Excuse me

Recently, I had one of my clients send me an email. I’ve been with this client for a while, watching them progress, watching them screw up, repeatedly. I don’t judge. I don’t step in. Everyone needs to find their own breaking point, that place where it’s either walk away from a healthy lifestyle, or embrace it completely.

Last night that breaking point was reached. This client has been very consistent with their workouts, but every time a life stress comes their way, their nutrition goes out the window. Life can be challenging. We all know this.

Here is a paraphrase of the email(s):

So I’ve fallen off the wagon. Yesterday I ate 4 doughnuts, 3 slices of pizza, and a 100g chocolate bar, 2 shots of rum, plus I snacked on food at a party, and had a can of soda pop, although I didn’t drink at the party because I was driving. I know: WTF?!?!? Probably 4000 calories with 2000 of them being from fat, and I didn’t exercise.

I need to reset in a big way. I need to do The First 30 again. I need to be super strict with myself. I need to not cheat. I need to not tell myself: I can eat this because I worked out today. No. I need to follow some ground rules.

What are my current goals? I love that I am at 170lbs now. I love that I wear 30″ pants. I love the way I look in a tighter fitting T-Shirt. If I’m not careful, those things will go away. I also know that I am not satisfied with where I am now, and want to do even better. I want to have abs, not a gut. It doesn’t need to be a six-pack, but it needs to not be flabby, which is what it is now.

I went through some pretty stressful things over the past 4 months: 2 break-ups, plus losing custody of my daughter. That stress led me off course.

Here’s what I think I need to do to reset myself – 30 brand new days. Starting by going to bed tonight instead of watching Sherlock Holmes, and getting up tomorrow with a bowl of oatmeal, and a TRX workout during the day on my way to the sailing club. Tuesday I have scheduled a 50km ride with a faster cyclist, so I’m hoping that’ll kick my ass.

I know the sleeping may suffer because of the concert lineup for NXNE this month, and if I’m going on some dates, then I’ll likely drink and stay up later. It’s a fucking hard balance when other things in my life are changing so much.

What do you think of all this?

Fuck. I don’t know. Maybe I just need you to kick my ass and tell me: Look, here’s what you need to do. And then I do that and don’t think so much about anything other than just following those rules laid out for me.

Right now I’m going to make an easy decision and go to bed so I can get some sleep.

I was terribly excited that I could be a part of this inner turmoil. It is these defining moments that can forever change us, and this client, out of all the people within their support network, chose me to unload to. That is an honour and privilege. My heart ached, remembering many of my own struggles, challenges I still face every single day. There is a time for sensitivity. There is a time for military discipline. How far do I nudge? How hard do I push? Do I just say nothing and be that strong shoulder to talk to? It’s always a dice roll. My chest hurt. My heart raced.

I responded:

You’re right about the sleep. That is imperative. You need at least 7 hours per night.

Don’t stress about the workout part. That is only 20% of your battle.

I know you’ve gone through a lot this last little while, and as your friend I care. As your trainer, I don’t give a shit, and here’s why.

There will always be stuff. That is where excuses come from. People don’t just make them up out of thin air. There is always a “legitimate” reason in their mind.

Nutrition is 80% of it. Nutrition is the hardest part of it to be disciplined with. Nutrition is where you shone. Nutrition is where you always fail.

You want my advice? Do whatever it takes. Make your health as important as spending time with your daughter. Make your health as important as finding a lasting romantic relationship. Without your health, you won’t be able to enjoy either of those things to their fullest.

You want outside? Do outside. TRX, biking, P90X, Insanity. Knock yourself out. Nothing bad with those things. As I said, at most, you’re averaging an hour of exercise per day. You eat more than that.

5 – 6 meals per day, Protein and Carbs first, rest are protein and fat. Portions are Phase I using the calculator.

Just stop. No overanalyzing. No angry. No beating yourself up. No excuses. No false promises.

Stop. Do it. Just like that.

Tomorrow night, this client and I are going sailing together. I am excited and nervous. I hope this is a defining moment to look back upon with thanks.

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8 responses to “Excuse me

  1. You’re absolutely right about the overthinking. Once you decide on a course of action, its decided. Put the worry and fretting aside and just do.

    It’s remarkable what you can do when you don’t know you can’t do something…. 🙂

  2. So much of that reminds me of myself… It can be very hard to resist temptation. (Pizza is my worst enemy… I can eat 8-10 slices in one go without realizing it)

    I lost over 50 pounds with running and diet, now it seems I’ve hit a brick wall. I run between 15-20 miles a week and mostly watch my diet (I have a few too many beers), but for the last 3 months no progress.

    I’m going to sign up for “boot camp” classes to try to change things up, maybe my body has gotten used to running and didn’t tell my knees?

    • Your body does get accustomed to the exercise, and more efficient at performing it. The obvious answer is to increase your mileage and/or your speed, but even that is limited. Better would be to intersperse other types of training – weight lifting, swimming, kick boxing, biking, paintball, TRX – to give your body the proverbial kick into the arse.

      And personally I think that every once in a while it’s ok to overindulge in ‘bad foods’. As long as you adjust your food intake the following days accordingly.

      • Running is hard. Period. The bigger we are, as in height and mass, the more challenging it is. I don’t believe in jogging.

        As Druur said, you do need to change it up at least every 12 weeks – something completely different.

        Boot Camp may be a temporary answer, or just exacerbate your knee issues as they often involve a lot of high impact movements. I’d look into yoga as well as taking CoQ10 to supplement your joints.

        • Thanks for the comments…

          I keep trying to increase running mileage but every time I pass 20 miles a week I get injured, knee problems usually.

          I’m going to look into changing it up and adding some different types of exercise, plus try to get better about my diet.

  3. Roc,

    You’ve hit the nail on it’s head with “as your friend…as your trainer…” I’ve gone through the friend/traineer thing also on the receiving end and this is what they need. Everyone falls off the wagon at sometime and a steady influence is what is needed.

    I wish you and your friend/client all the best both worlds offer. Keep up the sterling work on both fronts.

    I wish you and you

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