Author | Billy Polson, Founder + Owner of DIAKADI Let me start by telling you guys a story... a crazy story... but a true one as well, based on a compilation of 'day in the life' stories I have heard from clients over the years.
Your iPhone alarm goes off at 6a and after hitting snooze 3 times, you lay in the dark checking your phone for any emails that came in since falling asleep sometime after 1am. You make your way into the kitchen and reheat a large mug of coffee in the microwave (adding in 2 packs of Equal) and sip on it as you shower and shake the groggy hang over from your daily sleeping pill.
Dressed and out of the house in 20 minutes (a second mug of reheated, artificially sweetened coffee in hand), you drive to the office, checking your phone for voicemail that came in from the European office overnight. While typing a quick note to your boss you hear a siren and see a flash of lights behind you. CHP pulls you over and gives you a TRIPLE ticket for texting while speeding at 82 mph IN THE COMMUTER LANE (oh yes...true story).
Finally walking in to work around 745a you grab your third large cup of coffee thinking to yourself, 'Equal just tastes sweeter than sugar and none of the wasted calories from a sugar packet.'
By 10a you start to get hungry realizing that you haven't eaten yet, so you run down to Peet's Coffee shop in the lobby and grab a low fat blueberry muffin and an orange juice. Luckily, your weekly work meeting is bringing in lunch for the group today. You have pre-ordered a gluten free meal, hoping for the delicious quinoa and chicken salad they offered last week. But today you get a roast beef sandwich with aioli and a single piece of lettuce on gluten free bread instead.
The meeting runs all afternoon. A plate of cookies is brought in around 3p to keep everyone sharp and energized. You sneak out for a 2 minute break around 4p to grab a quick sip of the 5 Hour Energy stored in your office desk.
You leave your office at 630p starting a quick conference call on your 'blue tooth'. No more texting or tickets for you! While talking and driving, you down a Peanut Toffee Buzz Clif bar hoping the green tea 'buzz' will give you some energy.
Walking in to DIAKADI for your 7p workout at 710p , you tell your trainer 'I am headed to my 10 year class reunion and have to lose 10 lbs in 3 weeks so I need my ass kicked tonight.'
My friend, I think your ass has been kicked all day. Trust me, I get it. My mom bought me the same 'Over-Achiever for Idiots' book when I was a 12 and I read it cover to cover, highlighted the important lines, and wrote her a book report on it titled, 'How to Find Happiness in Life'. I also totally understand that a sweaty, intense workout feels damn good. And yes, I know what a relief it is to check 'Strength Circuit Workout #3 of 7' off your long to do list for the week. And lastly YES, I know the name of my gym comes from the phrase 'Do It All, Kick Ass Doing it'. But sometimes a good ass kicking is the LAST thing we need to help us lose weight, much less become healthier.
YOU ARE NO LONGER 22
Our bodies are incredibly intricate machines filled with deeply interrelated parts and functions. Our activities, sleep, thoughts, food, emotions are all intertwined and connected to how our body performs. Selecting only one area to focus on, when you have some major issues (physically or mentally) in other areas of our life, will allow only partial success in making improvements to your health. The client above selected exercise, as most of us commonly do, as the golden key to meeting his goals. I hear it all the time:
'I have got to start jogging again because I am getting fat. Right after college I started jogging and was able to lose 15 lbs in no time.'
But, 'right after college' did you have a stressful job, a child to take care of, sleepless nights, or a mortgage and car payments? Probably not. So you are dealing with a totally different beast now. Sure you may get some results in the short term by squeezing 60 minutes of jogging in before work each day. But more than likely these short term results will be exactly that, short term, as the bigger issues or problems in your health surface and begin limiting how far you progress. Plus there are only so many hours in the day, and most of us have already maxed out those hours. I realize that looking at the big picture of your health choices, habits, emotions and body may seem daunting. But taking a broad look at your health, instead of just a band aid approach, will greatly reduce your wasted effort in the long run and will bring you towards ALL of your goals much more quickly.
THERE IS WAY MORE TO IT
Let's take a quick look at our client above and see what big issues are keeping him from reaching his goal of losing body fat. (We will just take a quick look at the obvious, considering we could talk all day about this one.)
He's getting under 6 hours of sleep each night. Here is problem number one. Numerous studies have shown that reduced sleep inhibits a body's ability to lose body fat, regardless of an individual's fitness and nutrition. (Not to mention the other issues surrounding getting less than 7-8 hours of sleep a night.)
STRESS AND CORTISOL
With his jam packed day of multi-tasking madness and over-caffeination, his cortisol levels are going to be through the roof. Consistently high levels of cortisol will not only lead to an increase in visceral/abdominal fat, but also an increase in the breakdown of muscle tissue. So even if he does lose the 10 lbs from the reunion, a lot of that weight loss would most likely be muscle loss. (In other words, no 'gun show' for the reunion!)
Wait... We have not even talked about his food yet. Skipping breakfast keeps his metabolism low and trains his body to hold on to fat for energy during the extended time he goes without eating each night through to late morning. And the barrage of processed foods he is consuming instead of fruits, vegetables, and quality meats just leaves his body drained and depleted. Basically running on fumes and stimulants.
You gotta trust me, an 'ass-kicking' 60 minute circuit workout will just dig this guy deeper in the hole in every way.
THE 6 DIAKADI ELEMENTS
So what would I recommend? I know that if I say he needs to look at all areas of his life, this poor maxed out guy will FREAK OUT! So it is important that we work together to teach him how making some small key changes and adjusting his priorities just a bit in the right areas will not only help him reach his goals but also help him find a new sense of balance and happiness in his life. No matter what goals we have, weight loss, muscle mass, functionality, longevity, or simply general health, looking at the bigger picture of our health and wellness will always be the most efficient path to truly taking positive steps towards reaching our goals. When clients come to me for fitness, performance or life coaching, there are 6 main focal points that I review in helping them achieve their optimal results. I call them the DIAKADI Elements and they include:
- Focus and Passion: What Drives and Motivates You in Life?
- Fuel: Nutrition, Food Choices and Sources
- Movement: Fitness, Exercise, and Mobility
- Restore: Energy Building Activities like Sleep, Yoga, Meditation
- Balance: Keeping Stress Levels Low and Setting Aside Time for Yourself
- Teamwork: Nourishing Your Relationships with Family and Friends
The priority for each topic and it's order of importance varies for each of us. Over the next few months we will look at each of these topics in depth. We will teach you how to grade your own current level of success with each Element. Then we will provide you with the tools to improve your results in each category and consequently improve your health and life.
YOUR FIRST HOMEWORK
Assignment 1: For now I would like you to start taking a look at the goals you currently have for yourself. Let's start with some VERY simple ideas, maybe 1-2 goals you would like to achieve within the next 6 months. These can be focused on your health and body or your lifestyle, work, or relationships. Maybe you want to fit into a certain pair of pants. Or maybe you want to try snowboarding for the first time. Or how about learning to cook healthy gluten free meals? Just make a small list of thoughts.
Assignment 2: Start taking a good look at your schedule and lifestyle. Do you consistently make time to do things you would like to do for yourself? These could be working out, cooking, reading, whatever. Anything that makes you happy. When was the last time you were truly smiling, glowing and happy? Hopefully it was recent and occurs frequently. If it has been a while and time for yourself is rare, then your homework is to take a look at your schedule and life and begin making some decisions about ways to prioritize yourself a bit more. Think creatively and outside of the box your life currently sits in. Opening up these small pockets of 15 minutes for you... or maybe even just 5 minutes for you... will make a tremendous difference in your happiness and health. Even without making any lifestyle changes.
Assignment 3: Be ready to try some new ideas. Start preparing yourself mentally to be adventurous. If what you are trying now is not taking you to where you want to be, take a different road. It may be a scary, totally different road, but nothing has to be permanent. Be brave and step out of your comfort zones. You may be shocked at what you find.
I am really excited to share some new ideas with you guys on the bigger picture of our health and wellness! It is not just about exercise and egg whites anymore! Trust me. Do your homework above and keep an eye out for upcoming blog segments focusing on the 6 DIAKADI Elements. More to come....