Let me tell you a secret.
95% of all sound fitness advice applies to almost everyone.
What this means is, training plans, nutrition guidelines, and stress management techniques, at their core, are all built around some principals that apply to almost every person in the world.
That's right. As long as the creator of a given plan has a working knowledge of the body and various methods of progression, the program will work (for a while).
For example: squats, deadlifts, and lunges and their variations work really well for most everybody. Whether the goal is fat loss, muscle, or strength, just a slight tweak in sets, reps, and volume will provide the desired stimulus for any goal.
Eating quality meats, lots of vegetables, some fruit, and some quality carbohydrates works really well for MOST people (of course there are exceptions). Want to burn more fat? Eat less of these things. Want strength and muscle? Slap a few more of those quality carbs on your plate.
This is not to dismiss the art of individual program design. Not at all. I happen to pride myself on my ability to build training plans customized for an individuals goals, body, and lifestyle. I am friends with many other coaches who take the same pride in their carefully crafted training plans.
The fact remains, most sound training and nutrition advice works really well for most people.
After the training and nutrition plan are created, this is where the customization really begins. See, it's not just about getting a customized plan, which is essentially a what-to-do guide. It's also a matter of how the hell do I fit this in my life, overcome my weaknesses, conquer my fears and self limiting beliefs.
THIS stuff is what makes you a special snowflake. Everyone faces their own challenges, harmful belief systems, self-doubts, and fears. This is where it gets interesting.
It's not enough to know what to do. You also need to know how to make it work.
So how do you make it work?
Some things you can implement easily. Some of you may find adding 4 workouts per week is easy. You find training fun, and love the challenge. You may also have the hardest time changing even one aspect of your eating.
Maybe you don't have an issue making the necessary changes to your diet, but you don't sleep well at night, and this causes you to miss or half-ass workouts.
The combinations are endless, but the point is, everyone will face different aspects that they find challenging.
The key to overcoming this: Lifestyle Hacks.
You need to practice self awareness. This is to develop the ability to recognize where your challenges lie, and how you can hack your life, and yourself, in a way that allows you to conquer these weak points.
This is a very individual thing. It's also the reason why many people hire a coach to help them navigate through their program to successfully get from point A to point B.
With that said, I've seen some common challenges and worked with clients to develop some very successful hacks for these challenges that you can apply today.
Here are four of them.
Google Calendar Hack
The Google calendar on your computer can be an abrasive SOB when it needs to be. If you enter a task with a specific time, it doesn't matter what you're doing when that time rolls around, it will hijack your entire screen, and it won't go away until you acknowledge it.
This can be very useful when it comes to hacking your challenges. Here are a few examples.
1. Gym Time! If you need a kick in the pants to get to the gym, this can help. Especially if you get caught up in your work, Facebook, or some other huge waste of time activity to, you know, distract you from the gym. That doesn't fly with the calendar.
Treat the gym like any other appointment. When it's time to go, it's time to go. Building this habit could be the most important habit you ever build, so treat the appointment like the most important appointment of the day.
2. Time to Stretch! This is my favorite application of the calendar for people who spend endless hours sitting at the desk. You can say you're going to get up and stretch all the muscles that sitting for long hours basically destroys, but whether that actually happens or not is a different story.
It's understandable. You get caught up and focused on work. Schedule a time to stretch mind day and the calendar will press pause on whatever you're doing so you can stand up, take a walk, and stretch some tight muscles out. This is all in the name of a properly functioning body. Pretty important stuff, so listen to the calendar when it tells you it's time to stop for a few minutes.
If you're worried about your work pauses hurting productivity, don't. You'll be more productive in the long run. Plus you will maintain your well oiled machine status.
3. Time to Eat! If you don't face this challenge, it can be hard to understand. But forgetting to eat is a real thing that real people experience.
No matter the goal, getting your nutrition in is extremely important. If forgetting to stop and eat is something you experience, let Google remind you in it's loving but aggressive way that it is time to get some food in.
If scheduling that meeting that we all know could be an email instead is important enough for the calendar, then so is feeding the machine (that's your body).
If you're not at work, and you're not at home, where are you? Probably in between the two, travelling in your car. Usually your home will have all the resources you need, and most work places do as well. If you spend much time commuting, or if you are likely to end up on long road trips, you need to hack your car situation in order to stay on track.
1. Gym Bag! Some people work out before work in the morning, some others during lunch hour. Everyone else trains in the evening after work.
Here's the thing though. After a full day of work, focus, and some stress, if you go home, sit down and relax, you aren't getting back up. You know it, and I know it.
If you're planning to train after work, bring your bag of gym stuff, with your shoes hanging on the outside. This allows you to go to the gym straight from work before you begin to unwind, and eliminates many of the excuses you may come up with if you are feeling a little fatigued that day.
2. Water Bottle! Hydration is extremely important, not only in reaching fitness goals, but for the health of your entire body as well. Those long drives without water will set you back, so always have a bottle of water with you, and always be sipping from it.
Always be sipping. ABS. That can be a thing! No? OK.
3. Snacks! We already mentioned how important it is to get your nutrition in, and sitting in your car doesn't negate that. It will also eliminate one of the possible excuses for not going to the gym straight from work, which is, 'I'm hungry."
Some good car snack options are Quest bars (no affiliation, I just love them), protein powder in zip lock bags and a shaker cup, fruit, chopped veggies, and almonds. You certainly aren't limited to these, but these are some options for you.
Positive Affirmations Hack
Don't underestimate the power of positive affirmations. We all need someone to recognize when we're doing well. If we aren't doing all that well, we need someone to shine a light on us that makes us feel like we are. This doesn't make you weak, or needy, it just means you're a human being.
Knowing this about yourself is a powerful piece of self awareness. If you don't have much of a support system (and even if you do), you can hack this too.
1. Morning Champ! Ronda Rousey, UFC champ, movie champ, and interview quotables champ, programs a personal message from herself t herself on her morning alarm.
I recently learned this, and I love it. She uses messages like "Get up gorgeous!" and "Morning Champ!".
Just try getting off to a bad start when these are the first things you see in the morning.
You're pretty awesome, but it's important to be recognized when you're crushing it, and reminded when you aren't. This hack will help.
Bonus: Food Hack
One final piece I wanted to include. It's not much of a hack, but it is often an overlooked tool.
I'm talking of course, of the crock pot, or slow cooker.
It's no secret that you're busy. Cooking nutritious meals is one of the most challenging aspects in crushing your goals.
Hack that situation like this:
Throw some quality meat in the crock pot (chicken, beef, pork, really any animal will do). Spice it up really nice, throw in some veggies, potatoes, etc if you would like. You can also prepare these on the side easily enough.
Let this cook over night, while you sleep. So prep time is around one minute, cook time is 8 hours, and you can pack it up in the morning and bring it to work. You now have a nutritious meal(s) ready to rock, so you can eat regardless of the craziness of your schedule.
Cook enough for one day, cook enough for three days, it's really up to you and what you need. But take advantage of the time the slow cooker opens up for you. It really eliminates any reason why you can't pre prep your meals.
Thanks for reading guys. I hope you find these helpful.
For more help with your fat loss goals, be sure to check out the Free Coaching Group on Facebook for daily accountability, support, and exclusive fat loss and strength content.