Overcoming Your All or Nothing Mindset

Written by Jamie Susino

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April 15, 2021

A common misconception to seeing results over time is that you have to pretty much live in the gym and have an absolute pristine diet. While that might get you to your goals pretty quickly, it’s not always a reasonable way for the average person to live their life. But what most people don’t realize is that going All-or-Nothing on anything will likely fizzle out pretty quickly.

After juggling work, family, and social life it seems borderline impossible throwing your health and fitness into the mix. So how do we overcome that? One step at a time. Accumulating healthy habits and better choices little by little are going to be better than not doing anything at all!

How many times have you planned on spending a full hour at the gym but got caught up at home or at work and now your lengthy gym time has been whittled down to a mere 30 minutes? Not worth it, right? So you stay home and watch TV instead. Occasionally, we need to bite the bullet and make ourselves the priority when it comes to training and nutrition. But for the majority of life seasons, doing what you can goes a long way in our journey to better health!

If you find yourself with a busy schedule and a lot going on, having an all-or-nothing mentality just isn’t sustainable and can be downright detrimental to your goals. It’s important to set up steps towards your goal based on the season you are in, allowing yourself the proper amount of time and energy to each of your priorities.

Here are some tips to set yourself up for success:

1. Gym Efficiency

Strapped for time at the gym? DO WHAT YOU CAN. If you can’t get to the gym for your full workout, prioritize your most important exercises and get through what you can in the most efficient way possible. Supersets (two exercises performed back to back), tri-sets (3 exercises) or giant sets (4 or more exercises) can be a very time efficient way to get your reps in!

There are many ways you can still get in a great workout without spending hours at the gym. Maybe you swapped in some exercises that required a little less warm up or you opted for a different variation so you didn’t waste time waiting for a specific machine, but at least you came in and put in some work. This is a much better alternative than not doing anything at all.

2. Quality Over Quantity

Say you had a plan to come in and crush some high volume training but now you’re running behind on your schedule. Instead of rushing through a training session that would normally take you 90 minutes, focus on form and move some quality weight.

Not only will you run less risk of injury if you’re moving with intention, but your muscles will also respond better. You’re going to see a much better result doing less with better quality of movement than 1,000 reps with poor body mechanics.

3. Home Workouts

Being at the gym can be incredibly motivating. Seeing other people also working toward similar goals can help immensely. But we all have those days where it’s just not happening.

If you just can’t seem to make it here to lift with your buddies or take a class, have a back up plan! Have a consistent workout you can do at home with either home equipment or body weight.

Squats, lunges, and pushups can go a long way. Too easy? Add in some slower tempo, pauses, or quarter reps!

4. Nutrition

Can’t stick to a rigid diet? Most people realize this pretty quickly and after one or two slip ups will simply fall off the wagon because they feel that if they can’t be perfect, they might as well give it up completely. Progress isn’t linear and perfection is not necessary for results! If you have one bad meal, you have to remember that it doesn’t entirely negate all of your healthy choices!

The 90/10 or 80/20 rule can still help you see a lot of progress! If you eat well 80-90% of the time, the few times you grab a quick slice of pizza will have less of an impact on your overall progress! One less than healthy choice shouldn’t derail you from staying on track.

5. Just MOVE!

You’ve got meetings scheduled back-to-back and after work you’ve got to cart the kids to their extracurricular activities on top of all of your usual daily responsibilities. Some days it seems impossible to get in any activity. Making some type of movement a non-negotiable part of your daily schedule is a great way to start.

But sometimes our schedules get away from us. This is when you can try to accumulate movement over time throughout the day:

  • A 5 minute walk before work followed by a 10 minute work call where you might be pacing back and forth will accumulate to 15 minutes of activity. Is it hard core intense training? No, but it’s something!

  • Throwing in a quick bodyweight workout or a few minutes of yoga at lunch can add up to some decent activity to help you toward your goals.

A little bit, everyday, over a period of time will do so much more for you than ultimately deciding not to do anything at all.

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