We all know the goal in lifting is to bring your muscles to failure, or at least near failure... and even as I said before, beyond failure. So we’re quite used to hearing the phrase ‘You have to fail in order to succeed.’ But what about the other sort of failure? The failure to give it your all.... The failure to get up early and get that morning cardio done.... And perhaps most importantly, the failure to keep an eye on your diet!
We hear so many people banging on about getting your diet right and never letting yourself down by eating the wrong things. Abs are made in the kitchen. Your results will suffer... There seems to be an endless stream of people on facebook ready and willing to tell you how much you’re doing wrong and how to do it right. I’m all for that, it’s great that we have all of these people with iron wills to look up to and try to emulate – however – We’re all human, we’re trying to get this thing right and before we get it all right, we will drop the ball a few times. I recently saw an image on Facebook depicting what people think success looks like (an arrow going in a straight line pointing up) – and what success really looks like (an arrow in a really messy squiggly line eventually pointing up). I think this is very true with the adoption of a health and fitness lifestyle. There are so many things to take on board and change about how you may be used to living that it may take a few shots at getting it right. After all, we not only want to have a great physique and be healthier, feel better and more confident, we also want to be able to move through everyone else’s ‘normal’ life without it constantly being a three ring circus of “I can’t tonight, I’m going to the gym”, “I can’t eat there, they don’t serve what I can eat”, “I don’t want to go out for a drink because I can’t drink.”
With the adoption of a new lifestyle, I don’t think we should have to cut ourselves off from friends and outings, and we certainly can’t expect everything and everyone else to change with us just to suit us, so we need to find a balance. The problem can be that finding that balance can often lead to slips, and failures. I’ve found in my own experience that fitting all of the pieces of the health and fitness lifestyle together comes somewhat at its own pace. I started by going to the gym and working out, then I wanted to make the most out of my gym results so I started a little bit of supplementation. Later I realised that to maximise what I saw in the mirror as a result of my workouts, I should do more cardiovascular work to drop body fat. After a while of battling the weights and the cardio I figured I should clean up my diet a lot more in order to fuel my body in a better way and also cut the amount of fat I was taking on board (and essentially help make it less of an uphill battle to see my real results). None of those things came easy – I had to want them, and even now I will take my eye off the ball from time to time but I don’t beat myself up about it, I carry on as if it hadn’t happened.
Someone I think is an excellent role model is Jamie Alderton. He is constantly giving sound training and nutritional advice, but he still lives a real life as well as a health and fitness life. Jamie regularly does video Q and A’s and has said more than once about how he likes to catch up with mates over a beer, or enjoys a Belgian bun, and yet to look at his physique you’d think that he hasn’t eaten anything but clean food for years. He is of course very strict when he needs to be, coming up to photo shoots and contest prep, but I think the balance is there. Taking a leaf from Jamie’s book, I recently went for a few drinks with a friend, but before I went out, I made sure to do an extra session of cardio during that day to ensure I wouldn’t be pushing my goals out the window. It would have been easy to say to myself that I’ll do the extra session tomorrow, but I felt this way I earned the down time first. We’re not all training to be stage competitors or fitness models, many of us are simply training to be better versions of ourselves. So remember, when you fall off the wagon, the only real failure here is not getting back on.