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Shift Focus: Fuel It Up (don't work it off)
"I've got to work off all the fudge and cookies I ate yesterday!"
"I ate so much yesterday, I've got to work it off today!"
"I know I'm going to eat and drink way too much over Christmas; I'm just going to try to work it all off right now!"
The above statements are just three of many that I've heard individuals say over the last couple of days. While the "work it off" philosophy is quite popular and used by many, it never works; it never has and it never will. During the holidays especially (and it's actually a philosophy individuals use 365 days out of the year), individuals use the mindset that if they eat/drink too much, they will just have to work it off tomorrow during their workout.
On the surface, it almost seems to make sense, but anyone that has ever adopted this mindset knows one thing…Like your hand to fire, you're going to get burned every time. One of the main reasons this mindset never works is because the focus is completely off. The individual is trying to right a wrong and while the "work it off" mindset may seem to be a positive one, in actuality, it's a very negative focus. And a negative focus only brings about more negativity.
What typically comes along with the "work it off" mindset? Well, it's usually a couple of things; eat less and work out a lot more/harder. And here is the disaster in the making; combining these two is like oil and water. Anyone that has ever adopted this mindset knows exactly what I'm talking about. After you eat/drink too much, the next day begins with eating very little or nothing at all, why? It’s because you are trying to right a wrong. You are trying to make up for the overload the day/days before. Not only is the body now in adequately fueled, you are now going to try to kick your workout into high gear and possibly double up on volume and intensity. You are bound and determined to "work it off." The cliff notes version of what happens next is simply this… This will lead to another overeating/binge eating session later that day and the vicious cycle starts again.
The fix is quite simple; just shift the focus. Take your focus completely off of the "work it off" mentality in place laser-like focus on "fuel it up." The focus now turns from a negative into a positive. We are now focusing on fueling the body properly, not trying to work it off. So let's set the stage and let's say no matter how much you tell yourself you're not going to eat/drink too much, but you do. Okay, once again, the typical mindset is to beat oneself up for this and to try to work it off tomorrow. We're going to throw that mindset out the window and we are going to follow these 2 steps:
- Get amnesia: seriously, get amnesia; completely forget about the nutrition train wreck you engaged in yesterday. It's in the past, you cannot undo it and therefore, we give no effort and energy towards things in the past. We are not going to stare in the rearview mirror; rather, we focus straight ahead on what is in front of us. Stop beating yourself up; you cannot undo what was done nutritionally. You have zero control over yesterday, but you have 110% control of right now, today. Therefore, we do not give any attention/focus to the things we cannot control. We give all of our focus to the things we can control.
- Fuel it up: when you wake up tomorrow, your focus is simple, fuel the body properly. The key is to eat, eat right, fuel the body properly as opposed to not eating. This is what you have 110% control over, so let’s put all of our attention here.
Wow, what a different mindset, right? No longer is the focus negative, trying to right a wrong. Rather, the focus now becomes very positive and you are simply focusing on fueling your body properly (no matter how off your nutrition was yesterday, last week, etc.). Keep in mind, you don't even remember that train wreck of nutrition because you simply got amnesia. You are now focused on you, your goals and starting the day right by fueling your body properly. And then, your day continues, nutritionally, as it normally would. You start by fueling your body right away upon awakening and then every 2.5-3.5 hours thereafter all throughout the day. You move forward with your typical workout schedule. No longer are you trying to "work it off", you are now simply fueling the body right, getting your body back on track and moving forward. Are you ready to shift your focus?
Dr. Rick Kattouf II
2x Best-Selling Author
Named One Of The World Fitness Elite® Trainers Of The Year