I’ve been in a bit of a funk. The usual post-comp blues, the familiar awkwardness of transitioning into “off-season” and – “New for 2012!” – divorce, house move, relocation of my business. Yup, lots of changes all at once have made for an unsettling time.
For a few weeks now I’ve been aware of an little niggle. Not an injury, but a feeling. A little bit lost, a little bit awkward, a little bit lacking in direction. It’s not a feeling I enjoy and, whilst I recognise without doubt that I need a bit of the relaxation and flexibility which comes with off-season, sometimes “too much” of a good thing can be as uncomfortable as “too little”.
I know I’m not alone 😉
So, how do us Type-A personalities find that elusive balance between too much structure and pressure, and too little? How do we get motivated again after a little downtime (and a lot of upheaval)? Well I can’t tell you what to do but here’s what’s worked for me 🙂 Hope it helps.
Like most of you, I find that food prep, meal planning, structured grocery shopping and lots of batch cooking helps with the diet side of things. Food prep and portioning out meals is one of those things which seems like a complete ball ache… til you do it, then you remember how much you enjoy it! Set aside an hour or so twice a week to cook up loads of lovely healthy meals and then you can have great quick-grab meals (and snacks) for the week.
My current favourite lazy approach is to “chop stuff up and put it in a baking tray”. You can’t really go wrong. It can be as simple as opening a few bags of pre-chopped veggies (fresh or frozen) and cutting up meat or fish to mix in. Or if you’ve got a bit more time, mix up your favourites. Yesterday I make a huge tray of chopped brussels sprouts (!), Bramley apples and butternut squash. Yum!
Dunno about you, but I need goals. For a few weeks, I didn’t have one. I didn’t know if I’d compete again, nor when. Then one day I woke up and got excited about it. I’ve already set my goals for next year and, whilst they may well change, just having goals written down makes me feel instantly motivated, excited and driven.
A huge one for me. Being accountable to someone makes me much more likely to develop and stick to good habits (which ultimately is what it’s all about). My sister and I have set up a private little accountability challenge: we each picked three things we promised to do (or not do) every day for a month, then a reward. Then we each picked a forfeit for the other person, just in case… (Mine is to go to a Zumba class!) Find someone to be accountable to. It helps if you know they’re as serious about it as you are, and will apply the gentle but consistent pressure you need.
I can’t do this by myself. Sticking to a healthy diet and consistently training hard, let alone competing, is tough. All those choices, all those decisions, all those bad habits to break and good habits to maintain. It’s hard work, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise (not even yourself!) Surround yourself by one or more people who truly support you and who know how to talk you down/pick you up when the going gets tough. Only you know if you need cuddles or kicks up the bum.
Just get on with it!
This one underpins all the others. You really do just have to start. Now. Not in January, not on Monday, not when you’ve finished your cup of tea. Now. Start in your mind, and the rest will follow. Success breeds success, good habits follow good choices, and the whole thing tends to spiral outwards from that first move. So just take it. Get up and go to the gym, or go and prep some healthy food, or get outside for a run. Whatever you need to do: do it, then do it again…
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.