Welcome to Week 4 of Be The Better You. In Week 3, we focused on the the importance of making a plan, as well as the components involved in creating an effective plan.
This week, I’m going to talk about the specifics of making an effective fitness plan, including:
- Breaking down a comprehensive plan into singular, manageable tasks.
- The 4 components of an effective fitness plan
After that, I’m giving you an assignment to create your very own 1-month plan. Let’s get started!
Let’s talk about creating your plan.
For the purposes of this program, I want to focus on 1-month chunks of time. Planning for 3 or 6 months away reduces the sense of urgency, and creating plans for just 1 or 2 weeks is unlikely to yield results, which can cause frustration and lead us to lose faith in our plan.
One month of time, on the other hand, is long enough to see results [as long as you’re following an effective plan] and can be easily segmented into weeks, days, and specific actions for each day.
- 1 month 4 weeks
- 4 weeks 1 week
- 1 week 7 days
- 7 days 1 day
- 1 day 1 specific action on that day.
In this way, we are reducing a one-month plan to one specific action on a certain day. Nick Saban, the legendary football coach of Alabama, is famous for his coaching philosophy of breaking down the gargantuan task of winning a championship into a single drill.
Essentially, it’s about doing the best you can with the task that’s in front of you right now, and not worrying about stuff further down the line. You can’t do anything about something that’s happening 2 or 3 months from now, but you can do your best with whatever it is you’re doing at this very moment. Whether that’s adding spices to your chicken instead of barbecue sauce or holding that plank for just a few more seconds, the same concept applies.
To recap the first part of the lesson: break down your plan into singular tasks, and do your best at each one when it’s time to do it.
Next, we’ll cover the 4 areas covered by a comprehensive, effective fitness plan.
An effective fitness plan includes the following 4 areas: exercise, diet, sleep, and stress management. In this lesson, I’ll give you the basics to each of these areas, as well as list some helpful resources for additional information, to give you the foundation so you can create your own plan.
Before I give you these, I want to stress that your body does not accept excuses. You can’t tell your body that you didn’t have time to eat healthy or you didn’t have the energy to work out, and then expect it to say, okay, I’ll let it slide this time. Your body gives you exactly what you give it, no matter how good (or bad) your excuses are.
You’re almost at the end of the lesson! But before I give you the assignment, I want to share 3 quick notes with you:
- The best way to improve your overall fitness is by taking an active interest in fitness, and focusing on the creation of healthy habits. Focusing on the results is helpful for motivation, but for long-term success it’s important to focus on enjoying a healthy lifestyle. What’s more important than the destination is enjoying the process of getting there.
- Progress is not linear. If you lose 10 pounds one month, you might not lose 10 pounds again the next month. As you reach your goal, your linear progress slows. It takes more and more effort to reach the next level of fitness, and this is true with any endeavor.
- All 4 of these areas – exercise, diet, sleep, and stress management – are important. Neglecting any one of these will hurt your progress in all areas.
Now it’s time to create your plan. Instead of creating a 1-month plan, what you’re going to be doing is creating a plan for each week, one at a time. Next week, we’ll talk about fulfilling your plan! But for now, it’s time to create a 1-week plan that makes you excited.
Create A Comprehensive 1-Week Plan
Turn off your phone, eliminate distractions, and start with a blank page, chart, or word document.
If you completed last week’s assignment, you’ve already established a powerful, meaningful, and achievable goal for yourself. As you create your plan, you may realize you’re missing certain pieces of information. Make sure to do the research you need to do in order to make sure your plan is effective.
Important: This 1 week plan serves as your template for each week after it. Don’t worry – you can (and should) make tweaks and changes to your plan in order to improve its overall effectiveness, but if you make it great the first time you won’t have to change as much later on.
Part 1: Create the schedule for your first week.
Include the following in your 1-week plan:
- Exercise – Workout times, locations, and content of each workout.
- Shoot for 6 scheduled workouts. If you’re too sore, do restorative yoga.
- The more specific your plan is, the better.
- You can even go further and list things like mode of transportation, items you’ll need to bring to your workout, pre and post-workout nutrition, or anything else you can think of that goes into the workout process.
- Diet – List what you plan on eating for each day.
- Follow the 80/20 rule (4 good meals, 1 cheat).
- If you eat 6x per day, that’s fine. If you eat 2x per day, that’s fine too. Just plan it out and do your best to stick to it.
- Sleep – Figure out what time you’re getting up in the morning (the same time EVERY day), as well as when you’ll go to sleep.
- I also recommend scheduling a relaxing activity of some sort leading up to bed to help facilitate better sleep.
- Stress Management – Try to be pick a single time and stick to it.
- The best times for this are first thing in the morning, after work, after your last meal of the day, or before bed.
- Set aside 15 minutes and do it.
- If you hate it, choose a new form of stress management for the next week.
Once you’ve finished the plan, it’s time to create standards for your plan.
Part 2: Determine your standards, rewards, and consequences.
I highly encourage you to create standards that are based upon the actions you take to reach your goals, rather than the end result. Here’s how I recommend doing this:
- Outstanding – Complete 90% or more of your scheduled healthy activities. Reward yourself with something big.
- Excellent – Complete 80% to 89% of your scheduled healthy activities. Reward yourself with a nice gift.
- Good – Complete 70 – 79%, reward yourself with something small.
- Okay – Complete 60 – 69%, take away something small.
- Fail – 60% or lower, donate $50 to an organization you can’t stand.
Come up with rewards and consequences that are personal to you. Carrots and sticks shouldn’t be your main motivation, but they do help.
Join me next week for Week 5, and get ready to DO your plan!.
- My 1 Month Plan
- The Primal Blueprint – Mark Sisson
- Sleep Smarter – Shawn Stevenson
- Eat Fat, Get Thin – Mark Hyman
- The 4 Hour Chef – Tim Ferriss