Even exercise professionals struggle with their goals and ideal body condition. The thing about us is that we generally know exactly what to do, where we have opportunity and we usually have the creative ability to adapt a plan to our particular needs. And, for the most part, discipline and commitment are not usually inherent problems that need to be overcome. That’s because we really do believe deeply in the principles we teach, so making the time and devoting the energy to a fitness lifestyle are well worth it for the payoff we know we’ll enjoy.
But like everyone else, managing a well-designed, ambitious fitness and healthful eating program can be a challenge because of schedules, outside influences and competing priorities.
If you want the best chance to overcome these obstacles, sometimes it’s helpful to consult with a fellow fitness pro who knows your current routine, preferences, weaknesses and patterns to get a more objective viewpoint. The insight and cooperation combine to give your plan the best opportunity to work. And if you’re doing them together, the mutual support can be invaluable.
So that’s what we did yesterday. We both want to lose a few percentage points of body fat and I want to put on a few pounds of muscle. If you think it’s easy for already fit people to get more fit, bear in mind that the closer you get to your ideal, the harder it is to make even small incremental improvements toward your end goals. So, the approach is similar and the struggle is comparable to any of our clients, small group club members, or any of you.
We laid out three lists of practices that address areas we’re not already nailing which will help us reach our respective goals, one for each of us and one we can do together. Here are each:
- Breakfast every morning (“express” breakfast can be grab and go choices like a latte and a piece of fruit, a hard-boiled egg with half a bagel and a V8, or a few bites of cottage cheese with some trail mix).
- Fruit 2-3 x/day
- Veggies 3-4 x/day
- Protein @ 25%+ each meal or snack (to keep blood sugar stable, reduce cravings and maintain muscle).
- Enough H2o to keep urine pale to clear throughout the day
- Fruit 3-4 x/day
- Veggies 4-5 x/day
- Protein @ 30%+ each meal/snack (to build muscle)
- Decrease cardio volume by one workout each week.
- Increase strength training volume by 45-60 minutes/week.
- Veggie or split pea soup and/or salad 2+ x weekly
- Fish 1-2 x/week
- Bean or soy dish 1-2x/week
- Poultry 2-3x/week
- Consistent “Red Zone” eating last third of the day
- Add one short (30 min or less), high-intensity cardio workout weekly.
- Add one long (90 min or more) moderate intensity cardio activity weekly.
We’ll be charting our progress weekly and will share the six week results with you in my Halloween column. We’re hoping to both be in the best shape of our lives by Dec 31.
Dan is a nationally certified personal fitness trainer and former continuing education faculty member of the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American Council on Exercise. He is the owner and head trainer at Tri Valley Trainer in Pleasanton, which provides personal and small group fitness training and nutrition guidance. He can be reached at Dan@TriValleyTrainer.com