I am your constant companion. I am your most excellent helper or heaviest burden. I will push you onward or drag you down to failure. I am entirely at your command.
You might as well turn over half of the things you do to me, and I will do them quickly and correctly. I am easily managed – you must be firm with me. Show me exactly how you want something done, and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of great people and, alas, of all failures. Those who are great, I have made great. Those who are failures, I have made failures. I am not a machine, though; I work with the precision of a machine plus a person’s intelligence.
You may run me for profit or ruin – it makes no difference to me. Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet. Be easy with me, and I will destroy you.
Who am I?
I am habit. If you change your habits, you will change your life. Now, this statement is impartial. The more positive habits you build into your life, the better your life will be. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true, and if you develop enough negative habits, you can literally destroy your life.
So, what percentage of your daily actions are based on habit? The answer is somewhere between roughly 40%-95%, depending on the person. Some of you are literally sleepwalking through your everyday life on autopilot.
Could you apply the same percentages to your choices in nutrition? Again, the answer is yes, for better or worse. So, would it help to build more positive habits surrounding your daily food? Would it help to take some emotion and decision-making out of eating? Again, the answer is yes.
In this post, I will share with you twelve habits that, if adopted, will change your life. The first nine are specifically regarding nutrition, and the last three are more on lifestyle management. My suggestion is to focus on each habit for two weeks before moving on to the next. Then, after six months, repeat the process.
If you take me seriously and work to implement these habits over the next year, your health and life will improve dramatically. However, without some structure to organize these habits, your success will fall short of what it could be.
What do I mean? Well, do you remember Driver’s Education? After going through the laborious process of watching video after video in a classroom setting, your big day arrived, and you faced the daunting challenge of your driver’s test. If you were fortunate enough to pass, you were then legal to drive. But, you were not a good driver. No one is in the beginning. You had to think about your hands at ten and two, remember to put on your seat belt, release the emergency brake, and check your mirrors and blind spots before passing. You had to think about everything, and in the beginning, it was hard.
And now? You can fly down the road at eighty-plus miles per hour with a Starbucks in one hand and your iPhone in the other (driving with your knee) and think nothing of it. How? Because driving has become a habit. You don’t have to think about it anymore.
Now, you may be one of the best drivers in the world in terms of your ingrained habits, and yet, if all the street signs, traffic signals, and the entire communication system for all the roads and highways were taken away, what would happen? It would result in sheer and utter chaos. Therefore, you need the structure of our road communication system to maximize your driving abilities.
It works much the same way when it comes to your daily nutrition. You may be excellent at eating protein and veggies; however, you will struggle to reach the success you are truly capable of without some structure and a daily and weekly game plan.
For the balance of this post, I will unpack the following twelve habits as promised. Then, in closing, I will share some thoughts on the structure needed to make these new habits a valuable and permanent part of your life. One word of caution. Please don’t write these habits off as too simple to make any difference. As a fitness professional and nutrition coach, I’ve never met anyone close to living these twelve habits. In fact, I personally struggle with several, and I teach these concepts.
1 – Take a Five-Minute Action
2 – Eat Slowly
3 – Eat Until 80% Full
4 – Eat Lean Protein
5 – Eat Colorful Veggies & Fruits
6 – Eat Healthy Fats
7 – Eat Smart Carbs
8 – Drink Mostly Calorie Free Beverages
9 – Plan & Prep Your Meals
10- Practice Destressing
11 – Create and Use a Sleep Ritual
12 – Use a Targeted Recovery Strategy
So what have do you have to lose? Take me at my word and give this your best effort. If you live with these habits for the next year, you will be a different person. I promise.
Habit #1 – Take a Five-Minute Action
The purpose of this habit is to spark action – any action at all. This contrasts with the person who suffers from paralysis by analysis.
Taking action helps you feel empowered, and only you can decide what action to take. No one will do this for you. The act must be simple, concrete, and completed in minutes. You will start accumulating daily successes immediately, and these wins will build your self-confidence. In time, you may grow to feel like you can conquer the world.
My best suggestion is to tie your five-minute action to an existing anchor habit. For example, let’s say you have a goal to take your multivitamins daily and you’re a coffee drinker. If you’re like me, the first thing you do in the morning is turn on your coffee maker. Then after firing up my computer for my bible study, I load up my supplements for the day in my little supplement organizer.
My coffee habit is carved in stone, and the time I spend waiting for my morning delight to brew is the perfect opportunity to prep my supplements. Once complete, my organizer goes into my lunch box, which I take to work each day. This simple step sets me up for success, and for what it’s worth, my consistency in taking my daily supplements is 100%.
I simply don’t miss.
People will often question the value of something so simple that it can be completed in five minutes.
In my experience, people underestimate the importance of simplicity and the value of small chunks of time. I just completed my ninth fitness certification, and one of my co-workers asked me when I found the time. My reply was “in the cracks of my day.” I would read and study my coursework during breaks on my phone, tablet, and laptop. Five minutes here and ten minutes there repeated consistently adds up.
Pop quiz. What happens if you double a penny every day for thirty-one days? If you run the numbers, it totals just over $10 million. And here’s the catch. The math never changes from day one to day thirty-one. It’s simple duplication repeated every day, and the results are incredible. The key, however, to the magic of duplicating pennies is consistency. If you miss only one day, you won’t reach $10 million.
Once your first five-minute action becomes a habit. Move on to something new. This simple strategy is a powerful method for creating change in your life, one small step at a time.
Habit #2 – Eat Slowly
When you sit down to eat, regardless of the quality and quantity of your food, it takes about twenty minutes for your stomach and brain to synch up and for you to feel fullness or satiety. So, if you’re at an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet, you can do some severe damage in a short period. In contrast, you will inevitably eat less if you simply slow down.
Eating more slowly will lead to eating less. You will also feel more in control when eating because you will learn to sense true hunger and satisfaction or fullness. If people would only eat when they are physically hungry and stop when they are satisfied, the world would not be filled with people struggling with being overweight. But, unfortunately, people eat for many other reasons besides true hunger and often to excess.
Pro Tip: Whether using a fork or spoon, take one bite, and set your silverware down. Chew thoroughly and swallow. Then you may pick up your utensil and take the next bite. Bonus points will be awarded if you can sip on some water between bites. This simple little strategy will help you slow down your eating without obsessing about the process.
Habit #3 – Eat Until 80% Full
In short, eat until you are satisfied, not until you’re stuffed. Stuffed is easy. Stuffed is the feeling so many experiences after your typical Thanksgiving feast. Afterward, all you want to do is lose your belt and take a nap.
Eating until you’re satisfied is different. The best personal example I can offer is when two of my best friends and I used to play golf during the years shortly after graduating college. We would walk 18 holes in the morning and then stop for a quick lunch. I would have a couple of turkey or grilled chicken sandwiches and a large diet coke. Then it was off for a second 18 holes. And while we typically took golf carts in the afternoon, if we had had a Thanksgiving-styled feast for lunch, we would not have felt like another round of golf in the hot Texas sun.
Eating until you’re satisfied is an excellent strategy for being able to go all day. It is a simple method for eating less, and like Habit #2, Eating Slow, it builds appetite awareness and the ability to sense true hunger and fullness. Further, it teaches you to be in control regardless of the circumstances.
As I mentioned earlier, people eat for many other reasons outside of true hunger. For example, suppose you work in an office environment with a large staff. Between the potentially unhealthy snacks in your breakroom to regularly celebrating birthdays and other events, you could face many opportunities to eat when you’re simply not hungry.
Now, I’m not saying to never have a piece of cake for a friend or family member’s birthday, but at some point, depending on your goals, you need to consider whether it is really worth it. Of course, only you can answer this question. I just want you to analyze the situation and make the best decision for you rather than randomly following the herd. Following the herd often leads you on a path to nowhere and can sometimes lead to disaster. Instead, choose to be the exception.
Habit #4 – Eat Lean Protein
We need protein for almost every metabolic process in the body. Getting enough protein will help you preserve lean muscle mass, especially when you’re in a caloric deficit. To drop body fat, you must consume less than your body requires from daily calories. Your body is stubborn and must be coaxed into losing fat. It can’t be forced. Therefore overly restricting your calories can result in your body literally catabolizing muscle tissue to make up for the lack of daily nutrition.
One of the most critical steps to preserve muscle while dropping body fat is being patient and shooting for a 1-2 pound loss per week. Further, give your body a reason to hold on to the muscle it has by engaging in strength training two to three days per week. And finally, give your body enough protein. One gram per pound of lean body weight is a great start. Depending on your activity level and goals, you could need more. If your trying to build muscle, then taking in enough protein is all the more critical, and one gram per pound of lean body weight is still a great target.
Protein is the king of satisfying hunger when compared to carbs and fat. Fat is actually number two, and combing protein and fats can be a great way to provide satiety or lasting fullness. Please note that I did not throw carbs under the bus. They have their place, and I will be sharing their benefits soon enough. It’s just when it comes to satisfying hunger, carbs alone, regardless of the source, will not last very long. A balanced meal of protein, carbs, and fats is your best option.
Protein can come from a variety of sources, including the following:
1 – Poultry
2 – Beef
3 – Fish
4 – Pork
5 – Wild Game
6 – Eggs
7 – Dairy
8 – Protein supplements from milk, meat/poultry, and plant-based
9 – Nuts & Seeds
10 – Quinoa & Buckwheat
11 – Beans
Your hand can provide an excellent reference when it comes to portion control. The palm of your hand, not including your fingers, is a perfect example of a serving of protein. For lunch and dinner especially, 1-2 palms for both men and women is a great goal. Unfortunately, in my experience, most people don’t get enough protein, as it takes being educated and intentional. I will provide a sample day in the life of one of my clients at the end of this post.
Habit #5 – Eat Colorful Veggies & Fruits
Eat the rainbow – the more variety, the better for your health.
Adding veggies and fruits helps your nutrition by adding much-needed fiber for gut health. They also add micronutrients which are the real magic in terms of what they do in your body, including aiding in digestion. In particular, vitamins help with energy production, immune function, blood clotting, and other functions. Meanwhile, minerals play an essential role in growth, bone health, fluid balance, and other processes.
There’s another critical benefit to fibrous veggies, especially when trying to drop body fat and live in a caloric deficit. As I mentioned earlier, protein and fats are the two most important macronutrients for satiety. Veggies also play a critical role because they add much-needed fiber, which also aids in satisfying hunger. Further, they are volumizing in that they take up space in your tummy while only containing minimal calories.
So, beyond the fantastic health benefits, loading up on fibrous veggies can be a great strategy to offset the inevitable hunger from living below your daily caloric needs. If you’re not trying to drop body fat, you still need to focus on getting in your daily veggies. They are critical for your health and longevity.
As a nutrition coach, it’s common to see clients struggle with eating enough vegetables. They often claim that they simply don’t like them. In my experience, the underlying challenge can be a lack of cooking skills. To echo my buddy “Newman” from the hit series Seinfeld, raw broccoli, in my humble opinion, is a “VILE WEED!” However, when appropriately cooked, veggies of all kinds can taste amazing. If you’re struggling in the cooking department, I will share three excellent resources at the end of this post.
Consider your fist for veggies and your cupped hand for your fruit for portion control. While I’m grouping veggies and fruits together, fruits are typically higher in calories and should be considered carbohydrates. It really comes down to your body composition. If you’re relatively lean, you should be able to safely eat a larger quantity of fruit. If you’re watching your total intake to drop body fat, be more intentional with your fruit intake as they are higher in calories and carb content.
Habit #6 – Eat Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are best found in whole, minimally processed foods. They help with hormone synthesis, recovery, and other vital metabolic tasks. In addition, as mentioned above, fats play a critical role in controlling appetite and providing satiety. And they just make food taste good. My personal favorites include the following:
1 – eggs Sunny-Side Up or in my homemade protein pancakes
2 – flax seed in my shakes and pancakes
3 – olive oil and avocado with my veggies
4 – walnuts or almonds in my shakes
You need a balance of healthy fat types to feel and function best. Two challenges people struggle with fats are portion control and understanding actual fat content. When it comes to fibrous veggies, you can eat all you want, which will not make any difference. For example, no one will ever put on body fat eating broccoli or spinach. Fats, on the other hand, are a different story.
I cringe when people comment about snacking on a “handful” of nuts. For clarity, one ounce of whole walnuts on a digital kitchen scale will cover a circle roughly 3-4″ wide. That’s two to three bites conservatively and equals 185 calories and 18 grams of fat. When it comes to fat intake, you need to be specific because fats are extremely calorically dense. For portion control, consider using your thumb.
The second challenge is not being fooled by the misleading marketing practices of the food industry. Poultry and meat manufacturers are among the worst offenders, and if you don’t understand how to read labels, you can make some bad choices. For example, one standard ground turkey breast package reads 93% Lean and 7% Fat. And in the countless nutrition consultations that I’ve done, this tends to be the product people purchase.
They see the word LEAN as a positive, and 7% Fat seems to be very little. The loophole being used is that the 7% Fat is in terms of scale weight. That’s not how we apply nutrition with calories, protein, carbs, and fat to foods, so this number is irrelevant to us as consumers.
The reality is that this product is 42.3% fat. Further, when you look at the ingredients, it simply lists turkey and seasoning. In this case, the turkey includes breast, thigh, and skin. So it’s basically everything but the bones and feathers, and consuming products like this and others that contain far more fat than what you’re led to believe can create a real problem in eating healthy.
For more information on successfully navigating the minefield of misleading marketing practices used by food manufacturers today, check out “Are Food Companies Lying to Us?“. A link is provided in the resource section at the end of this post.
Habit #7 – Eat Smart Carbs
Almost everyone will benefit from having some carbs in their daily nutrition.
Smart carbs are slower digesting due to their more complex nature. They’re also higher in fiber which is critical for gut health. And they’re nutrient-rich. In fact, according to Mother Google, “SmartCarbs refers to a specific group of carbohydrates that are nutrient-rich and lower on the Glycemic Index. These carbs are packed with fiber, digested more slowly, and help you feel fuller longer. Plus, they deliver vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients your body needs.”
Whole grains, in particular, have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer. Some of your best options for smart carbs include brown and wild rice, oatmeal, quinoa, buckwheat, etc. Beans and legumes are also included, along with fruits and starchy veggies like bananas and potatoes.
Consider your cupped hand as one serving.
Habit #8 – Drink Mostly Calorie Free Beverages
It’s easy to take in a lot of unwanted calories from drinking.
Most drinks offer few nutrients or add value to our bodies. Alcoholic and sugary drinks, in particular, are not your friends, while mainly drinking calorie-free beverages (such as water) is one way to quickly cut out excess calories and improve your overall nutrition. Shoot to drink roughly half of your body weight in ounces a day. And while coffee and tea have their place, the more you can rely on plain clean water, the better it will be for your health.
Many are tripped up by the hidden calories in common beverages. It annoys me when beer manufacturers boast only a few grams of net carbs. Miller Lite, for example, claims only 96 calories with 3.2 grams of net carbs. So, where are the other calories coming from? Beer has little to no protein or fat, so where are the additional roughly 83 calories? Have you heard of sugar alcohol? It contains seven calories per gram, and they add up just like any other food source.
Further, the body doesn’t have to digest alcohol, so it hits your bloodstream straight through your stomach wall. So if there is a perfect storm of adverse activities, it’s consuming excess food and alcohol together. It is safe to say that alcohol consumption is diametrically opposed to your efforts to drop body fat, so be cautious with your intake.
Habit #9 – Plan and Prep Your Meals
Healthy, performance-boosting meals don’t happen by accident.
I published a blog back in early 2021 called “Where the Nutritional Rubber Meets the Road,” where I shared a concept that I still teach almost daily. Good tasting healthy meals are not the challenge. If you had a private chef following you around each day, providing healthy, gourmet-quality food, your life would be much easier. That, unfortunately, is not the world most live in and, sadly, where people struggle the most.
For the most part, three steps have to take place for a healthy meal to appear.
Step one is to plan what you’re going to have for the next week. For most people, one week of planning is enough.
Step two is to go shopping, and your plan drives your shopping list. And whether you go to the store yourself or have your groceries delivered to your home, you ultimately have to make a purchase.
Step three is to prep or cook your meals.
Now, this may seem very simple and obvious, but I’m telling you, it’s not. If you do a poor job of planning, you will not get everything you need when you go the stoor. Then when you run out of healthy options mid-way through the week, many opt for the path of least resistance, which means eating out of ordering something to be delivered to their home.
The better you get at planning, shopping, and prepping/cooking your meals, the better off you will be. And for people who work from home, meal prepping is still an invaluable practice. During a crazy day at their home office, I have two clients who will rationalize ordering something to be delivered to their homes because they think they’re too busy to stop and cook from scratch. The simple solution is to have something prepped in advance, so all they have to do is take it from their fridge and warm it up or eat it as is.
Habit #10 – Practice Destressing
Having just completed a brand new certification on sleep, stress management, and recovery, the information I’m about to share has taken on a whole new meaning to me. Stress affects your entire physical health, including your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Regular de-stressing practices can improve your health, including your mindset, coping productively, and overall well-being.
Do you have one or more activities that you’re involved in that relieve stress? If your answer is no, I encourage you to add some downtime to your weekly schedule. If not addressed, chronic stress is a killer and will take a massive toll on your physical and emotional well-being.
Personally, I love to work out first thing in the morning. After my morning bible study, this sets me up for a great day. Further, I love to read, write, take long walks, and go to the movies. Finally, yoga is popular at my gym and a new activity for me. It’s a great way to unplug from the electronic grid and get in touch with your mind and body.
When it comes to stress and technology, people can be their own worst enemy. If this is you, please consider going without your devices for a least some part of each day. The frenetic energy associated with being constantly plugged into your phone, tablet, or computer will take a severe and damaging toll on your mental and physical health.
If going without your cell phone creates instant anxiety, you may be suffering from Nomophobia. This is a new term to describe the fear of going without your phone. Instead, you may consider starting small and building in some daily time unplugged from the electronic grid. Your mind and body will thank you.
Habit #11 – Create and Use a Sleep Ritual
A sleep ritual is a set of behaviors and a planned time before bed where you purposely relax and gear down.
“Control the controllables” is a phrase I often use with my clients. For example, the image below shows three different circles.
In the smallest circle, you have absolute control. For example, you can choose to brush and floss each night or not. In the second circle, you have some control. For example, you may own your company and dictate the standards by which your employees will operate; however, in the end, they can still choose to disobey your rules of operation. In the last circle, you have no control. The weather, economy, and politics are way beyond your control. As a believer, I choose to give these to God and not allow them to steal my joy.
This directly relates to your sleep in the following ways. First, you have absolutely no control over how you sleep once you turn out the lights and close your eyes. However, you do have control over what you do during the day, especially during the time shortly before going to bed. A sleep ritual gives you the best opportunity to maximize the quality of your sleep, and the following are the best suggestions I’ve learned and share with my clients.
1 – Turn off your electronic devices and unplug your mind from the electronic grid thirty to sixty minutes before bed. Also, be mindful of what you’re watching in the evenings. For example, a horror flic right before bed will probably leave your mind pretty wound up, and you may find it difficult to fall and stay asleep.
2 – Use the blue light filter on all your devices two hours before bed. Your body is very sensitive to light, and blue light, in particular, can trick your mind into thinking it’s still daytime. This can inhibit your production of melatonin which is your sleepy-time hormone. By diming your lights in general in the evenings and blocking blue light as much as possible, you will create a more favorable environment for your mind and body to wind down for sleep.
3 – If your devices don’t have a blue light blocking filter, you can download the F.LUX app for free.
4 – Wear blue-light-blocking glasses at night one to two hours before bed. I wear these with my computer and while watching TV.
5 – Be as consistent as possible with your go-to bed and wake-up times. Your body craves regularity and the more consistent you can be with your sleep pattern, the better the quality of your sleep. In contrast, if you’re all over the place with your go to bed and wake up times, you will likely struggle with the quality of your sleep.
6 – Do not check your phone in the middle of the night. Some of you may argue that you use your phone as your alarm. My reply is to order a simple alarm from Amazon, which you can pick up for less than $20 bucks. Then leave your phone charging in another room removing all temptation. Checking your phone during the night for email, news, or social media is the equivalent of plugging in the lights to your Christmas tree to your brain. Good luck going back to sleep under the circumstances.
7 – Consider using an over-the-counter sleep supplement. The most effective on the market are as follows:
You can purchase these supplements individually or in combinations through existing product blends. I will list the product I use in the resource section at the end of this post.
8 – The late great Zig Ziglar and Jim Rhon used to teach that when you’re at the office, be at the office. And when you’re home, be at home. Mixing the two is a recipe for disaster. So I have a simple solution for all of you who struggle with your mind racing at night with all you have to do the next day.
End your day by planning the next. Before you shut down at the end of the day, strategically plan out your top six priorities for the next. This is called the Ivy Lee Method, and it will work wonders in maximizing your productivity at work and allowing you to leave the office behind at night when you’re with your family.
9 – Use a gratitude journal. The second to the last step in my personal sleep ritual is to briefly journal the top few positive things that happened to me that day. The simple procedure has two benefits. First, it forces your thoughts to the positive even if you’ve had a hard day. If you’re willing to look for it, there’s always a silver lining. Further, if it was a particularly rough day, you might read back over the past few days’ entries to remind yourself of all the blessings you have in your life. I promise this will help.
10 – And finally, if you must, consider some light reading. There are no devices allowed at this point. I have several devotional books where I will read a few pages. My company magazine, Experience Life, is also a great source that I frequently turn to.
Habit #12 – Use a Targeted Recovery Strategy
Your body does get better, fitter, and or leaner during workouts. It gets better between workouts as it rebuilds and recovers. Recovery doesn’t happen by accident. In your busy and demanding life, you have to chase it.
Optimal recovery covers four major areas:
1 – Managing your weekly training loads
2 – Optimizing your nutrition, including hydration
3 – Getting enough quality sleep
4 – Managing stress
These are huge topics where you could go into incredible depth in each. I will offer an analogy that I often use with my clients. Your health is like a four-legged stool consisting of training, nutrition, rest & recovery, and stress management. If you compromise in any area, your stool (health) will be wobbly. And if you compromise enough, your stool will crash and burn. This resonates with my clients, and I hope it hits home with you. It’s a simple strategy, although not necessarily easy.
Unless you’re an elite athlete, 2-4 days of strength training per week plus 2-3 cardio sessions is enough. Add in some foam rolling, mobility work, and maybe a yoga session, and you’re done. A training program is only as good as your body’s ability to recover from it.
Optimize Your Nutrition
The more you focus on clean whole foods rather than fast food or highly processed foods, the better off you will be. Of course, supplements like a good multivitamin, fish oil, probiotics, and protein powder have their place; however, your foundation needs to come from real food. You wouldn’t put cheap fuel in a high-end sports or luxury car, and you should consider the same thing when it comes to your body and food. If you want to thrive with optimal health, you need to consume only as high-quality food as possible.
Get Quality Sleep
One of the things I regularly share with my clients is the value of quality sleep. Seven to eight hours a night is a great target, yet many fall short of this range. If you’ve never used a device that tracks your sleep like a Fitbit or Apple watch, you may be surprised at how much sleep you lose. Even if you don’t get up to use the bathroom, it is common to experience short periods of being awake that will be imperceptible without a sleep tracking device.
According to my Fitbit, I lose, on average, about thirty minutes per night due to a trip to the bathroom combined with tossing and turning the last hour of the night. I am a morning person and literally have to force myself to stay in bed. Since I’m shooting for seven hours per night, I allow myself seven and a half hours in bed, knowing the inevitable loss I typically experience.
A sleep tracker may be an excellent investment if you struggle with sleep. You may feel that your sleep is not the best; however, without an objective measurement from a sleep tracking device, you really have no basis for comparison in terms of improvement.
When it comes to managing stress, I defer back to the control the controllable concept I shared earlier.
If there is a source of stress in your life and you can solve the issue, then take action. In contrast, do your best not allow circumstances beyond your control to steal your joy. This may be easier said than done; however, I think it’s the best way to live. As a person of faith, if it’s beyond my control, I turn it over to the good Lord in Heaven. This gives me a tremendous sense of peace because I know He can handle it.
You may become excellent at slow eating, eating your protein, veggies, smart carbs, healthy fats, and staying hydrated; however, without a daily game plan, I believe your success will fall short of what it could be.
Over the past three years, I’ve coached three men to lose thirty-five to forty-five pounds of body fat. All have nutrition plans based on their individual needs, schedules, and lifestyles. For example, Mark’s plan is based on four meals per day consisting of two shakes and two solid meals. Steve’s plan is based on five meals per day consisting of two shakes and three solid meals. And Jose’s plan is based on six meals per day consisting of one shake and five solid meals.
Mark’s work schedule allows him to train mid-afternoon. Further, he’s typically in bed by 11 PM because of his work schedule. Steve trains after work, and as a result, he doesn’t eat dinner until around 9 PM. Many would say that’s too late; however, Steve is a night owl and doesn’t go to bed until midnight. After dinner, this gives him plenty of time for his food to settle before bed. And then there’s Jose. He’s the early bird hitting the gym in the early mornings before conquering the world of real estate. He faithfully starts his sleep ritual each night at 10, and it’s lights out by 10:30.
Why the difference? Because cookie-cutter nutritional plans don’t work. I built their programs around their individual needs, including their work, family schedules, and personal preferences. Your plan needs to be tailored to your goals, schedule, and lifestyle. All three men crushed their initial goals, and they’re still working with me, striving to reach higher levels of achievement. They have sustainable plans based on skills they’ve learned and habits they’ve established that will serve them for the long term.
If you’re struggling with your nutrition, seek out the counsel of a good coach. Beyond sound nutrition, you need a daily and weekly game plan to follow. Once this plan is in place, it takes all the guesswork out of your decision-making, and I promise it will be much easier to stay on track with reaching your goals. Further, with your weekly structure in place, you will have the foundation to maximize the twelve habits I’ve shared.
While I gave some general guidelines on protein consumption, I did not go into counting calories or macros. It is far beyond the scope of this blog to cover such detailed topics due to the art and science involved. However, a good coach can help you develop a plan that works for you.
Closing thoughts for my readers:
If you take me seriously, I’ve given you a ton of information and six-twelve months of homework. Many will dismiss this as too simple to possibly make a difference. Others will be overwhelmed with the volume of information.
As I quoted from Jim Rohn at the beginning of this post, what is simple to do is also simple not to do. For example, eating the proverbial apple a day for good health is simple, but how many people do you know who actually do it. Also, just because something is simple doesn’t mean it can’t be powerful. In the compounding pennies example, going from $.01 to over $10 million in just thirty-one days is extraordinarily powerful.
And for those feeling overwhelmed with the volume of information, please remember that I asked you to take these habits one at a time. So go back to #1 and commit to your 5-Minute Action. And here’s a tip. Set up a visual accountability system like a big wall calendar.
Whether you’re a Seinfeld fan or not, you can’t argue with his success, and the calendar tip is something Jerry used to do many years ago when he was first starting his career. His goal was to write every day. Some days he wrote gold, and other days he wrote garbage. Either way, writing equaled a big red X for the day on his calendar. He said it became a game where there was no way he would miss writing just to get to X off the day. That daily discipline helped produce the gold that launched his career.
So, use your calendar to track your daily wins, and I promise it will help. People are driven by seeing the evidence of progress, and the more you see, the more determined you will be. As your determination increases, your disciple and your success will literally snowball. At some point, you will gain so much momentum that you will be unstoppable.
You can do this, and I believe in you.
Best of luck in your journey.
For cooking/recipes – Experience Life
For cooking/recipes – Precision Nutrition
For cooking/recipes – Eating For Life
Are Food Companies Lying to Us?
Where the Nutritional Rubber Meets the Road
Sleep Supplement – Relax
Productivity – Ivy Lee Method