What to expect when you’re not expecting …
To lose fat.
News flash: Pursuing fat loss probably shouldn’t be done this time of year.
And I hope right now you’re not expecting to lose fat. Not because it can’t be done this time of year …
More so because pursuing fat loss probably shouldn’t be done this time of year.
Let’s also not make the mistake of waiting until January since there’s that juicy statistic looming large …
Ya know the one where 92% of resolutions fail. Yeah, that one.
So we’re not trying to lose fat right now and we’re also not going to set ourselves up for failure with some audacious resolutions in January.
Then what do we do instead?
I thought you’d never ask.
We take this time to focus on maintenance, muscle building, moderation, habits, being social and spending time with family while still paying attention to your health and fitness.
This is the perfect time of year to prioritize the things that have gotten you in trouble in the past.
You’ve probably struggled with NOT pursuing fat loss.
You’ve probably struggled with being on or off your plan.
You’ve probably struggled with letting loose during maintenance (or have totally avoided maintenance altogether).
And I’m sure you’ve struggled with having a social event or a family gathering and then beating yourself up for over indulging.
So let’s tackle those things right now.
Fat loss is easy. We fantasize about how much joy it will bring us to be 10 lbs. lighter or to wear smaller clothes or to look better naked or to be healthier and more fit.
Thinking about those goals will come with a nice dopamine hit that makes you want to do something about it.
Now, most people tackle the doing part incorrectly but that’s another story.
At least it’s easy to WANT to do something about it.
But what about when you’re not pursuing fat loss?
What about when you’re just trying to maintain?
No dopamine. No desire.
Sounds boring AF.
Which is why …
The first and most important step to a successful maintenance or metabolic priming phase is to have clear goals.
You need to convince your brain that it’s worth it.
Anticipation of goal achievement will give you that dopamine hit.
Set goals for your strength and performance. Set goals for your daily habits and then make sure you mark them off as complete (finishing tasks solidifies the dopamine feedback loop). Set goals for habit removal.
In fact, you should be practicing will power, won’t power, and want power during this process.
It’s not always about doing more. It’s often about doing less.
It’s more effective to take your foot off the brake pedal than it is to hammer the gas pedal with the parking brake still engaged.
What toxic habits or roadblocks can we remove that will allow you to recapture and reallocate your resources appropriately?
If you’re perfect 6 days per week and you binge every 7th day … it’s more effective to remove the binge day than it is to push harder on the other 6 days.
If you’re training 6-7 days per week … it’s more effective to drop that down to 4-5 days so you can recapture and reallocate that time to recovery and stress management.
You may need to remove the habit of scrolling social media before bed. You may need to remove the habit of turning to food to cope with your emotions. You may need to remove the habit of always dieting.
It’s easy to feel directionless when you’re not pursuing fat loss.
Set clear targets. Identify the 1 – 3 things you want to work on during this phase of maintaining and sustaining.
Work with a coach to hold yourself accountable.
Stop viewing this whole game as an “on or off” thing.
First, you need to know where you’re going.
Then, you want to gradually improve upon making more decisions that align with that direction than not.
It’s never perfect.
And those times when you feel like you’re sabotaging yourself …
Learn from them. They instruct and inform. They tell you where to look.
If you consistently struggle with the periods of time where you’re not actively pursuing fat loss …
Well, that’s a sign of what you need to be doing.
And there’s no better time to work on that than right now.