I think that one of the reasons we do not achieve our goals, is hidden in the fact that we rarely get to the essence of things. Usually we focus on the superficial, which brings us short term results and it just masks action and progress, which are cursed to a standstill and disappointment.
This is completely true for workouts and nutrition. In the past I used to desperately search for diets, schemes and methods, which could help me achieve the desired look and body. Each diet or new training program, was accompanied by a huge dose of enthusiasm, which grew into a confusion and dissatisfaction. As everything new, every different diet, which we try or every new training program, will initially show some progress; initially it will help us feel different. Usually the effect will last long enough, so we can get convinced that we found the key to our goals. Somewhere along the path, we start doubting- the results don’t show; we make huge efforts and we can’t understand what is going on.
After everything which I’ve done- in the gym, in the kitchen and in life, I got to the conclusion, that there isn’t a “recipe”, which contains all the desired actions, which guarantee us the results we long for.
I got to the conclusion that the only way to achieve your goals, no matter if we are talking about workouts or nutrition, or for life as a whole, having a philosophy, a concept about life is what matters. Having a philosophy, which is the base of every choice you make and every action you take.
Personally, I am a fan of minimalism. I think that a person, even if he is able to have much, should be skilled enough to satisfy with less. We should be able to explore life in its depths and take it down to its smallest building particles. Then, we should use them, so we can build what we are aiming for.
The path to each goal is just one- simplicity! Simplicity is not equal to easy. Simplicity is expressed in the ability to keep sight on what is really significant, instead of losing it in the sea of unduly items, actions and so forth.
When did I achieve my best shape?
I’ve tried every single diet and every training program that you could think of. No matter what is the mistake that comes up to your mind- I’ve done it! There was a time in my life, when I started thinking that if constantly adding something- more exercises, more sets, more workouts, more meals and different type of training methods, is not working, then I should try something different.
When we are walking in one direction and each step is obviously taking us further away from the goal, we should probably stop and do exactly the opposite- take a complete turn and start moving in a different direction.
That’s what I did. I decided that if adding more and more, doesn’t get me closer to my goals for an athletic, healthy and strong body, then I should start subtracting something.
Thus, slowly but surely, I became a fan of minimalism and this turned out to be not just a way of training and eating, but it turned out to be a way of living.
How did my workouts change?
How many times a week do you train? Some of you are probably training every day, others train 4-5 times a week, others work out 2-3 times.
Do you know how many times a week I used to train? 14! Yes, that’s right! I used to train twice a day, every day. If we follow the notion that more is better- the maxim of most trainees, you would think that I looked and performed stunning. Mistake! I’ve never been more unsatisfied and hungrier for results!
Slowly, I started decreasing the number of workouts, the length of the workouts, the sets and the reps. The more I removed, the more my body was shaping the way I wanted it to be.
Felt as if during the years, all the adding- the exercises, workouts, sports, has just overburdened my body and now I was giving it the opportunity to take a deep breath and start functioning- in my advantage.
How Do I Work Out Today?
Nowadays, I train three times a week. I do not perform more than 4-5 exercises in one training sessions and the length of my workouts is between 35-40 minutes.
Back in the days my life used to revolve around working out, and today my workouts revolve around my life.
Back in the days, for me, workouts used to be my life, my meaning and everything that personified me.
Today, I am so much more than that.Today, I have enough time to fulfill my potential in different areas of my life; I have enough time to live life to its fullest, by trying different things and trying to become something more, than I was yesterday!
Now I do not add all kind of crazy exercises. Actually, all the exercises that are part of my workouts, now, are no more than 10.
I simplified my workouts and I got the results I dreamed of. Back in the days, working out was the meaning of my life, now workouts are just a mean- to realize y physical potential and feel healthy.
That’s what I can do now:
Pistol squat on a kettlebell
Weighted pull ups
2 minutes plank with 45kg
Pistol squat from a lying position
How Did My Nutrition Change?
Initially, I used to follow the standard diets- eat a bunch of meals in small quantities. I used to walk around with more Tupperware in my purse, than you have in your pantry.
It was really annoying and once again, my life used to revolve around my diet. After a lot of trial and error and after I began to slowly build my life around minimalism, I decided to reduce- EVERYTHING. Not just my workouts, but my meals as well.
Thus, I got to today, when I can eat just 2-3 times a day and feel great. I realized that when your nutrition revolves around your life, everything is so much easier.
Tell you the truth, it was really bothering, when I tried to arrange my social life, so it could fit my meal timing. Now, when I eat just 2-3 times a day, my mind is free from all of this.
Actually, minimalism, as a philosophy of life is what gives me an opportunity to live a life full of meaning. It helped me differ the needs of my body and mind, from the caprices of my mind. It helped me find out what leads to results and subtract what was just exhausting my strength- both physically and mentally; what was just stealing my time and my most precious resources.
By reduction, I opened space and time in my day and my life, so I can do a bunch of other wonderful things; achieve my goals and feel satisfied.
I often receive messages from people, who want a particular nutrition or workout scheme and when I try to point them the basic points, instead of the strict rules, they have a pretty negative reaction. I am sorry if somebody is not pleased with this, but the truth is this- if you want to live to the fullest, and if you don’t want to become slaves of your thoughts about appearance, working out and nutrition, you should give up diets and workouts, which are built on strict rules and schemes.
Actually, everything in life is about balance and life aims to sustain homeostasis. This is true for everything. Homeostasis, has another side- allostasis. In short, allostasis is something like sustaining a stable, constant state, while going through changes.
Allostasis is something like the synchrony between the inner state of the organism and the changes of the environment. Allostasis is something like the adaptation of the inner “world”, to the transiency of the surrounding environment.
Allostasis is the one which sustains a stable inner state, in spite of the instability and unpredictability of the surrounding environment.
Well, exactly your knowledge about allostasis, is what could help you build your path to each goal. And from here, follows the fact that you can’t expect to follow the same, strict scheme during the whole time and achieve particular results.When your strategy is not flexible and it is not conformable to the dynamically changing environment- i.e. the different challenges, that we are supposed to face every day; challenges which force us to get out of the rhythm of our daily routine, then your results will always be chaotic, temporary and unsatisfying.
When your life, workouts and nutrition, are based on the same concept; one general philosophy about your own life, then you will know how to react in every single moment in order to sustain your balance, no matter the circumstances.
What does minimalism mean when it comes to working out and nutrition?
For me, minimalism, when it comes to physical activity, means being active enough, so we can challenge our body to develop its full physical capacity. In the same time, we should be physically active, enough, so we do not overwork and exhaust our body and so we do not turn on its emergency” mechanisms.
It means, eating enough, so we could give our body what it needs in order to function well and so we can feel healthy and energetic, but stay away from eating too little or too much. Neither scarcity, nor abundance!
It means simplifying our workouts and nutrition- taking them down to the desired minimum: 2-4 meals a day and 2-3 workouts a week ( the rest of the physical activity should come with daily life- walking, hiking, climbing stairs and so forth).
It means taking away the foods, which our ancestors didn’t recognize during their evolution and leave just the foods we were adapted to eat- i.e. the foods, which you could find in nature, and not those that come in glittery packages.
It means taking out the fancy exercises and taking your workouts down to exercises, which mimick the movements, which our body is challenged to perform every single day- compound movements, which include pulling, pushing, hinging, squatting, stabilizing and twisting movements.
And one picture of me, practicing my handstand walking 🙂
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