‘Rome wasn't built in a day’ - If i had £1 for every time I've said this……
Two very cliche sayings in one opening sentence! It is the first one I want to focus on for today’s blog. I find myself saying this a lot to clients, members, family and friends. It seems that everyone is out for the quick fix - the delectable diet pill, the wondrous workout that lasts 30 seconds but will gain you 10kg of lean muscle, the magic ten minutes of meditation that will dissolve your body fat. However, the truth of the matter is that there is no such thing as magic.
However, all is not lost! We are all blessed with a wonderful engine - our body, the ability to find the most efficient fuel - food, and we have access to the best manual - each others’ experiences and the world wide web.
I used the analogy of a car the other day to a client of mine and found it rather helpful.
Lets take a closer look at the engine - the nitty-gritty, nuts and bolts that form our shape and give us the potential for movement and activity. We are not only talking about our muscles and bones but also our organs - heart, lungs, gut etc. For the vast majority of us our engines’ components all work together in harmony to provide a whole whose worth is greater than the sum of its individual parts.
Now lets look at the fuel. Most of us bypass Unleaded Supreme and head for the cheap option. Now this may not be gastronomical for our engines, in fact normal unleaded may work for us just fine but what if we did feed ourselves supreme? The fuel that we put in our bodies is extremely important for our performance, whether we are revving it up for a 7 minute AMRAP of burpees and double unders, a single 1 RM Clean, or just simply going about our day-to-day life. What we eat can make the difference between shedding a few pounds, fainting during a warm up or even developing coronary heart disease.
So we have looked at the engine itself and how we fuel it. Before I get to my point about Rome - I am getting there! - lets have a look at how we drive the car. Now I drive a Nissan Nivara. Its huge, 4 wheel drive and takes on pretty much anything accept accelerating quickly or turning on a sixpence. My dad drives a Toyota GT68 - its small, yellow, ridiculously fast and has a spoiler! Now if I tried to race him in my truck and kept my foot flat to the floor I’m pretty sure good old Nellie Nissan would fall apart or explode - either way I would lose. Secondly if Dad took Tina Toyota off roading up a mountain….. well!
Its the same for us. Ask Mo Farah tomorrow to deadlift 200kg and he will probably struggle! Ask your engine to squat beautifully or attempt 100 pull ups for time, when all its done for the last ten years is sit behind a desk, carry children or perform bicep curls on a fixed motion machine it again will struggle.
The things we do to our bodies on a daily basis have a great impact on how they move and can massively affect how they perform. Like a car with low tread on one tyre - this has a knock on effect on the rest of the mechanics. Our low tread maybe the fact that we sit for 12 hours a day, or we are right handed - these things affect our mechanics too. If we miss too many MOTs, services or oil changes it may lead to us breaking down just like our cars do. Just as using the wrong fuel will lead to poor, less efficient performance.
BUT! The beautiful thing about our bodies is, like cars, we can fix them! We can learn to move better, to fuel our bodies better and, with the help of our manuals, repair damage that has been done and learn how to prevent any further damage from happening.
Unlike cars though, repairing our bodies takes time. Finally we have reached Rome - and it is still being built! Weight loss, muscle gain, improved cardio, stronger back squats, more efficient rope climbs - all these things can be gained by us but they take hard work and dedication and above all honesty. I realise my clients won’t always necessarily be honest with me - although it does help! - but I’d like them to be honest with themselves.
I’ve had clients who swear that they eat clean, have been following the programme I've set for them during the week and have been working on their mobility and movement patterns, when in reality they are eating McDonalds for tea, have only attended one WOD and spent the weekend working on the mobility of their drinking arm in a nightclub tanked up on booze and whatever else. Now I am not here to judge anyone, but if you want to look and feel great then in my experience this isn't the way to go!
Once you are honest with yourself, head to your manuals - this may involve seeing a nutritionalist, personal trainer, physiotherapist / osteopath or GP for advice but that is ok, we can learn a lot from other people. Listen to what they have to say, ask questions, understand the science behind your goals - it can make all the difference.
The next step is to get on with it! Set your goals and start working towards them. Get the tank filled with supreme unleaded, turn the key and get moving! Good things don't always come to those who wait, they come to those who go out and chase them.
Look out for the next blog on how to set appropriate goals for yourself.
Next blog - on goals SMARTER etc.