1) MAKE A LONG TERM PLAN AND START YOUR DIET AT A REASONABLE TIME
Granted there is never a perfect time to run a diet and you will always face some obstacles. That doesn’t mean some times aren’t better than others. Holiday season with parties and family events every other week? Vacation to an all-inclusive coming up? Three weddings and a birthday party over the next three months? Major work stressors ahead and chances you won’t spend much time in the weight room? Have a competition in the next few months? Probably better to put your cut or mass diet off until you have a three month block of minimal life interference. We see a marked increase in diet failure around the holiday season or when clients have multiple social functions to attend during their diet. There is no rush to improve your body composition, better to pick an optimal time and set yourself up for success.
2) TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE, HAVE A SET SCHEDULE
People who set up a regular schedule for their workouts tend to be more successful in their workouts and in their dieting. This is easier said than done for many people, especially those with rotating night shifts and so on. As always, we have to do the best with what we have. The closer to regularity you can be, the better. Anywhere where it is possible, keep timing similar so that you can get into a rhythm. If you wake up every day you have off not sure when you will work out, it makes it harder to prepare mentally, prepare your food, and get into a habit. We recognize there are some busy working parents out there and that this can be quite a feat, just do your best wherever possible!
3) DECIDE ON PRIORITIES
If you are coming into a fat loss diet thinking you are unwilling to give up Friday night beers or chocolate snacks for 3 months, you are unlikely to do the one thing that most supports diet success: adherence. Keep in mind that you don’t HAVE to be optimally muscular or optimally lean. Unless you have a health condition requiring weight loss or gain, a diet is a luxury and a choice. If you don’t want it badly enough to make the needed sacrifices THAT’S OK. It is your life and you need to do what most satisfies you. Sit back and ask yourself if you are willing to sacrifice to get to your physique goal. If not, relax and enjoy yourself. If you are willing:
4) KNOW THE TRADE OFFS
If you are cutting, you will be hungry and tired sometimes. You will miss out on fun foods and aspects of fun social events. If you are massing, you will feel bloated and full sometimes. You will likely feel chubby and slow for a bit. Your cardio will generally take a temporary hit when losing or gaining weight. You might not get to feel your strongest during the diet if you are doing the correct hypertrophy training for these phases and skipping the 1RM testing. These are the trade offs for the changes you are trying to facilitate. Nothing is free. Your coach cannot change physiology so that you can gain tons of muscle and no fat doing only Crossfit workouts. Your coach cannot alter physics so that pizza and wine are calorie free. You just have to recognize the above sacrifices. Then as an adult make an informed decision about whether you are willing to make those temporary sacrifices to achieve your goal.
5) TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR FAILURES AND FOR YOUR SUCCESS
You are the only one who can make the diet successful. Your coach is there to give you the tools you need, offer support and accountability, and be a resource for you to understand how the program is run and the principles behind his or her decisions. YOU have to follow the diet, send your updates, and be honest with yourself and your coach. You cannot expect results following a plan 90%. If you only listened to 90% of your GPS directions, you might get closer to your end point, but getting there precisely would be unlikely. If the trade off of being less strict is ok with you, make it and don’t feel guilty or sad that you didn’t make maximal progress. You chose to deviate from the diet and slow progress and that is fine, it is your choice. You just cannot expect to deviate AND get optimal results.
6) BE PREPARED: READ THE FAQs AND OTHER INFO SENT TO YOU BY YOUR COACH
Get motivated to give your diet all you have. Make sure you read all of the information provided – it can save you tons of frustration and missed opportunity for progress if you inform yourself about what to expect and make sure you understand what is expected of you. Not asking questions that have already been answered also shows your coach you are dedicated and serious. The more you know and the more familiar all aspects of the program are, the easier it will be to follow and the less stressed you will feel. Fill out the questionnaire thoroughly when you have time to go through carefully and make sure you are giving your coach all of the needed information.
7) BE PREPARED: MEAL PREP
Five meals per day can be overwhelming if you are not accustomed to eating that often. Add to that the need to measure your macros for each meal and it can get down right intimidating. Spending a few hours once per week to prepare your weekly meals in advance can go a very long way in helping you stick to the plan when life gets stressful or you get short on time. Don’t have time for meal prep? Check out Trifecta bulk foods – premade meats, veggies, and carb sources shipped to your door once per week. http://trifectanutrition.com/rpdiet
8) DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF: FOOD MEASURING
You don’t need to weigh your peanut butter. You can use a measuring spoon. You don’t need to weigh your raw meat if you have a clear idea of how much total bulk you are preparing. For example – you have 24oz of chicken (1.5lbs) and you need 3oz servings. No need to separate and stress over weighing out the individual portions. Cook it all and divide into 8 portions to get approximately 3oz per serving. Excessive care and stress will wear you down and make the diet harder to sustain. Accuracy is important, but no need to be obsessive. An important note here is to be consistent along the way with how you measure.
9) DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF: SCALE VARIABILITY
Your weight WILL bounce around. This is totally normal. Weight loss or gain is never linear. Many, many things can affect your weight via altering water retention that have nothing to do with muscle or fat changes. Your coach is experienced with this variability and will know when it is actually time to adjust your diet. Be patient and trust that he or she will take care of any slowed progress with an adjustment as soon as it is needed. Again, excessive stress will just wear you down and make the diet seem longer and harder. You paid your coach to worry, just follow the plan and relax. Weigh yourself only on weigh in days and don’t let the number be a source of stress. For more on why water weight fluctuates so much, read this article!
10) MAKE A WEEKLY LIST OF QUESTIONS FOR YOUR COACH AND KEEP A SINGLE THREAD
Don’t send single questions per multiple emails, resulting in your getting multiple responses at multiple times (which can get confusing to both coach and client). Instead, keep a log of your questions and send once a week or so. Keep emails limited to a single thread. Not only does it make it easier for you to keep track of the information and answers your coach sends you, keeping a single thread makes it easier for either of you to go back and look through recent exchanges. If you return later as a client, it also gives your coach a nice clean thread history to refresh his or her memory on how things went and what your struggles and successes were the first time around.
11) TAKE BEFORE PICTURES
Even if you show them to no one (aside from your coach who may need them to assess lean body mass). Take full body photos from front, back, and side. Make sure you get your legs in the shot and wear something that allows you to see your body (undies or bathing suits). Putting progress pics next to your starting pics can be a HUGE eye opener. The scale is not always the best tool to fully assess change and your memory will probably not do your progress justice. Trust us, it will feel good to see the difference your hard work has made. With our 1:1 coaching you're paying to get your questions answered, so don't be afraid to ask!
12) KEEP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE AND A GOOD SENSE OF HUMOR
Everyone makes a mistake or two on a diet, has a weak moment, miscalculates something. It won’t destroy your progress if you are overall consistent and adherent and if it somehow does, there is always the future for more progress. Responding to a mistake or frustration with more off diet eating only puts you further behind and makes you feel worse. Dust yourself off and get back at it. Also, remember to keep things in perspective. Chances are good that you have awesome friends, family, and teammates / gym mates around you. If you can afford gyms and diet plans, chances are you are in a decent financial place. If you are working out and dieting, you are probably in pretty good health as well. THESE are the important things. Getting ripped abs or more jacked quads or losing a pants size are fun luxuries. Don’t let them become stressful obligations. Laugh at yourself a little, look on the bright side of things as much as possible, and don’t beat yourself up over a mistake. Progress is a bumpy road and while getting in amazing shape is awesome, don’t let it come at the cost of your life and happiness! You are worthwhile and loved either way, getting super fit is just the ‘Gatorade in your protein shake’.