Winning The Warm-Up

We all know that one person. The one that walks into the gym, all set to go and as soon as the warm-up starts, they are off to the races. Choosing to focus on having the fastest 400m run and quickest stretching sequence, rather than achieving full range of motion and movement quality. They are done with their warm-up in record time but are breathless and often unprepared to then start the actual workout mere minutes later. Their entire effort was spent going 100% on the warm-up. ­­Congratulations?

Don’t be that person.

Imagine the same vigor with a January nutrition client.  Most commonly a challenge participant. It’s a new month; a fresh start. The CrossFit Open is just around the corner which makes for great motivation to get fitness and nutrition in check. Clients will meet with you and be 100% sure that this is their month. For the next 28-days, they vow to be perfect with food­­­ logging and workouts. Their nutrition, they promise, will be near perfect.

What do you tell this client?

I applaud their determination and motivation, but I am also realistic in my recommendation. January must be treated like a class warm up. The intent is NOT to win, NOT to be perfect, but to set the stage and be prepared for a fantastic and successful year.

Perfection, or 100% effort, is not realistic nor is it sustainable. In fact, striving for a perfect month might derail their performance in subsequent months.


If someone tries to be perfect in a nutrition program, they will probably see great results, but when the program wraps up, they may fall into that group that believes they now deserve a break or reprieve from that strict schedule. Always intending to ‘get back to it’ once they enjoy a short term break, motivation wanes and old habits start to creep in.

If we change their mindset to view January as a “warm-up” month – an opportunity to develop some great foundations that will not only set the stage for a successful year but also motivate them to learn more detailed strategies at the end of their initial program, then there is a significantly higher chance they will be an engaged client for the long term.

If performance is their goal or a motivator for them, I would emphasize the importance of staying consistent with the progress that prepares them not only for the Open in Feb/March but for the one that falls later in the year. Every month should build in terms of results, education, engagement, and behavior. This will ensure their progress will be slower but consistent instead of fast and short-lived.

I encourage clients to tackle January the same way they would a warm-up – with 80% effort and in the mindset that this month is intended to prepare them for a consistent year ahead.

Lindsay M McDonald

Senior Mentor

Healthy Steps Nutrition