Imagine driving down the road and getting a flat tire. You pull over to the side of the road, get out (safely), and confirm that the front right tire is indeed flat. Then, you do what any sane person would do–you immediately slash the remaining three tires. Right??
No! Of course not! Yet, this “all or none” mentality is analogous to what many of us do all the time with regards to diet and exercise. One slip up can lead to a series of bad decisions that further impedes our progress–much like the three additional flat tires. Instead of quickly changing the tire and getting back on the road, four flat tires leaves you extra stuck. Clearly, not a solution.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Trust me! Here are 3 of the most common fitness pitfalls, and how to reset so that you’re back on the road quickly.
1. The Problem: Diet Downward Spiral
Couldn’t resist that chocolate creme filled donut for breakfast? The all or none mentality would say you’ve blown your diet today, might as well have cake for lunch! In reality, one less than optimal meal choice is not going to tip the scale. However, what often happens is that one choice keeps us guilt-ridden and more likely to splurge again. And again. And….well, you get the point.
The solution: The best thing you can do post diet splurge is to brush your teeth, drink a large bottle of water, and plan a next meal heavy on veggies and protein to reset both your palate AND your motivation.
2. The Problem: Workout Cut Short:
School drop off runs late and suddenly you’ve only got 20 minutes instead of the hour that you’d hoped for. The all or none mentality would tell you to bag the gym entirely, when in reality, an efficient 20 minutes can be better than a more leisurely hour, and is certainly better than nothing at all.
Solution: Rather than skipping the workout entirely, the best thing you can do is to have a short, impactful workout on hand so that you don’t waste time deciding what equipment to use, crafting the perfect set, or deciding that holding down the sofa is a better substitute for your weight routine. My two favorite time crunched gym workouts are:
- Treadmill Hillpeats: 5 minute easy walk or jog warm up, followed by three rounds of: 3 minutes at 4% incline, 2 minutes at 1% incline. Keep the speed the same and let the 1% incline serve as your recovery.
- Tabata: A 8 x 20 second work interval with 10 seconds of rest. Rotate through a series of full body functional movements like burpees, pushups, band walk, and planks to get the most metabolism revving benefit from your workout.
3. The Problem: Vacation Derailment:
No gym access, every meal out, the poolside margaritas were just that good….It’s easy to understand why vacations can derail even the most dedicated fitness buff. Next time you’re ready to throw in the poolside towel and accept vacation as an inevitable setback to your fitness, try a few of these hacks:
- Hoof it. Whether it’s shopping or checking out cultural landmarks, a new destination gives you every reason to explore on foot.
- Pick a meal: Pick one meal a day to indulge and keep the other meals light. For example, check out the local markets for fresh fruits and vegetables for a healthy and affordable alternative to a heavy sit down breakfast and lunch, then dine well for dinner.
- Choose adventure: Next time you’re brainstorming vacations, start with an activity you enjoy. Hiking, surfing, and yoga retreats balance movement with stress relief and can be customized to all levels.
Whether home or away, the most important thing to remember is that no single meal or missed workout will make or break your fitness. The key to living the healthy life you deserve is to say yes to exercise and healthy foods on a regular basis. And when that doesn’t happen? Fix that “flat tire” as quickly as you can, (If your mechanical skills are anything like mine, try calling Triple A!) and get recommitted to your goals.
Katya Meyers is a pro triathlete turned ultra runner, new mom, and health coach living in sunny San Diego. With a Human Biology degree from Stanford University, Masters in Public Health, and ACSM Health & Fitness Specialist certifications, she loves geeking out on the science and psychology that help her clients achieve phenomenal results–from 90 lb weight loss to top Ironman finishes. You can learn more about her online coaching services at www.katyameyers.com. Get world class fitness tips you can do everyday…anywhere on Instagram or Twitter.