Don’t Confuse Consistency With Perfection
By Dr. Kristin Lander, DC, CISSN
In the strength and nutrition world, we talk a lot about consistency.
I’m sure you’ve heard that what you do consistently matters way more than what you do some of the time.
Skip a workout once in a while? No big deal. Skip workouts consistently? It’s probably going to be hard to meet your strength goals.
This is a pretty easy concept to grasp when it comes to training, but when it comes to nutrition, I’ve noticed many strength athletes confuse consistency with perfection.
So let’s break down what it means to be consistent with nutrition.
First, it means when you’re going to make a change to your nutrition, don’t bite off more than you can chew (pun intended).
If the change you make is sustainable for only a few days, or even a few weeks, you are not going to be consistent with it long enough to get the results you’re seeking.
I'd rather see baby steps that are simple to consistently master and add more steps as you gain confidence than to change your entire nutrition to an “optimal” or perfect diet for a lifter in the matter of one week.
Here are some examples of really simple changes you could make:
- If it’s a struggle to get in your daily protein, simply increase the amount of protein you’re eating at the meals you’re consistently getting in. Even if that’s only 2-3 meals/day. Worry about adding more meals later. Or make a habit of having a protein shake once a day between meals.
- If you don’t eat a lot of veggies each day, don’t buy 10 different veggies at the grocery store and vow to eat all of them. Instead, pick one or two veggies and add them to one meal each day. Once that becomes a consistent habit, add new veggies to another meal each day.
If you’re looking for a little more guidance into what changes you could make, you can use my hierarchy of nutrition for lifters. If you’re missing something at the top of the list, start there before moving down the list.
- Eat enough total daily calories
- Eat enough total daily protein
- Optimize your pre/post-training meals for performance and recovery (grab my free guide here)
- Eat fruits and veggies at every meal that’s not immediately around training
- Limit heavily processed foods
- Aim for medium-low glycemic index carbohydrates in the meals not immediately around training
- Get most of your fats from sources that are good for your heart: avocados and avocado oil, olives and olive oil, raw nuts & seeds, fresh-caught fish, eggs, full-fat yogurt, grass-fed or pasture-raised animals.
A perfectionist mindset will have you doing all 7 at the same time. A consistent mindset will have you focus on CONSISTENTLY hitting number one. Once that’s a habit, move onto number two. The key is to make proper nutrition your default so that over the years you’re doing all seven without putting much thought into it. Does that mean you will do all seven 100% of the time? No! But if you’re consistently doing all seven at least 80% of the time, that’s where things will flow and feel easy!
I know this sounds simple and boring. I have news for you, simple and boring is usually the best path to success. Flashy and complicated sounds fun and exciting but doesn’t tend to yield long term results.
The key to living the life you want and being the person you want to be exists in mastering the mundane.
Don’t forget to grab my super popular pre/post-traininig meals guide that is helping athletes get stronger faster!
If you’d like more guidance and support with your nutrition and recovery, my team and I are taking on new clients right now. You can go here to see our two tiers of coaching and pick one to get started.