We move faster than ever before from day to day. We demand a lot of ourselves in many facets of our lives. We cannot maintain a high intensity in these all of the time. We need to strategically think about when we are going to maintain, surge, and step back. I have noticed this with my clients over the last 13 years. They either want to go super hard or they want to just take a break. They find no middle ground, which is where we should be living the majority of the time. So, I developed what I call the 9/2/1 rule. This can be used in all areas of life, but I will relate it to nutrition and exercise here.
9 – Baseline
This is where you will be living for the majority of the year. For 9-months, you will strive to move a little bit each day, get a few hard workouts in, and eat well 80-90% of the time. You make good progress and don’t go backwards. You continue to see changes in your energy, mind, body, and physical fitness. Not huge leaps and bounds, but just enough. You can fit this routine into your daily habits without too much difficulty. This is where you really succeed.
There are times in your life where you will need to “surge”. I heard this term from a friend of mine and it made total sense. For this 2-month period, you will prioritize your fitness and nutrition. It will be one of, if not the main focus in your life. You will have to sacrifice some other things in your life to get there. Parties, time with friends, some work related things, household projects, and many other things might have to take a backseat for a while. This is the time to go at it hard and never look back. For some, 2-months may be too long to keep up a high intensity. If you need to, you can reduce it to 4-6 weeks. It just depends on the person. Regardless, you only have a certain amount of time that you can go hard before you burn out, crash, and maybe even go backwards. Proceed with caution.
1- Step back
If you put in the work up front, you will earn a well-deserved vacation. You don’t have to use this month all at once. You could use it in chunks. Most people will find it beneficial to use it on a real week long vacation, holiday parties, and during times that you are working hard on other areas of your life. Preparing for a big project at work, getting ready for your son or daughter’s graduation party, or caring for a loved one, just to name a few. Now, this does not mean that you need to go totally off the wagon. This is just a time to step back and enjoy life. Take a break from the hard work and push the reset button. After you take the needed time off, it’s time to go back to your baseline.