Plan to Succeed
IFBB Pro Toni Perdikakis shares tips on how to plan your fitness to help keep your routine simple and sustainable
Okay, so we are at that halfway point in January for those who just started their fitness journey. Studies report that many people who resolve to get fit in the New Year throw in the towel by Valentine's Day. The truth is, there is a lot that goes into becoming a fitter you, and most of you have other responsibilities. But life happens, and you just have to do your best to not compromise your goals, while still dealing with responsibilities like family, work, children, dogs, finances, etc. I know, there’s just so much to remember on your to-do list though, right?
Well, let me ask you this: Do you remember the first time you did a plank? You had to remember to keep your core tight, hands directly under your shoulders, spine neutral, hips down, belly button in … oh, and don’t forget to breathe! You were probably left thinking, "Woah, I can't remember all that!" But sure enough, you did, and now a plank is like second nature to you. The same thing applies in your journey to becoming a fitter you. "You mean, I have to eat all my meals, make sure all of them are clean meals, weight train, do cardio, do yoga, stretch and sleep ... um I can't do all that and work, can I?" Of course you can!
I think this is where I have it pretty easy. I make my own schedule training clients, then I have to visit accounts, attend appearances and teach. But I will tell you this: my heroes are all of my friends with kids. Sometimes I feel like I can hardly keep up with just two dogs and that’s with my mom helping me take care of them! I am sure when I become a mother though, I will find a way to make it work. For now, I will stick to what I am comfortable with.
I know that you are dead set on your goals and you don't want to fail, but the reality is you don't want to fall victim to burnout. I am notorious for this. I go, go, go … and then all of a sudden I hit the wall, figuratively speaking, of course. Although, I was so tired the other night that I forgot to put my car in park and I drifted right into my fence, so that may count as a wall!
When I try to postpone rest days or active recovery days, I find myself cranky, worn out, tired, and just plain sore. I’m very good at taking care of myself. I get a massage once a week, work with a structural integration therapist once a week, see my chiropractor twice a week (he loves me but also tells me I am the worst patient ever because I don't listen!), as well as hyperbaric and acupuncture treatments. But none of these things will ever replace good old rest!
It’s important to listen to your body. When you start to feel overly sore or tired, or you are not enjoying your workouts, cut your workout time down a bit. Another option is to skip your workout altogether and take a long walk or hit a yoga class instead. When you're feeling really burnt out, take a day or two off for complete rest. Other than doubt and fear, overtraining and burnout are probably the top sabotagers in your quest to become a fitter you.
People come up to me nearly every day and tell me they want to compete. I love the sport and competing, but I waited to commit to the stage until all of my ducks were in order, so to speak. If you are working 60 hours per week and have three kids at home, maybe right now isn't the time. Tell yourself that it's one of your future goals, and then pick another goal that’s a stepping-stone to your future one. Like I said, there’s a lot more to factor in then cooking and working out. Not getting enough rest and recovery will quickly crush your goals.
Personally, I crave everything when I don't get enough sleep. When I overtrain, I am just horrible to be around. And when I am both sleep deprived and burnt out, all I can say is yikes! But the best way to avoid all of these bumps in the road is to plan, plan, and plan some more. If you have to plan your bedtime, go ahead and do it. Plan your rest and active recovery days, too. You can even plan your bathroom breaks if you have to ... whatever works! But that doesn’t mean if something happens to throw you off your plans, you toss your food journal in the air and sprint for Burger King. Take a deep breath, reroute, and do the best you can. We can't control everything, but we can control how we react. And if you’re set on your goals, then nothing can throw you off course!