We’ve all been there. Fallen into the trap of coming to expect things in a time frame. But it doesn’t always come out the way we sometimes planned, largely because we’re all victims to that little thing called real life.

Real life creeps in everywhere, it comes in all shapes, all sizes and different guises, but with one goal in mind and that’s to railroad your efforts with regards to your training plan. This inevitably means things will slip a little for you because, sh*t rolls down hill and naturally, you’re slightly lower down the order than your training and nutrition goals. You’re lower down than your kids after school classes, you’re lower down than your friend and family occasions that you feel obliged to attend. You’re below all of that because you’re the doughnut at the bottom trying to take it all on, and hold the rest up and be part of every single thing. This though, doesn’t seem to ever have any impact on any level of expectation an individual might have. All of the above, when the smoke has blown away, and the mirrors have been removed leads to one fundamental point. Missed sessions. Less activity. Lower calorie expenditure. Whichever way you want to dress it up, failure is all around us just in disguise.

We’ve touched on this in our Blueprint yellow book about spotting the saboteur, and for some it is understandable, but less so for others.

There’s an element of what’s good for the mind, is good for the body. And fair enough, it’s absolutely right but you can have too much of a good thing. How long can you go before that little steam blower drinking session becomes a hinderance to something else that would be good for the mind, like your training goals?  Or, in real life terms how long can you keep boozing before the lightbulb comes on and you’re three weeks out from your holiday you wanted to get in shape for 6 months ago?

How long can you put off training because it was good for the mind at the time to lay in and take it easy, before those pace goals or weight goals become unachievable?

If you start missing out on one end, you’ll almost certainly miss out on the other end. If you don’t put in the time and effort, you don’t get to achieve your goal.

Naturally there are some things we’re good at, and some things we’re not so good at. There are elements in training we can achieve easily over other elements. For some its nutrition, for some its session attendance but it can be equally challenging for one to overcome their barriers whether it is training, nutrition or even motivation to attend.

Managing expectations with other things in our life seem so much easier. Neck some wine, get drunk. Eat loads of food, feel podged and can’t move for hours, do lots of exercise, feel really tired, we know that those outcomes will be a direct result of our actions, and become to expect that to happen so why do we constantly try to justify actions that sabotage our efforts, and expect them not to?

Now, we get this all the time as trainers and that’s that it must be really easy for us because we do it for work but the reality is we’d probably like to binge drink, eat, and chill sometimes just as next as the next person but we understand a few things on other levels, such as the impact long and short term our actions have, and also what our bodies need to be healthy and run safe and well.

Admittedly people we come to work with have had a lifelong yoyo with the barriers whether it be food, drink, motivation or a combination of all three. Could it be that we have expectations based on the actions of others? Are we just misjudging our place within a timeframe along our journey? Are we judging our abilities so poorly that we’re simply not achieving what we think we should be? Are our own expectations, or the thoughts of what other people expect us to achieve the main thing that actually hold us back? The irony is we ourselves, are the only ones who’ll ever truly know that answer.

Honesty is the best policy. Honesty will allow a degree of realism, which will help with accurate and realistic management with expectations. How would I expect to do a 10 hour IRONMAN if I’m spending 16 hours a week in the pub, and 10 hours a week splitting training between swim, cycle and run sessions. How can I expect to become healthier, and feel fitter when more than half of my time in a week is spent in a sedentary state, and half of my staple meals aren’t healthy? The penny drop, kick in the plumbs moment is… I can’t… Based on the information laid out above, the hours spent doing the wrong things and foods being consumed in the wrong amounts how can one expect to achieve the end goal, that hinges on good habits being formed in the place of old habits, a good level of consistency, and a little bit of discipline?

With all that said having consistency in training can be a minefield. We can be sometimes blinkered with our approach, and with the trends in society these days, it literally is all or nothing. If you’re not training for something, you’re training for nothing… If you’re training for nothing you’re reluctant to nail your diet because nothing hinges on it, and if you’re not eating right you’ll not rest right you’re not going to be fuelled right, your hormones won’t regulate properly and you’ll feel down, sluggish, slow and ill motivated to re-start your training or actually achieve what you initially wanted to in the first place.

We’ve had people in the past who’ve taken out expectations in their training because they’ve accepted little and often is the best way forward. They’ve admitted they’re fed up of being fed up. The bulb has finally lit and they want to achieve this for themselves. Forget the weight loss, forget the size you want to get into in the first instance. If you’re sedentary, eating poor quality foods and feeling down about where you’re at the first port of call is to commit to taking on a little more exercise. Look at your diary and establish times where you’re more likely to take that on. If you’re not a morning person is it realistic to think you’ll beat the morning rush and crush your exercise? Probably not. If you’re a get home from work and chill kinda person, is an evening session going to be your golden ticket? Probably not. You know you, better than anyone ever probably has, or will so don’t be scared of using that knowledge to push you on to new heights. Stop chasing that ‘ideal workout plan’ unless you have a lifestyle that allows it. Start working manageable things in, around what you have and remember… There is a high chance that something in what you’re already doing, will have to give way to something you want to do. You have to give up what you want right now, for what you want most and that ‘what’ is obviously different for everyone, but the fact remains the same.

Stop putting things off, start slowly with manageable bits with nutrition and training. Build your healthy lifestyle powerhouse from the foundations, upwards. Don’t expect to just turn up and throw the last couple of tiles on the roof!