By: Adam J
There is a ton of stuff you can read out there on the interwebs about nutrition, exercise, and the like. Bc 2013, I logged how many fitness-related articles I had read during a week. To my astonishment, I was spending anywhere between 7 to 10 hours a week reading 30 to 40 articles. 10 hours OF MY LIFE. And I am not a health and fitness professional.
The data overload is what caused me to seek out help for an addiction that had overwhelmed my personal life; I needed someone to help me focus on healthy goals and to challenge me to be a better human.
Enter Eat to Perform.
For the past year or so now, I’ve been working with Eat to Perform on becoming healthier in my mind, body, and spirit, while also prepping for my first power lifting competition this upcoming April. Here are five things I’ve taken away thus far. Please understand that there are many, many more lessons learned, but I have found these to be reoccurring as I think about my journey.
#1. The Process is the Outcome.
This sounds like the kid in “the Matrix,” right? “There is no spoon.” Not to get too philosophical on ya’ll, but I had to get my head wrapped around the idea that even if I did hit my weight, strength, and other goals, my personality was such that I would just start looking for the next challenge. Eat to Perform got me to focus on micro-goals, and in that I become more intentional with the process on a macro level. Basically, I realized that a single day of pushing myself to the limits and not fueling myself properly wouldn’t get me where I wanted to be. I reframed my goals—I decided that being able to lift and exercise as I age is more important than having a six pack (still important, but not #1. Maybe like #60).
There is a tendency to skip progress in favor of some sort of single act, or day of training, or macronutrient. When you see the videos of PRs, someone rocking a WOD, the before and after pictures, or doing a deadlift ladder and then a 5k, you don’t see all the whole path—the consistency in and out of the gym, the meal prepping, the foam rolling, stretching, and programming. Every step of that process-and the mental and physical fortitude it takes-makes it worth it. Not just the end result.
Refocusing myself on the process itself navigated me away from injuries, and got me to understand recovery in a way that I never could without Eat to Perform’s help. Giving myself up to a coach, humbling myself to seek guidance and expertise from scientists (YES. A FREAKING SCIENTIST), and stopping my search for the silver bullet (no more 10 hours of article reading), gave me more time to focus on the other important things in life—sleep, community, family, etc.
Had I just “arrived” at those outcomes without the process, wouldn’t that be boring as hell?
#2. Your coach is a partner.
I wanted a teammate in a coach, and found that in Eat to Perform. I wanted to learn and be challenged, but also wanted to challenge him. I think if you asked him in an honest moment, he would call me a contrarian, but I constantly wanted him to push me. So I asked questions. Lots of questions. I wanted to know why we went to certain places, why my macros (for example) went up and down, etc. Eventually, I learned to surrender to the process (see #1, above), the learning that came with it, and to my coach as a partner.
Basically, the head coaches at Eat to Perform knows more me about this topic, so I gave up to that. However, I won’t stop asking questions.
#3. Athletes eat and train.
Words matter. Seriously. I was talking a lot in the early days of my training about going to exercise. Or dieting. I was on a diet.
I switched that language during the ETP process—I was trying to be an athlete (competing in powerlifting competitions), so I needed to fuel my performance.
I mean the name of the biz is “Eat to Perform,” right?
ETP taught me that your words should be specific to your goals and your identity. There is nothing wrong with being on a diet, and using those words, but just make sure it aligns with your goals. The fitness and nutrition world, unless you are harming others or yourself, should be judgment free zone.
For me, and my goals, diet is a swear word.
I connected with a community in ETP. Previously, I would go to the gym, do my meal planning, do my programming all alone. ETP pushed me to make connections outside of my arms length. I found friends in the online forum that I could ask questions of, and those who asked me questions. I realized I had something to give, myself—I had learned enough to give back (maybe that is the true intent of this article…or maybe not). So I committed myself to making those connections and trying to be genuine in that space.
Also, I started making my goals more social. I posted pictures of myself in the gym. I also took pictures of my body/transition and sent them to my coach. In this vulnerability, I found power in the surrender. I still am never going to lift up my shirt to reveal my chest, but there was freedom in seeking help from others who were in trenches with me.
#5. Be proud.
As I bring this all together, ETP has been a challenge—its tested my mind and spirit, and pushed me to sharpen myself in all aspects of my life. Modifying some of my behaviors has given me freedom to be more present with my partner, to train with more intent, and to be proud of myself. My ETP coach cheered me along the way, but also offered an objective voice to challenge me and to lift me up to a place where I could have not gone alone. This is one of the most valuable things ETP has to offer: genuine, personalized support, paired with a high level of expertise.
They continue to push and challenge, and have made me proud of what I have become and where I am going.