6 Ways to Make Your Body Hate You
Today’s guest post comes from friend and colleague, James Garland. I’ve known James for a few years now and first met him when he came to Cressey Performance (all the way from Australia) three years ago for the sole purpose to hang out at the facility, talk shop, and observe for a few weeks.
And during that time I think I made reference to Crocodile Dundee at minimum 347 times. Give or take a few dozen.
James is a talented coach and someone I feel more people should know about. In this post he calls himself out and discusses a few things which I know many reading (especially those who make a living coaching) will be able to commiserate with.
Take it away James!
Crikey (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
A few months back, I was struggling to train with any kind of intensity. My body hated me, my motivation was low, and my focus with day-to-day work, in a word, suckedharderthanadysonvacuum.
At first I thought that this could all have been the standard leading-into-Christmas winding down stuff; but I was lying to myself.
My body was deteriorating because I had been neglecting it. I had niggling issues that I’d never had before, I was always carrying some sort of pain, and my movement quality was terrible.
Admitting that I had let my body fall into a serious state of suckery was tough. Given that I’m a strength coach, who, by and large, has a strong corrective focus, I was a little (read – a lot) ashamed of letting it get to this point.
Before we go on, just to give you an idea of the growing list of problems that I was having, here’s a list –
- Crepitus in my knees
- Constantly sore hips
- Lower back pain creeping back in
- Neck/thoracic pain
- Creaky shoulders
- Lack of focus
- Crashing (tired) in the afternoon
Yep, I was messed up – but there was no point dwelling on that fact. Instead, I decided to look back at the habits that I had led to my body being in a world of pain, and then go about fixing them.
It was kind of funny (note – no it wasn’t) looking back, because I started noticing that I was making all of the same mistakes that I warn, and was warning at the time, my own clients against making. Talk about irony, right?
Here’s what I was doing wrong:
1) Prioritising Work Before Anything Else
When work gets busy, I always tell my clients that they need to schedule time to make sure that they can still get their training sessions and recovery work done. I emphasise the importance that they establish, and maintain their routine because if they don’t, you can bet your first born that they’re going to turn around in a week or two and say that their body feels like it’s gone six rounds with Mike Tyson.
Not only does working more mean less time to pay attention to your body, but it also means more time spent sitting. And I don’t need to tell the readers of this site that whenever you increase your duration of sitting, you’re not going to be in for a good time.
2) Skipping Training Sessions
“I could train today, OR, I could finish that blog post that I’ve had on my to do list for a week now.“
“I could train today, but I didn’t really sleep well last night, and I could do more harm than good.”
Skipping training sessions is a very slippery slope. One missed session can turn into 2, 3, or even an entire week so easily.
When I prioritised work, I missed sessions, and always justified it to myself through some logic that seemed rational at the time. In reality, though, it was just a bunch of B.S. that I used to procrastinate getting my backside into the gym, and lifting heavy stuff off the floor.
3) Finding Quick, And Convenient, Food
“Spend time cooking?
Please! I don’t have time for that, and you know what, I’m pretty lean already, so I can get away with eating shitty foods for a little while.”
But I couldn’t; no one can.
While my body fat didn’t really increase that much when I wasn’t eating as well, my body did become a playground for inflammation (which did NOT help my knees), and my energy levels were shockingly low.
4) Not Sleeping As Much As I Should Have
When you run your own business, sometimes you just have to go without sleep. It’s an unfortunate fact of being able to stand out in the crowd. The problem is that everything is a balancing act between what you can get away with, and what’s ridiculous.
I was well within the realm of the latter.
You see, I wake up at 4-15am every morning to make the commute to work, and while this isn’t usually a problem, when I was consistently on my laptop doing work until 10-11pm at night, you know that I wasn’t getting much quality sleep.
And don’t get me wrong, this is by no means the worst working schedule I’ve ever seen, but throw it on top of poor nutrition, and a caffeine addiction, and you start to get a clearer picture of how things weren’t conducive to a well-functioning body.
The one thing that I came to realise real fast was that there is no point in working through the night if you’re not focusing properly on what you’re doing. A couple of hours of focused, uninterrupted work during the day will always trump several hours of half-assed work done in a sleep-deprived state.
5) Making Up For Said Lack Of Sleep With Stimulants
God invented caffeine for entrepreneurs; of that I am certain.
I mean, who needs 8 solid hours of sleep when you can throw back 4-5 coffees a day? Well, evidently, I did.
Making up for negative habits by utilising more negative habits was always destined to fail, miserably, but I gave it a shot, anyway.
Signs that you’re at this stage – your eyes burn like crazy when you wake up, you’re morning shower doesn’t work in making you feel alert, you need 2 coffees before sitting down at the laptop, and as soon as you hit the pillow at night, you’re asleep (my wife will testify to me lying down and falling asleep some nights at 7pm).
6) Ignoring The Issues, Despite Your Body Screaming For A Change
This was the worst mistake of all. When all of the telltale signs are there, and you ignore them, you deserve the inevitable crash. And that’s what happened. My kick up the backside came in the form of unproductiveness, a terrible attitude, and a few nights where I crashed before 8pm.
I gotta say, though, once I had acknowledged the things that I was doing wrong, I could start making changes. As I write this now, I’m back into the swing of things, getting enough rest, making sessions, improving my movement quality, prepping all of my food, and being productive with my work.
In fact, doing a guest post for Tony has been something that I’ve had on my to do list for a long time – and now it’s done. So if you’ve been ignoring some nagging issues for a while now, maybe it’s time to take a step back and give it the attention it deserves.
James Garland is a strength coach based in Sydney, Australia. He shares Tony’s same dislike for Keanu Reeves, and also loves deadlifting. That’s how he flattered Tony into letting him write an article for his site. He also runs a community for busy fathers at http://fitandstrongdads.com/