A few weeks ago I had the honor of presenting for the Gentleman's Project, a group of young men in the LA area that meet regularly to network and be educated on topics that interest, well, Gentlemen. It is the group's mission to provide a setting and membership that contributes to the sharpening of each members perverbial sword. The GP leadership asked me to come to present on nutrition. I had roughly an hour to talk and answer questions so I needed to strip my talk down to the most useful and practical information possible. If anyone needs to talk for more than an hour to explain their basic nutrition philosophy they are probably making things way too complicated anyway. I take the approach that less is more. I believe strongly that one of the tenants of a healthy lifestyle is that all aspects of the lifestyle: work, play, pray (quiet time alone with your own thoughts), nutrition and rest must be sustainable. The more complex a strategy becomes the less likely it is to be sustainable.
The main points that I wanted to drive home with my talk is that consistency is the key to achievement and that keeping things simple makes it easier to be consistent. This is true for anything. A simple, straightforward workout program is easier to follow. As a result people that adopt simple plans tend to be more consistent with them.
Last month I had the pleasure of being teammates with Tracy Reifkind, Queen of the Kettlebell Swing, at the inaugural Strongfirst SFG1 kettlebell certification in Houston, Texas. In addition to being a total badass Tracy is famous for totally transforming her life and her body in her 40's, losing over 100 lbs, by doing only kettlebell swings every day. She literally did not do any other form of exercise! There isn't a magic workout she was doing. The magic was her consistency. Tracy is an example of both consistency and how effective keeping it simple can be. Check out Tracy's blog for more info on her transformation and the kettlebell swing.
The Keys to Success
There are two common denominators among all of my clients that have had massive success making a body transformation. First, their body transformation is preceded by a lifestyle transformation. They don't simply start working out more, or eat a healthier diet. They slowly transform their entire lifestyle. They embrace the holistic approach, making changes to the way they move (exercise), eat (nutrition), think and manage their day (the umbrella we will call "lifestyle"). My second tenant of healthy lifestyles is that they are holistic. Any effort to make a healthy transformation must address mind, body, and spirit.
The second common denominator is consistency.Consistency is the most crucial part of change. Pick a plan and stick to it! I have given you a basic plan in The Island Story that Answers 97% of Your Nutrition Questions. Your goal is simple. For the next month consistently only eat food that you could eat on the island. If you can adhere to this diet plan 90% of the time over the next 28 days you will see amazing results.
Consistency means sticking with it 7 days a week. That is another huge mistake I see people, especially young people, making. They stay on their diet Monday through Friday and then eat like crap and booze hard all day Saturday and Sunday. When they don't see results they say, "to hell with this diet," and go back to eating the way they normally eat.
These people don't lack a good plan. They lack consistency.
Making Everyday Your Masterpiece
The key to consistency is focusing on one day at a time. It can be overwhelming to make a change with your constant focus being on staying consistent over the course of a year or more. Under those circumstances the task can seem insurmountable. There is a saying that the best way to eat and elephant is one bite at a time. That mindset seems obvious once someone presents it to you, but people rarely think in those terms.
John Wooden, the legendary coach of the UCLA men's basketball team that won 11 national championships in 13 years is famous for saying, "Make everyday your masterpiece." I love that quote. I actually have a wall decal of that quote above my desk. It reminds me to stay in the present and to focus all of my energy and attention on the task at hand. How can one truly reach their potential if they are diluting their energy and focus on regretting the past or worrying about the future?
Imagine if you could focus all of your energy on making a masterpiece out of today without worrying about mistakes from the past or things you can't control in the future? One thing is for certain, the process you undertook each day would be much more enjoyable if you focused on the art of making an ideal day.
I've seen a quote that says, "What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?" I like the essence of that quote. I take it to mean how courageous would you be with your actions if you couldn't fail. Indeed that is a beautiful headspace in which to be.
As much as I do like that quote, I like the following idea even more…
What would you do if you didn't care if you failed?
I'm not advocating total apathy. I am however, advocating that when you are motivated to make a change that you should put 100% of your focus on executing your plan each day and detach yourself from thoughts of the future success or failure of the strategy. Those worrisome thoughts about the success or more commonly the failure of the project only serve to distract you and plant seeds of doubt before your plan ever gets a chance to get off the ground.
If didn't care about failing, how much more would you enjoy the process of doing?
When I am able to put myself into this kind of headspace I find myself enjoying my day much more than when I am too attached to the success or failure of a project. I also find that I am completely present in my interactions with others which enriches all of my relationships.
When I finally do take time to evaluate my progress I am always amazed at how much I have accomplished and how much I have enjoyed the process. I have gotten the same feedback from my clients as well. They tell me that they never felt overwhelmed or panicked by the changes because we made slow changes and they only focused on adhering to their plan one day at a time.
My challenge to you is to make a plan and stick to it without worrying about success or failure. Enjoy the journey instead of focusing on the destination. After some time has passed take stock of where you are at. Be brutally honest with yourself. If you aren't making the progress you would like you need to make some adjustments and once again lose yourself in the process.
My suggestion is to put together a consistent daily regimen that you can build on over time. The next installment of The Rebirth Body Transformation series will talk about making a daily masterpiece and help you put together a solid Morning Routine which is one of the most crucial things to having a successful day. Your morning is the foundation of your day and everyone knows that a house must be built on a solid foundation.