The Training Corner

Mountain Grit: Training for the Long Haul

Q: I’m done with New Year’s Resolutions. 2021 is here, and I am full of optimism. However, I am in the same predicament that I have been in for the last 20 years. I resolve to lose 15 pounds and exercise more. I go all-out for the month of January with strict dieting and five workouts per week. By February, I peter-out, and eventually just fall back into my comfortable ways. You’d think that by now, I might get it right. Nope, right back into same-old. I know what to eat, and what to do. I really have NO reasons to not change, just excuses. I even have the luxury of working from home. Plus, my niece is getting married in June, and I want to feel and look my best. My mindset needs a makeover. Mary, 47

A: Happy New Year, Mary! Yes, 2021 is bright, with weddings, graduations, sports and more. In the meantime, think small, doable tweaks that stick 85% of the time. Rigid diets and punishing workouts do not lend themselves to building a new and permanent, leaner you.

“Programs with a start and an end will fail; systems with a lifespan philosophy will prevail.” 6-12 week diets and exercise programs aimed at fat loss have an END. Most cannot be sustained, even among competitive body builders. Bottom line … Think habits and patterns for the long haul, your LIFEspan.

Your general goals to lose weight and exercise more are admirable. But keep this dose of reality up front:

• We move more AND train [exercise with purpose] to get healthier, fitter, stronger and faster for decades to come. If you want to age younger for longer, DAILY movement in all of its forms is absolutely ESSENTIAL.

• Fat loss takes place in the kitchen, at the table, grocery store, take-out, restaurant or bar. We EAT and DRINK for health, fuel, pleasure and to alter body fat. So …

1. DAILY, get outdoors! Walk, snowshoe, Nordic/skate ski, or shovel snow. Huff, puff and sweat sometimes. Go for 30-60 minutes. Break it up into two bouts, once before noon AND then sometime before dinner, at least during winter. Shoot for 10K steps/day. Bottom line … do something physical every day for the rest of your life. Physical labor can have enormous benefits, too. As for the necessary, but time-sucking screens that keep us seated and indoors, CUT it to an absolute MINIMUM, any way possible.

2. Plug training into your schedule 2-3X/week. This can be at a local gym, online, or on your own. Fill the 7S buckets for resilience, durability and robustness; from breathing and soft tissue work, to strength + power, to skills like balance and agility.

3. As for food and drink timing, let’s look at your window. Is it from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.? An 11-hour window with a 13-hour overnight fast? As an adult with a sedentary job, consider a shorter window, say between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., allowing for a 16-hour overnight fast. Spread 2-3 meals out evenly within your window. Be sure to include PROTEIN-rich foods at each meal, and per usual, drink water throughout the day. See www.precisionnutrition.com for customized guidance based on your age, sex, body type and goals.

4. Keep alcohol to 0-1 drinks per day. It can sabotage your fat loss efforts, health benefits aside.

5. Healthy habits and patterns can take some time to develop and to stick. That’s OK. It’s what we do 85% of the time that matters most. That other 15%, however, is not a green light to go hog-wild. Routines are NOT ruts, but managing our time wisely lends itself to a sense of accomplishment, and yup, habits, good ones.

• For a nudge in the right direction, look at your typical day. Plug in sleep, hygiene, meals/ prep, care-giving, work, all screen time, chores, training, etc. This is an eye-opener, and a solid launchpad towards achieving your goals, and setting new ones, too.

In closing, fat loss is built on REAL food, ample sleep, daily movement in all of its forms and a positive attitude. Mary, winning habits are set when you just DO them automatically. And looking beyond that June wedding, what’s next? Training for The Rut in September? Hiking 6 new peaks this year? A major landscaping project? Choose something that challenges your spirit, mind and body in 2021, then 22, 23+++! Oh, yes you CAN, Mary!

Need some coaching? Contact Pat through www.activeandagile.com. See previous editions of Mountain Grit for more training tips from Pat.

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