Learn everything there Is to know about fItness, performance, fat loss and lifestyle from Adrian McDonnell.
What a crazy year 2020 has been! When Reeling in the Years compile their montage of the year as whole, it will lead to some interesting viewing.
Here are my three biggest lessons and takeaways from 2020.
75 Hard - my 2 Failed Attempts
75 Hard was something I was always thinking about doing but I led myself to believe I didn’t have time. What is 75 Hard? It’s a mental toughness (not physical fitness) challenge developed by Andy Frisella where for 75 consecutive days you have to complete all of the following tasks with no compromise:
Ever since I started listening to Andy Frisella’s podcast, doing it was always something that crossed my mind. But I allowed myself to make excuses and said I would wait for the ‘perfect time’ because I was ‘too busy.’
I was working as a full-time primary school teacher and doing personal training as a side hustle in the evenings where I trained my clients in a gym in town. On top of that I had to try and fit in my own training – both gym and club. Then I had to factor in allocating time for program design, check-ins and of course family and friend time so the time was ‘never right’ for me. But these were all excuses because I do know that whatever you prioritise gets done.
So when schools closed on March 12th due to Covid 19, what was my excuse then? I didn’t have one! Which is why I eventually started the program at the beginning of April. I can honestly say it was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life to date.
It might seem easy when you look at the list and you’re probably saying to yourself – ‘I’d be able to do that for a day.’ And you’re right. You definitely could. But it’s the consistency of doing it for 75 days in a row without compromise that’s the challenging part. This means having to go for a cycle or walk or run when it’s lashing rain outside. Or not being able to have a slice of birthday cake when everyone around you is celebrating. Or saying no to the smell of freshly baked scones or apple tart.
I tried and ultimately failed at 75 Hard twice – ironically both slip-ups came on the 42nd day where on both occasions, I forgot to take a progress picture! Of all things on the list, the easiest one to do! It still eats me up to this day but there’s no point getting upset over it.
It did teach me some important lessons and I learned a lot about myself. If I was to attempt it again (which I wouldn’t rule out), I’d try to manage my anxiety better. This was something I found most difficult. I could never seem to relax or wind down until I got my second 45 minute workout out of the way. On top of that, I’d make it very clear what diet I was to follow and which foods do/don’t count as ‘cheat foods.’ As a rule of thumb, if you have to ask ‘am I allowed eat ____’ the answer is probably no!
All of that being said, I’ve no regrets about attempting the program because it opened up a new opportunity for me – which is my second highlight from 2020.
Takeaway: Whatever plan, program or journey you’re on, consistency is always going to be the key to get you to your final destination.
first ever photoshoot
Training twice a day for 84 out of 90 days and following a rigid diet which mainly consisted of oats, meat, vegetables, berries, Greek yogurt and protein powder did allow me to get down to a lower bodyfat percentage than normal. This sparked an idea in my head that grew and grew until I mustered up the courage to go for it.
I wanted to have something to show for my two attempts at 75 Hard which would at least act as some form of solace for me for my two failed efforts. I decided not to overthink it and just book a photoshoot and worry about getting ready for it afterwards. Which is exactly what happened.
To be honest, preparing for a photoshoot or implementing some of the little hacks that fit pros use to get them to look extra lean was completely alien to me. I never even knew ‘peak week’ existed until I started reading up on it 5 days out from my photoshoot. Ironically, its recommended you start introducing some of the ‘peak week’ strategies at least 7 days out from the photoshoot. So I was already behind before I even started.
Getting ready for the prep was difficult yet enjoyable. Cutting out carbs 72 hours beforehand, doing glycogen depleted workouts where you’re basically training on empty fuel and keeping water consumption to an absolute minimum were all new challenges for me. Was my preparation perfect? No but it was all a learning process. When I do another shoot again in the future, I will be better prepared. But getting my first photoshoot done is a fond 2020 memory of mine – and shoutout to Éanna McNamara for doing a great job with the photography.
The Takeaway: Don’t let progress get in the way of perfection. There are a lot of benefits of taking imperfect action towards your goals.
becoming a full time online trainer
I qualified as a primary school teacher in May 2016. That summer, I went to San Francisco on a J1 for 12 weeks. The last three weeks of the trip, we travelled the west coast of California. When we stopped off at Muscle Beach in LA, that was a big ‘aha’ moment for me. After seeing and experiencing the fitness culture there, something sparked inside me and I told myself I wanted to work in the fitness industry full time someday. I never felt so energised by my surroundings and knew this was the path for me (before I ever even started working as a teacher).
I taught as a primary school teacher for 4 ½ great years while doing personal training in the evenings. It all started by doing my part time personal training course and getting my qualification and from there I gained experience, made mistakes but kept growing and learning through practice, reading and online courses.
With all the extra time off from school since March 2020, it was like a blessing in disguise for me in the sense that I had much more free time to really level up and zone in on my business by delivering a better service. I got up early and worked til late throughout the entire lockdown and into the summer to learn as much as possible about the industry as a whole. There were plenty of 16-hour work days with very little wind down or relaxation but I wanted to make the best use of my time possible before we returned back to school in September.
The long (and often stressful) workdays of balancing being a teacher and the responsibilities that come with it and running an online fitness business caught up to me when we returned back to school so I knew it was time for me to make the decision – for my own health and stress levels as much as anything else!
So I’m proud (and somewhat scared, worried, excited, stressed and every possible emotion you can think of!) to say that as of December 2020, I’m now going to focus on living my passion and working as full-time online trainer. It certainly did raise a few eye lids when I told my family, friends and work colleagues but I’m happy with my decision and couldn’t be more excited about the future. The fire was lit since summer 2016 and I look forward to moving onto a new stage of my life in 2021. Here’s to the next chapter.
‘When you have a vision and you see that vision come true, it really only shows you that anything can happen, you can do it all.’ – Conor McGregor
The Takeaway: It’s never too late to turn your passion into your career. Decide what you want to do, use your time wisely and try go to bed a little bit wiser each day and you’ll be rewarded.
A new year is just around the corner. I’m not one for New Years Resolutions or for throwing people into the deep end if they want to make a change in their health and fitness. Everyone wants to look better in their clothes, feel better in themselves and perform better on the pitch. But what’s the problem?
A big emphasis is always placed on the month of January, what about the other 11 months of the year? In my online coaching, I focus on helping my clients integrate (not isolate) fitness into their lifestyle so they can not only get the results they deserve, but to be able to maintain and keep them by making a lifestyle change.
If you want lasting results (that guarantee your success) then click here to book your FREE consultation call. During the call we’ll deep dive into your health & exercise history, your goals and decide if we’d be a good fit for each other.
If we are a good fit, we can get working on a personal gameplan for you so you can finally make the changes you desire and get the results you deserve.
Claim your free consultation call today.
Adrian McDonnell -
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