I’ve been asked dozens of times about my training plans for this year, what I’m eating, how I’m training, and so on.
I’m taking this year as it comes but as of this moment, I have no plans to compete in 2015. I want to focus on other parts of my life. I’m in the second last year of my law degree and will focus on that, and work. I’m in the middle of doing my personal training qualifications and will, once I am finished, take on clients and begin to work in the fitness industry. I want to blog more and learn more, attend expos and seminars, travel and so on.
As for my training, I’m currently training for the love of it. I’m training because I WANT to, not because I have to have a certain level of conditioning for a certain date. I’m designing my own training programs and loving them. I go swimming because I want to, I run because I want to and I lift because I want to. Competing is draining and puts a lot of pressure on you which can often cause your love of training to diminish. But the fire is back and I’m enjoying every session I do.
I’m currently eating with a focus on my health -you could say that I’m taking a more holistic approach to my nutrition at the moment. I’m tracking my macros a few times a week to ensure I’m eating enough but I’m not counting every day. Why? I love flexible dieting and will always be an advocate for it. Counting macros has a purpose and it is important to be aware of your macronutrients and micronutrients. Flexible dieting can address a whole variety of issues that someone may have, physically and psychologically, and – more importantly – it can teach you a lot about the food you eat and what that food consists of.
But, in all honesty, after two years of competing and tracking, I’m exhausted. I’ve spent enough time counting macros to be able to eat intuitively and am able to estimate relatively well (and if I can’t estimate, I can always look it up or track it). Plus, I’m a creature of habit and have similar meals for my breakfast, lunch and snacks every day. As I said before, I still track every now and then to make sure I’m not under-eating, but I don’t want to weigh my food, portion it out, log it in MFP, change things around, etc. every single day.
This is my year of searching for a sustainable, lifelong approach. And I don’t see myself tracking every single thing I eat for the rest of my life. If I decide to compete again, I’ll go back to tracking for a period before I start my prep. But for now, I am focusing on my health and fitness in a different way.
People might call me lazy, they might say that I’m not “strong” enough to do flexible dieting, they might argue that tracking every day doesn’t take that much time, they might think I’m making a big issue out of what they perceive is a non-existent one. But I’ve been at that point where I spent more of my mealtime tracking my food than conversing with my loved ones. I’ve suffered anxiety because something didn’t fit or if I couldn’t meet my macros for the day. I’ve spent so much time obsessing over what I eat that I lost sight of the big picture. Sure, tracking is something that may be required for competition prep but if I’m not prepping then I don’t want to put myself through the effects that certain things have on me. So this year, I’m taking it back to the basics.
If tracking every day works for you, I respect you. If eating only unprocessed foods works for you, I respect you. No matter if you choose to eat paleo, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, vegetarian or whatever method of eating you like best, I respect you.
And although respecting you doesn’t automatically mean that I understand you or why you choose to do the things that you do, I know that everybody is unique and different approaches to eating work for different people. So, at the present moment, I’m tracking a few times per week, eating intuitively for the rest and training by doing things that make me happy and bring out my passion for health and fitness. I’m just enjoying myself without limitations created by goals of competing or looking a certain way.
To each their own, but this is where I stand and the approach I feel is best for my long-term physical and psychological health.