Ahhh the “eff-its…”
I have to think we all get a case of these sometimes. You know, the days, weeks, or months where you are so sick and tired of giving a damn about what you’re “supposed” to eat or what you’re “scheduled” to do in the gym this week. It’s enough to make you want to:
c) Punch something
e) All of the above
You ever been there? Yeah… I thought so.
The last few weeks/weekends for me had been a steady dose of (b) prompting me to want to (d).
I knew it was bad when I got home from the gym on Monday night (where I had totally ditched my training routine in favor of a lengthy warm-up and a little cardio) and I decided that cheese popcorn and dark chocolate sounded like the perfect post workout meal. So that’s what I had.
Knowing that my stress levels were through the roof I decided to treat myself with a little TLC. So right then and there I decided that I was just going to say, “Eff it!” this week and eat what I wanted and do whatever I wanted training-wise. And if that meant ice cream for breakfast and remote control curls for my training, then so be it.
(Side note: To give you an idea of my stress levels, my heart rate while standing in my bathroom getting ready two weekends ago was 112. Not kidding. As my friend Joel Jamieson promptly reminded me, “Chill out. That shit <stress> will kill you.”)
So what should you do when you’re getting a case of the “Eff-its?” Should you persevere and stay on plan? Go off plan and feel guilty as heck about it? Say, “screw it” and do whatever makes you happy, at the risk of losing progress that you’ve made? In my opinion, the answer, as it is with most questions related to nutrition and training:
Before you can decide the best course of action, you must look at WHY you have a case of the “Eff-its.” Here is a brief explanation of a few reasons why you might have come down with a case of the “Eff-its.”
1. You are over-trained/under-recovered –
This one is pretty self-explanatory. You have been working out too long and too hard without a break, and/or you have not been taking good enough care of yourself with recovery modalities to train at the level you’re training. Getting sick or feeling run down in general also falls into this category.
2. You have been on a super strict regimen (nutrition and/or training) for a long period of time –
This one is also pretty self-explanatory. I have said before that willpower is like a muscle, and the more we use it, the stronger it gets. While this is true in my experience, it also seems that for the average person, willpower will literally “run out” after exerting it at a certain level for a certain amount of time. I would imagine that everyone has a different amount of willpower they can exert before it runs out, but either way, it does seem to be finite. And keep in mind, the strictness of your regimen and the amount of time you can keep it up have an inverse relationship. The stricter you are, the less time you have before it runs out.
3. You have monumental amounts of stress in your life –
Unfortunately it seems that almost every single person I know could accurately “check this box” at any given time. We are all up to our eyeballs in stress 24/7. The question is, how do you deal with that stress? By piling MORE stress on top of it (excessive exercise, excessive drinking, excessive over-achieving?) or do you actually try and DEAL with it using recovery modalities (i.e. light walking, meditating, massage, time with loved ones?)
4. You have a special occasion coming up (wedding, vacation, birthday, etc) –
This is another reason that if you’re LOOKING for it, it will always be there. Case in point:
You: “It’s Administrative Assistant’s day! Yay! I can have that cheesecake I’ve been denying myself!”
Your Friend: “But you’re not an administrative assistant… and you don’t HAVE an administrative assistant either…”
You: “Andddd your point…? My Mom was an administrative assistant for like 2 years right when she got out of college. I am celebrating and eating this cheesecake in honor of her. Duh.”
Ummm… yeah. Just keep in mind that there are REAL reasons to celebrate, and uh, excuses to ‘celebrate.’ Know the difference.
5. You’re just busy –
Again, this is a box we could probably all accurately check at any given time in our lives. Since our “inbox will never be empty” (see what I did there? It’s called a metaphor. I’m like, really deep and smart.) we must figure out how to not let our busy lives destroy our health and our physiques in the process.
Can you relate to any or all of the scenarios above? Did I miss anything? Stay tuned for Part 2 where I discuss exactly what you should do when each of these scenarios pop up and make you wanna say, “Eff-it!”