Stay tuned. Somehow it seems easier in summer.
But anyone who knows Game of Thrones knows:
“Winter is coming.”
And with it rain, cold, long nights, holidays, colds, indolence and new excuses.
And … the white walkers.
How many people do you think are being led back from the path of virtue (and what they actually set out to do) by these “evil forces”?
For everyone who sounds familiar:
I am with you.
I know the bastard very well. That’s why I love to write about staying tuned.
And after over 20 years of training, I now know very well how to get it under control. Even when he says: “Come on, the sofa is great too. I know you’re still waiting for the new Game of Thrones season, but the Vikings sequel just came out. ”
The task of getting motivation, nutrition and training in order sometimes seems as tough as the reconciliation of the warring houses in Game of Thrones .
I understand all too well. That’s why I tell you:
Just turn the tables!
How about you make sticking around the path of least resistance? When you can find a solution without having to give up everything?
And there are: Here are 7 tried and tested strategies that will keep you on course even if you thought it wouldn’t work.
1. Forget the whole-or-not-crap!
One or the other of us let our training slide in the last few weeks.
“What the heck?”, the devil whispers on his shoulder, “In January, February, at the latest in March you will start again!”
For many of us, the new year is a “reset”, a new start.
I like that thought. There is nothing wrong with it. As long as you don’t use it as an excuse.
Who would seriously dig deeper into the quagmire when things should really get going soon?
One, two, three days are not an issue at all. After all, timeouts are there to be enjoyed!
Only when days turn into weeks do you lose more and more momentum and can maneuver yourself into a hole that is getting deeper and deeper.
Like Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Rises …
Sometimes it seems to me that every fall and winter, more and more people gather at the start line of a race that starts on January 1st.
Some stay in the starting area until it starts.
Many people turn around and move further and further away from the start.
You will have it even further in the future. Because when the starting gun is fired and the others make the route, they have to get to the start again.
Everything is fine if you decide to consciously pause your progress for a while and wait at the start line. In this way you can create space for other priorities.
But don’t just turn back – just because you thought there was no other way!
You make things easy for yourself if you stick to the status quo (instead of sliding downhill).
Ideally, you will be in pole position with the engine running when the starting gun is fired.
Because you did NOT fall into the all-or-nothing trap. Because you did NOT say “it doesn’t matter now!” And because you would NOT have written all training units and good eating habits to the wind and would have lost more ground from day to day.
Step into the water.
You just chill where you are and keep warm. And when the starting shot is fired, you are ready.
You stick to it as best you can.
A day, a meal, a fancy workout won’t torpedo your progress any more than a single workout can transform a body.
Christmas, New Years Eve, Easter or other holidays do not have the power to ruin your goals.
Not even if you are five on these days.
Crash Bandicoot, the fox from the 90s cult video game, would say:
“Hook on it. Restart the level. Carry on. ”
Crash is just sticking to it.
2. Don’t skip two in a row
Older people who stay tuned already know the “never twice in a row” principle from other articles and podcasts.
It’s a simple mantra that has helped me stick with it for ages.
Nobody always manages 100% what they set out to do.
things happen. Life comes in between. That is normal. What should NOT happen to you is to allow it again immediately afterwards:
- When one training session is canceled, the next one is the most important of your life.
- After a suboptimal meal, the next is the most important.
- After a “bad” day is the day after the most important.
In a nutshell:
Once is never. The second time is everything.
A bad day (from a fitness progression point of view) feels like a jolting threshold that is paved on the street in traffic-calmed zones.
You brake, drive a little slower and then you accelerate again.
But if you let it slide twice in a row, you can easily get into a downward spiral that turns days into weeks and months.
Then the acceleration costs you more and more energy. Because you first have to make up ground again to get to the starting point.
If you find yourself in a situation like this, just say:
“Stop! Don’t run in the wrong direction. ”
If you skip a workout on Tuesdays, you go to train on Wednesdays. When colleagues in the office bring cakes with them for lunch, you treat yourself to something healthy in the evening. That’s the idea.
If things don’t go according to plan: restart!
It’s like in a video game: failed attempts are part of the gaming experience. You just restart the level and try again.
Try something new. Find a better way.
Sticking to it beats perfection. Always.
3. Create balance
Christmas is high in calories. New Years Eve too. Easter too.
Here are two typical ways to counter this:
- Option: You don’t even think about it beforehand. You then realize with amazement that you have gone completely wrong and then get ready for it. (Enjoyment: 10%, stress: 100%.)
- Option: You treat yourself to a break. Expect it, stay relaxed, enjoy the evening. You may even USE the feast for your benefit. (Enjoyment: 100%, stress: 10%.)
If you track your physique (which is always a good idea if you want to change it), you should fluctuate in weight on the days after see relaxed.
Your body weight can fluctuate by a few kilos from one day to the next.
This is normal.
Short-term fluctuations from one day to the other are NEVER due to body fat when measuring weight – both positively and negatively. Because water, full glycogen stores and digestive content all contribute to this.
That is why it helps to plan the feast very consciously.
And above all: to enjoy!
I just step a little shorter before and after such days. Let’s take Christmas Eve as an example:
- I pay more attention to healthy eating in the days before and after.
- I eat very little during the day. On the last Christmas Eve, I only had a protein shake for lunch beforehand.
- The next morning I often wake up full of cardboard. It almost automatically happens that I only have a coffee for breakfast and eat little or nothing. Often this also applies to lunch.
Even a day full of calories does not have a particularly negative effect over the course of a week or two if you take care of balance.
You can plan the party as well as the compensation.
If you are comfortable with intermittent fasting (or want to try this method), you can simply skip one or two meals before or after. Often times it’s not a big deal.
It used to be thought that people should eat at least three times a day.
Today we know how flexible our organism is.
Whether you make progress or not does not depend on how many meals you eat a day.
4. Use the exceptions to your advantage
It doesn’t matter whether fasting intermittently or not:
Plan your training sessions wisely and you can use a feast to your advantage.
Normally, your body stores excess calories in the form of body fat. Unless you give them a reason to use them elsewhere.
To put it simply,
What you eat can fulfill one of three roles:
- Energy : You use it as fuel.
- Fat : You save it for bad times.
- Building material : You use it for repairs and build muscles.
Now you could convince your body to either burn as many calories as possible (energy) or to burn them to use as a building material. There is only one catch:
Asking nicely is not enough.
You need a really good reason. And that is:
Proper strength training.
Any intensive workout in the style of the Looking Good Naked training plans is suitable.
If you get your muscles out of their comfort zone through proper strength training before a big meal, your body will want to repair and enlarge them.
In the 48 hours after intense muscle training, some of the calories are spent on repairing and building muscles.
These calories are of course missing in the fat deposits …
For me, a hard workout is part of the celebration.
I’m really looking forward to it. Because I like the idea that my body uses the extra calories to make me stronger and fitter.
5. Don’t rely on discipline
Here’s another spoiler for you.
Some days you will wait in vain for the muse to kiss you and whisper to you:
“Let’s go for training! Hopp, hopp! ”
Maybe because it’s dark, your nose is runny, you had a stupid day at work, the couch or Netflix series beckon or whatever.
On some days, shoe size 68 is not enough for an effective kick in the buttocks.
Then you could try to get up and fight the bastard …
… just to make you feel guilty when “self-discipline” was missing. Frustration is inevitable.
Don’t rely on your discipline.
Progress works exactly the same in winter as it does in summer. Every day has 24 hours that you can use equally.
Except that in winter many people tend to ask themselves how they can stick to their fitness goals as easily as possible without losing their vigor.
Here’s one way that’s guaranteed to work:
What if the path of least resistance meant sticking with it?
I know that sounds strange at first. But you can do it by creating appropriate framework conditions in your life.
Just turn the tables!
Here are some simple but effective tactics:
- Plan your training as a calendar appointment. With exclamation mark. After all, it’s about someone who is particularly important to you.
- Use the Seinfeld strategy. Don’t break the chain. Make a plan for the next 30 days and visualize your progress.
- Work with your goal, work on your identity. As described in the first part of Looking Good Naked. After all, it is the mind that builds the body. Remember: You stay tuned.
- Banish all sweets from view. According to the motto “out of sight, out of mind”. (At the same time you can whip up your pantry.)
- Find yourself (a) colleague for training. If you have more than just an appointment with yourself, it increases the training probability by exactly 66.67%. 1
- Pack your sports gear in the evening if you train in the morning before work. You can even prepare the coffee machine and let the smell of coffee wake you up in the morning (if you have problems getting up, I recommend a light alarm clock).
This gives you positive incentives that help you stay on track and solidify good habits.
If you need more commitment, you can use a few tricks and install fixed guard rails. For example:
- Give an incorruptible friend or colleague € 250. Promise him that you will train at least 3 times a week (or what you can realistically manage) for the next three months and send him a selfie from training as proof. If you keep your promise, he’ll give you the money back after three months. For every failed training session, he donates € 50 to a party or organization that you would otherwise not even dream of supporting.
- Formulate your daily and weekly goals (instructions here), make a commitment and let your partner hold you accountable. For every time you do not stick to it, you take over the diaper change for a week (or something similarly attractive).
You are sure to think of other options. The point is that you associate inaction with immediate consequences that would be much more unpleasant for you than what you want to do anyway, then do.
Just so you know what you’re getting yourself into:
Most likely you will curse yourself a couple of times for your commitment.
Or me, because I put you on the funnel. Don’t worry, I can take it off.
But three months from now you will be proud of yourself.
And me anyway. So the idea is: What can you change NOW so that sticking to it becomes the path of least resistance for you?
6. Forge a plan B
“So uncomfortable today. I can’t go to training there. TOO BAD! I have no choice but to eat ice cream and watch three seasons of Game of Thrones. ”
“I don’t have any healthy food at all, but it’s cold, wet and dark outside. Hmm … today I’ll have pizza delivered. ”
This is how it is with winter: There is no shortage of excuses.
But the cool thing is, if your subconscious is able to come up with such creative stories, it can also help you stick with it (and keep the white walkers at bay).
That’s why you need a plan B for every scenario
- A plan B for training. If you can’t make it to the gym, you can still work out at home. It’s not as versatile as the gym. But dumbbells and a pull-up bar are enough for an effective workout – for example the beginner’s training plan in the HomeGym article. Or one of the Looking Good Naked workouts. You can get a pull-up bar for 20 euros, a good pair of dumbbells from around 100 euros. It’s a small investment. But it helps you to stay tuned in critical situations.
- A nutrition plan B. For eventualities, you always have a healthy meal in your refrigerator that is ready to eat in a few minutes. We make the worst decisions when we are hungry and the refrigerator is empty. Then the temptation to deliver fast food is highest.
If you don’t feel like going outside, you can train at home.
And if you don’t feel like cooking, you warm up something that you have prepared. For situations like this, I always store one or two bags of stir-fry vegetables in my freezer. Frosta has a good selection.
You simply make comfort your ally.
The idea is that you lower the barrier to eating something healthy. And increase the hurdle of eating something unhealthy by:
- delete all delivery service apps from your smartphone,
- ban fast food and sweets from your pantry,
- plan your grocery purchases (or order online),
- take the path on the way home that does not pass your favorite fast-food restaurant,
- and so on.
You can set the conditions for unfavorable decisions make it more difficult. And that make it as easy as possible for good decisions.
7. Trust in the power of small successes (it is strong in you)
I can’t remember ever seeing anyone thinking in TOO SMALL steps.
Every brilliant success consists of inconspicuous mini-steps.
Often we are just not aware of this.
Maybe you don’t have 30 minutes for strength training, but only 15.
You may only have enough time for one or two sets of pull-ups instead of an hour in the gym.
Maybe the New Year’s Eve party only has pizza and you haven’t had a particularly figure-friendly diet that day.
Then it wasn’t perfect. But at least you stayed with it.
Above all, it doesn’t mean that the whole week, the whole month or even the whole season is ruined!
80 percent is 80 percent more than zero percent.
Every little thing counts. It really matters!
Every improvement, no matter how small, is progress:
- One more healthy meal a day is progress.
- Replacing a beer with a glass of water is progress.
- 5 push-ups after getting up is a victory.
THE ONE bad decision, whether one meal or one fancy workout was never the problem.
The problem only arises when you allow a chain reaction to occur just once.
And that usually only happens if you are caught by an idiotic invisible script that can only be killed with swords made of Valyrian steel:
“Either I do it 100% – or not at all” is absolute nonsense!
If you don’t have the time for a full workout, cut it in half! If it has to be a burger at the “golden M”, then drink water or a Diet Coke with it. It’s still better than sugar water.
You don’t have to go without everything at parties. Even with alcohol there are alternatives to whole-or-nothing. (I like this drink, for example, and I also drink a lot of water at every party.)
No time for training? Do you have 3 minutes? Then try this:
Every morning after getting up, you do 20 bodyweight squats, 10 pushups and, if you have a pull-up bar, hang on for 30 seconds.
Bonus tip: Try to go a little further from day to day: a squat, a push-up, hanging out for a second longer. Extra time required: 10 seconds.
The least you can achieve with it is that you move every day and challenge your muscles. And that’s a thousand times more effective than doing nothing.
In winter I often ask myself what it would be like to live where the sun is shining and the nights are short. With light and warmth many excuses disappear.
On the other hand, the conditions for staying at it all year round and doing something for your fitness have never been as good as they are today.
Only awareness becomes more and more important. You have to know where you are going and decide to base your behavior on it.
In this article you learned about 7 ways that will help you:
- Forget the whole or no crap.
- Don’t skip two in a row.
- Create a balance.
- Use exceptions Your advantage.
- Don’t rely on self-discipline.
- Forge a plan B (for every situation).
- Trust the power of small successes.