Hola my friends! So earlier this week I wrote a blog post about having a terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad case of the “Eff-its.” You can check it out here.
You know the “Eff-its…” When you don’t feel like doing anything you’re “supposed” to do.
It can happen in any area of your life, but it happens to me most consistently in the nutrition/training arena. In fact, I was hoping to have this post, Part 2, done by Wednesday of this week… but I didn’t. Know why? Because of the Eff-its. You know what else? I had a cherry Popsicle for breakfast Tuesday morning. And by breakfast I mean it was my first meal of the day. At 3:40 pm. And it was delicious.
So yeah, I have been personally battling the “Eff-its” for a couple of weeks now. I’ve had the “holy trinity” of stress in my life: family, work, and personal stuff, and it’s been enough to just about push me over the edge.
So what did I do about it?
Well, at the beginning of last week I decided that I would simply eat what I wanted, when I wanted, and I would go to the gym if I felt like it, and do what I wanted when I got there. This was a pretty “safe” decision for me, because even when I am doing ‘what I want’ I still follow a decent lifestyle. I would say my food was about 50:50 junk:good food last week, and if anything, I under-ate a bit (which is unusual for me!). And while I didn’t lift at all last week, I did manage to do my foam rolling, breathing, and some cardio several days last week. So all in all, it wasn’t a horrible week. In fact, it doesn’t seem like I did much damage to my physique at all, if any.
As you can see, it doesn’t look like my time off did much damage to my physique, and when I get back on track, I’ll be more motivated than ever to follow my program!
So what should YOU do when you have the “Eff-its?” Is it OK to do whatever you want and not care about your nutrition, and skip the gym?
In part 1 of this blog post I discussed several reasons we tend to get the “Eff-its” in the first place, and in my opinion, they require different remedies/fixes. Check them out below for tips on how to deal with the “Eff-its” in the least stressful, and yet most productive, way (they are listed in descending order of my personal preference).
If you: are over-trained/under-recovered
Then you should:
- Take some time off. A week is usually sufficient in this case to get you back to normal. Just make sure you are eating enough and getting as much sleep as possible to ensure you start feeling better ASAP. The best part is, after a week off, you are usually chomping at the bit to get back!
- DELOAD! If you are preparing for something specific and you can’t possibly take an entire week off from training, then try taking a deload week. I explain all about deload weeks here.
If you: have been on a super strict regimen (nutrition and/or training) for a long period of time
Then you should:
- Examine your goals to determine if you need a break. If you are on this program short-term, and the end is in sight (within a few weeks), you may be able to push through and be just fine. If you are on this program short-term, but you still have a long way to go (4+ weeks), you may need a little break (2-5 days) to breathe and recharge before you dive back in to following such a hardcore program.
- Program regular breaks. If this is a long-term program that you’re on, you probably need to program in regular breaks for yourself for your psychological and physiological well-being. Often times this can ward off the “Eff-its” before they rear their ugly head.
If you: have monumental amounts of stress in your life
Then you should:
- Take some time off. If you determine that the monumental amounts of stress are a short-term issue, then take the time off and don’t sweat it. If it’s a long-term issue, you need to do something about it and…
- Find a way to de-stress. There will probably never be a point in your life when you don’t have stress. So if every time you get stressed, you want to say “Eff-it” to your nutrition and training program, you probably won’t be very happy with your results. Find things outside of food and excessive exercise that de-stresses you. Take a walk, read a book, take a bubble bath… whatever. Just try and relax and possibly try to figure out how to remove some of the stress from your life. Sources of stress can be: toxic friends or family members, horrible bosses, self-imposed expectations, always saying “yes” to everything…the list goes on and on. (Also see: Tip #2 in the “being very busy” section).
If you: have a special occasion coming up (wedding, vacation, birthday, etc.)
Then you should:
- Eff-It. Enjoy yourself and do what you want. My fabulous friend Neghar wrote an amazing blog post called Life is a Special Occasion, and it’s fabulous. Life is too short not to enjoy yourself on vacation, on your birthday, and on other special occasions. If you follow a sounds nutrition plan 80-90% of the time, indulging on special occasions won’t hurt you a bit.
- Plan ahead. This is one of the BEST ways to have the “Eff-its.” You plan for them! That way it can give you something to look forward to and gives you incentive to make sure that you make good choices during the week. Plenty of my clients choose a couple of times per week that they are going to indulge and they make the most of it. Whether it’s a tailgating party, date night with their spouse, or a delicious home cooked meal, they know ahead of time that they aren’t going to worry about anything that day, and it feels great!
If you: are just plain busy
Then you should:
- Figure out if this “busy” is short-term or long-term. If it’s short-term, take the time off, and make sure that a week doesn’t turn into a month. Because it will. Very quickly. In order to do this, actually pencil in your grocery shopping, cooking, and training into your schedule for the following week and treat it like any other appointment because it’s that important not to spiral off course for too long. Your “time off” should leave you feeling renewed and refreshed and excited about being back on a plan. Not leave you feeling horrible, and guilty, and wondering how you’ll ever get back on track.
- Map out goals and an appropriate schedule. If you are going to be very busy for a long time, (i.e. grad school, new job, new baby, etc.) it’s vital that you sit down and map out exactly what you have time for, and plan your goals and your schedule accordingly. I think I remember reading something John Berardi said about his nutrition and training when he was getting his PhD. His goal? To maintain his current strength and physique level. Basically, his goal was not to get worse. And you know what? Sometimes, that’s a perfectly wonderful (and even lofty) goal. If you can only get in the gym 1-2 days a week, that might just have to be your goal, and there is nothing wrong with that. You are setting yourself up for success instead of failure, and that’s awesome.
So… what do you think? Did I hit the nail on the head? Or miss the mark? Do you get the Eff-its for any other reason? What strategies do you use to deal with them? Let me know below!