6 THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN EMBARKING ON THE ROAD TO YOUR FITNESS GOALS
THE PROCESS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE RESULT
“How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top”
More often than not, people want to give up shortly after they begin because results don’t come overnight. Actually, many people complain so much, you’d think that they were expecting 6 months worth of results 10 days before they even started!
The amazing thing though, is how many of these exact same people embrace that “all or nothing” attitude, the second they see improvements. Although its very important to set an end goal, sometimes getting that first sign of improvement can be way more instrumental to your success than just setting long term goals.
The process is always more important than the result. Stop thinking about the perfect day to start, or how hard the climb will be. Instead, building momentum through the “little victories” can get you to the finish line a lot easier. Sometimes its just a matter of knowing how much better you can be tomorrow than you were today.
BE BRUTALLY HONEST WITH YOURSELF
I believe that though self-belief and determination can be useful tools, they can also be doubled-edged swords. I still find myself sometimes setting “too-lofty” goals than can bite me in the ass. The difference though, is that having been down this road so many times, I know how to pick myself up. I tell myself that maybe I was a little too overzealous in my goal setting.
In todays social-media driven world, its hard not to be constantly surrounded by amazing stories. Whether its about losing 80lbs in a year, or about the person who ran a race on one leg, we are constantly reminded of what can be done. Don’t get me wrong, I have (and so should everyone) the outmost respect and appreciation to these amazing individuals, but they shouldn’t be the benchmarks for which we set our own success. Just because someone else did it doesn’t mean we should be using that same timeframe as our own goal. Comparing yourself to others and disregarding such factors as age, genetics, and other determining factors can only set you up for failure.
When setting your long term and short-term goals, it’s important to be brutally honest with yourself. Here are a few things you can do.
Look at your schedule – how many hours can you commit to training per week. Remember, if it’s a priority, you will make the time, but don’t think that training 3 hours a night will get you closer to your goals.
-Don’t get frustrated if your weekly weight loss starts to dip lower and lower after a substantial amount in the first 1-3 weeks. Often times, when changing the way you eat (for the better), the initial weight lost is often attributed to water weight due to the restricted sodium in your diet causing your body to shed that retained water.
A good target should be 1-2 pounds a week, which ensures that you are losing body fat, and not muscle mass.
PREPARATION IS KEY.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”
Now, maybe Benjamin Franklin wasn’t directly referring to meal prep, but he does make a great point. People don’t realize just how important this step is and not taking those few hours a week to prepare can set you back both physically and financially. I’ve prepared a comprehensive list of what you can do to make sure you succeed at meal prep. Ready? Ok here goes:
- Buy your food for the week (Brutal, I know)
- Take 2-4 hours of your week (1.2 -2.4 % of your week…so time consuming, right?)
- Prepare the food you bought. (Really? cook?)
Rocket science isn’t it?
Ok, so if you haven’t caught on to the sarcasm yet, you do now. ITS NOT HARD PEOPLE!
Why do I stress this so much when meeting or talking to new members and clients? Having your food does more than just prepare you for the week ahead. It builds momentum – especially for those who have a hard time adhering to a new meal plan. Like I mentioned above, the little improvements you achieve during your day, week and month all build momentum and help you on your journey. Having your meals ready for you to eat every 2-3 hours boosts your metabolism, and also make it easier to not order out, saving you money, and keeping you from derailing and making it harder to get back on track.
VARIETY IS KEY
The thing I hear most when writing meal plans is “Do I have to eat that EVERY single day?!” to which I almost always jokingly reply yes! Ok you don’t. I get it though. There’s only so much dry chicken breast a person can eat before going crazy!
It’s easy to understand why many people get discouraged with strict meal plans and not want to begin at all. As a teenager and young adult I spent most of my free time reading bodybuilding magazines with these genetic beasts explaining what they ate on a daily basis. The problem with those diets and the people giving them is that these people are professionals – they eat that way to win bodybuilding shows, which is how they pay their bills.
Use the 90/10 Rule if you are having a hard time with your eating. That is, follow each meal at 90% and allow for 10% leeway. I explain to my clients that if they have a hard time eating chicken breast because they find it too dry, that they can add some hummus, BBQ or a little hot sauce. I understand that you cant really measure exactly what 10% is when eating food, but it basically means you’re better off eating the chicken breast or whatever it is you’re having a hard time with, along with some sauce or dip than to skip the meal altogether. Whatever you do, do not skip meals! You’re body’s metabolism is like a fire. Just like a fire needs wood to keep it burning, expect your body’s metabolism to fizzle as well if you don’t feed it every 2-3 hours.
GIVE YOURSELF A CHEAT MEAL OR TWO (NOT DAY)!!
After a whole week of downing 3-4 chicken breasts a day, you deserve a reward!
The tricky part can be learning to control those cheat days. I can write a whole blog on itself on human behavior and how people treat their cheat meals differently. For the sake of those reading, though, ill try to keep it short.
Depending on your age, genetics, and current body fat, the amount of cheat meals you can have may vary. Age has a huge impact on your metabolism. Having a Big Mac at 18 will have a different effect on your body than having the same at 40. The older we get, the slower our metabolisms are, which means the harder we have to train to burn off those same calories. Sucks doesn’t it?
Secondly, someone who is a competitive athlete or bodybuilder may find that 2, sometimes 3 cheat meals a week is better than just having 1 since two cheat meals will give them more energy (due the spike in calories), but also prevents their body from looking flat (more so for a bodybuilder) and the added simple carbs can help their muscles look fuller.
However, if you are just starting out and are at 25% body fat or more (male) or 30% or more (female), you may want to limit yourself to 1 a week, until you bring it down a little.
When you start to have more than those 1-2 cheat meals a week and start your cheat day at 12am to 11:59pm (as I used to do – more on that some other time), you rob yourself of all the hard work you put in, and are only taking 1 step forward to take 2 steps back.
If you’re going to cheat, try to keep it to one meal a week. Also, try not to eat as if its your last meal on this earth. Be reasonable. Enjoy yourself, but don’t go overboard.
ANY WORKOUT IS BETTER THAN NO WORKOUT.
Your mind will believe whatever you tell it to. So, if you’re stuck in traffic and tell yourself that you’ll only have 30 or 40 min to train, and that you’re better off just skipping today because you’ll never get a good workout anyway, then guess what? That limiting belief will send you right home and you’ll find a way to justify your reason for doing so.
Nowadays, just type in “30 min workouts” to find a bunch of workouts you can do when pressed for time.
Actually, if you dig a little deeper, you may also find many scientific studies done, showing that 30-45 min high intensity interval training (HIIT) can actually be more effective than a workout lasting longer than 75 min.
So stop telling yourself those limiting beliefs. Get to the gym and get creative. Use super-sets, tri-sets, or even 30-minute circuit style training. Remember, if it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.