My approach, codified

August 26, 2013

On the short mile home from the gym this morning, I was mulling over my rambling post from yesterday.  I was spurred to codify my current approach into a few short, easily actionable bullet points.  Here goes:

1. KEEP IT FUN.  Losing focus on this principle makes all that follow feel like a chore and a job, and sooner or later results will lag.

2. EXTEND YOUR ABILITY.  This is essential for growth in an exercise sense.  Don’t stay bench pressing the same weight; don’t stay at the same bike mileage; don’t stay at the same speed; don’t settle for the same level of fatigue at the same point in long rides.  Extend your abilities by gradually pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone.

3. DON’T LET YOUR REACH FAR SURPASS YOUR GRASP.  Extending ability is necessary; extending yourself too far too often leads to frustration, self-defeatism, and lagging results.  Keep your expectations reasonable; push yourself a little bit on a consistent basis; but don’t push yourself TOO far.

4. EAT HEALTHY.  The time-tested method to extend your ability is a combination of diet & exercise.  Push yourself a little bit during the exercise portion; and also, eat as healthy / clean as possible as often as possible to keep your body running as efficiently as it can and give yourself the best chance to improve.  Splurge on desserts only infrequently, in small portions, and as rewards.  A week or two of particularly good results in the gym, or with eating, or on the bike calls for a small reward, so allow it, then get back to work.

5. BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF, BUT EXPECT IMPROVEMENT OVER TIME.  Not every day is an A+ day.  Not every gym day is wonderful, not every bike ride can you ride as far as you’d like as fast as you’d like.  Not every day dawns and sets with ideal eating habits.  Don’t beat yourself up for being human / less than perfect; but, and this is critical, expect improvement over time.  If you’re currently happy riding X miles before getting tired or before being “done”, then great.  You’re there.  If you’re happy at this weight, then you’re there. But if those things AREN’T true, then you aren’t done and you should expect of yourself to see improvement over time.

6. SET ATTAINABLE GOALS, FIGHT LIKE HELL TO REACH THEM.  The efficacy of goal-setting and periodic review against those goals is proven out time & again.  Set attainable goals in various aspects of fitness, fight like hell to reach them, and periodically see how you’re doing against those goals.

This is all really the wisdom of the ages, just distilled here into language that resonates with me and is infused with the lessons of my successes and my failures.  If this kind of approach is held to on a consistent basis, failure is impossible.

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