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There are points in your health and fitness journey when you have to make a decision, keep going, quit, or pivot. How you approach these decision points can make all the difference.
Today I want to talk about the art of quitting. Now, I know that sounds kind of odd to be talking about quitting when we're talking about health and fitness, because we as a people, particularly in the United States, we really appreciate perseverance. We appreciate those people, those stories where people have gone above and beyond and accomplished things way beyond the realm of what's possible or seemed possible at the beginning, like the movie Rudy or the book Rudy or the story of Rudy who tried to get on to and play for Notre Dame and actually did get on the field during a football game with the team through Perseverance.
And we love that story. There's also the children's book The Little Engine that Could by Waddy Piper. And again, it's a story about Perseverance and going at it and having the right attitude and sticking with it until you get something that seemed impossible done. We love those stories. But there are also stories that kind of push back the other way, like in Greek mythology, with Cispus pushing that rock up the Hill that's invariably going to roll down the Hill again. So no matter how much Perseverance that he puts into that effort, he's going to end up right back where he started.
Or we're watching Rocky four, and Apollo is fighting Drago in an exhibition match, and Rocky knows the next punch is going to basically kill his friend, but he doesn't throw the towel in. And a lot of people were upset about that in the movie. I was upset about it watching the movie. It was a very emotional point in that movie. And in a sense, we fought Rocky for not quitting, not throwing in the towel. And we know that that was because Apollo wanted to continue the fight all the way through to the end, and it ended up costing him his life.
And so there's these stories that we have about Perseverance and then about quitting. And they both have a place, particularly when we're talking about health and fitness. So I want to talk today about some times when quitting is actually the right answer that you're better off quitting something than sticking with it. Okay.
Sometimes when you quit, it just opens up opportunities and we're going to talk all the way through this as you look at how quitting might actually help you get to the results you want faster. So for this discussion, we're going to talk about big things. We're not going to be talking about quitting little things like quitting sugar, quitting this or quitting that. Obviously, you know, there's challenges and structure and things and strategies and tactics and things you're going to implement that will work and not work. And some of those strategies and tactics you just throw away because they're obviously not working.
But we're going to talk about some big things in the health, fitness and joy categories because in reality, this is literally life and death. Now, maybe not right now but some of the decisions you're making are going to decide which side of the aging curve you're actually on as you go forward in life. So we're going to talk about is the five key health and fitness drivers, the five key health and fitness drivers. And those are nutrition, which includes hydration, sleep, stress management, fitness and avoiding toxicity.
And that can be chemical, biological, or emotional. So we have those five key health drivers, and today we're going to go through those five key health drivers and look at some scenarios where it might make sense to not stick. It might make sense to quit. Okay, now, here's the other caveat as we get into this discussion, because I'm going to be throwing out some examples. And I want you to understand that sometimes the decision that you need to make is different than the decision I might need to make.
So as we go through this discussion, I'm going to go back and forth a little bit on that so you can kind of get a flavor for how to do this analysis, if you will.
So first, I want to talk about a few reasons why you should probably stick to what you're doing. If your strategy is sound and you just need more time. So everything's working, it's generally working, and you just need to give it more time for you to see the results that you want to see
That's probably a good reason to stick if it's working, but not as fast as you want it. Now, what there might be instead of quitting is just alternatives that you can add on to make it better. And we'll talk a little bit about that. And then another reason to stick is there really isn't another alternative. This is really the only way that's available to you based on who you are, what's going on in your life or anything else. We'll get into that as well. But what are the reasons that we should quit?
If the thing you're doing isn't serving you, you should quit and try to find another way. If you know, in your heart of hearts that there actually is a better way. You were just trying this as an opportunity and it's not working for you, and this other way would be quicker and easier. It's probably time to quit. And also we want to make sure that quitting won't hurt us, and that what we are doing is helping us. So if there's something you're doing that's not helping you, then quit and we'll talk about that as well.
So what I'm going to do for the remainder of this podcast is I'm literally going to go through each of the five drivers, and I'm going to give you a couple of examples, and then we're going to kind of talk through a little bit. Is that a good reason to quit? Is this something you should quit? And I'm going to give my opinion on it from my perspective. Realize, again, your answers could be entirely different than my answers. So your circumstances would be entirely different than mine. And you should think through these scenarios to kind of get an idea of how this process goes.
So the first key driver that I want to talk about is nutrition. So here's the scenario. You are three weeks into the carnivore way of eating. You even quit coffee and tea. And while you've lost weight, your energy level has bottomed out and you're constipated. So is this a stick, a stick and pivot or a quit? Now, obviously for some people, the carnivore diet is fairly extreme and it's very difficult to do long term for a lot of people.
Now, other people thrive on that kind of diet and that's fine. But if you're having issues with your energy level and you're just not feeling like you're losing weight the way that you should and you're dealing with other biological problems like constipation, it's time to think about that. For some people, it's obvious that you need to quit and maybe do something different. For others, it might just be a stick and pivot. So maybe you're not getting enough electrolytes. Maybe you need to implement something else like better sleep or something else to help you make sure that you're keeping your energy level up.
And then obviously with the electrolytes that I spoke to that can include magnesium that can include potassium and sodium. And in many cases the introduction of magnesium might help with that constipation. So you can kind of see as you go into this concept of I'm trying a way of eating carnivore and I intend to do it for a long time, but I'm starting to have difficulties with it. You can answer the question of OK, is this something I can just pivot, try some add ons and see what works, or do I really want to quit this?
And in many cases I would say if this was something you really wanted to do, try the stick and pivot for a little while and then if that doesn't work, quit. Here's a second scenario for nutrition. You cut your calories much lower than you used to eat. It was working for a few weeks, but you're hungry all the time and you find yourself binging at night, stick, stick and pivot or quit. Now this one is a little bit more difficult because a lot of people will want to follow the calories in calories out model.
And the reality is for a time that can definitely work. But over time your body is going to adjust to try to find Homo stasis based on the amount that you're eating today, based on the exercise you're doing today, it's going to find that balance. And so the question then is, is this low calorie going to work for you long term. For some people, just pushing through a little while can restart the weight loss. But you may need to do a couple of pivots. You may need to have a couple of days where your calories a little higher just to keep your metabolism, keep everything flowing so your body is not locked into 1200 calories a day thing.
Maybe just having a couple of days where you're up closer to 18 or maybe 2000 might be enough for your body to adapt and adjust to a point where it can continue to lose weight. That would be a stick and pivot. But for a lot of people, just cutting calories isn't enough. They need to focus on what they're eating when they're eating as well to try to figure this out. And so sometimes you just have to quit that low calorie and figure out a different way.
So I hope that made sense as I went through the nutrition piece of this, that there are different answers for each of us based on what we're dealing with, where we are in our lives and what's working and what's not. So there is stick, there is stick and pivot and there's quit, and you have to look and figure out which one makes the most sense for you. And many times, as I mentioned earlier, sometimes stick and pivot is the right answer, and then if that doesn't work, then you quit.
Let's move on to the second key driver of health and fitness and joy, sleep.
And this is one of my favorites. Okay, so here's the scenario. The first scenario. You usually go to bed at 10:30, and you've recently hired a personal trainer that can only work with you at 05:00 a.m. This only gives you 6 hours of bedtime and less than 6 hours of sleep. You know, you need more. Stick, stick and pivot or quit? Now, this is a tougher one because for a lot of people, their time is locked, and they're very deep into getting a lot done and being productive.
And the concept of sleeping more is often difficult for us. It feels like we're giving up feels almost like we're quitting something, but in a sense, getting more sleep can help you have more energy, get more done, be more productive, and definitely have fewer mistakes and issues. So the question then here is we've got two endpoints to the sleeping night. Now you could try to go to sleep earlier, but that might mean giving up family time. That might mean giving up time with your significant other time that you love to spend together.
Obviously, if you've made dinner, we've got to wash dishes, we got to get things cleaned up. So there's probably a limit to how far you can push your bedtime up and then on the other side, yes
You've hired this personal trainer that really only had that 05:00 window. Is there a way to move that training period to a later period or different part of the day, or is it better for us to go ahead and maybe find a different trainer if we really want to continue with the personal trainer that we have or that we're with a personal trainer? And those are tough decisions. I'm not going to say there's an easy answer here, but the reality of it is the bigger you make your bedtime opportunity, the more you're likely to sleep, the more you're likely to sleep, the better off your health and fitness are going to be.
So this is a tough one. It's probably a quit something, but we've got to figure out what that is for you and then you've got to decide how to make that happen. Here's a second scenario. Lately you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep. You pull out your phone to look at social media. You feel this helps you calm down. But the report on your phone shows your screen time is way up. Stick, stick and pivot, Quit?
Now, I have some pretty strong opinions about this to me. You've got to quit the Facebook, the social media stuff. You got to quit that in the middle of the night. The lights off your phone are actually keeping you up. The excitement and the dopamine stuff that's happening when you're on your phone is keeping you up. Whether you feel that way or not, it is. So the reality of it is you could do something better with that time and still be winding down. You can listen to a fiction audiobook and have the lights out.
You can actually get a hardcover printed book and turn on a candle, light a candle and read that book. You can go ahead and decide to go into the bathroom and take a warm bath with some lavender and some other scents that really help calm you down and get back to sleep a little bit faster. So I would say you quit the Facebook and then you implement something else in that place. Obviously laying in bed awake at 2:00 in the morning for hours is excruciating. But you've got to get your sleep.
You've got to figure out a way and getting on the Facebook is not going to be the answer most of the time. Now, how you do that? How you discipline, keep the discipline to do that? I can't help you there right now, but I can just say if you value sleep as much as I do, you won't turn on your phone, you won't turn on your computer, you'll figure out a way to calm yourself relax whether it's breathing, meditation, a warm bath with some oils, or reading a book, listening to an audio book.
Any of those things will be better for you than opening up your phone. So I hope that makes sense on the sleep side. You're going to have things, if you're going to try to improve your sleep, there are things you're probably going to have to quit. Screen time is a huge example. Having short sleep windows with early alarms. Another thing that you need to work around to get the sleep. You've got to be in bed and that requires you to push your windows around and have some discipline around that.
So I hope that helps you on the sleep front. If you've got some questions there, we can talk about it.
So the next key driver or key driver is stress management, and this is another big one for me, but I really only have one example. I want to walk through here. You've started setting aside 30 minutes to meditate each day, but you find you spend most of this time thinking about the things that you need to do. This leaves you even more stressed. Stick, stick and pivot or quit?
Now, this one is kind of also a little interesting to me, because a lot of people will just quit. They'll say, okay, I don't have time for this. I know meditation would be great for me. I enjoy it when it's working, but it's not working most of the time. So I want to quit. I'd like to give you an alternative. Instead of trying to meditate for 30 minutes, just try to do five, just five good minutes, clear concise minutes, letting your thoughts happen, letting things happen and relaxing and getting into it.
Now, eventually, you might be able to add a little bit of time to that. But obviously giving up five minutes is not a huge deal in the grand scheme of 24 hours, and it will feel more attainable. So you're not overwhelmed with the fact that you're losing a half hour out of each day to do this task. It won't feel as much like a task when it's only five minutes. And who knows, maybe you go a little bit longer even though you didn't plan to because you were able to relax and get into the right state of mind, helping your stress, helping you feel better.
And that's going to kind of be a positive feedback loop. So in this case, I would say stick and pivot until 30 minutes feels right, and maybe it never will. But at least you've given it a shot.
All right. Does that make sense? Okay.
The next key driver is fitness. Okay, so here's the scenario. Your fitness tracker shows that your progress is stagnating you're halfway to your set goal and hitting certain milestones. Now it looks like you won't make those milestones. So you've made progress, and you are making good progress. But now things are stagnating. You're not seeing the growth that you were seeing before, you're not seeing the strength gains or let's say we're talking about the number of steps or how fast you can go or your time or any of those things that you would want as a personal record or just some kind of measurement criteria for your fitness.
And now you're stagnating. And that goal is beginning to look unattainable at the beginning, it looked like you could get there, and now it's not. So do you stick, stick and pivot or quit? Well, I think quitting this particular time is not the right answer. You still have that goal. That's not going to go away unless you just completely changed the goal. But rather than sliding the goal post or the time to attain the goal post. This might be a good time to stick and pivot.
Maybe you just need to do something to change up your training. Maybe you need to take some rest. Maybe this is a recovery problem, and maybe this is a nutrition problem, so all of those can factor into your basic performance. So it's worth looking at. Is this a time when I change up my training? Is this a time when I change up my nutrition? Is this the time I look at other aspects that might be affecting my performance? And if I'm not approaching my goals as quickly as I wanted to just see if adding some of those differences, fixing tweaking some of those things gives you the benefits gets you removing.
I found times where someone was doing a back squat, for example, and their back squat was starting to Plateau. So they got to a certain strength, a certain capacity, and then they just seemed to slow down and they were really upset because they did have a goal of, say, being able to squat their body weight for reps. And that's admirable. That's perfect. That's a great kind of goal because it shows a level of strength relative to your weight. That's really important. So now they're not getting there.
They're looking at they're halfway to their goal, and they're just not quite getting there. So what I'll often do is I'll program other ways for them to work with the weight. That's different for some clients. I'll have them on the leg press because they're mentally challenged, not necessarily physically challenged. It can be challenging mentally to get underweight, particularly when that weight is approaching your body weight and feel like you're in control. So I'll put them on the leg press for other people. It's about their form and how they're pressing and what they're doing.
I may move them to a completely different exercise, like a front squat, which changes the angles of everything and gets them working in a different way. And then when we transition back to back squats, they find that they've either in the first scenario increased their leg strength significantly or in the second one, they now actually have better form and are able to perform the exercise better. So in both of those cases, the changes we did, those pivots are giving them the added capacity to be able to do more, and they start seeing that progression happening again.
So that's a situation where I think a stick and pivot can be really good for other people. They might just want to stick and keep grinding at it, and sometimes they're successful. Just push a little harder, do a little more, and they're there. So just recognize that there are options as you're looking at fitness. So here's the second scenario. You're doing a fitness class, and after an awkward movement, you feel a tweak in your knee. There are only ten minutes left in the class, stick, stick and pivot or quit?
Now, this is a tough one because a lot of fitness classes have you on your feet moving around both forward and backwards and side to side. And so there's a lot of opportunities there for you to injure your knees. If you're not careful with your form and how you're placing your legs and not locking out. And there's a lot of things that can go wrong. If you've already felt a tweak in your knees, then it's highly possible that you've done something to one of the tendons and leguments to flare it up.
That's what that pain is. And continuing and trying to grind out through that class is more likely to hurt you than not. It's definitely not going to help you. You're going to have to slow down. Most likely you're going to be ginger on that knee and you're not going to get the full benefit of doing the class. Now, does that mean you completely quit the class? And that might be no, it might be. Yes, it really depends on the nature of what you've done. But if you feel like all you've done is a little twist and maybe you'll be fine, just slow it down, go into just marching in place.
If you want to continue moving for the remainder of the ten minutes and not walk out in the middle of that class or actually towards the end of that class, then maybe the pivot is just you down scaling to a point where you're still moving and still getting work done and everything is great. I at one point in a CrossFit class hurt my back, I tweaked my back, and so I just quit. I tried to go a little bit further. I'm like, no, this is not working for me.
I can't do these movements as well as I want to. I can't use the form I want to and it hurts. I stopped, I quit, and that turned out to be a really good decision because I didn't do exceptional damage to myself. I had done some, but it was really just a strain instead of something that could have been much, much worse. So recognizing your body's limitations, knowing when it's time to quit, when it's time to stick, or maybe just stick and adapt a pivot. Those are good.
Now, these questions about stick, stick and pivot and quit when you start talking about fitness are really hard because we have two things happening. We have this drive for ego that a lot of us share, and then we have this drive to laziness that a lot of us have. If you feel like you're quitting just because it's getting hard or you're slowing down as a pivot just because it's getting hard, that's not necessarily a justified reason. Again, exercise is helping. You can do it. You're not harming yourself.
So in this particular case, there's not really a good reason to quit. But if you find yourself where you're pushing yourself past your boundaries, what you're capable of doing, and you risk injury. It is definitely time to quit or downsize to enough where you know you're not in harm's way. So again, that's a harder area, but it's one that if you want to stay in the game, which is key, you have to obey fitness rule number one, thy shall not hurt themselves. So managing how you do this and staying within that sweet spot of not letting ego get in the way and not letting laziness get in the way, that's going to be a key here.
So the fifth and final health driver is avoiding toxicity. So here's the first scenario. You're wearing a smartwatch and this could be Apple Fitbit, garmin, whatever. And you notice your heart rate goes up when you read posts from certain persons on social media, stick, stick and pivot or quit? Now, I know every one of us has some of these people that they turn social media into a battleground. They're always posting material that is just hard for you to stomach. They're a good friend, but some of the positions they take, some of the things they put on social media just really aggravates you.
They cause you stress, they hurt you. And maybe you've even had a few conversations with them there, and they've always ended up poorly. Is this a stick? Is this a quit or is this a stick and pivot? Now, for most of the time, because of social media, my position is just go ahead and quit. Don't respond to their posts. In fact, maybe you can even do the function that allows you to unfollow them. You're still their friend on Facebook. You just don't see their posts. And if it's more egregious and it's a problem, then you just block them on social media.
You tell them in person, I can't deal with your social media. So I'm going to block you, not the personal friend, but I don't want that on my feet. I don't want that in my life. So you quit in a sense, my social media, something that maybe I haven't talked about in here is that I break my Facebook up into two profiles. So if you actually went out and searched for me, you would see that I have two profiles on Facebook. Now, one is my business profile, and that's where I interact with you.
If you want to be my friend, you look up AllanMisner.CPT. And that's my work, my training profile. And that's where I have conversations with clients. I have great friends in the industry, and I enjoy the conversations there. And I don't worry about the political posts. I don't even pay attention to them. And then I have my personal personal, which is family and friends. I would say 99% of those folks I actually have met in person and have personal relationships with. And so yeah, some of them are going to post some things that whatever I don't agree with, but I only check that really to pay attention to friends and family and see what's going on here on the island.
I don't spend a lot of time on my personal personal Facebook because there's just not material out there that I'm all that interested in other than staying informed about what's going on with my family, some of my friends and what's going on on this island. So that's the only time I check back on that profile. And maybe once a week again, I saw that that was toxic. I saw a lot of toxicity in that, and I came up with a pivot and that pivot works very well for me.
You can also again do the other pivot where you're not actually blocking someone, but you're not following them or other settings within your Facebook, where you can control your feed and you're seeing the things that you really want to see without dealing with this much toxicity. The second scenario I want to talk about in the health driver of avoiding toxicity, you decide to read the label on your personal care products, and I'll tell you right now, the Environmental Working Group has a great app to help you do that.
It's go to www.Ewg.Org/apps and this site when you go there, you can literally scan the barcode with your phone, your smartphone, and it'll tell you whether this stuff is toxic or where it rates. So let's say now you've used that app and you've looked at your personal care products and you notice that your favorite shampoo and conditioner rank very poorly on this rating scale. And so now here you are. You love this condition of the shampoo. It works great. It makes your hair feel look good.
Everything is awesome when you feel when you're using this product, but now you find out it has some problems. It has some allergens in it, maybe some carcinogens, that type of thing. Do you stick, stick and pivot or quit? Now, the thing about toxicity is it tends to be cumulative. Rather, it's chemical, biological or social or relationship stuff. It tends to be cumulative. If you're in a toxic situation, it doesn't get better if you just reduce the amount of toxicity that you're taking in, it's still cumulative.
It's still adding in. So for many of these things, you need to get away from toxicity. And I would say the answer is going to be quit. It's very seldom that you can pivot on those types of things, but there are exceptions. So if this brand of shampoo and conditioner that you're using is a good brand and that particular type of product is the problem, maybe you move to another product that they have that's hypoallergenic or has less of these things in it, and that's a better option for you to continue to use a brand that you enjoy and works well for you.
But cut back on that toxicity. But in a general sense, I would say most of the time the answer related to toxicity if it's a product or a relationship is to quit. Now, that's easier said than done. But I have done it, and you can, too. So I hope this all made sense. I tried to come up with some examples that would show you on either side of the stick or quit model, and then some that were in that stick and pivot range. As you can tell, this isn't as simple.
And since there are thousands and thousands of things that you do every day, there's a lot going on. There's a lot for you to consider as you look at this. So for that reason, I would say, focus on the big rocks. Think about the things that you do or don't do that would move the needle. If you know there are things that you're doing now that just adversely affect you, like smoking. That's a no brainer. It's a quit. So there are things you're doing that really it's time to quit.
There are other things that you're doing that are actually for good, but they're not giving you the results. That's the time to reassess. And as you're going through this analysis, I think it's really important for you to keep your why and your vision in sight, because the things that you're doing should always align with that. If they don't, then it's a quit. So the why is the reason you're doing this? Why are you working on your health and fitness now? And when you come to that, it's this emotional, deep thing.
It becomes so important to you that there's no other option. You're not going to say no. Okay, so when you're doing these things, it's the question of am I doing it the right way? Can I pivot? And then if it's not working, find a different route.
Now, the vision is where you ultimately want to go with this activity, with what you're doing, with what you're eating, fitness, nutrition, all of it. All those things are driving you towards some vision of yourself. And so you're building these little habits, these little mile markers that are measurable as you're going through this process. And as you look at what you're doing, if you're not seeing the progress to get to that next mile marker, that's time to evaluate. And when you evaluate things, you have to get rid of things you can tweak.
And that's called the pivot. And then things you just bear down and keep doing because they are working. You just have to keep at it. So if you're interested in exploring these things a little bit more, whether you should quit, whether you should stick and pivot or quit, I'd encourage you to join us on Facebook at our Facebook group at 40plusfitnesspodcast.Com/group. And there you can go ahead and ask questions. Maybe you have something you're dealing with and you just like the sounding board of hey, what do you think?
What are some ideas here? Because maybe quoting doesn't really make sense to you, and maybe sticking to it doesn't make any sense. We've got to find that middle ground of the stick, maybe stick and pivot. So there might be these other alternatives that I can share with you in that forum. So again, go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.Com/group. Go ahead and start a conversation there about your particular situation, and we can try to figure out the right alternatives for you.
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