Inspirational

STAY THE COURSE – A GUIDE TO COVID-19

There is a strong sense of unity beginning to develop since the initial shock of our government mandates here in California.  “We’re all in this together” is something I’m beginning to hear more, but the truth is that we’re all effected differently.  Amidst the layoffs, temporary closures, and uncertainty, some business and individuals are thriving.  Honestly, I wish I was one of them…or do I?  The reality is, I’m the same person internally that I was 2 weeks ago, but now I’m faced with hardship and factors outside of my control.  Here are the options: Feel defeated and let that become my new “story” or adapt and use this to build mental fortitude that will be invaluable down the road.  Choose the latter.  Here are some habits and rituals that will serve you if you need to find your new way or keep up with an overwhelming amount of new workload.

SLEEP

This is my biggest struggle.  I have sacrificed sleep more than anything else over the last 3 years while I’ve built my training business.  This week(since I haven’t been able to train in person) I have had 4 consistent nights of 7 more hours of deep sleep.  The mental clarity even as I write this, is proving how much this “unproductive” activity is quite the opposite.  If you have the ability to achieve this volume of sleep, but can’t get the quality, I urge you to focus on these next principles to solve that problem. If you crush the day(mentally and physically), there won’t be energy left to stay in bed with your mind racing. When your head hits the pillow, you’ll be grateful to have some rest.

NUTRITION

There are 4 things to consider when looking at any type of food.  Ask yourself: Is this high calorie or low calorie?  Is this high quality or low quality?  High or low calorie foods are relative to your basal metabolic rate(BMR) and macros(if this doesn’t make sense, check out a previous journal entry titled “Nutrition guidelines”).  High quality and low quality foods refer to the composition of the food itself.  How many ingredients are in the food?  How many healthy nutrients from this food are benefiting my body?  Think of one-ingredient whole foods like an apple or avocado as being “perfect in quality” while a Pop Tart is very low quality.  The strangest thing about weight management is that you can lose/control your weight with low quality foods.  Take a Coke Zero for example.  It’s low quality as it contains artificial sweeteners, but has 0 calories which means it won’t effect your weight.  The only thing it affects is your overall health, but there are so many considerations for this being positive or negative that I’ll save that for another journal.  Keep this in mind with your current activity level and the new normal will be within your control.

HYDRATION

Start your day with drinking 12-16oz of water(before coffee or any food consumption).  This habit is literally the most important habit you can adopt to be at your healthiest. “I don’t like to drink that much right when I wake up” or “ I don’t have time” are two excuses I hear frequently in regards to this.  I get it, it’s not what you’re used to, but you’ll be missing a huge piece of your potential by leaving out what I would consider to be the easiest thing on the planet to implement.  For the entire day, shoot for at least 80oz of water for women, and 100oz of water for men(this is me being nice, because on the DIALEDHEALTHSHRED it’s a gallon). Staying hydrated also helps curve your appetite by filling up your stomach and fulfilling your body’s number one need.

TRAINING(EXERCISE)

Being the place dedicated to Strength Training For Cyclists, there are all the examples of specifics available under programs(or even my Instagram for individual movements and circuits), but let’s talk strategy.  If you’re someone who typically trains in a gym that you now don’t have access to, don’t panic.  Your schedule on a macro level actually can stay the same.  Halt your current program and use the No Equipment Program.  If you have a set of dumbbells and a bench, use the Dumbbell Program(mix the two if you would like a 3rd/4th day per week).  Hopefully, this is just a temporary change.  The consistency is what will pay off here and depending on the person, the change in stimulus could help you find a new weakness and be beneficial. STAY ON TRACK, even though the details aren’t what you anticipated.  If your scheduled “peak” for an event is up in the air due to event cancelations, I would hang out in the Strength Phase for any program available to you.  As soon as there are more concrete dates, re-adjust so you have at least 3 weeks in the Power Phase before your event.  Thankfully, we can all still pedal. If your schedule is now tighter because of it, opt for a shorter than planned ride(30 min on a trainer is worth it).

MOBILITY & RECOVERY

This is still an underrated way to keep your body feeling “fresh.”  Regular stretching will bring you more comfort on your bike and a more relaxed body when you lay down for bed at night(ever have that R.L.S. feeling?).  I recommend starting with my total body stretch routine from the Mobility Program or following yoga routine on YouTube(I like Five Parks Yoga).  Prioritize this session at least one day a week and then pick the most important stretch(or stretches) for your body to implement daily(you can also use the OHS Assessment from the Mobility Program to determine what stretches are most important for you).  The real sweet spot for lengthening tissue through static stretching is 2 min(no bouncing).  Once this has been implemented, get comfortable on your foam roller, then consider other modalities like, ice, heat, compression, and more.

MENTAL CLARITY

Most of our therapy comes from riding, however there is a practice I would encourage you to start each day with or use when you’re momentarily overwhelmed with stress, anxiety, or discouragement.  It’s simple: Think of 3 things you’re grateful for and 3 things you’re just excited about.  Make them real and don’t rush to find it.  Take a deep breath and let the thoughts come to you.  Even a forced smile is proven to lift your mood and could help you find it.  Here was my personal list from today:  “This morning, I’m grateful for the sunshine, the opportunity to grow my online business, and my son who is sleeping safely in his crib.  I’m stoked to start my new book today, go for a ride, and make progress in an area of my business that I have wanted to for a long time.”  Do this while you’re drinking that water first thing after waking 🙂

Time to implement…

START MOVING FORWARD AND DISCOVER YOUR PATH

Goal Setting

Finding Your Why

There is a driving force behind success of those looking to execute a new training plan that goes beyond anything superficial. If it has to do with a concern of other people’s perception, your chances of consistent success are slim to none. Your “why” or real reason for improving your health and fitness has to be deep. Mine is the belief that the only way for me to find my truest potential and purpose is to be as fit and healthy as possible. This allows me to focus on the process. However, it’s broad and easy to feel like an uphill battle when EVERYTHING can be “better.” Nutrition, strength, recovery, sleep, mobility, the list goes on and on. That’s why it’s important to get specific on your next action steps. Use the SMART guide below to help you take your next step forward. It’s probably something you have seen or used before, but I always come back to it because simply, it works.

How To Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Specific
What is it exactly that you want? You could say “to have more upper body endurance on downhills” or to “improve strength,” but that still leaves the question as to how. Dive deeper into it, “to do 10 perfect push ups from the floor” will most likely accomplish both of these goals, but now you have real direction.

Measurable
Once you have your specific goal, check to make sure you can track your progress or at least have an obvious point of achievement. “10 perfect push ups from the floor” is a clear test to see where you’re at. “Feeling better on downhills” is an endless chase, although I’m sure hitting your goal of 10 push ups will translate to more downhill strength and endurance.

Attainable
It’s ok to understand that some things are impossible. If you’re new to riding and 50 years old, you are never going to win the next Enduro World Series Overall Championship. However, you can become a great all around mountain biker and smoke all of your friends. Once you understand that your potential is huge(probably more than you realize), but that there are some boundaries, you can keep focused on what type of thing you can and want to accomplish.

Relevant
Does your goal actually matter? This is a real question that you need to ask yourself because it will point directly back to your why. If your “why” is strong enough, it will affirm how relevant this is to your life.

Time-Bound
If you give yourself all day to do something, it will probably take all day. When it comes to health and fitness goals, you have to have a hard deadline. It is physically impossible to cut corners with most health and fitness goals because your body takes time to adapt. If your goal is to do 10 push ups, but you can only do 2 currently, it doesn’t matter how many push ups you do over the next 7 days, you will not be able to do 10 next week. However, if your goal is set for exactly 2 months out, you will know that it is enough time, but you have to start now and stay consistent.

Setting more than one goal at a time
It’s normal to have more than one SMART goal at one time. Although, this can become more difficult to navigate because it takes some knowledge and experience to make sure your goals are complimentary of each other. There are some things that conflict and will leave you stranded between the two goals not really accomplishing either. The most classic one pertaining to your health and fitness is trying to lose body fat and build muscle at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, it can be done(especially for those with less experience training), but losing body fat requires a calorie deficit while gaining muscle mass requires a calorie surplus. However, focus on losing body fat until you hit your goal(probably feeling stronger because your power to weight ratio is improved) and then focus on muscle gain. You will be where you want when it’s all said and done instead of dipping a toe in and out of both without making real improvements in either direction.
Take Action: You will never have more time than you do right now(think about it). Remember, you have to start moving forward to discover your path. If you can only see the next step, take it. The next one will appear when you accomplish what’s currently in front of you.

Reach Out
If you have questions about your goals(realistic timeline, multiple goals, etc.) feel free to email me at dialedhealth@gmail.com. I’d be happy to help guide you in the right direction