Stick the Routine

Stick the Routine

Every year, month, day, hour people full of honest and good intent set out to improve their health and fitness. The goals range from lofty weight loss to improved strength and conditioning to completing a marathon, and everything in between. Eighty to ninety percent of those well intentioned people will fail to meet their goals and give up completely until motivation strikes again. Then they repeat the process over and over like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Below are five common reasons people fail and ONE thing you can do to stay on track and hit your goals. First though, we need to acknowledge change is hard! If it wasn’t the failure rate would not be this high!

According to James Clear of Atomic Habits, there are 5 reasons people fail to stick to their resolutions for change.

  1. They try to change everything at once.
    • Change is hard enough, don’t make it more complicated by trying to change more than a maximum of 3 small things at once. Preferably change only one small thing at a time.
    • Don’t move forward until you have mastered the small change. Don’t be a Jack of all trades but a master of none.
  2.  They start with a habit that is too big.
    • It’s great to have big goals, but how do you get there? Every goal starts with a single step. Break the big goal down into small habit changes.
    • New habits need to be non-threatening and so easy that it’s impossible to say no. 
    • You could aim to train 5x a week, but when was the last time you trained 1x a week? Start there!
  3. They seek a result, not a ritual.
    • Fitness is a results-obsessed industry. How much do you weigh, how much body fat do you have, how much do you deadlift, do you even lift bro? 
    • New goals don’t deliver results, new lifestyles do. Lifestyles are not outcomes, they are a process.
    • Focus your energy on building better rituals, not chasing better results. Rituals, highly precise behaviors done at a specific time over and over, turn into habits. To see the results, you need new habits.
  4. They don’t change their environment.
    • It’s virtually impossible to change habits in a negative environment.
    • Habits are a response to the environment we put ourselves in.
    • The single biggest change that will make a new habit easier is performing it in an environment that is designed to make that habit succeed. You can get a great workout at home, but if you are new to exercise and need accountability and discipline, a small group in a local gym will increase your chances of success infinitely. 
  5. They assume small changes don’t add up.
    • People love big goals and feats. It makes sense; big goals are impressive and attention grabbing. The problem is that people think that they must make big changes to achieve big goals. 
    • The habits you have today, good or bad, are the sum of incremental changes over time.
    • 1% better every day adds up over time, just like compounding interest on your 30 year mortgage turns that $200,000 home into $400,000 for the bank. 
    • Small changes add up and create a domino effect.

Whew! Long list of reasons we as people fail to affect change in our lifestyles. Luckily, our friends at Strength Matters shared one short, easy strategy to increase your chances of success greatly. It is known as the “implementation intention” formula and has been researched and proven to significantly increase compliance from 35%-91%! You make a plan beforehand about when, where, and what you will do to implement a habit. Ex. “I will exercise every “insert day of week” for “X minutes” at “X time”  in“X location” for one year. You can use this formula for any habit you want to implement. Write it down! Share it with someone to hold you accountable. The goal is to never miss, but the rule is never miss twice! Life inevitably gets in the way, but the habit should be easy enough to implement no matter what  happens. A goal without a plan is just a dream!

Written by Coach Jared MacDonald

Best Way to Sequence Meals for Energy & Fat Loss

I’m sure you’ve heard eating several small meals is optimal for boosting energy and fat loss right?
If you are just too busy to eat every 2-3 hours listen up! You make like this alternative take on popular advise…

Being a Generalist in a Specialized World

Tiger Woods and Roger Federer have a lot in common. They both became superstars at a young age in their respective sports. They both compete individually and have captured almost every record attainable in golf and tennis respectively. Their path to stardom could not be much different. Tiger held a golf club before he could walk, was winning tournaments at age 4 (against 10 year olds!) and was coached by his father relentlessly in the pursuit of conquering golf, the stuff of legend.

Roger dabbled in multiple sports until his late teens, his mother refused to coach him even though she is a professional tennis coach, he demanded to stay with his peers instead of moving up age brackets so he could play with his friends, waiting as long as possible to specialize in tennis and forgo other pursuits, such as soccer and surfing, the stuff of the average youth athlete.

In the New York best selling book Range, David Epstein argues that there is ample evidence that the approach of Roger is superior for success in all aspects of life over that of Tiger. How can this be?

We have all heard the 10,000 hour dedicated practice mantra, how important it is for young athletes to pick a sport at an early age and focus on it year round. Want to raise an accomplished musician? Pick their instrument for them, before they can form their own opinion. Tiger Mom! These ideas make sense emotionally and even are confirmed in the early stages of training, but research across multiple disciplines and sports have shown that it is not only a short term illusion, but in the long term it is a detriment to performance and success. Britain’s Olympic team began requiring a multiple sport approach in training their athletes and were rewarded with multiple gold medals.

The research holds up in the arts, sports, and even business and science. Generalists triumph in a specialized world! The book goes into detail across human pursuits but I wanted to narrow the focus on exercise and performance. This concept is not new to exercise and endurance athletes, cross training and its benefits have been known for a long time. But what do you do if you are an amateur athlete who enjoys distance running or triathlons?

You only have so much time available to train. Most of us focus on the specialty and forgo the general. I have seen this personally with my spouse. The problem with this approach is not only overtraining and injury, but you are probably diminishing your performance.

Obviously if you want to run a 5k, 10k, marathon, ride 100 milers, or complete a triathlon you need to train at those specific events. But you also need to cross train.

You will improve strength and stamina and help prevent injury. The solution? Invest in 2-3 30 minute general fitness workouts each week. The holistic approach at BCS Fitness will ensure you avoid overtraining and reduce your injury risk.

You may even find that backing off a little bit on your specialization and focusing on the general will improve your performance as our own Jori Kennedy recently did at the Spa Girl Sprint Tri. She felt stronger than ever climbing hills on the bike and the only change in her training was working out at BCS Fitness! We have heard other clients espouse the same experience, and if they’d only known how much they could accomplish in a short period of time they would have started ages ago.

If you are not a specialized athlete concerned with running, biking, etc, you too will reap more benefit and injury prevention from a holistic approach to exercise than the same routine over and over. Obviously both Tiger and Roger are special athletes and have had tremendous success, but one of them has 20 career majors, 0 major scandals and injuries to the others 15-1-and endless.

💻Written by Jared MacDonald

Best of the Brazos Valley Personal Training

We are incredibly grateful to everyone that voted BCS Fitness as “Best of the Brazos Valley!”