Instead of trying to find the perfect diet, workout, and mindset (program) to follow, create something tailored to you, advises fitness expert and author of Your Fittest Future Self.
WHAT IS MIX MAKING?
The basic concept of “mix making” is that, not only are there pros and cons to every diet, workout, and motivational program, but the pros and cons are relative to each individual. What is a “pro” for you will depend on your specific history, genetics, goals, etc. — your “pro” might be your best friend’s “con.”
Think of it this way: Your “mix” is the best components — for you — of the myriad workouts, diets, and motivational strategies available.
Each “mix maker” has to embrace that they are unique — as we all are. It is unrealistic to think that following any generic program — or even a tailored program that has worked for someone you trust — will result in long-term success for you. You are the only version of you that exists. Generic programs are just that … generic. Other people’s programs are just that … theirs.
“We are all unique” probably sounds like a “Captain Obvious” thing to say, but after over 18 years in the fitness field I can tell you that even if we intellectually understand that we are unique, most of us don’t put the knowledge into action. In my experience, too many people fall off their health horse because they continually try to use programs created for the masses. People flip from program to program rather than working to understand principles that underpin the health process.
CREATE YOUR OWN INDIVIDUALIZED MIX
1 Learn from your experiences so you can create — now — a unique mix for a fitter future you. A positive element of “mix making” is that past and present experiences are no longer something to be frustrated about; rather, they become data — information you can learn from. If an element of a diet or a type of workout absolutely didn’t work for you, don’t add that element to your mix. If you loved a particular diet or past activity add it.
2 Ask yourself questions like: When have I been the most fit? Can I replicate any of those choices? When have I been the unhealthiest? What can I do to mitigate those habits or experiences? What healthy food do I actually like? What exercise do I actually enjoy? On a motivation scale, where am I now and where do I want to be? What have I done well in the past? What strategies can I leverage? Where am I stuck? What is my limiting factor?
MIX MAKING TIPS
Find an activity you actually enjoy No one can make themselves consistently do a program they hate. Sure, you can make yourself do the “best new” diet or workout for a few weeks, but if you hate it (or it is too advanced for you) you will eventually quit and/or get injured. Adopting a healthier lifestyle requires finding something that you enjoy — or at least that you don’t hate — and something that is convenient so that you do it consistently. Consistency is key! The mediocre plan you do consistently is much better than the “best” plan you never do.
Set yourself up for success Write down two or three realistic goals. Make sure they reflect how much time and energy you actually have (not how much you wish you had), your finances, and your equipment. Make a detailed plan of action in advance. What exercise will you do? Remember, plan something you enjoy. Where will you work out? When do you want to accomplish your goal by? Break it down — how much per week? If you want to get stronger, what exactly does that mean? How will you fit in your training? What accommodations do you need to make like arranging daycare, blocking off time during your work day or downloading a fitness podcast to train in your living room?
Ditch perfectionist thinking Perfectionism is the opposite of getting sh*t done, a poison capable of eroding any goal. Too many of us buy into the mindset of “If I can’t do a perfect workout or eat a perfect diet, I might as well not even try.” Wrong, something is ALWAYS better than nothing. A 20-minute workout is better than no workout. One cookie is not the same as five cookies and wine. There will never be a “perfect” day to start…so just START!
TRY THIS EXERCISE: HOOK PLANKS (For upper body and core)
Grab two towels (or gliders). If you are working out on carpet, use paper plates. Start in a plank position on your forearms and knees or toes with one towel, glider, or plate under each forearm.
Maintain your plank as you slide one forearm forward in a “hook” motion. Use your core to keep your pelvis stable — don’t let it rock side to side. Switch arms. If you can maintain good form from your knees, make sure to do the exercise from your toes.
This original healthy living article first appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.