What trade-offs are you willing to make?
There is a cost associated with everything you do with your health and fitness goals. Whether it comes in the form of cost, time, effort, lifestyle or physical abilities (such as muscle size, strength, endurance etc), you can do whatever you want, but you can’t do it all. At least, not to a high level.
If your goal is to get leaner, what are you willing to give up in order to do so?
If you want to get stronger, are you willing to put in the time and effort to do so? Are you willing to not get as lean as you might want to be in order to get a bigger deadlift?
If you want to get fitter and improve your running, are you willing to put in the time and mileage?
The point is, that every fitness and body composition goal comes with its own selection of trade offs that you need to consider. If you want to get as lean as possible, and stay there, then you won’t be having a weekly takeaway, or dessert most nights. Or a glass or 3 of wine while you watch TV on a Saturday night.
If you value those things, and still want to make good progress, how much of them are you willing to give up in order to do so?
These are questions only you can answer, based on your lifestyle, your likes and goals. But sometimes you have to give some thought to what you are willing to give up, as well as what you are willing to do to achieve those goals.
Progress should be measured in terms of months and years.
And your habits, actions and consistency should be measured daily and weekly.
It’s easy to get disheartened when we don’t see the quick progress we’d like. We expect that the promises in magazines and on social media of getting shredded in 7 days, and flat tummies in 10 days are possible, likely even, if only we follow their plan. Unfortunately, these are click bait at best, and downright lies at worst.
Progress towards any goal takes a lot longer than we are often willing to believe. You can certainly make some quick jumps when you start, but after these initial jumps slow down, you have to work on building consistency in your habits and actions on daily and weekly timescales in order to see progress that may take months or years to appear.
But this shouldn’t discourage you.
In fact, it should encourage you, because while you can’t control the speed of your progress, you can control the actions you take and the habits you build. It takes effort, of course, but what goal worth chasing doesn’t?
Here are some of the key actions that you can control in order to make the best possible progress you can.
- What foods you choose to eat most of the time.
- How much protein you eat each day.
- How much water and other low/ zero calorie drinks you have each day.
- How many servings of fruit and veg you get each day.
- What portion sizes you use.
- How many steps you get on average over a week.
- How many workouts you schedule for your week, and how many you do.
- What time you get to bed.
- When you get up.
- How you choose to wind down before bed.
- How you think about your goals and actions.
- How you respond to setbacks and disappointment.
- What social media you choose to follow.
- The people you spend most of your time around.
Honestly, the list goes on. You have a lot more under your control than you might initially think and using that fact to your advantage can have a massive impact on your eventual outcomes.
A new take on the side plank
Side planks are great, but they’re often done poorly. Arched low backs, sagging into the shoulder blades and more going through the hips than the obliques.
This variation solves all of those issues in a neat, simple package.
- The 90-90 hip and knee position causes your hips to tuck under, making it all but impossible to arch into your low back.
- It also has a weird knack for getting your obliques to fire harder. My guess is that because your in a posteriorly tilted hip position, your obliques are shortened and easier to engage. Whatever the reason, the first couple of times doing this variation had my sides on the verge of cramping up.
- The reach with the top handeffectively pulls your shoulder blades apart, making it impossible to sag, as well as stopping you loading up your neck muscles more than they need to.
Give this a try next time you have side planks in your program, hold for 5-10 breaths per side.