My secret to achieving PBs (personal bests) – Part 1
If you’ve been following me on Instagram for a while, you will know that I am a big believer in habits, especially improving by 1% every day.
At the beginning of my health and fitness journey, one of the biggest mistakes I made was trying to make ALL the changes at once: super strict diet/ training 6 days a week/ cardio/ zero stress management/ sleep when you need to/ taking all the supplements and so on.
That was a MASSIVE mistake. When you have that all-or-nothing mindset, that’s what you get: all or nothing. This is something I really focus on with my girls in the DOMINATEYOURLIFE course – as the whole point of the course is to equip you with the skills to manage your health and fitness for the rest of your life, and not just during the 10 weeks (this is the problem with all the other ‘challenges’ out there)
Now I am by no means a professional athlete, nor am I not planning on competing in bodybuilding, but this that was the ‘only way’ I was taught I would achieve my goals.
Flexibility is key, and focusing on a few, manageable habits at a time is going to get you the results you want – I promise. Learning to work around life and its curveballs is what makes you unstoppable in and outside of the gym.
It’s been 11 years since I started my health and fitness journey, and while I went around in circles for a bit, these are the key habits you need to do CONSISTENTLY before you try any of the next ones I am going to mention (that have been helping me get stronger in the gym)
The Majors: Basic Habits to nail at least 75-90% of the time for at least 3-6 months:
• Consistent sleep: minimum 7 hours a night, every night.
• Weigh & track all your food and drinks
• Drink enough liquids to stay hydrated
• Commit to a certain amount of training days and keep it consistent.
• Eat enough protein (most people struggle with this, especially in the beginning)
• Eat enough fibre (at least 25-30g per day)
• Stay active during the day: an hour in the gym is only 4% of your day
• Actively manage your stress: find something that works for you (for me it’s journaling)
So, it looks like a lot, but these are the majors in your health and fitness journey. If you can’t nail these most of the time, don’t expect to achieve your goals, and honestly don’t bother with anything on the next list.
Now, the 1 percenters that I focus on day in and day out now that I have mastered the majors: (the ‘minors’, but over time they add up together as majors)
1. Sleep! I don’t always get enough or as much as I want, but it’s definitely my #1 priority – I make sure I go to bed around the same time every night (9 pm) – even on weekends. I stop using my phone an hour before bed, and I aim to eat around 2 hours before bed to give my food time to digest a bit.
2. Eat enough food. Food is fuel, and you cannot expect to perform consistently if you are always in a calorie deficit. I weigh and track 99.9% of what I eat and drink.
3. Hitting my protein, carb, and fat macro goals every single day.
4. Pre & post-workout nutrition: see my first blog post (https://www.dom-smith.co/blog/when-it-comes-to-training-nutrition-is-king) where I go into detail. But I always used to train fasted (because I train early and I’m not hungry), but I push my body so hard that it makes such a difference if I have some fuel in my body. Most days it’s 2 rice cakes with peanut butter and honey. Some days I have a strawberry PWM energy bar. Post-training is always whey with dextrose. The higher carbs around my training have made a big difference in my recovery.
5. Eat the rainbow: while macronutrients are important, so are the micronutrients.
6. Walking: this is something I really don’t do enough of, mostly because I don’t just want to walk in the street alone (safety) and go to the park with my husband. But when I do get to walk, I find it helps clear my head, and being outside in general just makes me feel better.
7. Limit alcohol: I am not a big drinker, mainly because I get the WORST hangovers, also because it’s kak expensive, and lastly, because it’s poison to your body. So again, you cannot expect to perform well if this is something that is regularly in your system.
Seems basic right? But the basics work for a reason. Especially if you are doing them consistently. I am far from perfect, but I always aim for at least 80%, and these are just the things I have been focusing on during the last few months (after nailing the majors for years) and they seem to be working. Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint.