Ep. 69: What to do when the ish hits the fan

The holiday season, for many of us is one of the busiest times of the year. Sometimes it’s travel, or events, or just a scattered and chaotic work and possibly child care situation. It is really easy to let your movement practice go off the rails and take longer than we would really like to get back on track. In this episode, I’m going to talk about a few ways that we can shift our mindset, expectations and short term goals to deal with this. Instead of trying to fight the chaos, let’s explore how we can lean into it, give ourselves grace and come out of the other side of the holiday season refreshed, patting ourselves on the back and ready to keep the train moving down the tracks.

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to the Not Your Mama Podcast is your host Kelly Bryant. This week, we are talking about what to do when the stuff hits the fan in your workout programs. So obviously, this is very timely. If you were listening to this in real time, we are at the very beginning of December. This is when the stuff tends to hit the fan. This is when life gets really busy. There’s travel, lots of chaotic stuff going on. And so I wanted to talk about what to do to make your movement practice sustainable. Regardless of what goes on in life. Not that we are going to push through and stick to the plan at all costs, but rather how to adjust the plan to make it work when life gets lifey, as I like to say.

So the first thing is much like I talked about in the last episode about eating around the holidays. We want to lead with grace. Give yourself grace. We are looking at a lifelong behavior, not a six week plan. We can white knuckle our way through a six week plan. We can not white knuckle our way through our movement practice for the rest of your life. So we want to have that grace, that understanding that there are going to be ebbs and flows. They’re going to be seasons of life, where you are able to be more adherent and where you need to have a little bit more expectation that you’re simply going to do a little bit less during this time and that’s completely fine.

So we are going to lead with grace and then we’re going to create a comeback plan. So when you have this moment where you’re like, Okay, this is just not getting done this week. My workout program is not happening this week or this day or this month or whatever the timeframe is. You say, I’m going to give myself grace, I’m going to miss some workouts or modify some workouts. And I’ll explain that in a little bit.

And my comeback plan is as follows. So what I mean by a comeback plan is a timeframe. Where you say. I’m looking at the calendar. I know that we are going to need to adjust the plan for three days for a week, for three weeks, for the entire month of December, whatever it is. You set a timeframe. And you set an expectation of what you’re going to do when it’s time to start again.

That can mean. Looking at your calendar three weeks out, looking at your calendar for January 2nd this year and putting your work out on the calendar, creating the expectation that this is when you’re going to come back to your normal workout plan. It can mean having in place an accountability partner, whether that’s a coach, a workout buddy, your partner, your life partner telling them, “Hey, I’m taking some time off my workouts.” I want to get back to it on January 2nd. I want you to help hold me accountable so that we can both plan for me to be doing this again on this date. That’s a comeback plan. So you’re leading with grace. You’re creating the expectation, the understanding that life is not going to look the same all the time and it’s okay. It’s normal. It’s expected. It is part of the plan to have ebbs and flows and times where you do a little bit less. And when you have those times that you do a little bit less, you’re going to have a plan in place for when you come back. Because it does not matter what we do. On the micro scale. It does not matter what we do every single day and every single week. What matters is what we do on the zoomed out big picture scale. Are we mostly moving most of the time? So the problem is not when we miss a workout or a week of workouts.

The problem is when we make a week of workouts mean that we miss a month or two months or three months. Because we’ve created this thing in our head where it’s really hard to get started again. And so that’s why the grace and the comeback plan are so important.

It’s not because. I mean, it is in, in one sense it’s because beating yourself up is crappy. It’s uncomfortable. It’s unpleasant. Of course. I want you to have grace for yourself because why feel shitty if you don’t have to, but the other reason for the grace and the expectation and the understanding that there are going to be ebbs and flows is so that it’s part of the plan. So that doing less is actually part of the definition of success.

Part of the plan is that we have times that we’re not doing as much. So that when there’s that time, you’re not doing as much, it’s like, yay, I am on plan. I’m doing exactly what’s expected of me. I’m having a time where I’m not doing as much. That sounds like really trivial and like, that’s not, I don’t really need to do that. I’m not four, I don’t need to like celebrate these imaginary wins, but you do. I promise you do. Your brain works just like a four year old’s brain and you do need to create that win for yourself where doing less is the expectation. It’s a success. And so when it happens, you can be like, yay, everything going to plan. And that’s going to make it much easier to start again whenever your comeback plan says it’s time to start again.

So, as a part of creating that comeback plan and leading with grace and adjusting expectations we want to shift our goals a little bit, not your like big picture way out in the future “why,” but your procedural goals. Right? So a lot of the time we talk about like, you have this big why, this big thing that you’re working toward, yes. Keep that the same. Keep your eye on that. Stay inspired and motivated by that. But the execution is going to need to change.

And again, that’s because we’re setting the expectation that this is a stage. This is a phase where you have a little bit less time, a little bit less energy, and therefore in service of your ultimate big picture goal during this season, you’re going to lower the expectation. You’re going to say, instead of doing my, you know, metabolic conditioning and my strength training and my spin rides and whatever, I’m going to do 15 minutes of mobility, three times a week. That’s what success looks like for me in this season.

And even though it doesn’t seem like that’s, you know, maybe you have like a physique goal or a strength goal, even though that doesn’t seem like it’s actually in service of the strength goal, checking the box and feeling like you are successful during a low season is part of accomplishing your ultimate big picture goal.

So we don’t need to change the Why, we just change the the execution, the expectation of what you are going to do during this season. And you’re going to shift toward a maintenance mindset where you’re like the purpose of my workouts. The purpose of my movement practice right now is to keep me regular, it’s to keep me on top of a behavior on top of the habit. I’m maintaining all the progress that I’ve made. And I, and that is in itself a worthy goal. It is worthy of your time and energy just to keep the habit, because that is ultimately what creating movement practice is all about. It’s. It’s changing who you are in your, in your own brain, your idea of yourself and becoming someone who works out regularly. And so the working out regularly is the part that we want to keep the, what you’re doing not so important. So we focus on maintenance. We shift that expectation toward maintenance. And we focus on the small wins. You give yourself just as much internal affirmation, just as much pride, just as much excitement about achieving the three days of 15 minutes of mobility as you would for the 45 minutes of heavy strength work.

You give yourself that. This is like internal in your brain. You give yourself that like hormonal yummy feedback of like, yeah, I did the thing. I worked really hard. I held up my end of the bargain. I did what I said I was going to do. That’s awesome. I’m great. You don’t want to do the work and then still feel yucky about it. Right. So what’s important is that we’re not saying let’s shift the expectations. Let’s shift the execution. Let’s make it, you know, three days a week of mobility. And then when I do it, when I get up the energy and the focus and all of that to do the work I kind of shit on myself about it. I’m like, ah, it doesn’t really count though. It’s just mobility.

That’s a really surefire way to make sure that you don’t keep doing it, that you don’t stay consistent. So we don’t want to do that. We want to give ourselves all of the credit for the win. When you do show up and do your maintenance tasks. And then lastly, remember that rest is productive. I mean, I think there’s like a higher level, big picture thing that I would love for everyone to get, which is that just like not everything has to be productive. You can do things just because you enjoy them just because they feel good, just because you know, you’re your human shell, like doesn’t need to be producing all the time.

That’s thing one. But also if you’re still stuck in that, like everything has to be for a purpose, remember that rest is productive. I’ve seen it time and time and time again. That when my clients go into a month of recovery work, when they come back from a single week of de-load, they come back stronger, they come back with more energy, they achieve their goals. I’ll share a story of a client who I’ve worked with now for a year. And we have been doing progressive overload strength training.

She does her workout. She’s super consistent. She’s been going for months of progressive overload strength training, and she saw some improvement. improvement and like, yeah, I’m, I’m definitely stronger. Like I do feel like I have more muscle in some places than I did, but she was really hitting a brick wall of feeling like she was only getting bigger. You know, whether that’s muscle or fat, she just felt like all my clothes are tight I’m gaining weight. This. This, she was really frustrated. And, you know, to my mind, I’m like, I get that, that doesn’t compute. It feels like you are working really hard. I would expect to see some weight increase some, you know, muscle bulking, but I would also expect that to like taper off and to go the other direction eventually. And so, you know, we had a little bit of a heart to heart and I said let’s do a month of body weight and Pilates and recovery. And the body weight was still a lot of work, but we took the intensity way down for an entire month.

And that’s what broke it. That’s where she broke through. And she was like, I see muscle definition. I’m cutting down. I can totally see the difference. It does not make any logical sense. Even to me, like, I, you know, have lots of education in this. I work with lots of people. It didn’t seem like to me an entire month of just body weight, no weights, just like core stuff, fairly light like that.

I was concerned that that wouldn’t work, but I’m like, you’ve tried everything else. We have to at least do it. And I was pleasantly surprised as was she that that’s what it took. Rest is productive. Taking time off to like, let your stress levels come down and let your cortisol levels come down. Let your fuel. Like you’re your body’s fuel stores come back and you may be very pleasantly surprised by the difference. So I want to keep this quick and short for you today. I’m going to quickly go over once again, the things that you need to do when you see that the stuff is hitting the fan. With your workout program, you want to lead with grace. You want to make a comeback plan when you’re going to take time off, have a plan in place for when and how you’re going to start again.

Adjust your expectations in the execution of your goal. You don’t need to change your big picture goal. You can if you want, but you need to adjust expectations in how you’re working toward that goal. Knowing that. The little workout, the time off those things are ultimately in service of your big picture goal.

Give yourself the win focus on celebrating those small wins. And remember that rest and recovery are productive. That’s it for this week, have a fantastic holiday season.  

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