July 22, 2018
For the metaphorical bull in a China closet, the principle of consistency can be excruciatingly drawn out and frustrating. It’s anchored in constant and regular practice, which in many cases means holding back a bit. It carries with it the idea that a goal is not easily or immediately attained. Even further, the changes necessary to facilitate that goal are not easily or immediately made either. Long term incremental progress can be easy to overlook when there are more immediately gratifying alternatives, although their benefits tend to be rather short lived. For long term success, and dare I say contentment, consistency is key. One could even boil it down to its more virtuous form – patience. Yes, consistency is a virtue to success. Let’s talk about how we can be successful in training and in diet.
When training, it’s enticing to gravitate towards more and more everything. More volume, more intensity, more frequency. While incremental increase in intensity is vital in training, the total workload on the body needs to be balanced. Too little and there’s no progress. Too much and there’s no progress, and most likely injury to add the cherry on top. Consistency helps to mitigate this problem. For training purposes, especially when starting out, regular practice is necessary, not only to maintain proper technique, but to refine it. And as an athlete accumulates hours upon hours of training, and thus fatigue, intensity needs to be applied tastefully in order to reduce the risk of injury. Additional consideration needs to be given to your individual goals. Some members are looking for something that will maintain their health without a large time commitment. In general a minimum of three days a week will suffice for these purposes. However, more intensity is required on account of the low frequency. For members looking to refine their sport, more practice is required. Just like any sport, skills need to be developed which will take time. Just how much time that will be can vary widely depending on ability and goals. Athletes who are committing a substantial amount of time to training may need to consider dual session days and an adjustment in intensity for the sake of longevity. This additional time will accumulate to substantially more practice and experience in the long term. Regardless of your goals, consistency is still necessary. You need to come in and put forth the work on a regular basis to reap the results.It’s time now to take a look at something that will play an even greater role in your performance and health – diet.
Relating to consistency, or lack thereof, fad diets are something that most coaches, if not every single one of them, readily despise. The promise of quick results entice far too many to make drastic changes for a short time, only to crash head on into their old tendencies. Now, make no mistake, some of the more popular diets do encourage healthy, well balanced eating. However, true, long term progress comes from those who actually stick to it and make the necessary lifestyle changes, as opposed to a month long charade. If you do follow a diet, it should be one that promotes longevity. No “high this, low that.” You need fats, protein, and yes, even carbs. So, if you struggle with diet, here are a couple suggestions. First of all, systematically replace unhealthy food choices with healthy counterparts. Again, incremental progress is key. You don’t need to perform an absolute overhaul of your diet in one go. You do need to make subtle changes that are easy to maintain until they add up to something bigger. Secondly, find a calorie goal that is appropriate for you, and aim to hit it consistently every day. If you fail to track what you’re eating, it’s very easy and almost guaranteed that you calorie consumption will fluctuate substantially from day to day and alter your energy levels. Down the line, this might result in eating roughly the same thing each day. For some, that might sound extremely boring, but in my personal experience, it makes being consistent a lot easier, and it’s not a tremendous issue if they are foods you enjoy. If you’re exceptionally gung ho about a certain diet, chances are you’re moving way too fast, and are on a swift path to relapse. Ideally, the switch is rather uneventful due to how minor the changes seem in the beginning. Make no mistake though, those small adjustments will in time add up something life changing.
“Aim low, you have to accept the fact that you can set yourself a goal that you can attain and there is not going to be much glory in it. The goal you can attain tomorrow isn’t very glorious but it’s a hell of a lot better than nothing and it beats the hell out of bitterness and its way better than blaming someone else.” – Dr. Jordan Peterson
Above all, keep in mind that change is not immediate, and certainly achieving goals are not, either. Aim to make each today just a tad bit better than the one before it. Happy training and happy eating.