One of the worst things you could do

The worst thing you could do to sabotage your health and fitness is fail to plan. You know the old saying right? If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. Well, it’s true.

It’s been the most interesting thing for me to relearn this past three months and I am bearing the brunt of my own failure. Since my son has been born in April, I have abandoned a lot of my usual planning in order to be the best dad I can be. I don’t regret that for a split second, however, now that some routines are coming along, I need to get back on track.

You see, the problem is this — I like to help my wife care for our son for an hour or two or three in the morning, then rush off to work – but I do so without bringing any food along with me, or eating breakfast first thing in the morning. When I arrive at work (the gym), I make myself a healthy shake as soon as I get there, but often it means I have been going a few hours without food in the morning – which slows my metabolism, causes my body to sacrifice muscle tissue, and store fat. Then it gets worse. Since I have not brought food with me I am left to go out and buy some during my busy day. That creates another big problem, in fact, it creates a few problems. The first problem is that I keep working long past when I am hungry. I keep trying to get ‘just one more thing’ done, or ‘help just one more person’. I have been known to do that for five or six hours past when I should have stopped to eat. By then I am so hungry, I have stopped being productive at work, because my blood sugar is so low I cannot think straight. It is at this point that I finally leave work to go get some food. Living in a smaller town, I tell myself that healthier choices take too much effort, plus, I am so hungry by then I want something fast, so I grab something at Timmies. It’s yummy, and better than most fast food joints, but still not optimal. My favourite meal there contains over 1,000 calories, and 20 grams of saturated fat, not to mention 1,980 milligrams of sodium. Ouch! Even if I do try to grab something healthier, it is never as clean as food from home, made by me, in the right portion sizes.

Add to this fact, that I no longer have a race schedule or training plan that I am following this year, so my thought is to fit in a workout ‘somewhere in the day’. Guess what? I usually get to bed and realize I never did fit in a workout.

So what does that mean? I have gained 20 pounds of fat and feel sluggish, slow and grumpy as a result. I am a well trained international athlete, so if it happens to me, I would imagine it happens to you too. Certainly I know that my wife and son are a priority, and that will not change, so what can I do now to make this work?

Easy — the same things I did before we had our son. I need to pre-make food and have it ready in the fridge. Today I cooked up a pot roast in the crock pot. Took me two minutes to prepare and then I just left it to cook all day. I cooked up some long grain rice and stocked up on frozen veggies at the store. Tomorrow I will slam two meals worth of meat, rice and veggies into two containers. I will grab some Greek yogurt and nuts first thing in the morning – which I can eat in a minute while helping with my son. That will give my body and my day a head start. When I get to work I will have my usual shake and I will set an appointment in my calendar to stop me three hours after my shake – so that I can do a workout during my lunch break, which I will honour. Workout for 40 minutes, clean up, eat my prepared meal and get back to work.

That’s it. That’s all it takes. Some planning and everything changes.

By the way: How are those Olympic Burpees coming along?

Happy training!

Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake. He can be reached at 403-887-7667 or check out for more information.