"I am going on a strict diet"
"No one could suffer more than I am. That is what it takes"
"No pain no gain."
Some of my favorite lines. I will admit I have used one or all of those a couple times.
Many people that have big dreams and goals are also people who have a very determined personality and want things done a certain way. I want this post to help highlight a large mistake in mind set that I had for a long time, and how you can recognize it and change it before it becomes a problem for you.
As a medical student my schedule gets very busy and is very unpredictable. This can make it very hard for me to stick to a routine. It’s disorganized and creates a lot of opportunity to make some poor decisions.
The fact that I have had clinical ADHD since I was in kindergarten doesn’t help me at all, but that really is not an excuse.
But one thing that can, and has hurt my progress the worst, is my mind set.
Quick look at how this started
One thing I like to do, and believe everyone should do in some form, is exercise. I genuinely like it. It gives great focus, more energy and more confidence. But with my ever changing schedule sometimes something comes up that cuts into my normal gym time or means I only have 30 min instead of 1 or 2hrs.
The old me used to let that stop me dead. It was all or nothing. I needed that whole time, every last second or I wasn't going to do anything. Now that I have reflected, I realize this is a very poor decision.
I am slowly reframing my perception. A 30 min workout is much better than no workout and even 10 min, if that’s all there is, can be effective and is certainly better than me throwing my hands in the air and crying in the corner.
Surgery had one of the best learning curves for this exact problem. Rounding on patients started at 5am. That meant I had to be up at a minimum of 415. The day would continue with walking up to 5-8 mi a day through the hospital and spending countless hours on your feet.
The day would end sometime around 6pm all the way until 10pm if I was on call. You can see how this forced me to learn how to adapt some new workouts and to completely shift how I thought about workouts in general. I just wouldn’t be able to devote the time I would prefer, especially in the morning like I had conditioned myself to, up until this time.
All or nothing can be a great mind set but it can also be one that leads you into problems. When first attacking a problem or adopting a new hobby, it is great to go 100% all in and learn exuberantly and with enthusiasm.
Dive in and buy books and read them. Learn the movements and skills needed.
But problems can arise when that mind set stops you from starting something or stops you from something that is helpful (see above). It can be surprising to some to think that having that enthusiasm and that drive to do extra and more, can actually hurt.
This mind set can be applied to dieting as well. You ask someone what they are doing for their diet for summer and you get something along the lines "I have 6 weeks to get ready for the beach, so I am low carb, gluten free, anti GMO, cleanse diet"
Basically at this point they are saying they are anti life for 6 weeks and then they are going to be anti lean after this diet.
The rebound effect after these types of diet is astronomical. There are much better approaches then either plowing your face with every cookie you can dig up and eating boiled chicken breasts and cabbage everyday.
When you start hearing some fat loss expert tell you about their "clean food" only diet. And the 6-8 meals that your REQUIRED to eat: turn and run. Run fast and run far. (As an aside the words clean food makes me want to scratch my eyes out)
Anyone that has set high goals and achieved them will be the person most susceptible, since it takes a lot of dedication and drive to make that happen.
Plus our society will shame you if you are not doing things to the most extreme. Ok maybe not shame you, but it certainly seems that those that do the most extreme are put on the highest pedestal.
It took me a long time to reframe my thinking that even getting something done is better than nothing. This seemingly small shift in perception has helped me make great progress in both school and physically even with an unpredictable uncontrollable schedule. Even though it seems so easy I found myself and many friends falling into this same trap.
Others who workout with little time.
Even some of the busiest and richest people advocate for making sure to get in their exercise. Richard Branson, well known billionaire said that working out is what he does to be more productive with his day. He believes he can get 4 extra hours of productivity in if he works out.
Tim Ferris an extremely accomplished writer and serial entrepreneur who has a whole book on it and has it in his schedule.
Tony Robbins, a financial adviser and life consultant who has worked with royalty, US congressmen, Presidents and many CEOs of fortune 500 companies, makes sure to have workout routines in order to feel and perform at his best.
So what are we left with doing?
Go in and do a quick workout. Focus on the biggest bang exercises (found in the 15 fat loss strategies): Squat, Deadlift, Pullup, Row, Horizontal and vertical presses. Superset them if you are pressed for time. Or do some jumping jacks, abs, jump rope ect between sets to ramp up your heart rate and accelerate the density of your workout.
Get yourself an all encompassing book to learn about lifting and how to put a program together here.
Prepare your food for you diet on down days. We have talked about this before. This helps keep a more moderate diet approach on track. But if you want something a little more unconventional yet accelerated you can check that article out here.
Lastly, just move in someway, shape, or form each day. Park your car further, take the stairs, walk around at lunch or on the phone. Anything to add what seems like meaningless activity. It will add up. And I know I stopped math at Calc 2, so I am no math whiz, but I am almost positive that something is always greater than nothing.
So the next time you hear a friend or your own voice saying the reason you can't workout is because it will only be 10 min, just remember it will help you in the long run to do that 10 min.
I hope this helps you in some aspect of your life. Please let me know of your experiences and comments.