Having been training for a few years, I finally thought I had the perfect routine going. I woke up at 6am, cooked a protein laden omelette, strapped on my backpack and set off for the gym.
The previous night I would have gone through the same preparation ritual I had performed for the past two months – lay out my gym clothes, carefully fold and pack my work clothes, measure out my protein powder into shakers.
It all ran like clockwork. I was getting results. My approach worked and I wanted it to stay that way.
And then life happened.
I changed jobs. I went on holiday. I got a new girlfriend. My gym shut due to a broken sewage pipe (don’t ask).
My routine was wrecked. I missed a few days of training, which spiraled into months of absence. I told myself if I wasn’t working out then there was no point in eating clean. I quickly slipped into my old ways and before long was devouring an entire large Dominos pizza on my own.
In those few short weeks I undid all the progress I had fought and sweated my ass off for in the gym. I had re-kindled my bad habits. I was heavier, fatter and more miserable than ever.
What Went Wrong?
The famous Chinese Yin-Yang symbol represents light and dark, good and bad, pure and impure. It represents two polar opposites – two outcomes, goals, journeys, strategies that are very different.
But there is no grey. No middle ground. Everything is clear cut. You do this or you do that. You don’t do a bit of both. It’s what’s known as black and white thinking.
Black and white thinking is directly responsible for de-railed my attempts to lose fat many times.
Dive Into The Grey Zone
Imagine now that I had continued to eat healthily despite not being able to train. Or whilst on holiday I had done some bodyweight routines instead of moaning about not having any access to a gym and doing nothing.
Sure those solutions are not as effective as what I was used to, but if I had done them I would have achieved something – even if it was only ensuring the good habits I’d formed became lodged even deeper into my tightly wound bunch of brain neurons.
This is grey thinking.
If there’s a problem, you find the next best solution and move on. If you have an unexpected cheat meal – forget it and move on.
The grey should be embraced. It’s the key to getting you closer to success and further from failure.
So next time you complain that you had to take a 10 second longer rest between sets than you were meant to because the idiot was doing bicep curls in the power cage – relax. You’ve entered the grey zone.
Some days life will throw spanners in the works. Understand it. Accept it. Then carry on as normal.
Forget black and white – live for the grey.