This past Monday night, at our Halloween themed Paleo Posse meeting, the topic of good habits came up. We talked about it for a little while, and it seemed to really strike a chord with people. I got some good questions about more specific details so I wanted to take the time here to really lay it all out.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle said that. At the core of it all, at the simplest level, your health and fitness is all about habits. Set up good habits and you'll be fine. Set up bad habits and you're out of luck until you make better ones. Here's how to make habits: choose one thing to develop at a time, commit to it for 90 days, check in every 30 days to make sure you're still on the right track. By the end of the three months, your new habit should be thoughtless and natural, which is exactly what you want.
The most important question is what types of habits do you want to have? The first habit is to be active, but since you're reading this, you're probably already working out consistently so I'm not gonna talk about that in depth. Here's the list of habits you need to develop and why. It's long, so get comfy.
Log your workouts…
It's unbelievable to me that people don't log their workouts. Here's the thing: it's really easy to do, takes almost no time, and the pay off is insane. Here are a few reasons why logging your workouts is necessary:
It helps with scaling
How can you scale workouts properly if you don't know what you can actually do?
It tells you how much you're improving
We repeat workouts here every few months. If you haven't written down your scores, how will you know whether you're improving? You can't just guess, guess doesn't mean anything. We're looking for cold, hard numbers here.
It'll tell you why you feel the way you do
Next time your back is sore, remember that if you had a workout log, you could go back and figure out which workout caused that soreness and give you something specific to work on.
It keeps everything in perspective
Some days it's hard to be proud of where we're at or happy with how we did in a workout. That's when you go back to the beginning of your log and see how insane all these things were when you started. Back then, pull-ups were an impossible dream. Yesterday you did 30 in the middle of a workout. Back then, you couldn't even snatch a PVC pipe. Last week you snatched 155 pounds. A good log will keep everything in perspective by reminding you of where you've come from.
…and your nutrition.
Along with logging your workouts, you've gotta log your nutrition. While you must always keep track of your workouts, this one is important to do only until you finally get what it looks like to eat well. Truthfully logging what you eat is like reading a tell-all book about your own life…you're first reaction will be "holy crap, is that really what I'm like?"
Logging your food is important because it gives you ever more data, which will allow you to make better decisions, that will in turn move you in the right direction. If you out a new diet for 30 days and write down everything you eat during those 30 days, you'll learn a few important things: how strictly you adhere to the actual diet, how much the change in your food actually helped or hurt you, and whether it's a good idea to actually continue along that path or not.
Make your workouts a priority…
Life is really unforgiving and really doesn't care what your plans are. Things will happen. You'll have days where you have to work 13 hours. You'll have times where all the kids have their own schedules that you have to adhere to, your spouse is sick at home, and you've got a huge project on your plate. Sometimes you'll just feel really lazy. The point is, there's always something that can stop you from working out.
Don't let them. If you've signed up to workout 3 times a week for the next 3 months, challenge yourself to come to the gym and workout 3 times a week for the next 3 months. Are you going on business trips? Ask us for workouts to do while you're gone. Your workouts must be a priority, something you cannot miss.
…and quit making excuses.
Seriously. Stop being a victim to your circumstances and start taking control. Carve out the time you need to do the things you need to do. Budget your time and money in a way that will support your health and fitness. Sacrifice those things that are unnecessary or superfluous to make way for the important things in your life. Here's the key to productivity and success in 11 words: one thing at a time, most important thing first, start now. That's technically 10 words because articles don't count, but who's splitting hairs?
Be SMART with your goals. Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic, and Time-Sensitive. Instead of saying "I want to do a pull-up", say "I will do an unassisted pull-up by March 2012". Instead of "I want to be in good shape", how about "I will run a 5k in under 27 minutes by June 2012." This way you can actually know if you've achieved your goal, you have something to train towards, and you're held accountable by the by-when date.
Take advantage of every resource at your disposal.
We, the coaches, are here as sources of information both inside and outside of class. If you want to meet and chat about your goals, your nutrition, your workouts, how you're feeling, etc. just let us know and let's set it up. That's what we're here for. Do you have a question about how to eat, or what a certain movements looks like, or why we do things in a certain way? Ask your fellow CrossFitters, ask Google, ask your coaches. If you find conflicting information, ask us and we'll clarify. If you need support on something, set it up with one of the coaches or with your peers. Get their information, friend them on Facebook, stay in contact with them, and use them to keep you on track and motivated.
At the end of the day, we're here for ya. We're here to give you everything you need to live the healthy and fit lifestyle you deserve. So why not take us up on that?
"This is Your Baseline on Drugs"
3 rounds for time:
500m row (or 400m run)
40 jump squats
30 KB swings (2 pood/ 1.5 pood)
20 Push-ups (competition)10 pull-ups (chest-to-bar)
Posted by Armen.