You have no problem getting out training, but man, taking the time to make that stir fry……just can’t seem to make it happen. How can you be so good at one thing and have such difficulty with another?
Training gives you instant gratification, even the shortest workout can boost your endorphins and change your brain chemistry. It’s easy to remember why you should do it again, it’s awesome! The choice becomes easier because you know it makes you feel good, and done properly, makes you stronger and faster. It’s also typically it’s fun, often in some strange sadistic way, even it it’s hard. Sure some days you want to skip, but overall, you love your sport.
Nutrition, doesn’t give you instant gratification in the same way. Sure there is comfort food, but generally you are not riding on a high for an hour after a healthy meal in the same way you would after an awesome ride.
Good nutrition requires conscious choices, planning and daily decisions between some processed not so healthy foods and more wholesome healthy options to support your vitality and performance. Good nutrition often requires changing engrained habits, becoming aware of emotional patterns and creating new behaviours. It also requires learning and understanding some basic premises of why you need what you need, as well as being able to sift through the BS of social media, which perpetuates some pretty ridiculous diet ideas week after week, that many fall victim to; it’s confusing. (In fairness there’s some pretty ridiculous training advice out there too).
With training at a recreational level, many people just want to put their heads down and hammer group rides. Truth be told for many it often doesn’t require a lot of thought, sometimes that’s where the fun lies. Not getting too caught up in the details at a rec level can often keep things more enjoyable. Having a coach to guide you can make this even easier, so you are putting in the work but not necessarily twisted about every little reason why. So the training remains a fun outlet, a joy.
Nutrition isn’t like that. There aren’t hard days and easy days in the same sense, or rest weeks. Sure there are adjustments to volume of food and there’s periodization more so at the elite level, but even still, nutrition is more about creating consistent habits and patterns that are sustainable based on a knowledge of what’s good for your body. The ups and downs of energy intake are an aside, you need the good habits. You also need to understand nutrition to some degree, in order to be motivated to do what you are doing, otherwise it’s too easy to stop when the going get’s tough; as in you are faced with a choice in a moment of emotion; the cake or the fruit. When you can remind yourself WHY you are doing something, it’s a lot easier to stick with it.
It’s no suprise it’s easier to get out and train. I’ve never become elated while making a bowl of chili. I don’t get excited to prep for my stir fry and doing dishes ranks low on my list of fun activities. Feeling energetic however and having energy for everything I want to do in my life, ranks high on my list and is my WHY.
You need to find a different type of reward for healthy eating. Why are you making this change and how this will impact your life positively? Food may not give you a runner’s high, but
your runner’ s high may certainly be more amazing if you’re properly fuelled.
You’re not crazy. There are logical reasons why it’s easier to stick to training than good nutrition. There’s more emotion attached to food, it’s attached to a lot of behaviour, largely impacted by your envinronment and you don’t get that immediate positive feedback. But there are also logical reasons why you should prioritize good nutrition; energy, cardiovascular health, mental health, body composition, being a role model to your kids and improving your performance – to name a few.
Training is training and nutrition is nutrition. Accept them for their differences. Take both on as different goals to improve upon and know that you won’t have the same experience with both, even if they both bring you goodness and energy, albeit through different avenues.
NSAG – Next Level Nutrition For Life.