Life balance, impatience and obstacles
Let me start by saying, things never tend to go smoothly. Planning and preparation will always be the key to success, but even with the best plan in the world there will always be obstacles, how we tackle these obstacles is what is important. A missed meal, a bad workout, an injury, all a pain in the dick but dealing with these things accordingly will help you stay on track.
A positive mental approach to even the most major of fuck ups will be imperative to deal with shit that life throws at you. Everyone is different, everyone holds themselves to a different standard, I’m probably the worst for it, I hold myself to such a high standard it’s almost impossible to live up to it. Impatience is universally a bad trait, but impatience and being hard on yourself, can encourage you to success, it may not be the healthiest attitude but I’ve seen but it can get some great results.
I have looked after countless clients over my career, I see impatience all the time, it’s my job to level these people out. I’ve seen polar opposites of the spectrum, people who accept they will slip up and shrug it off which then leads to it being a weekly occurrence, and people are fucking furious with themselves that they have slipped up on their diet once in 8 weeks. “What happened, what did you have” Expecting an answer such as an arse load of McDonalds, an all you can eat Chinese, a whole loaf of bread, ended up on a 16 pint absolute bender then woke up in a ditch covered in noodles, but no, from these guys I get “I was only supposed to have 10 almonds and i had 15” “I just was so broke and tired I had a banana” “I had one glass of prosecco at my mother’s 60th” Now dealing with this as a trainer is a balancing act between what I’m trying to achieve, the reality of the slip up, and trying to keep balance in people’s lives.
So how do i recommend you deal with this? As i said a positive mental approach to anything is key. If you fuck up, ok, take a breath, think about it and get the fuck on with it. If you had 5 extra almonds, it’s ok, it won’t ruin the work you have put in, get back on the wagon. If you got shitfaced at a mates birthday, ok, get back on the wagon and crack on. These things only become an issue when you spiral out of control and end up on a 4 day food bender because you’re mad at yourself.
I like to keep a wall calendar over a transformation, if you are bang on with your food and you train well or just did everything you were meant to do that day, you get to tick the day. If you fuck up with your food, you can’t tick the day. At the end of the week if you have 6-7 ticks, you’re good, if you have 3 or 4 then you need to sit down and ask yourself some questions, why am i slipping up all the time? Why am I fucking it up for myself? Because let’s get it straight, it is yourself, it’s you against you, no one is force feeding you, yeah so you have kids, you have too much on with work, fine if you’re willing to make the excuse then accept that you won’t get exactly what you want in the time you want it in. If you decide you want to be ripped in 12 weeks, all excuses have to go out the window, don’t have time? Make time, too tired? Open a window, have a coffee and get on with your workout. If you want to allow yourself more time, work sensibly around your schedule but don’t use your excuses as a free pass.
This brings me to my next point, life balance, some people can socialize on a diet, some people can’t, sometimes to avoid temptation it’s best to eliminate the possibility for temptation, don’t have it in the house, don’t go out. However we do believe in life balance, 12 weeks of living like a monk will be mentally very taxing. This is why we introduce cheat meals or cheat days into our client’s diet structure, it’s also a way of dieting i favour, having one day off a week to have the mental break from the diet will serve you well over a prolonged period of time. When I was a rookie to bodybuilding I dieted straight for 11 months with just two days off, one was my birthday and one was out celebrating St.George’s day. For 11 months, I was a proper little dickhead, moody, miserable little prick. By the time I had retired from bodybuilding I would diet for 3-4 months for a show with a full cheat day off every week, nicest guy ever!
Getting in shape has its elements of sacrifice, if it was easy everyone would look good, but life balance is key. If you go on holiday, enjoy yourself don’t be restricted by “oh i have to stick to this diet” or “I can’t have a drink”, you’re there to enjoy it, train if you can but don’t not enjoy yourself because of restrictions. Then when you get back, hit it hard, and smash the gym up. If you have a special occasion, not just a weekend! But maybe an anniversary, a special birthday, fuck it have fun, after all life is for living and enjoying yourself, and yes, you can be in shape and still have fun, you just need to know how to structure it.
Those are all diet issues. Injuries for me are the hardest pills to swallow. When I was in my twenties, my warm up would consist of throwing my arms out to the side beating my chest and roaring like a Gorilla, these days it’s not so simple, which does take the piss because i’m only 31, but, injuries have been a major factor throughout my career. There is nothing more humbling, especially when you think you’re indestructible than an injury that prevents you from training to your best ability. I’ve had most you can think of, broken bones, torn muscles, tendonitis, tennis elbows, hernias, spinal injury, and now, annoyingly, rotator cuff issues. More than ever in your training journey, this is where you need your positive mental attitude. Injuries can not only be debilitating physically but also mentally, they can really get you down, but before you let that happen, look at yourself in the mirror and decide why you are doing this, decide who you are. Are you the man who is going to let this crush him, stop training, not get what you went after, give up because something inevitable happened, no, fuck that, that’s not who you are is it? You get back in the gym, you get back on track and you work around that shit, yes it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be frustrating, but you have to train sensibly, and work around your issues. I still trained with a split disc, frustrating yes, but what is the other option, quit and admit failure, that isn’t an option here with EOM, so when someone bitches and moans that they went to failure with a heavy weight, good, try doing that with a cracked spine, then you’ll have something to moan about, but still no reason to stop. Sometimes you just have to accept what cards life has dealt you and get the fuck on with it.
So all of this has been a setup to this, the first 3 weeks of my transformation, if you can call it that! Diet has been great, meals have been prepared and eaten, weekend nutrition needs work, but I haven’t drank during the week and booze has been kept to a couple of days at the weekend. Training is where I have fallen short, but has built up gradually over the 3 weeks, it seemed this time i needed that gradual increase in volume due to the sheer intensity of the workouts. I have got a couple of weight workouts in each week, working around my schedule and injuries. With this transformation i have included fight work with top coach and friend Nick Wood. Three sessions in with Nick and I have gone through many feelings with getting back into it again. Frustration, at my own levels of expectation of myself, conditioning, reaction time and not leading with my head under pressure (A bad habit i have picked up over the years) Having the shit kicked out of me, a very humbling experience but necessary to keep your feet on the ground over the journey that is fight training. Impatience, knowing how good i used to be and feeling like i’m starting from scratch, but flashes of muscle memory, my body saying “i remember this” and flashes of movement and times where I get it right. Ultimately enjoyment, remembering how much I fucking love it and how good i can be at this, and right now is my favourite way to train. I have a goal in my head, I know where I want to be with it, and I’ll keep going until I get there. Injury is playing a part in this too. After the first session we established I can’t skip anymore due to tendonitis in the knees. My elbows have been playing up again with my weights and conditioning work, and most annoyingly, a rotator cuff problem in my lead shoulder, something so far I have worked through during my sessions only hindering my ability to keep my guard up but outside of the workouts is giving me a lot of pain, yes it’s frustrating, but here is where I have to take my own advice. Who the fuck am I? Look in the mirror and tell myself who the fuck I am and why I’m doing this. I’ll work around the issue with a positive attitude, because when it comes down to it, to where I want this to end up, It’s going to be knock out or get knocked out, and I know which side of that I want to end up on. What about you?
Words by Lee Bennett