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Coach Caleb’s Corner
A good plan implemented,
beats the perfect plan unused.
In my wayward younger days, I wasted a lot of time thinking, researching and even dabbling in different training paradigms. I fantasized about how nice it would be to somehow find more time for martial arts training or to fit in more strength, conditioning and skills practice to improve my hockey game, but nothing ever really took off. It was a lot of thinking and not a lot of action. In the earlier days of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, I became a huge fan of The Ultimate Fighter reality show, where the contestants where all athletes fighting for a contract with the recently resuscitated UFC. Something clicked for me while watching that program and I realized it was time to stop window shopping and get back into fighting shape like the young men on the show. As soon as I took a workmanlike approach to training and started actually getting programming and coaching, everything changed. Fantasy became reality. I was practicing more martial arts, my strength and conditioning improved dramatically, and I became a leading goal scorer on my just-for-fun hockey team. But before that, I remember having conversations with myself that sounded like:
“When is the best time to do a good thing for myself?”
“But what if I don’t do it now, and I wait for a bit and then I do something better later on?”
“Better to just take action and do the good thing now!”
“Hmmm… I’ll think about it.”
So when is the best time to start working on achieving your next big fitness goal? We all like finding out about “the best” thing; the best way to do something, or the best time to do something. In fact, we waste a lot of time thumb-hammering our phones to find out “where’s the best taco in Los Angeles,” when we’re already so hungry that any taco would taste like the best one if it was ready to eat right now! A good plan implemented is much better than the perfect plan that nobody uses.
When we get down to it, we can usually sort out “what” action needs to be taken. The disagreement occurs on the subject of “when” the action should be taken. People like to say “There is no time like the present.” Well, they’re right! People also like to say “Be careful, timing is everything.” Which is also true, especially when it comes to peaking physical performance. So how do we reconcile the whole “perfect timing” thing with the power of just taking action now?
When it comes to training and making positive changes in body composition, the answer is usually pretty simple: unless taking action right now would in some way be medically inadvisable, then now is the best time to act!
Really?! “Now” is pretty much always the best time to start a new training regimen or begin working toward a new goal?! I know, your wheels are turning, and some follow-up questions arise:
Q – “What if my upcoming travel plans will make it hard for me to get into the gym?”
A – No sweat, you can adapt! You’ll need a program that takes this into account and still enables you to make gains. Having a coach who knows how to write programs, not just workouts will be a key component of your success with this. Two of Breakthrough’s star performers from the last Tactical Strength Challenge; Nathan Davidson and Ruben Robles can tell you all about it. Both of these powerful athletes had very challenging work-related travel schedules in the middle of their TSC training, and STILL achieved amazing results on the day of the challenge, and had a blast doing it!
Q – “What if I’ve got a series of social obligations coming up that will make it hard for me to keep my nutrition in order?”
A – No sweat, you can adapt! Planning ahead is key; if you know the dates when things will be challenging then you can take them into account each week with your nutritional support; keeping in mind the 90% adherence rule. Following healthy eating principles 90% of the time still allows for that 10% variance you can take advantage of when your social calendar demands it. Having the support of a peer group who shares in this challenge can help quite a bit too, of course, as many of Breakthrough’s success stories discovered with the Drop 2 Sizes Challenge earlier this year! Planning your 10% of not sweating the guidelines means you don’t get nutritionally shanghaied 40% of the time.
Q – “What if I just can’t afford it right now?”
A – No sweat, you can adapt! If better health and fitness or a new training goal is really a priority, then how can you not afford it? Everyone has to do what’s right for them, given their financial circumstances, but most people find that for something truly important to them, it’s possible to make compromises in their monthly budget to accommodate a level of training and nutritional support that can help effect a positive change.
Q – “So I should start next month then? When I get back from my trip and my friend’s bachelor party is over and I win the lottery.”
You get the idea. There will always be plenty of reasons not to take action right away, but when we’re being honest with ourselves, those are usually just excuses. If we want to effect a positive change, then we have to do something differently. Sometimes we talk ourselves out of making a change simply because we’re convinced that we already know what to do, we just “haven’t had time to do it.” I’ve had casual conversations at Starbucks with would-be trainees who tell me they don’t really need to change anything, they just need to somehow do more of “X”. “X” being the thing that hasn’t been working so far. It’s kind of funny when you spell it out like that. More of the same is only going to deliver more of the same results! Whether its a plateau in your strength training or frustrations over your body composition, the fastest way to getting past it is to take action now. An effective combination of programming, nutritional support, coaching and a peer group to encourage and help keep you stay accountable can work exceedingly well. With consistency, results appear faster than you might think. Why wait to start building the better you? Act now, and get there sooner!