You’ve maybe heard that football is a game of inches. And I suppose that’s true to a point. I guess whenever I think about football being a game of inches I always think back to the late Steve McNair throwing to Kevin Dyson (had to look the receiver’s name up) on the final play of Super Bowl XXXIV (yeah I had to Google that one as well). If you’re not familiar, McNair threw near the goal line and Dyson caught it, but he was tackled literally 1 yard short of the goal line for what would have been the game winning score. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be and the St. Louis (now LA) Rams won the Super Bowl.

1 yard short.

So this got me to thinking about how this relates to the world of nutrition and fitness. And actually the more I think about it, how it really is relative to most anything we do. It’s just that last little bit of effort. That extra 2 percent.

I was working with (training) a client a couple of weeks ago and he was doing step-ups onto a box. He had dumbbells in his hands and I was instructing him to focus on lowering himself to the floor as slow as controlled as possible. Ideally, I’d be aiming for him to lower on a 3 second count. As the exercise rolls on this becomes more difficult, but we’ll not address that stuff in this post today. Now fast forward 2 weeks and I see him again for the same program. He’s a former collegiate athlete and has a good training background which makes my job easier because he remembered my cue to lower slow and controlled. After a couple of sets he tells me that the difference in how much more difficult the step-ups are because of this is extraordinary. He also noted that after the session 2 weeks ago he felt it made a big difference in how his legs were getting bigger and stronger (spoiler alert: he’s correct).

Now I’ve been in a lot of gyms over the years and I can tell you I’ve seen some really poorly performed exercises. And the step-up is certainly one of them. Nearly ever time I see it performed, the person is stepping up and then…. smack! That’s the sound of their foot contacting the floor. They plop right back down. No control. No slowing down. And you know what? It’s why they aren’t getting any stronger too. That 1 second fall to the floor as opposed to a 3 second slowed descent to the rubber is all the difference.

The last 2 percent.

Now how about nutrition? What’s the tie in with the whole “game of inches” when it comes to diet? Well this kind of coat tails off of the last post I put up regarding the difference between intensity and consistency where I explained that someone who puts in decent effort over the long haul will have much better results than someone who “kills it” for a few weeks, then wears out and reverts back to poor eating and exercising habits before “killing it” again a couple of months down the road. I could get deeper into that, but I already have so I’ll move on. The way I see that last little bit of effort with nutrition is all over the place. It could be not having that last bite of food on your plate “because it’s there” when you’re already satisfied. It could be opting to use spices on your chicken as opposed to slathering it in sugar-laden BBQ sauce. Maybe it’s ordering a 6 oz filet instead of the 8 oz.

Now none of these things seems like a big deal. I mean, what’s the big deal with an extra 2 oz. of steak? It’s only about 150 calories or so. And so what if you have 50 or 60 calories coming from BBQ sauce as opposed to 0 from the spices? Who cares if you finish off the last bite on your plate? It’s only 1 bite!

The last 2 percent.

The devil is in the details…. done consistently over time. Is anybody else seeing a pattern with these blogs lately or is it just me?

Til next week!