While we were away with family last week in the Outer Banks, I had the chance to reflect on life and what direction Newell Strength is currently heading. Not surprisingly, it coincided and lent itself metaphorically to what I am doing with my personal approach to nutrition.
In terms of what we teach at Newell Strength for nutrition, if we were to break a day or a week down into snap shots of our food intake, we would see that we are either catabolic or anabolic at any given time. What this means is that we are in a state of breaking down (fat loss) or building (muscle and more likely fat). If you allow yourself to get to the point where intense hunger sets in, you can be sure that your body is tapping into its body fat stores. But then, what most people do, is they eat an unplanned meal to crush the hunger, often eating enough to offset the deficit that caused their hunger just a few hours earlier. This is the point at which we become anabolic. Remember, anabolic often makes people think of gaining muscle (think anabolic steroids), but more often than not, for most people, it means gaining body fat.
In the majority of the population, this one step forward (fat loss) and one step back (fat gain) approach will keep the person at a maintenance weight and they will usually find that they will not stray too far from this weight. Over the long term or big picture (all the snap shots added together), we maintain a stable balance of the ‘weight see-saw’. To actually lose body fat or gain significant muscle, we need a plan that will tilt that seesaw in favor of the direction of our main goal. If we are more catabolic than anabolic over the long term, we will achieve fat loss. It all comes down to having a plan, but just remember that you are never staying the same in individual moments, its either one or the other.
So let me explain how this works in a leading a successful life. You are either growing as a person or regressing. There is no such thing as staying put. You are either investing in yourself and doing the work that is hard to do or you aren’t investing in yourself and you are on the back slide. The back slide will creep up on you and it’s not something you will notice until it’s often already happened in a significant way. Think about it, you may often catch yourself thinking that you want a better life and you want to make a change for the better, but your actions may say otherwise. You are either choosing to pick up that inspirational book night after night or you are choosing to not pick it up. But either way, you are tilting the seesaw in one direction or the other. I used to tell my elementary school students that being average/mediocre was the worst thing in the world because it meant you were just like everyone else out there and you weren’t accessing your gifts. Being average is just code speak for not growing as an individual.
Now I know I like to use the example of reading, but it might be a few important contacts you have to make but you just never seem to send that email or pick up the phone. Whatever the case may be, your momentum is carrying you either further away from the life you deserve or closer to the life you deserve. And just like the backslide, success will meet you at uncommon hours and seemingly unexpected times. I remember the lesson that Dave Ramsey told one of his young staffers that their company landing spots on CNN and the Oprah Winfrey show in the same week was not ‘luck’ as the staffer had said. Rather, it was momentum, which is nothing more than the product of a focused intensity over a period of time multiplied by a higher power and faith in something bigger than our self.
Just like with diet, we need to apply our plan in life over a period of time with a focused intensity. It is always hardest to get the ball rolling but once its rolling its not so hard to continue on in that direction. Take that first step towards growing daily and remember that if you are going to invest in anything, it should be what you put in your body and what you educate yourself on because ultimately, that is who we become.
Also, I never put this up a few weeks ago, its our last episode of Jersey Muscle Radio with some tips you can use immediately in your next workout! Enjoy!