The beginning is always the hardest because you don’t have any wins yet.
No one really gives a shit. Your family & friends try to be supportive but no one fully understands or really SEES any results yet. They don’t “get it” yet.. You kind of only have yourself to depend on in the beginning.
And to top if off, self-doubts are at their highest at the beginning. Because you haven’t experienced the impact of your efforts yet.
For example, with nutrition and training goals, you might be working hard but your body is looking the exact same despite the effort – you’re like, um, WTF. This is a whole lot of effort for no gains? Bye!
But here’s the thing: The beginning is always the hardest. There’s a ramp up period. I call it, “The Struggle Phase” where you are consistently paying dues into this seemingly arbitrary TRUST piggybank, even though you are seeing barely any results yet and no idea as to whether or not it will work. Just good intentions and a lot of self belief.
This is where trusting yourself and trusting the process needs to be at its highest. But this is also where I see most people quit.
It’s similar to pushing a HUGE rock up a hill. You are doing more work than is necessary because there isn’t any momentum yet. In fact, at times it’s working against you.
But when you are building something (like a body, a business, a skill), it takes time to get the momentum going. That’s also why so very few succeed.
But the cool thing is this: that big rock you are pushing up that hill? At some point, it reaches the top, and your efforts have paid off enough that it starts moving on it’s on a little more. It starts picking up speed. Your efforts accelerate.
For example if it’s training, you’ll get to where you’ve built enough muscle, gotten to a certain level of fitness so you don’t have to struggle though every single little thing.
The time, effort and struggle you put in at the beginning starts paying dividends. All because you stuck at it long enough to gain momentum!
*Potentially unpopular opinion .
A world in which self-care has become such a trendy topic is a world that is increasingly becoming more and more sick.
Basically I am referring to the very superficial Pinterest/Insta-generated version of self-care in which self-care is mostly viewed through the lens of only doing what feels good.
You'll often hear about it in terms of things like face masks and bubble baths or eating that 3rd pack of timtams. This is the kind of self-care that if more often treating yourself -- essentially making yourself feel good by indulging.
Now these things have their place, But IMO it has been taken waaaaay too far, and it’s time to bring back the balance of true self care.
Whether it's something like exercising when you’d rather be eating ice-cream, or eating well-balanced meals because you actually care for your long term health, or cleaning your fridge out or organizing your finances when you would rather be watching Netflix.
Or actively working on your mental or emotional health and taking full responsibility for how you show up each day. The things that are truly caring for ourselves and setting ourselves up for a better future are not going to be the things that lead to those happy little bursts of dopamine, at least not in the moment.
If we started to redefine self-care to also include the things that don't always feel good in the moment, we could maybe start to have a better picture of what it really means to do something good for ourselves.
Because let's be honest, even if everything “felt good”, feeling good is a pretty limited human emotion, and it's important to focus on all of the aspects of being a balanced human being.
Selfcare should not be something we resort to because we are so absolutely exhausted every day that we need some reprieve from our own internal pressure. Self care should be making the choice to build a life we don’t need to constantly escape from.
And that often means buckling down and doing the thing we don’t feel like doing in the moment.
Remember just because a moderate calorie deficit works, it does not mean that a severe calorie deficit will work even better. In fact it’s almost always means the opposite.
Less food does not equal better quality weight loss. By quality I mean fat loss and not muscle loss. Eating too little food will always equal muscle loss along with the fat loss.
And if you lose a substantial amount of lean body mass in the process, you were not successful ??♀️
Jumping right into super low calorie/carb diets leaves you so little to play with as well when you hit a plateau. It also quickly slows down your metabolism.
With any diet plan it’s important to make changes very slowly and incrementally and only as needed. If you plateau I always recommend first finding ways you can tighten up on your adherence with your current intake, before cutting calories further. That usually always works to get my clients out of a plateau.
The same goes for cardio and training. Start with the minimum effective dose – especially when dieting as otherwise you are just adding more stress on top of an already stressed state (being in a deficit).
Being greedy will always backfire.
If you are steadily losing ½ kg or so of fat per week training 5 days a week, don’t get greedy and think you’ll get to your goal twice as fast by doubling your training. It doesn’t work like that. You’ll just set off a host of negative hormonal/metabolic adaptations that will slow down your fat loss and have you looking & feeling depleted.
Take baby steps and stay consistent & I promise you it will pay off ??
Don’t be afraid to try something new in your fitness – & stop snubbing your nose at other forms of exercise just because it’s not what you do or recommend.
You see it all areas of life (Coffee, clean eating, music, wine, pasta sauce lol)– where passion and loyalty for something turns into being a snob about it & assuming anything different to what you are doing is inferior.
With training, I think it’s important to keep an open mind and realise there are bits and pieces that can be taken from all modalities & forms of exercise.
Coming from someone who has tried different things over the years (and gotten good results) I am always excited to learn about new training methods & new sports. It’s not normally about what method is better; it’s about tweaking it to suit you & using the right dose to get you results. Obviously you’ll always have your biases (cough-strength-training-cough ?) but letting go of the ego & just being more curious is a great trait to develop (I recommend the book Ego is the Enemy ????)
When you have an open mind & a genuine desire to learn (rather than hating on anything except what you know) the sky really is the limit. You can use different pieces from different methods to get excellent results. And it's such an exciting way to live.
I recommend trying new things, experimenting & most importantly if you have been doing something for awhile & it’s keeping you stuck – I’d be questioning why and making a change, rather than blindly continuing.
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, learn a new skill (this one is so hard as initially anything new sucks so much), target the physical pathway you haven’t yet targeted (massive key - once you have a few years of training under your belt - I am a big fan of discovering the pathway someone hasn't yet targeted to get them unstuck - whether it’s tweaking volume, intensity, accessories, conditioning etc), because that's probably going to be the only way that you will see change. If you continue doing the same thing, fitness or exercise wise, & expecting a different result – it’s just not going to happen. ??
I was watching an animal doco once when I first heard the expression: “Eyes on the front born to hunt, eyes on the side born to hide.” The narrator was explaining how you can differentiate prey from predators.
For example, lions have eyes in the front of their heads (hunters) ? while horses have eyes on the side of their heads (prey) ? Side eye placement allows for greater side peripheral so they can see predators approaching from the side as well as from behind.
Now with horses, having eyes on the sides of their heads in the wild serves them well (for survival purposes). With racehorses though, trainers place blinders on them to help they stay focused on what’s in front of them. The blinders also prevent the horse from getting scared too easily. (We should all invest in a good set of blinders to wear for the same reasons) .
In life, this is something I constantly remind myself to do in all aspects of life. Stay focused with one SINGLE vision. Just FORWARD. . If we’re constantly checking up on others & comparing against what they are doing, it’s a pretty good sign that we need to become more obsessed with our own goals.
Social media is great – if we can accept that it’s a highlight reel & appreciate it for what it is. People always shit on social media being a “highlight reel” and I’m like why the hate? None of us scroll insta hoping to see depressing shit, diseases, ugly crying faces or un-motivating news. I want to see happy people, funny things, cool content, and puppies. And I appreciate a good selfie ??
Let it be a highlight reel. Take it for what it is. The truth is, if we can’t handle seeing someone else’s highlight reel without losing the plot, we have work to do on ourselves.
We need to build resilience. We need to work on our confidence. We need to put our blinders back on and get to work on ourselves. Focus on YOU. Remember what YOU do when nobody is watching is what defines you. We all have shit days. And making it through those difficult days, the ones that no one else sees on their newsfeed is what matters most anyway. ?
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