Welcome to another windy, rainy Sunday everyone. Apparently – and despite ‘someone’ claiming recently that “this is what it was like growing up in Perth in the ‘90’s”! – we have set a record for rainfall in July AND we are off and running already for August…and the rain isn’t going away for another couple of weeks at least with only 3x sunny days forecast in the next 2-weeks! Whilst this is probably not the greatest news for all of us involved in weekend sport AND everyone preparing themselves for the City-to-Surf and the other endurance events coming up, well, at least it is DRY in the gym (if not warm!).
On other news, another challenge is done and won! And just like all of the previous challenges, this one through up another 10000 lessons for me to learn. After all this time (we have been running challenges since back in 2011) you would think I would get to the end of a challenge and say “Yeah, that’s EXACTLY what I thought was going to happen!”…but somehow, the lessons – either new ones or old messages reinforced – keep on coming.
In sitting down on Friday night and reflecting on the things that helped me get to the end of this challenge – and I found the 5x cups of veggies per day as difficult as anything we have EVER done in the past – I came up with a list of ‘lessons learned’ which I thought I would share in today’s blog. Before I do that, how did I do? Well, the results weren’t exactly what I had dreamed of (once again, I lost muscle on a challenge because somehow I never eat enough when I am following the ‘challenge’ rules) but i did lose a couple of kilos (well, 1.4kg) of fat which is ultimately what I was after.
(That’s my Body Scan history in the image below):
Lesson#1 – Establish a Clear Routine
I have learned once again that establishing a CLEAR ROUTINE is the ONLY WAY to do it. And this means (it really does) that if having a schedule for your training and meals is the only way when the challenge is ON…it is probably at least twice as important the the rest of the time! For me, it’s no secret that since the gym changes last year (post-COVID) I have really battled to attend classes. Right now I can train at Wednesday and Thursday lunch-time…and that’s pretty much it. Which kind of sucks when I am actually in the gym 7-days-each-week. But that’s life. So – I have been rail-roading the other coaches to train with me at 10:30am or so on the other week-days, I have been coming in Saturday and Sunday afternoons and trying to ‘GET IT DONE’ when there’s no-one else around…and let me tell you, if you think it is hard hitting your cardio targets when there are people all around you and the trainer is on your back – try doing it when you are by yourself and there is NO-ONE there to hold you accountable.
BUT. Routine is routine. And whilst I have to say I much preferred the “OLD DAYS” when I could train with my buddies in the 12pm or 1pm class, this challenge has FORCED me to create a routine. It has made me stick to the plan. And I am getting it done.
Lesson#2 – You have to ‘Roll with IT (aka the “stuff is gonna go wrong” lesson).
Stuff ALWAYS goes wrong. And you have to simply roll-with-it. Missed a day? Cool. Missed a week? Cool. We’re in a marathon, not a sprint. Just refocus on the plan and get on moving forward. One missed session is no big deal – just keep your eye on the prize and keep moving. I feel that every single challenge people tell me after 10-14 days that they are dropping out – it isn’t working. I always nod my head and say ‘Never mind – at least you’re back in training today’ but…to me, the remaining time is still an opportunity lost! Just get back on the horse and get rolling again – bumps in the road are exactly that and you simply have to drive over them.
Lesson 3 – If it’s broken…FIX IT (don’t wait).
If something just “isn’t working”, well…you have to be prepared to change it! This doesn’t mean “the rules are too hard – I’m giving up”. But if you have started a new habit and your body is NOT reacting well…don’t simply stay with it ‘forever’ – change and adjust. In the first couple of weeks on this challenge I was getting so sick – constantly upset stomach, every single day I was feeling nauseous and unwell. A bit of reading and a couple of phone calls later – no more raw veggies in the morning…I took the time to chuck everything in a pan (and Vaness was doing a big veggie bake every weekend which really helped) and within 24-48 hours I was feeling sooooo much better.
Lesson 4 – Celebrate little victories along the way (you need to feel you are succeeding).
You have to acknowledge your little successes along the way. This challenge had a LOT of boxes to tick – and you have to celebrate the boxes being checked rather than worry about the ones yet to be filled. Finished the ‘EXTRA’ for the week? Sign it off. Sign off your food achievements EVERY DAY – the mere fact you are ‘filling up the box score’ will give you motivation to keep on going.
Lesson 5 – You have to “Know where your Wheels Are”
Going into the challenge – you have to have a clear understanding of your CURRENT capabilities – not what they used to be, and not what you WISH they were…but EXACTLY what they are Right NOW! There is no point in becoming frustrated at your inability to row 500m in 2-minutes if the last time you did that consistently was 5+ years ago. If you are injured, make allowances for that. If you are returning from illness, factor that in. This challenge we had a couple of people who dropped out mid-way due to missing a few days because of illness…I mean, what am I saying ‘THIS CHALLENGE’? It happens EVERY challenge. Rather than looking for reasons to ‘abandon ship’, the right approach is to find a way to get back going – and the key to this is being able to identify where you are at – and being positive about PROGRESS rather than negative about short-term outcomes.
Lesson 6 – Little things mean a lot – find a way to ‘engage’ with the challenge 2-3 times each day.
Gym or no gym – when the challenge is on you just HAVE to get up and get moving. Having little targets AWAY from classes – like walking every day (in the rain if you like!) are great ways to keep yourself consistent and consistently motivated (not to mention a great way to get great results at the end). What you find is all these little ‘extras’ (walking, stretching) really contribute to not only achieving a great result, but ALSO to just keeping you on track. It always amazes me how taking 15-minutes to go for a walk after work makes it so much easier to get out of bed and hit the gym when the alarm goes off the next morning…You would think the opposite would be true – it just isn’t.
Lesson 7 – Build some buy in at home and at work
Tell EVERYONE you are doing the challenge. Or,(Or – if it isn’t challenge time, everyone exactly WHAT your gym schedule is.) Everyone. The more people who ask you about how you’re going the more focussed you will be on sticking to the rules and getting to the end. I guess the reality is we all want to be able to say positive things about ourselves – and if you know that one of your work buddies is going to ask you about it, you are probably way more likely to stick at it than if you are participating ‘on an island’.
That’s it. Happy Sunday Everyone – See you in the gym,
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