Do you have a Back-up Plan??
Let’s pretend you’re a super-secret agent sent on a mission, you’re going to need to infiltrate some super-secure building (probably full of kids, attack dogs and cats) without letting anyone know your there, And you have to find and diffuse a bomb that’s hidden in the basement before it has a chance to blow up.
You have everything planned out down to the last detail and you just put on your secret agent jumpsuit now you’re ready to roll, You get into the building without alerting any of the kids, attack dogs or cats and you find the bomb which was surprisingly marked “Bomb” ..But there is less time on the bomb’s countdown clock than you thought and the wiring is different than anything you have ever trained on before..
Oh well, guess those kids had a good run, right? But those poor cats…Anyways better get the Hell outta here…
You’re a freaking super-secret agent, you unzip your jumpsuit to a cool position and quickly assess the situation and immediately move to Plan B..you grab a toothpick, a paperclip and two rubber bands and fashion a bomb-diffusing device. The less time on the clock just means a slightly smaller margin for error. And of course your back-up plan works the whole crisis is averted, the kids, attack dogs and those adorable little cats are all safe. Mission Complete!!
So what did this little super-secret agent story teach us? Well it should have taught you to have a Plan B (and that cats are awesome) Being able to switch gears when your initial plan goes to shit is the key to success.
So if super-secret agents and other assorted super heroes have back-up plans for dangerous situations, why don’t you have one for getting healthy?
If you have just a Plan A..then you’re just Plan Wrong.
I know plenty of one-trick ponies when it comes to getting healthy, As soon as they hit a hurdle or something unexpected comes up, then these people freak out or start using those horrible little things called “Excuses”. Let me give you a few examples of some of the winning excuses I have heard and see if you have used them before..“Now I can’t do my workout so I will just skip it today” or “they don’t have any healthy food here that I like so I will just eat whatever” How about this gem “I use to run every day, but we have had bad weather lately so I couldn’t go outside now I have lost my motivation”
When you have a specific plan to follow for your diet and exercise, you have to anticipate there being crappy days outside, or not being at a healthy restaurant all the time, or maybe the gym being too crowded. These things happen. A lot!
So back to our super-secret agent and his Plan B, how would he handle these situations that often derail many a success story..
Alright let’s focus on the gym first, going to a commercial gym can be tough sometimes, it can be full of people during the peak hours, but for many of us it’s our only opportunity to lift weights.
Okay so you’re headed to the gym, you’re totally ready to do a full workout of squats, pull ups, bench press and hell even planks. You’re going to use only free weights and your own body weight because you’re a smart cookie and you believe the weight machines are for the Devil.
Bam… First problem arises, you get over to the squat rack and some dummy is using it to do twenty sets of bicep curls…So you head over to the bench press and that has been taken over by two idiots who spend half an hour talking between sets. The pull up bar is in use and the mat where you normally do your planking has been infested by a crowd of cotton tops doing an hour long stretching routine and the whole area smells of Ben Gay.
So in this horrible gym situation, what would the super-secret agent with his Plan B do?
Actually, this situation happens often when the gym is busy, the Plan B option might not produce exactly the same results as Plan A for the day, but it will at least allow you to get a workout in, still hitting the same muscles that would be exercised and you will be home in time to watch your favorite episode of Duck Dynasty.
Here are the changes I would make:
Can’t do squats? Pick up a set of heavy dumbbells and do weighted lunges (brutal). Can’t even get to the dumbbells? Do overhead squats, one-legged squats, jump squats, and more.
Can’t bench press? Find a flat bench, pick up a set of dumbbells, and use them to do heavy presses that way. And not wussy “way too easy” presses either. Grab dumbbells that will be challenging for you to finish a full set. No dumbbells? Go with dips. No room for dips? How about decline pushups?
Can’t do pull ups? How about inverted rows? Bent over dumbbell rows? Are there other pieces of the equipment in the gym that allow you to do pull ups on them?
No room for planks? (Which I doubt). Do full motion crunches on an exercise ball, or hanging knee tucks. Or make a point to do your planks when you get home from the gym before you shower.
Just remember every exercise has dozens of alternatives. Rather than walking the gym thinking of Excuses and wasting time. Why not just make a few adjustments, track your results and still be able to walk out of the gym on time, drenched in that sweet, sweaty, smelly juices of success…and having pride that your Plan B kicked ass !!
Okay now for Running..
To be totally honest I hate running, not a fan at all, but just wanting to give a well-rounded article I will include running into the mix. I know for many people who are starting to get into shape that straight out cardio is almost always the first step taken, they start out walk/jogging and after a week or two of success they are feeling good., However, there’s always some sort of event that comes along and sadly derails their momentum ..Perhaps it’s bad weather, here in Montana that happens often. Then excuses start coming like “I don’t have enough time to run as far as I usually do, so I just will skip it today” and other crappy reasons like “work was brutal, I’m too tired” and then there’s the classic “Meh”
Once that one day is missed, it makes skipping the second day much easier, and before you know it, a whole month has gone by and you “just can’t back into it.”
Here’s the scenario: the weather is crappy but you’re scheduled for a 5k run outside this morning. But since you live in Montana and last night a “Snowpocalypse” hit the area so you know there is no chance of you going outside to run..Dammit ..Oh well, better wait a few days for the snow to melt right? After all, it’s just a few months until Spring anyways..
Back to the super-secret agent with his awesome Plan B’s..
So you need to realize skipping your runs, just like anything else is a slippery slope, here are some options that might be useful if you’re in a situation where the weather is working against you.
Do you work in an office building? How many flights of stairs are in it? Why not bring your running gear to work and spend 15 minutes running steps before heading home!
Can’t get out of your house? How about jumping rope? Trust me, when I say 10 minutes will be more than enough to wear you out completely.
Can’t jump rope or run stairs? Why not do a strength building workout? You can do it in the comfort of your own home, and be done with it in under 30 minutes. Don’t even have that much time? That’s okay!
The important thing to remember here: Do something. Anything. If you’re one of those people who needs to exercise every day or you quickly fall off the wagon, then you need to do everything in your power to get some sort of work out in even when all hope seems lost.
And now for Food…
Your undoubtedly a smart guy/girl/zombie..You understand that your diet is like 80% of your success or failure when it comes to getting in shape.. You know this Right?. Whenever you’re at home, you eat like a saint..90% of your meals are healthy, you have gotten junk food and soda out of your house. Right? Well we will just assume you did and you bring your lunch to work every day because that way you know exactly what you’re eating. Right? Well of course you do.
However..you could be one of the people who fall into these categories..
You like to travel or travel a lot for work
You go out to dinner alone or with friends all too often
You have or attend lots of parties/bbq’s/get togethers
And in each of these situations, your so called diet goes to Hell (Don’t be too hard on yourself it happens to everyone). You stuff your face with crap when you’re on the road, then feel like crap coming back home, and then slowly get yourself back on track until the next trip or event comes around..Hmm..Does this sound familiar?
Well back to the super-secret agent again..
I will admit I don’t travel often but here is a Plan B option for you..
Pack your own “snackies” I always have healthy snacks in my gym bag, so you can pack a bag for when you travel, bring almonds, they are a great snack when you’re feeling hungry and don’t feel like eating a high calorie meal at some diner.
Think ahead and don’t walk into an ambush – If you’re off to a party, inquire as to what kind of food will be there.. Volunteer to bring something, and make it something healthy so you know there’s at least one good thing to eat there.
Do your research.. Going out to dinner at a restaurant with friends? Take three minutes to look at the menu online beforehand, and lock your meal in. Make sure you pick a meal B and meal C in case meal A isn’t available. Substitute fresh veggies in for your side, ask for grilled over fried, and do the best you can.
Prepare.. If you’re stuck, and you know you’re going to eat poorly, then you need to plan accordingly – eat incredibly healthy for the few days before and after, and understand that one meal won’t throw you off as long as you don’t let it.
Put enough effort into your diet contingency plan, and no last-minute change, week-long trip, or 35,000 adventure will cause any problems.
Hopefully this will help you live a Plan A life with a Plan B back-up, just like the super-secret agent.