{Guest Post} Finding a Training Program is like Finding the Perfect Jeans

Here is another fantastic guest post for you all today! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Thanks again, Susie!

Hello, hello, all of Heather’s lovely readers! For those of you who do not know me, I am Susie, and I spread glad tidings of warmth and nonsense over at Suzlyfe.com. I adore Heather’s blog–unlike myself, she actually offers informative advice as well as a covet-worthy lifestyle and maybe the best domestic skills ever. (I dream big dreams, then I regift). Regardless, I am glad to have your ears and eyes for the moment, and I hope that you don’t retaliate against Heather when she returns!


In my opinion, I think that there are 4 experiences in life that truly teach adaptability, patience, and perspective in a manner unparalleled by anything else: planning a wedding, having children, training for a marathon/other really really big physical life goal, and finding the perfect pair of pants. I can speak to 3 of the 4, but for the purposes of this discussion, we are going to hone in on the last two.

In my mind, training plans are like jeans. One Size Fits All does NOT apply here!

training plans and jeans- one size does not fit all

I have a perfectly decent body–I am 5’5″, slim, well shaped and muscular. You would think that it would be easy for me to find a good pair of trousers. YOU WOULD BE WRONG. I am a nearly impossible fit. The brands that everyone loves? They don’t fit. Believe me, I’ve tried. And even when I find a pair that works, 99.9% of the time, they have to be altered. And if I try to purchase the exact same pair 6 months later? They likely won’t fit. Something will be different.

Finding a training plan follows the same thought process. I am a runner, currently training for my 2nd marathon. I am also a yogi, a lifter, and a former horseback rider. So on the surface, I should be easy to fit. But like my thicker-than-average-for-my-size waist, there is one outstanding factor– that makes me a difficult fit.: I have a chronic illness that prevents my body from rebounding as quickly or optimally as I would like. Consequently, I have learned quickly that flexibility and adaptability, both mentally as well as physically, are critical to training plans.

Training pushes us all to our limits–pushing out bodies to trigger an adaptation response. But the wrong plan will push too hard, too far, for us to rebound as the training plan dictates. Just like trying on a pair of pants that are two tight–pushing ourselves too hard, too far, before we are ready is only going to result in not being able to walk properly.

So what if you go up a size, change styles?

Like the perfect jeans, the right plan lifts, tucks, stretches, holds, and likely needs altering from its original state. And even when you find the right fit/get it tailored, there are going to be days (cough a certain week) when even your perfect jeans won’t fit. There are going to be days when you wake up and it just isn’t there. Something isn’t firing, isn’t clicking. Does that mean you failed? Nope. Just means you need to wear another pair, a more relaxed pair, of pants for the day. Your go-tos will be waiting for you when you get back.

The moral of the story? You are going to have a bunch of failures before you have that epic success, and you might need to change it to make it yours. And there will be days when things just aren’t right. Don’t force it–use those days to regroup, refocus, and reengage.

Health and fitness is personal. There is no one-size-fits-all. Find what works for you, trendy or not.

I am a NASM Certified Personal Trainer. I am not, however, YOUR fitness professional. Therefore, please regard the following statements as opinion backed up by fact and reason, but be sure to draw your own conclusions and consult a medical or sports professional on a personal basis before beginning or altering any programs.

Where do you find your training plans? Will you alter them or do you have to stick to them?

How many of you have a hard time finding jeans, too?

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  1. Good analogy Suzy! I never would have thought of it like that, but its true. I guess my coach bought me a pair of stretchy jeans as I tend to just follow what he sets, and it seems to work for me 🙂 It doesn’t change that much year to year though.
    Tina Muir recently posted…Elite Athlete Eats: First and only WIAWMy Profile

  2. Great post Suzy! I enjoy a variety of different exercises which is sometimes hard to fit in all of them but sometimes I focus on weightlifting and other days I just need a good yoga session.
    Alicia K recently posted…Some Facts About MeMy Profile

  3. Great post! I am training for my second marathon now, and I am trying to find the best plan for me and I’m having some trouble.
    Becky recently posted…Week of Fitness 2/24-3/2/2014My Profile

  4. OK – you are wayyy better at the whole analogy thing than I am! : )
    Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie recently posted…Workout Wednesday: PiYo ChallengeMy Profile

  5. Love this analogy! When starting a training plan, I use to start with a plan { a very broad plan } then if I wasn’t seeing progress, change something up. Honestly now, I don’t do plans. I know what I’m capable of, and I know how to get there and what my body needs me to do. So I just kind of go with the flow. Like the Spartan Race coming up in October, the only thing I’ve changed is the fact that I added pull ups into my workouts. I mean, I’m going to have to pull myself up and over things, so I should be able to do that haha. But otherwise, all my weight lifting and run sessions are all the same. And don’t get me started on jeans haha I don’t even own a pair….
    Chelsea @ A Fit LittleOne recently posted…Protein Pancake Obsessed { Thinking Out Loud #20 & Healthy Habits }My Profile

    • Well then you just need to keep shopping, haha. I can’t imagine all the different things going into training for a Spartan Race. I love how you say that you know what you are capable of (meaning you are not reaching beyond your means but you know that you can push yourself); you know how to get there and how to get it out of your body. That really is an amazing gift!
      Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Work Hard, Stay Humble, Be Social– Thinking Out LoudMy Profile

      • Yeah I do, haha I’m actually really hoping to find some this fall *crossing my fingers*! And thank you! I actually never thought of it that way, but while I was running today this post made me think about how in tune I’ve become with my body. I’m not as afraid to try new things now, because I do truly know what my body is capable of, and surprisingly, our bodies are capable of so much! So I truly encourage everyone to become in tune. It’s such a great feeling 🙂
        Chelsea @ A Fit LittleOne recently posted…Protein Pancake Obsessed { Thinking Out Loud #20 & Healthy Habits }My Profile

  6. And this is my new favorite analogy for training plans hahaha. It’s so true. Any plan I find to try i have to tweak to fit my necessary running requirements (namely running no more than 4 days a week), which can be next to impossible for some, but I actually think that’s a good thing. One less plan from me to have to decide between 😉
    Caitlin recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #25My Profile

  7. Great analogy Susie and awesome guest post (I expected nothing less!) xo
    Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles recently posted…Keeping it in perspectiveMy Profile

  8. Suzlyfe's mommy, Clare says:

    Great advice, Suze!
    I have days when my jeans fit in the morning and, by evening, they don’t.
    My fitness level changes on a daily basis, like my jeans, and I refuse to wear 100% lycra jeans everyday.
    So, I just have the same pair of jeans in 4 or 5 different sizes. No one can tell…….I hope

  9. I got a big boooty and cyclist thighs so finding jeans is also hard for me! I also agree with training plans (:
    Hayley@healthyregardshayley recently posted…My Vision and Goals.My Profile


  1. […] in blog challenges (here is why), and I train myself. I wrote a post on a similar subject as a guest post for Heather a while back, and I think that it does a good job of explaining my need for flexibility in what you […]

  2. […] in blog challenges (here is why), and I train myself. I wrote a post on a similar subject as a guest post for Heather a while back, and I think that it does a good job of explaining my need for flexibility in what you […]