Can I let you in on a little secret?
You’re not a superhero!
Even the people who you may see as superheroes (professional athletes, successful entrepreneurs, etc.) aren’t superheroes. “Superheroes” are a product of the habits, rituals and routines they have developed through years of practice and application.
We all have busy brains and the same amount of time to succeed…
In fact, on average, every waking hour a new thought pops into your head every 15 seconds!
Your brain is a busy place, and the busier it gets, the less likely you are to succeed.
In fact, there’s only a 10% chance you will even finish this article in its entirety…even though, you may want to read it.
Studies on willpower and multitasking prove you’re not a superhero.
You can’t do it all.
It’s true. One study was done in which participants were asked to either memorize a two-digit number or a seven-digit number. Then they were told to walk down the hall, where they were presented with two different snack options: a slice of chocolate cake or a bowl of fruit salad.
The students with seven digits to remember were nearly twice as likely to choose the cake as students given two digits.
Their brains were too busy to utilize willpower. In other words, willpower is so weak, and the prefrontal cortex is so overtaxed, that all it takes is five extra bits of information before the brain starts to fail you.
It’s OK. Once you know you aren’t a superhero, and you can’t simply white-knuckle everything in your life you can begin to implement some tiny habits which flow with YOUR DNA and will make you a badass over time.
Tiny Fitness Habit #1: EASY Meal Prep
Sunday meal prep is a must and a staple for those who are serious about their diets.
But it sucks!!!
Who has the time to spend 4+ hours prepping meals for the week?
It’s pretty crazy.
But as someone who doesn’t enjoy cooking and who would rather spend as much of my weekend with my wife and kids as opposed to meal prep, I need something easy.
[Enter the crockpot]
What a great invention, right?
So easy, and so awesome.
As I said, I’m no cook, and I don’t like cooking. My wife is an awesome cook, but I wouldn’t ask her to meal prep everything on Sunday *see the love of family time above*.
Rather, let me share with you one of my favorite crockpot recipes:
Cinnamon-Infused Short Ribs
- 4 lb. short ribs
- 7 c. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
- 2 yellow onions, diced
- 3 c. tomatoes, diced
- 10 cloves fresh garlic, smashed
- 1 6-oz. can tomato paste
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 4 bay leaves
- ¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Combine squash, onion, tomato, garlic, olive, cinnamon and tomato paste in large bowl. Toss until well mixed.
- Season meat liberally with kosher salt and black pepper.
- Layer vegetable mixture and meat into slow cooker.
- Gently tuck bay leaves into the slow cooker along the sides.
- Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
- Remove bay leaves and cinnamon.
- Serve immediately or portion out and store in the fridge for up to one week or in the deep freeze for up to six months.
Here’s a PDF printout of the recipe
And here’s a YouTube video tutorial:
I love this recipe!
Prep time is minimal, then you just let it cook. Once it’s finished, store it in some air tight containers and BOOM! Meals for the week.
Too, easy right?
If you want to train optimally, you need to fuel optimally.
Now, let’s get to the training!
Tiny Fitness Habit #2: Week on a Whiteboard
This one is as simple as it sounds.
On Sunday night, I put the entire week’s worth of training on my whiteboard, and it’s AWESOME!
It completely takes my brain out of training when it’s time to train, which is a good thing. It leaves mental energy for the training.
The last thing you want is an internal battle with yourself when it is time to train…
- “What workout will I do…?”
- “Where should I pull today’s workout from…?”
- “Will this interfere with yesterday’s training…?”
You’ll waste valuable time and mental energy. And you overtax your prefrontal cortex (like we talked about at the beginning of this article) and lose your willpower to train that day entirely.
That’s the worst.
Planning your week’s worth of training has other perks too. Not only does it make you 100% prepared for the week, it’s a good way to hold yourself accountable if you don’t have an accountability partner.
When I write it on my whiteboard on Sunday, it becomes LAW for that week.
There is no erasing, skipping, etc.
As a coach and programmer, I know what I need to be doing each week, so the only way I won’t do it is if…
- I don’t have it planned, or…
- I don’t feel like doing ‘XYZ’ on that particular day…
Putting my week on a whiteboard holds me accountable to myself, prepares me for the week and helps me make huge gains in the long run.
But this next little habit has increased my training by 200%!
Tiny Fitness Habit #3: Workout Go Bag
I’ve been trying to sneak a picture of my underwear into Eo3 since 2011, and here’s my chance!
Kidding. This is serious 🙂
I workout early. I wake up between 4:20am and 4:30am to train. My workout times have always fluctuated. I did evenings for a long time, mornings for awhile, then I did afternoons, and now I am back to early mornings.
It wasn’t easy to start working out that early, but this tiny habit alone probably tripled my chance of getting out of bed and getting under the barbell.
It’s pretty simple.
Instead of putting socks in the sock drawer, underwear in the underwear drawer, and workout clothes in the whatever drawer; I just roll them all together. Each roll consists of a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, pair of socks and a pair of compression underwear.
Say I’m training 5 days this week, I’d put 5 of these rolls all in my garage along with my training shoes.
I’ll even go a step further and put a couple of bottles of water in my garage too.
This coupled with already knowing my workouts for the week completely takes my brain out of the entire training week:
- I wake up…
- Take a very short walk to my garage…
- Put on the clothes I have already laid out…
- Perform the workout I’ve already planned…
- And even drink the water I’ve planted in my garage…
Making any sort of excuse with all of this simple pre-planning is near impossible.
For some reason, for me, if I had to think about *quietly* gathering my workout gear (baby sleeping in the house) and getting water, I would talk myself out of getting out of bed at all. I know it sounds silly….
But I skipped two workouts simply because my brain was taxed, and I made the worst decision…to do nothing, so I instituted this new habit a few months ago. Rather than fight my brain I’ve worked the system.
I also still hit a cold contrast shower at the end of every training session, but I’ve already written about that here.
So, what habits do you have?
I’d love to hear them! Add it to the comments!
Heart and Mind in Conflict: The Interplay of Affect and Cognition in Consumer Decision Making, Klinger, Eric. “Modes of Normal Conscious Flow” in K.S. Pope & J.L Singer (Eds.): The Stream of Consciousness: Scientific Investigations into the Flow of Human Experience.