Sticking to a program doesn’t have to be impossible if you’re working with other and if you’re still wanting to attend social events. It comes back down to priorities, preparation, having tools to deal with different situations and the right systems which will work for you and your goals.
Here are my best tips:
1. Preparation is key so take control
Nothing healthy at the cafes close to your work? Easy, prepare your meals. Going to a lunch meeting? Be the one that chooses the destination or research the menu before you arrive. Most of the time you’ve got more control than you realise so it’s only a matter of taking initiative and doing the preparation work.
When I was recently in Los Angeles and Bali I looked up where I could train and all the possible healthy places I could eat and do grocery shopping. It helped me stay relatively fit so I could “endulge” if I wanted to.
I also worked 9-5 as a debt collections officer before being a trainer. I prepared all of my meals for the next day the previous night. I picked a healthy recipe that I would enjoy and split that up into 3-4 containers ready for work. It free’d up time for me at work and helped me get training results. It only sucked in the beginning because I didn’t know how to cook and preparing meals took longer than expected.
Over time you get better at cooking and get faster at preparing meals.
The hardest part is taking the time to prepare so you have to decide what’s worse, the time to prepare which you’ll become more efficient at anyway or the result of not preparing.
If you’re not the decision maker in a certain scenario there’s also no harm in asking. Don’t assume you have to go out and have drinks at this social event when in fact it would be ok for you not to, and no one would care or judge. Ask your manager “Hey, is it ok if I do this wining and dining event alcohol free today?”.
If everyone has a drink in their hand that doesn’t mean you need to.
Right now if you need a healthy go-to place to eat in Melbourne’s CBD, Laneway Greens and Seedling Cafe is what I recommend as they’re both fresh and have gluten and dairy free options.
2. Respect everyone but you don’t have to please everyone
Not every one of your colleagues, friends or family are going to be on board with your health and training goals, some won’t understand.
“You’re already healthy!”
“Have one drink, it’s not going to hurt”
“Why are you doing that?”
All good! Not everyone has to be on board and what’s important is your own internal scoreboard. So what if you’re already healthy, you want to take it next level and do 10 X bodyweight chin-ups being in your best shape possible.
Challenges equals growth no matter how fit and healthy you already are.
If you come across someone who doesn’t seem to be on board it can be one of two things; A is that this person will never be the type to be supportive of your goals (for a variety of reasons). B is that more communication is needed between the both of you.
A – Someone always hating on your challenges. This person is pretty easy to identify because they’ve done it so many times that it’s become a pattern of behaviour. Best to not take this person’s advice seriously.
B – More communication. Sometimes you’re going to need to communicate to people around you as to why you’re getting super fit and healthy. Your colleagues at work and friends are use to you being a certain person. If all of a sudden you change your routine and you’re no longer choosing to have a cappuccino and McMuffin with them they might think that there’s something wrong with them!
Here it’s important to reassure them that there’s nothing wrong with them or your relationship. You’re simply on a health kick and that it’s.
My favourite line when I got offered a slice of birthday cakes at work:
Colleague: “Hey would you like a cake?”
Gordon: “No thanks (Name) I’m a on healthy kick at the moment, you have one though”.
You’re not coming from a place of judgement.
Also if they don’t why you’re doing it, it doesn’t give them a chance to be supportive when they would be. If they know you’re on a health kick they’re more likely to recommend a healthy place for the both of you to catch up for breakfast or lunch.
3. Build routines and systems that leverage your time
No time during the week to get it done? I guarantee you that I can find someone in the exact same situation as you who’s doing it. It’s not easy but they’re making it work or have planned in order to make it work.
Here are some tools:
- Meal delivery services
- Book in your training session as accountability
- Hire assistants at work or at home
- Automated technology systems
- Go to bed at a decent time
- Just do it (thanks Nike)
You can’t get assistants and computers to do your healthy eating and training for you but they can help you leverage your time better. You might have to play around or build out a system that works for you that allows you more time to train but it will be totally worth it. What you get back in achieving your health and training goal should allow you to do the things you want more efficiently and effectively.
It’s important to test, track and measure your results here.
- I know I’m less stressed when I look after my nutrition and training
- I know I can get more work done faster if I meditate 1-2 X day
- I know I perform better in the gym when I get more sleep
- I know our training service never stagnates when we do at least 1 educational course a quarter
These are all things I’ve tested and measured, compared it to when I wasn’t eating well, training, meditating or sleeping well. Once you get into a routine that works for you protect it and don’t be afraid to continue experimenting to make it better.
The easiest tool to start with is improving your sleep.
If you can get to bed earlier, have a good sleep and wake up earlier that’s going to allow you to have more energy and you can even get your training in before your work day even starts. Ultimately though there is no best time to train, what’s most important is that you have a training schedule that works for you.
4. Drinks & free meals; set yourself rules
If you have a social event you really want to attend and enjoy, set yourself rules such as getting in all your training sessions, eating all of your healthy meals before then and having your meals prepared for the next day. From experience one event or a few meals and drinks off plan every now and again isn’t going to hurt your overall training goals.
Consistency over time is key combined with improved performance.
When it comes to drinks:
- Spirits with soda water is always a going to better than beer
- Low carb beer is always going to be better than full strength
- A few glasses of wine is always going to be better than a few bottles
There’s nothing new here.
When you’re training regularly and eating specifically for your body you’re going to become really attuned as to how to make it respond the way you want. For e.g. I know if I attend a social event and have a few drinks it’s going to take me 1 or 2 weeks of consistent training and clean eating before I’m back to optimal.
When you know information like this you’re making empowered decisions and not emotional ones. You can choose to eat what you want when you want, you’re well aware of the consequences but you’re also well aware of how to get yourself back on track. You’re not panicking and instantly running on the treadmill trying to burn off 1000 calories because you just had a pizza an hour ago. I use to be that guy and it sucked.
5. Respect your journey
Someone who is happy with their health and fitness will probably choose to have more freedom when it comes to work and social events while someone who’s looking to completely transform or compete in a competition is going to exercise more discipline.
It depends on how fast or slow you want to go as there are both positives and negatives to both.
Once you’ve set your goal stick with it and follow through!