Skip to main content

Recommended Daily Allowance

"OMG!  I just started this new death bootcamp where you run in circles while they shoot at you with real bullets and I started their diet where you only eat spiders and kale and I lost 45 lbs of fat and am in the best shape of my life!  You've got to try this!"

Maybe this sounds familiar to you.  Not word for word of course, but we all have that friend (or have been that friend) who drastically changes something in their life and believes their new path is the one true way to good health and salvation from going up a pant size every year.  And we listen, sometimes amused, sometimes amazed, and sometimes we try it out for ourselves.

What the above quote actually translates to is usually something more like this:

"OMG!  I finally started exercising for an hour 5 days a week and started paying attention to my diet!  I didn't realize that eating crap and  not exercising would make me gain 45 lbs over the last five years and feel like a garbage can!"

But somehow, that doesn't sound as cool.

"Just do work" never sounds cool, but it works.  


As a trainer and coach, I encounter a lot of people trying to change something in their lives.  Sometimes its weight loss, sometimes its to improve quality of life, sometimes its trying out a new sport or physical challenge.  A lot of these folks come in excited and ready to do whatever it takes to make that new goal a reality.  My job starts with explaining to them exactly what that reality looks like.  And once they get started, I spend weeks and months constantly debunking every new fad or fashion they read about on the internet and want to try each week because its got to be better than this.  Its not.  There is simply no substitute for work over time.  As time passes and they make the lifestyle changes and do the work, they not only achieve their goals, but fly right past them.

So, why do individuals have such a hard time making positive changes in their lives?

Change is hard.  It requires time, patience, and hard work.  Most of all, it requires motivation.  Motivation is tricky because it can be hard to eat healthier and exercise more, especially if you'd rather eat donuts and sit on the couch (one of my hobbies).  If you currently consider your diet and/or fitness regimen to be sorely lacking, one way to approach this problem rather than joining the live ammo bootcamp and starting the kale and spiders diet is to approach this the same way we approach basic nutrition needs.  You need to figure out your Recommended Daily Allowance.

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is a concept that we mostly relate to the nutrition label on our vitamins, but its a useful concept to use in our quest for health and fitness.  Instead of trying to do it all, as hard as possible, think about what you actually need.  In other words, what is your RDA for food, sleep, exercise, and play?  And are you meeting those basic levels?

To get started, answer these questions if you can, and if you can't, find a qualified professional to help you. 

  1. Are you getting enough sleep?  (This depends on age and activity level, but 8 hours a night is a good place to start. ) 
  2. Are you getting the proper balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates?  (If you don't know, start tracking.)
  3. Are you eating a diet rich in vitamins and minerals, fresh fruits and vegetables?
  4. Are you finding ways to reduce stress and get along with your family and coworkers?  
  5. Are you receiving regular medical care?  When was your last physical?
  6. Are you getting enough exercise?  Strength training as well as cardiovascular exercise is necessary for everyone, especially as we age, but it doesn't have to be complicated or require a lot of equipment.

If you answer no to any of these questions, how much change is necessary to start heading in the right direction?  It might require a 6 days a week bootcamp and a strict diet, but why go there if it only requires adding in a daily walk and eating more protein?  Small changes over time are easier to maintain than big sudden changes.  More importantly, maintaining those changes over time is what results in long-term success. 

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to address these issues on a more in depth and detailed basis with some actual practical advice.  Stay tuned!  

“Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence.” ― Ovid





Popular posts from this blog

Next Level

So, there are those of us who work out regularly to look and feel better and improve our general health.  There are those of us who just like to lead active lives and enjoy nature and the occasional physical activity.  And then there are those of us who like to challenge themselves to push past our perceived physical limitations and see how far down the rabbit hole we can go.  While this last one is certainly an admirable pursuit, as are the other two, I must say it is the one I most commonly see go sideways.

If you are contemplating taking things to the next level with your training, you must first sit down and realistically assess what you are about to take on.  Next level training is not just about pushing yourself in the gym, but also managing your personal life, your recovery, and your expectations.  It also means knowing when to go low and slow and when to go hard.  The most common mistake a lot of people make is that they think next level means going harder all the time.  But,…

Let's Talk About Context . . .

Powerlifters shouldn't do cardio.Long distance runners should avoid heavy lifting.All explosive athletes should be doing plyometrics, snatches, and cleans.To get fit in all areas of fitness, you should train by doing everything.

Most of us know that the above statements are bombastic nonsense.  However, depending on where you are in the training cycle they can be partly true (which is why a lot of people believe them).  But, for the most part, as general statements about these activities as a whole, they are overwhelmingly false.

I encourage my powerlifters to do cardio.  It increases their work capacity during training sessions and helps recovery, not to mention general health.  How much and how often?  Well, its generally not a lot unless they have a concurrent endurance training goal (which we know will mean they will need a lot more time and managed expectations).  Go for a short jog, a walk, or a bike ride a few times a week, don't sit all day, and don't eat like you&…

The Highland Games

Last summer, I became intrigued by the idea of learning how to throw heavy things.  As a weightlifting coach with unfortunate limb ratios for competitive weightlifting and a few friends who compete in Highland Games (and blather on incessantly about how awesome it is), I was excited to see if throwing might be a good outlet for my training.  I'm relatively strong, can produce a good amount of power, and have long limbs.  However, I am also relatively small compared to most throwers and therefore do not have a mass advantage.  That leaves me with mostly strength and technique as my assets.  Not yet knowing how to throw and not having a coach other than you-tube was going to make the technique part a bit of a challenge.

I didn't really intend to compete in the Highland Games, just use the throws to keep my training fun and set some backyard PRs, but then a friend of mine in Texas decided to host a Highlander.  A Highlander is a hybrid Highland Games and Strongman competition a…