4 Rules to Break the Boredom
Here’s how to make getting in shape interesting and sticky
Column by Matt Katt from FITISM
The basic science of getting in shape is fairly straightforward in principle; increase lean muscle tissue and reduce body fat. The way to achieve this varies amongst experts but essentially involves the following.
Eat a balance of proteins (40 per cent), carb’s (40 per cent), fats (20 per cent) at every meal and ensure you are in a calorie deficit around 10 per cent lower than your total energy expenditure every day. To complement this, train six times per week; three to four times focusing on strength training and two to three times focusing on HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and completely rest for one day per week. Do this week in week out until your achieve your desired shape and then follow a maintenance plan.
Sounds simple right?
Maybe a little boring?
Damn right! And therein lies the problem…
People do not get in shape because of lack of understanding. People do not get in shape because they find it incredibly BORING! And here’s why:
- The social exclusion of those following such an approach; due to the inability to go out, have a few drinks, eat junk food because ‘it doesn’t fit their macros.’ It just does not sit well with the way most people want to live their lives.
- Those following such a plan have a tendency to develop a mild unhealthy obsession about getting in shape, putting tremendous importance on it over pretty much everything else in their life.
- The personal pressure as a result of following a very mathematical approach to getting in shape creates the feeling of huge pressure to ‘not fall off the plan’; a pressure most people just do not want to put themselves under.
For some this approach works, but for the vast majority of people that we help on a daily basis throughout our FITISM studios, it is too much.
So here are 4 rules to make getting in shape more interesting, sustainable and realistic.
RULE 1 Be More Mindful
It is very common for our clients to worry about their inability to stop eating naughty food. What they talk about most is mindless eating, like when you walk past a bowl of crisps and before you know it you have scoffed half the bowl.
The first step to creating more control is to become more mindful. It is one of the first stages of change; to actually realise and appreciate what you are doing before you do it. Think about what you are doing when you reach for the bowl of crisps. By just being more mindful about your actions will put you one step closer to actually changing the choice you make in the same situation next time.
RULE 2 Know What You Want
Once you have become more mindful the next step is to connect with what you want. This is a huge topic but simply put, if you want something enough you will find a way to make it happen. If you do not, you won’t.
Take yourself off for 10 minutes and write down what a healthy way of life would do for you. How would your life and your families’ life improve if you were healthier? What would change for the better? How would you feel about yourself if you were healthy and your body looked good? Immerse yourself in the greatest version of you.
By doing this you will better connect at a level of importance that you might not have realised existed before. For some this might seem like a pointless task but I highly encourage you to do it. This simple action, that takes no more than 10 minutes, can be the difference between getting in shape or not.
Allow these first two rules to sink in. For some it could take days and for others, weeks or even months but over time these two rules will move you closer to making the change necessary to get in shape.
RULE 3 During the Week Clean – Weekends Dirty
For most this is a fantastic rule to live by. During the week focus on eating well and exercising most days in one way or another and eliminate obvious bad foods like alcohol and processed foods. On the weekend choose one evening to go and enjoy yourself and not feel guilty about it.
This will not be deemed boring if you have followed rules 1 and 2. Skip these rules and the boredom factor will set in!
RULE 4 Make It Fun
Eating well is not all about weighing out your chicken and broccoli and exercising effectively is not all about training until you’re ill whilst counting sets and reps!
Make eating well interesting and exercise entertaining. This message is different for different people but for most the biggest reason you cannot get in shape is not down to nutrition and exercise methodology. Your inability to make it work is down to consistency or lack of. By making it strict, hard and mathematical you will get bored and quit because you have not given the process time to take effect.
Seek out interesting, healthy recipes and get into cooking and preparing foods you have never tried before. Go and eat in new healthy cafes. There has been a boom in healthy cafes over the last five years serving incredible food you would never have thought could taste so good.
Exercise with someone else, be that a Personal Trainer or a friend, increases your chance of sticking at it. Find routines you enjoy; ones that hold your attention, encourage you to work hard and makes you feel fantastic afterwards. So for most, traditional strength training routines (sets and reps) and running on treadmills are out. Instead set up small split or total body circuits with timeframes to focus on. Try and beat your own personal times and change the routines frequently.
A very simple example of a total body timed pull circuit would be:
10 minute AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible)
10 TRX Rows
10 Lat Pull Downs
For many of our clients this is the perfect way to train as they find it far more interesting than arguable more effective methods of training that involve strict reps, set and recovery periods. These workouts make you feel great afterwards due to the endorphin response and this leads to more consistency long term, which is the name of the game.
Do not put pressure on yourself to eat like a saint and train like an Olympic athlete; especially if healthy eating and exercise is not your thing. Train for you and the life you live. The greatest version of you will follow.