All humans are products of their environment. Disciple and work ethic is important, but far too many people struggle with their fitness goals due to environmental misalignment. Losing weight, building muscle and improving performance is incredibly difficult when your environment is working against you.
The solution is pretty simple, improving your environmental alignment can make reaching your fitness goals much easier. It also makes it easier to maintain your goals. Otherwise, you have to fight an uphill battle every day just to make small steps forward. So here are several tips to improve your dietary and exercise environment for success.
Tips for dietary alignment
Much of your dietary environment depends on the Stoplight Method I’ve discussed in previous posts. Essentially it breaks down as thus:
Green light foods are meals and snacks you want to eat in abundance and compose most of your healthy diet.
Yellow light foods are snacks and treat you want to eat in moderation and can control. These foods you have in limited quantity in your home or office and you keep them out of sight and out of mind.
Red light foods are the things you struggle to control yourself around. These are the foods you keep out of your home and office and have to go out of your way to get.
Another aspect of dietary environmental alignment is to keep your foods are ready to eat as possible. Keeping a package of chicken frozen in the freezer doesn’t make for a ready-to-eat meal when you come home from a long work day. Pre-planning your dinner by thawing the chicken and making it into a large batch of kale chicken salad over the weekend will ensure your food will be ready to go when you need it.
Lastly, your food environment is also just as much about the spaces you eat and prepare food as the foods themselves. Making sure your kitchen is clean and tidy will make cooking and preparing food much easier. A messy kitchen table and a sink full of dirty pots can become a big obstacle to overcome and make it that much easier to order takeout.
Tips for exercise alignment
Just like with diet, you want to set up your exercise environment to be as easy to use as possible. This includes keeping your home workout space as clean and orderly as possible. Be sure your floor is clean especially in the case of doing floor calisthenics when many exercises involve getting close to the floor.
I also recommend keeping your home gym equipment as ready-to-use as possible. The less set up you need to go through to begin training the better. This can include preventing storing your gear out of the way. We, humans, are inherently lazy creatures and the small amount of work required to pull a kettlebell from under the bed can be enough to prevent you from training.
The same also goes for working out in a gym. Make sure you belong to a gym that’s in alignment with your goals and tastes. There’s no sense in going to a Planet Fitness when powerlifting is your passion and you want to make a lot of noise.
Environmental alignment also goes for outdoor activities. Look for parks, trails, and environments you enjoy being in rather than going for a job along a crowded road where the traffic makes you nervous.
While it may not be possible to achieve perfect environmental alignment, putting forth a little more effort to achieve better alignment can go along way toward making your diet and exercise habits more effective and easier to maintain.