As I write these words, it’s the Summer Solstice or the longest day of the year. I can’t help but reflect on how it feels like just yesterday I was snuggled warmly on this same couch thinking about the shortest day of the year, and how happy I was that each new day would be a little longer and, eventually, a little warmer.

Obligatory "summer" picture, taken in some gardens at Gaudi's "Parc Güell" in Barcelona, Spain. Summer 2017

Obligatory “summer” picture, taken in some gardens at Gaudi’s “Parc Güell” in Barcelona, Spain. Summer 2017

In terms of fitness, most people are well into their “summer body” fitness and nutrition programs. You may be, too. Watching what you eat and drink, and throwing in some extra bicep curls each workout.

But there’s still a whole lot of summer left, and pools and beaches will be swarming well into late August here in the south. That means you have a couple more months of scantily-clad bathing suit days ahead.

Are you prepared?

Fortune favors the prepared mind

Said Louis Pasteur, the French biologist who was really into germs (and the diseases they caused). What he means is, essentially, those who have worked hard and are prepared discover good fortune.

Preparation, then, is the key to a successful [scientific] career.

On being prepared:

I was once a Boy Scout, and although I never made Eagle (the highest rank you can achieve), I did have some amazing experiences and learned some really cool stuff.

For example, I hiked 52 miles over six days in Glacier National Park, in northwestern Montana.

glacier 2

In Boy Scouts, the motto we always used to say, especially when someone-ahem, me-goofed up, was “Be Prepared.”

When hiking in Glacier National Park, for example, we had to carry all our kitchenware, clothes, equipment, and food on our backs. At night, we strung our food 20 feet in the air between trees so that we didn’t attract bears to our camp. We wore no deodorant; brushed our teeth with charcoal from the fire; and bathed in the ice-cold water of the lakes with no soap…

…all because the smells would attract bears.

We were prepared: we took the necessary steps to ensure we had food, warmth, a canopy over our heads, and most importantly, safety.

What this has to do with Fitness

You aren’t dodging bears in your day-to-day life. If you skip a workout or have a less-than-stellar meal, it likely won’t derail your efforts and you can easily hop on the wagon again later.

But you may (or may not) be surprised to know how many times I hear something along the lines of

“I just need to prepare better.”

Every single day I have a client or friend admit that, if they just prepared better, then they would hit their fitness goals.

What’s the hold up when it comes to being prepared?

Take for example meal prep:

Every Sunday night I prepare lunches for my wife and me. I bake or grill chicken and roast a whole slew of veggies, and afterward, I package it up in Tupperware and store it in the fridge for the week.

This process takes me anywhere between 30-90 minutes to complete, but every weekday I have a nutritious low-calorie meal. Not only that, but it keeps me from engaging in other, less healthy habits, like eating out at fast food chains.

Steak, chicken, potatoes, and mixed veggies ready to hit the grill and oven

Steak, chicken, potatoes, and mixed veggies ready to hit the grill and oven

Be Prepared

Look, I get it: I just twisted a Boy Scout motto into a post about meal prep.

However, the message is the same:

Fortune favors the prepared

Here, let me help you:

Andy’s Guide to Not Getting Derailed by “Life” and all the Curveballs that comes with it

Or,

Andy’s Guide to Crushing your Fitness and Nutrition Goals (Being Prepared) 

  1. Take a look at your calendar: mark down every important event this week. This could be your kid’s ball game; and important meeting with you boss; or drinks with colleagues after work on Thursday
  2. Plan your workouts around those events: if you like a spin class on Wednesday night, do that. Then build workouts around your other obligations. Place a workout in every (or most every) available evening or morning spot. Write it in
  3. Plan your meals: if your coworkers bring unhealthy and sugary snacks to work, pack your own: choose things like beef jerky, protein bars, or other healthier snacks.
  4. Plan your meals: meal prep on Sunday night so that lunch is covered and you’re less likely to hit the nearest fast food chain with friends. Batch-make a bunch of chicken and veggies together in the oven. Set to 425 and take the chicken out ~20-30 minutes in, and leave the veggies until 45 minutes.
  5. Write out dinners for the week: some of my favorites are “taco bowl night” or “spaghetti squash spaghetti” or even steak on the grill

What are you waiting for?

Meal prepping

Writing out your week’s workouts (or hiring a coach to take over so you can focus on other important parts of your life)

Getting to bed early

Carrying a water bottle to work

Bringing healthy snacks to work

…are not difficult things to do. You just have to be prepared. Take time to get prepared, both in terms of your diet and your fitness, and let it ride.

Those who reach their health and fitness goals are equally as busy and equally as tempted by outside influences as you are. They’re human beings too.

And while I don’t claim to know what’s going on in your life, I do know this: those who have achieved a lean physique, or other-worldly strength, or even overcame 30 lbs of excess weight did so by working hard and being prepared to take on the challenges that arose during the process.

Take time to get prepared, both in terms of your diet and your fitness, and let it ride. If you’re prepared you’re less likely to be derailed or fall off the wagon.

I challenge you:

This week I want you to identify your biggest struggle: what is it that you have the most difficulty with?

Is it nutrition? Plan out one (1) healthy meal to make one evening. Include some lean proteins like chicken or fish, and as many veggies as you can stomach.

Is it strength training? Check your goals: what do you want to achieve? Then check your training habits: are they pushing you in the right direction?

If they are, stay the course. If not, change course. Unsure? Drop me a line and let’s figure it out.

Don’t wait for your fortune. Be prepared and find it for yourself.

Andy Van Grinsven

About Andy Van Grinsven

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