies, water and six evenly spread out meals. Every book you read will tell you these tips are key to looking and feeling great, but… let’s be honest this is not easy to implement. When you have a choice between a one minute stop to grab a fast and easy cheeseburger or you have to go home steam vegetables, cook chicken, wash dishes, and finally feed your hunger 25 minutes later the choice is much more difficult. Have no fear thought, because the best part about building habits is that good habits can form and before you know it they are hard to break. In the middle of the fitness challenge I no longer wanted any fast food and deserts actually seemed like a ridiculous food to consume. I looked at deserts are just gross sugar and butter and goal defeating.
2. Accountability: This year one of the best tools I used was a calendar and stickers. Yes that’s right, I went back to my kindergarten days of gold stars, and smiley faces. I tracked cardio, abs, weights, crossfit and yoga. This may seem silly but it made me want to never skip a day. I started out waiting until I completed a workout to post a sticker. This gave me a sense of accomplishment. In the second week I actually posted my stickers for the day in the morning so that I knew what I had to accomplish for the day. At first I didn’t like this because I felt like I was ruining the thought process of EARNING a sticker. But then what I realized is that if I put a sticker up there was NO WAY I would want the SHAME that came along with taking a star down. One, it brought a little pain to take the star off, and two, it’s hard to scrap the sticker off and leaves a blemish on my calendar. I only ended up taking stars off three times and there were several times where I pushed through fatigue because I knew what I had to do to be successful.
3. Nutrition: I believe that nutrition is by far the most overlooked element of looking and feeling good. I see people that are in the gym day in and day out and they never ever seem to look like they are in good shape. It’s obvious that these people are not putting in half the effort for the diet that they are at the gym. This is sad to see. They literally dedicate hours upon hours to the gym, and want results, but just are not disciplined enough to take their lives to the next level. The easiest idea to understand is that you are what you eat. You simply can’t eat cheeseburgers and milkshakes and expect to be in good shape. I was able to eat whatever I wanted and remain in great shape throughout high school and college but I WAS RUNNING AROUND at TOP SPEED for over 2 hours per day (basketball and track). If you live a normal lifestyle this just isn’t feasible!! So if you are really interested in getting in shape stay disciplined for at least 3 weeks and I promise your eating habits will suddenly become easier.