This post is from our IRON JEFF AMERICA Blog
Ok, folks, so I am going to select P90X as my workout program, as I have already completed it and I am fully aware of what’s involved and what it will take for it to work. But my journal will be designed to read along with any chosen workout program, although you will need to run your own numbers based on calorie burn in your workout. But the fundamental principles and what I research and share from what I have previously learned, especially in the area of nutrition and mindset, should be universal. So step one is setting yourself up for success. My T minus 3 agenda (that’s 3 days prior to program launch for the not so NASA inclined) is to set the stage for a full start, hitting the ground running. This master plan preparation is broken into 5 parts, with the first one being the ‘one ring to rule them all’. Here goes:
MINDSET: More than anything else, in starting a dedicated and intense workout program, you have to get your mind in it. Investment. If you are going to do this, you need to have a strong focus on what you want, and that you are going to get it, and then you need to develop the plan on how to get there and start rolling out that plan. That sequence of activities is applicable far out beyond fitness programs, but it works particularly well in a fitness program. You will need to work out all the elements of the master plan, but more than anything else, you have to make a pledge to yourself to fully execute on ALL aspects of it. From diet to schedule to hydration, and even to education using this blog and others, you need to invest in the process of getting from A to B so your will is strong when the pull to just pack it in is at it’s strongest. It sounds overused, but it’s a lifestyle change. Having a solid and invested plan will make you impervious to the kryptonite of sloth and complacency that’s mere existence is enough to weaken your resolve and derail your superhero plan for success.
SCHEDULE: whatever workout regimen you select, whatever the frequency, you need to establish a schedule that works for you. If you are able to go through the travails of the day and hit the gym, pool, track, or weightroom after you leave the office, then more power to you. Some folks like to work out just before hitting the rack (which I don’t recommend for reasons I’ll cover down the road from a nutrient uptake standpoint), and some have a long enough lunch break or flexibility in their schedule to do their program midday. And some do a hybrid of all kinds of different periods. I personally have to get up at zero dark early and bust it out before anyone is awake and I havent been beaten down by the day’s events. But that’s just me. Eventually once my energy level picks up I can usually handle some flex, because I’ll have resched the habit forming stage, but until then, it’s me and the rooster. Know what you can do, and develop your schedule around that, and STICK TO THAT SCHEDULE. Consistency is key in a workout program. You are trying to build a habit pattern, almost (but not) an addiction. The moment you try to wing it, the spectre of ‘Aw &@#% it’ starts to creep in, and all is lost!
DIET: You have your mandate, and you have hand entered all your workouts in your calendar with alerts and invites to your three best friends to call you 15 minutes before your workout to yell at you to get your butt to your workout. Now what? You have to establish your diet plan and eliminate or isolate temptations to it. Depending on your selected workout plan, dietary limitations, health limitations, and advice of your doctor, you need to figure out what it is you are going to eat and drink for the next 45-90 days or more. Then you need to meal plan for the first week at least, and establish your diet plan. The next steps, obviously would be to not only go out and purchase what you need for that plan, but also to toss/make your kids eat/have spouse move to a location you have no knowledge of/simply isolate from your diet items any pitching in the cubbard that will not be beneficial to your diet. Get rid of or at least separate from your items all the cookies, potato chips, sweets and other things that will cause you to stray from the path. Your diet is like the path through the Enchanted Forest in the Hobbit: stray from the path even a little bit and you’ll find yourself hanging from a tree being spun up with the spider silk of fitness plan failure. I also think it is a good idea to not only keep your menu items simple, easily prepared and full of items that can be nibbled on throughout the day, but also to pick a block during the week to prep out those meals that do need to be prepared for the reminder of the week’s meals. That may be dicing chicken and vegetables and baggie’ing them up for just dumping into a Wok with a low fat sauce, or making sandwiches and stowing them to grab during the week. For my Diet plan I will be following the recommend calorie count for P90X Standard, and utilizing the 50/30/20 ratio targeted to a fat burn, muscle constructing goal set. In my diet plan, I will be attempting to not only be burning fat and reducing weight from a calorie deficit, I will also be focusing on building muscle, muscle that over time will be my second mouth and eat it’s own set of calories, accelerating my calorie burn and keeping me at my target weight with less effort.
LOGISTICS: executing on any fitness plan requires that you obviously have the resources to get it done, in terms of facility availability, weather considerations and backup plans, and equipment needed. If yours will be a running program, you will probably want to find a quiet running path free of major obstacles (unless your program is an obstacle course oriented run program). If you are going to swim, you’ll need to find a facility that you can swim in with open lanes, and if that is not indoors, one where you can get indoors once the temps go too low at your outdoor pool. And if you’ll be doing a workout that requires weights, you’ll need a gym that has weights, or have a set of weights for your home gym/living room. For me personally, for P90X, I need free space about the size of a prison cell, a harmonica and a shiv….whoops, wrong workout. Awkward. Actually I really do need free space the size of a prison cell, a set of dumb elks that (for now) go up to 45 lbs, and a lat pull down machine. (Did I just type dumb elks? I meant dumbbells. If I do decide to do a workout inside a prison cell with a bunch of 45lb or less dumb elks, though, I’ll let you know, that would be a million hits on Youtube for sure). Fortunately for me, all these things are available in my community’s fitness center, and are almost never utilized at 5-6AM.
TOOLS AND TECH: there is just so much out there in the web these days it’s almost too much, but as time goes on in this blog, I will talk about a lot of the tools and technology that can help you optimally keep track of your workouts, progress, and give you insight on things you might want to integrate into your nutrition or workout, or look at for the next phase of your fitness journey. The first and most easily implemented tool you need to have is a journal. Almost any fitness tracking program you use will probably have sone kind of fitness journaling type feature, but sometimes I just like the old Excel Spreadsheet, which is completely customizable, and now completely mobile through online apps such as Numbers for the Ipad. On the journal, you’ll want to start with 3 things: a weight tracker (we’ll talk about frequency of weight measurements in our first week of posts), activity tracker with reps/mileage, laps, etc, meal tracking with quantities, and probably most importantly, how you felt during the workout, bad or good, and other expressions around your regimen as a whole. The key here ties back to investment and mindset, and building a routine. The more time and energy you invest in your program, the more it will feel a part of you, in some cases a new you, the you that you want to become…you get it? It’s all you! In addition to just executing on the plan, getting more buy-in from yourself and your psyche is aided by education. It can be reading this blog, finding articles or additional groups catering to your particular workout regimen, nutritional eating boards and recipes on Pinterest, etc. The more you learn, the more of an expert you start to become in your chosen path….and it feels good to feel like an expert! It fuels you even more, and as you start seeing results, others will too, and will be driven by curiously as to what you are doing and how. And you will fill them in as the new Jedi Master you have become in whatever program you have decided to pursue….then maybe you start your own blog! I know this was a long post, but it was important to layout the framework of your motivation and organization around your fitness goals, as I have found in my past fitness successes and failures that these items were what pre-destined my program to success or failure. So my next post, DAY -2, will focus on actual physical activity surrounding meal prep and development of specific achievable goals and other milestones you will set up with the foundation of today’s planning day in place!
THAT IS ALL.