Episode 19 - The Shit Show that was 2021

The Shit Show that was 2021

What a year! 

This episode is not my usual practical triathlon nutrition advice. This one is much more personal. I’ve called it the shit show that was 2021 because it definitely has been carnage. 

There’s been highs and lows and this episode takes you behind the scenes of Dietitian Approved and the Triathlon Nutrition Academy to reflect on the year that was 2021. The big lessons I’ve learnt in business but also personally. It also gives you some insight into what we've got planned for 2022 and beyond (after a break to reset!)

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Episode Transcription

Episode 19 - The Shit Show that was 2021

Welcome to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast, the show designed to serve you up evidence-based sports nutrition advice from the experts. Hi, I'm your host Taryn, Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Advanced Sports Dietitian, and founder of Dietitian Approved. Listen as I break down the latest evidence to give you practical, easy to digest strategies to train hard, recover faster and perform at your best. You have so much potential, and I want to help you unlock that with the power of nutrition. Let's get into it.

Welcome to the second last episode of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast for 2021. I've called it the shit show that was 2021 because well, basically that's what it's been. It took me a while to sit down and record this episode actually. It took me weeks to remember all the things that have happened. This episode's not going to be my usual sports nutrition, practical, evidence-based advice for you. This one's definitely more personal. But I want to take you behind the scenes a little bit at Dietitian Approved and the Triathlon Nutrition Academy and just give you some insight into what's been happening. Also, the lessons that I've learned for the year, maybe some of that will help with your journey too. So, I hope you enjoy it.

Does anyone else feel like Christmas started really early this year? Come the first of November, people had their trees up. I saw people wearing Christmas earrings and crazy head decorations on Instagram. I've seen kids wearing Christmas outfits in November. I don't know like I'm in two minds. Like I don't think we should spread Christmas across like three months. But also, I think it's just a testament to the fact that people are done with the year and are ready for Christmas. So why not start the celebrations early? I for one am looking forward to a really good break this Christmas. We haven't had a holiday all year and that's one of the things that I'm going to talk about with what I've learnt. But I've really enjoyed seeing the Christmas spirit come early because I feel like people are starting to relax and wind down earlier this year than the usual massive Christmas rush that happens all the way up to the day before Christmas.

Now I'm not going to go and dig up all the negative shitstorm that happened this year. Not because I don't care but just really because I don't think we need any more negativity in the world. And I for one don't need to rehash it. I'd rather stay positive. But I just want to recognise that so many people have had a tough year. Like in our triathlon world, lockdowns continued, all of our races kept getting postponed or cancelled. There was so much uncertainty about what was going on, which is really difficult when you're trying to train for, say, an Ironman, and you do a 20 week build and then the week before or two weeks before your race gets rescheduled. And so that can be really quite challenging for a lot of people, including the people that have families or work commitments. So I just wanted to put that out there in the world that hopefully 2022 is on the way up and we can go about living normal lives without the uncertainty of what's happening with events.

A couple of highlights for me for the year were definitely the Olympics. I know it was a bit controversial that it went ahead. But hey, it provided a great distraction. It banded the country together. And for triathlon, it was our debut of the mixed team relay, which is pretty cool. And I personally got to work with some of the athletes that were over in the Olympics this year. Not in their Olympic lead-up, but in the past. And so it was so exciting for me to see people that I knew, toe the start line on the world stage. Like how cool is that? So that was definitely a highlight for me.

Personally from a business perspective, I launched the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program, which I've been trying to do for years. COVID was a definite handbrake in that, but yeah, I'm so pumped that 2021 was the year that that got out into the world. I also launched this podcast, which is pretty cool. I have always thought about doing a podcast and I love listening to them because when your time-poor, you can plug it in your ears and whatever you're doing driving, walking the dogs, going for a ride sitting on the wind trainer put one ear in. It transports you to a different world. And so you can do some education and learn new things while you can still use your hands. For me, that's a win-win.

The other really cool thing that happened this year was Dietitian Approved turned six, like I cannot believe that my business is six years old. I feel like time has flown. I still don't know what I'm doing. Fake it till you make it but it's nice to have a few years under the belt now and have really clear direction around where I'm going and what I want to achieve. I just need the time and capacity to achieve it. So those are definitely my like personal business type of highlights for 2021 and I don't want all of the negativity of the year to overshadow those things.

So I want to go through with you some of the things that I learnt this year. Number one, and I probably learned this in 2020, as well when COVID first hit, but exercise is such a huge part of my life. I realised that I'm a social type of exerciser as well. So like triathlon training in a group or going to a gym and doing a small group PT class. That type of social exercise, is the type of exercise that I love. And I didn't enjoy having to self-pace things at home, going for solo runs all the time. Doing home exercises, you know, like home Pilates programmes and stuff, I really don't enjoy that. And that was one of the things that I really learnt probably in 2020, but also 2021 that I really need to prioritise, doing the type of exercise that brings me joy, keeps me sane, and is my stress release in a social sort of setting because I'm a total extrovert.

I'm not particularly introverted. I don't even know if I have an introverted bone in my body. And so that was one of the biggest things I learnt. So I don't know if you learnt anything around that as well with the type of exercise that you really enjoy. We were forced to not train in groups or do lots of wind trainer sessions on the bike at home. You might have discovered Zwift for the first time and gone; this is the best thing ever. Or you might realise that you hate doing the wind trainer stuff inside on your own, and you really work better in a group. So that was definitely one of the key things I've learned over probably the last two years.

The second big thing that I learned is that we really need to schedule breaks ahead of time. I've said this a few times. But we didn't take a break at all in 2021. Like no holidays, we did one weekend away. And it wasn't even a long weekend. It was just a night. It wasn't a long weekend; we went to the beach for a weekend. And that was it. My husband has worked every single day this year, including some of the public holidays, so he's just nuts. But previously, I would schedule breaks in well ahead of time. When I worked in the hospitals, I had my whole annual leave calendar mapped out for the next 12 to 18 months because there wasn't much flexibility.

So I know that that works well. But it wasn't something that we did in 2021. It was very unusual to not have a break. And as a result, I pretty much hit a wall after the launch of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program. I was absolutely exhausted. And it was really hard to pull myself out of that because most of my life is pretty high paced. There's not a lot of stop and sit and relax. Some by choice and some not by choice. But I know that for me to be a good practitioner and be a good parent and be a good partner, I need to take a break. And so next year, I've already printed out the calendar for 2022, where all the school holidays are so that we can avoid going on holidays in them. Where all the public holidays are so we can maximise the time away. We're going to actually spend this Christmas break mapping out holidays for next year so that this year doesn't repeat itself because it doesn't end well for us.

Another big key thing that I learnt or kind of experienced, I knew that it was a thing, but I guess I experienced it a bit more firsthand this year was that if I'm going to put myself out there, you know, my face is on the internet, as much as I don't like it, it's there, I really need to develop a thicker skin. And I'm pretty thick skinned I would think but still pretty sensitive. I call myself a cream egg, tough exterior but gooey on the inside. Because one of the things that happened this year was, I did an unbiased evidence-based review of a particular supplement. And I talked about it being the sprinkles on the icing of the cake, which is something I talk about all the time that we need to put in our nutritional foundations first before we start playing with those high-end supplements. And then the types of things that we're looking for in terms of evidence when it comes to supplements. We want to be taking the stuff that is proven to work, is safe, is effective, right?

So I was cyberbullied by this company, and they threatened legal action if I didn't take it down. Now that's not the nicest thing to go through and experience. It's still happening actually. And I sought legal advice and spoke to my association, and they were like you're just being bullied, you just need to chill. Don't stress about it. There's nothing they can do, which is you know, that's fine. But it was actually, it's still quite stressful to deal with that. So I had a month or two of really high stress not sleeping, worried about that because I like to do things right. I like to follow the rules.

That's why I like evidence-based nutrition. There are clear guidelines of Hey, this works. This doesn't work. There's a bit of grey. There's applying those guidelines in practice and having the skills and the knowledge to individualise something, but really if there's no evidence for something, then I'm not going to recommend it. And I'm quite comfortable saying that as well. It's actually also one of the highest visited pages on my website. And I've been emailed by a complete stranger thanking me for giving such an unbiased, logical, researched conclusion to a product, just factual information. So I'm really in two minds about it as well, like I would love to have not been bullied through that online and gone through that stress. But at the end of the day, I need to have a thicker skin and if I'm going to put that stuff out there, then I'm going to have to not stress as it comes back.

I've actually never been trolled online, but I know that it happens, and I know it happens a lot to dieticians as well. That's one of the things that happened. I've never actually talked about it with anyone that doesn't know me really closely. But one of the biggest things that I'd actually repressed that happened in 2021. It took me a while to actually remember that that happened because I really dug that down deep and tried not to think about it.

The other crazy thing that I learnt was that social media can be used for good. I definitely have a love hate relationship with social media. I'm the type of person that on the weekend, I delete the app, and I don't log into it. I also delete the Mail app often on my phone because I'm not the type of person that enjoys being tied to my phone or being tied to being constantly contacted. It's really hard having an online business and that happening. That's why I've got Leslie actually, she's my gatekeeper because I am so much better with some space to think and be creative, and to create good content for you guys than being constantly berated by emails and social messages and stuff like that, like, don't get me wrong.

I love talking to people on Instagram DM and stuff. But I kind of draw the line when people start asking for advice in messages too. So it's just about boundaries that I've created over the years. And I've learnt that the hard way as well. But I use the social media for business, I definitely don't have personal accounts. You have to have a personal Facebook account to have a business account. But I don't use it. Like I have one, people friend request me and I check it like once a year. And it's like somebody wants to be a friend like 40 weeks ago, and I'm like whoops sorry.

It is also very addictive. Like I can grab my phone, to go to use the calculator to do something for a meal plan or sweat testing, or whatever it is, or check the rain radar to see if rains coming. And I've unconsciously opened the Instagram app and started watching stories before I've even realised, it's just nuts. But I feel like it's a necessary evil in a way. But this year, it was used for good. We had our car stolen at the beginning of the year. I think in March, they broke in stole the keys and stole the car. And so we woke up to having our car missing, wallets missing. All those sorts of things. But what I did was I posted it straightaway onto social media. And it got shared so far, it's not funny. It's like the first time I've ever gone viral.

And it was found that day, thanks to the power of social media. It got shared so far that somebody sent me a message and was like hang on a minute. I've seen that car parked off the road in a really obscure place and sent me a message. So good, so good. So social media can be used for good. It took us about three months to actually get the car back after that. The mechanic or whoever had it, I think they just dicked around for like three months because they must get paid for how many days, they have it. But anyway, thanks to Instagram, we found it and we got it back. We were just without a car for about three months.

The other big thing I've learned this year is that you need to make sure you get council approval to use the park for sweat testing. Again, not something I've ever talked about with anyone that is not really close to me because I like to follow the rules and do things right. I've looked into it. If you have less than 10 people, you can use parkland for commercial reasons. The only information on the internet is about personal training and I'm not doing group training; we're doing sweat testing. Anyway, so somebody actually called the cops on me at a sweat testing session this year because they thought I was being dodgy because I've got syringes that the sweat patch goes into, just to wait for me to analyse it. And people kind of ducking in and out of the toilets and stuff. So like, sure, if you had no idea what was going on, it might look a bit dodgy.

I don't really think I look like a dodgy type of character, though. I had my work shirt on, like, we had a great time everyone was happy. I don't think it looks like people are shooting up in the toilets. But anyway, someone called the cops on me because they thought I was being dodgy and involved in illegal activity in the park. And the cops didn't arrive. And I didn't actually find out about it until way after like, that person didn't come up and say, Hey, like, what are you doing? It was just a sly photo, maybe when I went to go to the toilet or put the stuff in the rubbish bin. And it wasn't until Council followed me up later that they were like, What are you doing? I'm like, dude, nothing. It's all good. It's all chill.

So if you are out there and want to use the park for a commercial reason, just make sure you get council approval. It's all good.

So there's a few things that I've learned this year, I've learned so many other things, but they were the big ones. And maybe I've repressed some of the smaller things and so I can't actually think of them. It's taken me a few weeks to kind of remember everything and dig it up again. But they're the main things that happened in 2021, some definite highs and some definite lows. And I'm really looking forward to 2022 being a fresh year. And I've never really felt like that before.

I'm not a New Year's resolution type person. I like to enjoy each day as it comes, I try not to wish time away because it just goes so fast. But I am actually really looking forward to 2022. So some of the things that I'm going to do in 2022, I'm going to let you in on a little bit of an insider secret about what the plans are. And we'll see what life throws at us next year.

So the biggest thing that I'm going to do is finesse the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program and really just focus on continuing to support my athletes that are in there, in their quest to be the best triathletes they can be. Helping them to unlock their true potential with the power of nutrition. So that's my sole focus for next year. The doors will open again, at the end of January, once I've had a chance to reset and relax and get my brain fully functional. And everyone's had a chance to come back from their Christmas holidays as well.

So if you're interested in joining the Triathlon Nutrition Academy next year, then definitely join the waitlist, I'll put the link in the show notes. Or you can jump on to dietitianapproved.com/academy if you want to go and check it out. Because there'll be a special bonus for those people that are on the waitlist and join next year too if you're interested.

On the cards next year, I'm also going to go deeper into this wonderful world of podcasting. I've got no idea what I'm doing, I don't know if you can tell. I have an amazing media production company that help me with editing. And next year, I'm looking forward to them helping maybe with a bit more of a strategy of how to actually do it. I've just been winging it, which is fun. And I love doing it. But maybe there's some things that I can do a bit better, and help you actually get the information that you want to know.

So if there's any requests, let me know, send me an email, you can drop me an Insta DM. I'm not going to check it over Christmas, though. So I'll get back to you in January that app is being deleted off my phone but send me an email. I'll pop the link to email me in the show notes or you can put through a contact request form on the website as well.

The other big rock that I'm going to work on for 2022, is really just fine-tuning the package offerings that I've got for new clients. There are three packages. And it's the only way to see me one on one to start with. I've worked for years in private practice. And what I found was the people that just had one consultation or two consultations, look, they probably don't get results because they don't have that accountability and support long term. There's little that can be achieved in one consultation as well. So over the years with what I've experienced, I know that packages work because you're committed, and I'm committed to helping you too. And sometimes you need to commit to yourself to actually get what you need. You might think you need something, and I'll help you with that. But there's also things that you don't even know you need until I’ve told you about them.

So if interested in working with me one on one for 2022 I'm booked out for 2021, that's it doors are shut. There's no space! But 2022, if you do want to work one on one with a sports dietitian, then get in contact before the holidays, because January's almost booked out, it's already booked out to the 18th, I think. And so for people that come back from holidays and are like ready, and motivated and excited to improve their health and fitness this year, then you've got to wait for a couple of weeks to see a dietitian. So if it's something you're thinking about, and you want to get started straightaway, then get in contact before the end of the year to lock it in.

So to check out those three package offerings, you can head to the website dietitianapproved.com and click on 'work with us', you'll see those three options that I offer, and see if one of them fits with what you need. So they are the three main things that I'm focusing my attention on next year. Really supporting the Triathlon Nutrition Academy athletes, that's kind of my priority, along with my one-on-one clients, just making sure everyone's got what they need. My sole focus is going to support those people working with me. Side project is getting this podcast to grow and me learning how to actually do this well.

I'm just a hack at this point. But loving it. It's like the coolest thing ever. I can't believe I have a podcast. So like I said in the beginning, this is our second last episode for the year. Next week, I'm going to drop a few tips to help you manage the silly season. It's not a you have to go on a diet, you can't eat cake, you can't drink type episode, just getting you to start to think about how you're going to manage the craziness so that you don't turn up on my doorstep in January, having gained five kilos and all of your restraints gone out the window. And you feel disgusting. That's not what I want for you. So check back in next week. And I'll give you some of those tips for managing the silly season from a dietitian but with balance. I'm not about to say you can't drink or you can't eat your pavlova, but just some things to think about in the back of your mind, even if it subconsciously helps.

Then after that, I'm tapping out. I am putting the email autoresponder on. I'm deleting social media off my phone; I'm not going to check anything. And I'm so excited. I can't wait for that. Is that bad? But I plan on going to the beach and hanging out with the fam bam and just trying to really relax and reset. Because I'm tired. I've never really felt like this before. I don't think I'm burnt out. I don't actually really know what burnout feels like because I've never experienced it. I am definitely motivated, and I can get out of bed every morning and go and train the house down. My training is actually killing it at the moment. Just a side note. I don't think I'm burnt out, but I think I'm just tired.

So I'm really looking forward to relaxing and resetting, getting some vitamin D and reading a book or two. I haven't read a book for two years. And I love reading. So I'm looking forward to doing that. If you've got any good book recommendations, send me a message. I'm going to start collecting a list and we'll see how many I can get through in a month.

Alright, so that's 2021 in review. A little bit of a different episode to usual but a little bit of behind the scenes at Dietitian Approved and the Triathlon Nutrition Academy and what the plans are for 2022. So I'll see you next week where I'm going to give you some strategies to manage the festive season and then after that, we'll be back in 2022!

Thanks for joining me for this episode of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions or want to share with me what you've learned. Email me at [email protected]. You could also spread the word by leaving me a review and taking a screenshot of you listening to the show. Don't forget to tag me on social media at @dietitian.approved so I can give you a shout out too. If you want to learn more about what we do, head to dietitianapproved.com. And if you want to learn more about the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program, head to dietitianapproved.com/academy. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to helping you smash it in the fourth leg - nutrition!

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