Mar 072013
Just imagine if what you WANTED to do and what was good for you was the same thing. Do you think that would be useful?

I sure do. I also know how it feels to reap the rewards of this state.
For instance, parallel dips and goblet squats are good for me.
I also WANT to do them. How convenient!

However, this is no accident.

I’m going to do you a favour and sum up my point of view on this very quickly, for those people with short attention spans, before I dive a little deeper:

  • To make what you want to do good for you, do more of everything else that doesn’t harm you.
  • To make what is good for you into what you want to do, closely observe the aftermath of your choices.

So, there you go. Case closed, nothing more to see here; catch you next time!

Or not.

Option #1

In Gym Movement Protocol, one of our best tools is the concept of Contraspecific Actions (or Movements).
In a nutshell, these are complementary actions to our goal actions or actions we are already taking.
(I discussed this concept a bit in the post linked just above, so I won’t rehash completely.)

One way to look at this concept is that “something isn’t ‘good for you’ when doing it has a disproportionately high cost to reward”.

Example: You have been dieting to lose weight for 3 days and you have accumulated a total energy deficit of 600 calories. You really feel like eating a blueberry muffin AND a caramel slice (maybe because you’re bored) at roughly 640 calories.
There is a reward involved: to you, it will taste good and that may make you mildly happier.
There is a cost involved: it goes contrary to your calorie reduction goal and puts you behind when you were ahead.

So, it’s reasonable to say at a BASIC level that this choice “isn’t good for you” because the cost probably isn’t worth the reward.

How do we then make this example into a state where it is “good for you”? (a.k.a. the opposite of above)

How about if we do MORE of the original opposing action, i.e. avoiding unnecessary calories?

Doesn’t that just make it “not as bad”?

Yeah, pretty much. Lets look a little closer though: if there is no such thing as the “best” food or “worst” food and EVERYTHING is dependant on how our body reacts and what our goal is, then isn’t “good” for you really just “better”?

And there WILL be a point when consuming any “empty” calories becomes better than consuming nothing! If you had racked up a 2000 calorie deficit in only 3 days and you felt like that 640 calorie hit, I’d say you can probably go for it and the relief from your (likely) strict dieting may be just the thing you need to be able to keep up your strategy in the long run!

This is kinda getting long, so…

I’ll just hit you with a few basic examples of “Point #1” and discuss “Point #2” in Part 2!

  • Make relaxing and watching TV better for you by exercising more or reading more.
  • Make drinking alcohol better for you by improving overall diet quality.
  • Make staying up late better for you by sleeping for a longer time on more days.
  • Make time “by yourself” better for you by improving your interaction with others.
  • Make sitting down better for you by doing more work standing up.
  • Make your favourite lift better for you by working movements that are NOTHING like it.

(Think this is too basic/obvious? Sure. Are you doing it though? Probably not as much as you could; I’d hazard no one is. Sometimes going back to basics is what we need, so think it through and feel free to comment!)