In today’s society, a large portion of individuals are “All In!” with regards to their goals, especially when it comes to nutrition. While their level of commitment is highly admirable, is it truly sustainable over time? Meaning, do you think you or someone else can maintain that “All In”, commitment 365 days a year without any type of deviation, and still maintain all other aspects of their lives, in a positive manner such as relationships, personal emotions, work, stress, sleep, and personal obligations. Or do you think that there needs to be a level of personal consistency, flexibility, and accuracy?
I personally believe that in order to achieve sustained success over time, one needs to find a healthy balance between the three: consistency, flexibility, and accuracy.
Let’s use the following as an example:
If you had just bought a new car and decided that you were going to drive it everywhere around town at full speed every single time you needed to go somewhere, what would eventually happen? The consistent notion of pushing the gas pedal all the way to the floor, slamming the breaks, and lack of concern for what’s lying in the road can eventually lead you to end up spending more money on engine repairs, gas, oil changes, brakes, tires, and body damage than if you were driving logically. Making sure to drive the speed limit, stopping or using an alternative route when objects are placed in front of you, walking to your destinations every now and again to lessen wear and tear, etc. Which of the two options is more likely to allow you to drive that car for years to come? Driving logically! Making sure to accurately follow the rules of the road, consistently keeping up with the maintenance as needed, and being flexible enough to know when to use a detour, avoid driving during certain weather or road conditions, and even using alternative methods of transportation. Now this isn’t saying that there won't be times to step on the gas, but for the most part your driving style stays consistent.
These same three variables; consistency, flexibility, and accuracy should also be implemented with regards to your training and nutrition.
Going “All In”, pushing the intensity 100% of the time simply doesn’t happen. Our bodies weren’t programmed that way. No matter how hard we push, restrict, or adhere to a nutritional protocol, our bodies will adapt and push back with even more resistance.
I have seen firsthand through working with clients, and on social media that when an individual who is “All In” slips up and it leads them to go over the macronutrient numbers for the day or were unable to follow their meal plan that it leads to taking part in an all-out binge eating affair, putting the blinders on, consuming whatever they can get their hands on until they make themselves sick!
This type of behavior and mindset can not only lead to developing a negative relationship with food, but also derail days or even weeks of progress! Don’t throw everything away because of one possible slip up! You will make mistakes, have bad days, get sick, and even lose passion towards your goals at times that may cause you to take a step back with regards to your progress. BUT that is absolutely no reason to give in, or give up.
What makes the difference over time with regards to nutrition and the physique you desire? Consistency, flexibility, and accuracy.
Whether you have been putting the time and effort in for weeks, months, or years, the more consistent you are the further you’ll be able to progress. These efforts may seem like only small steps forward, but over time you need to realize that all of those small steps will add up! A consistent pace will lead you further than sprinting out of the gate only to find yourself burnt out and gasping for air two miles down the road.
Will there be times when food sources become repetitive and you find yourself saying you’ll never eat another piece of this or that? Yes! Will you find yourself out with family or friends on occasions where the food selection might be vastly different from what you would normally eat or prefer? Yes. But remember all of those consistent small steps you’ve been taking? One decision won’t derail everything you’ve worked towards up to this point.
This is where the flexibility aspect comes into play. Life will NEVER be perfect or goes as planned! So rather than throwing in the towel and going “All In”, on a binge, just exchange your sources, or try to eat what you believe would be a typical serving size for you with regards to your current goals.
Going over or even falling under your macronutrient/calorie range one or two times every few weeks whichever the case might be won't derail your entire progress as long as you’re consistently working towards the end goal then you will be able to progress. Realize that it was just one meal or day that you happen to go over or under and then move forward. Dwelling on the situation and making yourself feel bad about it, can end up being more counterproductive than anything else. You cannot change things that have already taken place!
Different goals will require you to take part in different levels of accuracy and commitment for certain period of time: contest preps, photoshoots, time variable dates, etc. but they will all require consistency!
A large portion of us also need to remember where we stand with regards to our goals! Yes, we may love eating, training, tracking, and living the physique enthusiast lifestyle but does your physique pay your bills? Has it provided you with opportunities to advance in your career? Does it enable you to bring joy, love, and emotions into those who you care about and care about you? These areas of your life should always come first. Which is why I am an advocate for going “All In” on implementing a level of consistency, flexibility, and accuracy to your lifestyle, and overall mindset.
M.S & B.S Exercise Science
School Health Education 043
Physical Education 044
American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI)-Authorized Instructor; First Aid, CPR, AED Instructor
Precision Nutrition Level One Coach
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DISCLAIMER: Thomas Munck is not a doctor or registered dietitian. The contents of this document should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem - nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health.