In part two of our blog series we outlined the steps on how to set up a successful program and the main things that need to be addressed in order to set that up properly. In this blog we are going to offer our suggestions on how to set and maintain the program and momentum towards your goal.
Step #1 - Write it down
Have you ever heard the term “seeing is believing”? Well how many times has it happened in our lives. Let’s use it to our advantage. Every time I start a program with a new client, or one of my current clients’ needs to re-assess, I always ask them to write down 3 days worth of eating habits and their workout schedule. Everyone is always surprised that they were eating so much, or too much of that, in some cases not enough, or they haven’t been doing their leg workout. I use the same approach when I think about goals. You won’t see me or your trainer every day, maybe you do not have one, but you can see your own writing everyday if you purposely place it in the right place.
I suggest you write down primarily your main goal (run a marathon, loose those last 5 pounds, get into my favorite outfit), and your total number of workouts goal. Whether you are a structure person or not I suggest you get a calendar, write that goal at the top of every month, then add when those workouts going to happen (dates, days). Then add the workouts totals for the weeks, and then the month. This alone will make it less likely that you will fall behind, the road to big success is a series of small steps.
Last but not least on the write it down list, FOOD. Yes, write it down. Not only will this keep you from overeating or undereating, but is the only way to quantify what works for you. Not only for the sake of losing weight, appearance, performance, etc., but what works for you in the sense that by you knowing this, you will be able to enjoy those moments of reward with more ease and pleasure, but, possibly and hopefully, more mindfully.
Step #2 - Measure it and track it- keep yourself honest
Yes, you have to face the scale, tape measure, body calipers, etc., yes, you should track your workouts time, sets, reps, intensity. Whether you want to gain or lose weight, improve body composition, increase or reduce girth on a specific area, you name it, you want to quantify the process. Why? Well think of it as your fitness recipe. If it fails, or it doesn’t quite get there, you will now have a frame of data and reference, so you can adjust or just plain avoid in the search for better results. If your program is a success, you will have the data to repeat the process that will get you to that goal.
Step #3 - Community and Culture
Besides one’s personal drive, one of the most efficient ways and one of the most important details to keep any sort of commitment or goal is to have a community. Sharing with the people that care the most about you what you strive to do, what you strive to become, is a great way to hold yourself accountable. The people that care the most about you are the ones that will say “are you supposed to be eating that?!”, “you are going to the gym, aren’t you?!”, “you are doing a great job, I am very proud of you!”. The other community that one should cultivate is the like-minded community. Been surrounded by people that value and relate to your goals, struggles, successes, etc., is a very powerful and motivational asset.
Step #4 - Be Balanced
This is one of the most overlooked details in a training program. It is necessary to make the proper sacrifices to achieve anything special and meaningful in life. Those sacrifices though, need to be in line not only with your goals but your life. You want to be able to still have family and friend time, still be productive at work, have that weekly “ME” time. You may have to do a self-assessment and look for times that you spend doing things that are not so beneficial for you and/or not in line with your new goal, and use that time, sacrifice that space. By taking this approach and being balanced not only are you less likely to be unsuccessful or to quit since you are less likely to overextend yourself, but it will also force you to look at the bigger picture. What is really important to you will have its place, now your health and fitness will have its opportunity to become part of that big picture and have its own place.
Step #5 - Enjoy the process
The future is not a gift, but an achievement. Motivational speaker Eric Thomas says, “you have to be able to sacrifice who you are for who you want to become”. You have to look forward to that new you, to that new life. But, it will not come to you or just happen, you have to make it happen, you can achieve your new you.
I know this is not your typical “Stepping into summer” article or series of articles, but, this is our philosophy, thus we strive for change and achievements that have benefits that extend further than a few months or achieve something more than just a good picture, instead we strive for “A Way of Life”.