Whatever you think you are doing when it comes to weight loss or weight gain, it is not enough. This thought runs through my head when clients tell me about their struggles meeting their nutrition and performance goals. This idea usually precedes a sometimes uncomfortable but always necessary conversation because the truth is most people aren’t doing enough. Don’t get me wrong it isn’t for lack of trying. Most people feel backed against a rock of inexperience and one of the hardest places to be in–one of indecision. However, this doesn’t make the conversation we need to have any more comfortable. To get life-changing results we have to make choices that change our lives.
I recently had a conversation with coach Leslie about how to prepare for the Crossfit open. I wanted to know what programming the elite competitors used to get ready for the open. For me, there had to be a secret workout routine that the elites were using that put them head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. Was it two-a-days? Perhaps Cross Training program? What? Her reply, “It’s all about intensity. There is no perfect workout; It’s about approaching each workout with a high level of intensity.” It was that easy. Those around you set the level of intensity. For example, If I were to go and compete with Elijah Muhammad, one of my favorite CrossFit competitors, I would undoubtedly become accustomed to a new level of intensity. After some time this would become the new normal for me.
Transfer this thinking to nutrition and one can begin to understand why losing or gaining weight can be such a frustrating process. We carry around with us a somewhat arbitrary understanding of what is needed to meet our goals. I challenge you to take the guesswork out of your most important goals and track your food. Pay close attention to how much or how little you eat. The truth will surprise you.
Three years ago when I was trying to gain weight I had to undergo the same reckoning with my nutrition. I was stagnant at 185 lbs and had been since college. I wanted to be bigger, but my efforts were in vain. I would complain about how much I would eat and still never gain weight. Coach Mauricio challenged me to track what I ate for several weeks. When I looked at the results, a light bulb clicked for me. Whatever I had been eating was not enough. I may have felt like I was always eating, but I didn’t know real satiation until I made it the priority to almost double my caloric intake. I started eating 4000 calories a day. Up from the 2500-3000 calories a day I thought would make me big. In short, I was bursting a the seems. Some days I felt like I couldn’t do it. I would even fall asleep with a bowl of cottage cheese and granola next to me. Often I would wake in the middle of the night to eat a meal that I didn’t have room for previously.
In the end, I gained 20 pounds, my goal, and today I eat 4000 calories a day regularly, and I don’t even think twice about how much I eat. I just know. It has become, for me, a new normal. A return to dietary homeostasis if you will. I would never have met my goal if I didn’t wholly explode my understanding of what is enough. It may seem insensitive or cold to say that you’re not doing enough so I will frame it in a positive light. You can always do more. If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
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To Your Continued Success,