As a seasoned mountain bike racer, I’ve learned a very harsh lesson about racing that’s absolutely true when it comes to diet and exercise.
The lesson is that no one ever won a race shortly after the start, but loads of people have certainly lost the race shortly after the start.
The reason is simple. The racers come off the start line with a ton of energy and enthusiasm. The sooner they get to the finish the sooner they can claim victory. This often results in the racer coming off with far too much steam. They ride like the devil and end up crashing, running off course and burning themselves out. Even though the race is over an hour long, their hopes of even finishing it have gone up in smoke in 10 minutes.
The same exact thing can be said for those who sprint off the line with their new diet or exercise program. They hit day one and go after their goals with everything they’ve got. While they start out great, they are burned out, sore, and beat up after a week or two.
Their race to a fit body has ended before it had hardly begun.
I recommend using the same approach I use during the first lap of my races. Go off the start strong and hard, but don’t go all out. Hold back 10-15% of your efforts while you feel things out. The race is long, and there’s a lot that can happen. Relax a bit and take your time. There’s always time a little later on to go all out, but why take the risk of pushing too hard from the start?
Everyone starts out great in a race, but it’s not what you do at the start that wins you the race. On the other hand, what you do at the start can lose you that race. So if you’re going to have even a half decent start then that’s good enough. You have plenty of time to be a rock star a little later on. All you have to do is not lose the race before it’s really begun.
So relax a bit. As long as you keep moving forward you’ll get to where you want to go. But if you push too hard too soon, your race will be lost long before you even really get started.