Mise en Place
As some of you may know, I had the privilege to visit Paris last month. It was my first time there and I really didn’t know what to expect.
I never know who to trust about travel because I find that a lot of people tend to travel a little differently than I do. I never do tours, I don’t really take pictures of anything, and I rarely care that much about seeing the “sights” (unless historically significant). I travel to experience what life would be like if I resided in that place full time. Which means I go to eat.
Paris is a marvel.
It immediately rewarded my curiosity like few places before. I like to wander through a city and get slightly lost, only to butcher the native language in my attempt to get home. I love the feeling of struggle when ordering a coffee or navigating the winding alleyways of some forgotten neighborhood that has street signs older than my neighborhood.
I adore when the familiar feels strange. The howl of French police sirens or the constant murmur from the hundreds of Vespas and small motorcycles buzzing around like a cacophony of bees, racing past you to their hive. Sounds that in New York can feel menacing and claustrophobic instead feel like gentle announcements of their fleeting moment in your presence.
The labyrinth of tiny, constantly intersecting streets of La Marais (the neighborhood we stayed in) never failed to expose new treasures around each bend. The parade of tiny shops, bakeries, cafes, and art galleries was baffling.
Like New York, Paris can be a bit intimidating to eat in just for the sheer volume of restaurants. Luckily, Sarah works for a Parisian company so we had some great recommendations as well as from friends and clients of mine and had many memorable meals (and lots of bread).
One thing that struck me about Paris is the pride taken in every bit of work that someone engaged in. From the baker that pumps out hundreds of perfect baguettes and beautiful pastries daily to the street cleaners who walked the alleys with pressure washers to scrub the streets and sidewalks, everyone paid great attention to detail.
The French are better known for their approach to leisure but even that is done impeccably. Sitting at a brasserie or cafe and watching strangers is done with such fervor one might forget that it is recreation and not their actual occupation.
Which brings me to the title of this post: Mise en Place.
Mise en place is a term I first heard working in restaurants. Simply translated it just means “everything in it’s place”. In cooking the idea is that if you have all of your ingredients prepared and in their proper place you can move more efficiently.
What a great concept to apply to life, and fitness.
Maybe the keys to success lie in preparation. Maybe if we are all a little more prepared to succeed we wouldn’t be flustered when those chances arise.
Nutrition is the simplest and most straightforward example of this.
Want to lose weight? You need to be in a caloric deficit. Whats the best way to ensure that? Weigh, measure, and cook your own food to know exactly what you are eating. Even better, prepare it ahead of time to ensure that you aren’t caught off guard by interruptions. While this can seem restrictive from the outset, by taking away the stress of making proper last minute decisions you are actually freeing yourself instead.
In training, having a plan in place is paramount to success. Whether your goals are increased strength or muscle, losing fat, or improving technical prowess you must have a roadmap. Continued, measurable progress is what is most important and you can’t have that without structure.
Hiring an experienced Coach can take away the worry of programming and allow you the freedom to do what you want to do, which is train.
I have found that increasing my preparedness in as many aspects of life as I can has dramatically decreased my anxiety over daily tasks. I try to write out weekly to do lists and if I have a particularly busy day ahead, a daily one.
As I check off boxes I feel a sense of accomplishment and often realize that my momentous tasks aren’t actually that grand. I’ve been amazed that taking ten minutes the night before can reduce so much stress from my daily life.
Interestingly enough, the Johnston Family Motto is “Nunquam Non Paratus” or never not prepared. Which means someone in my family figured this out in the late 13th century and it took me a trip to Paris at 38 years old.
So here is my challenge to you: Start small. This week I want you to put 3 items down each night that you need to achieve the next day. Could be prepping meals, or a new PR, or having coffee with a colleague. Then come back and let me know how you felt. I’m willing to bet that at least part of your days get a little easier.
If one of your goals is improving your fitness and nutrition but you don’t know where to begin, follow me on social media for tips and tricks.
For the best results contact me about my 1:1 online coaching.