Plan It From Day One: How To Successfully Reach Your Training Goals
Getting yourself into the habit to exercise can seem impossible if you don’t have that determination to do so. Notice that I didn’t say motivation. The word motivation has been used very loosely. Motivation is useless without determination. When you’re motivated, you want to change whatever it is in your life that will make you happy, but motivation fades away quick. When you’re determined, you will stop at nothing to reach those training goals.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve worked out or followed any fitness program, and you really feel that this time you will do this, I’ve compiled ideas that can help you get started by taking small steps to reach the bigger picture, and I hope that this will help guide you in the right direction.
Let’s get started.
Not to others, but yourself.
Imagine yourself 6 months to a year from now. You’ve been working hard by making sure you’re exercising as scheduled, and you’re watching the foods you eat. It all paid off when you look and feel amazing. Now, compare yourself in the present moment with your future self after you reach those training goals. Which version of you is happiest? I’m not asking what will make you content, but your overall mental and physical happiness with yourself. I’m guessing it’s the future version of you where you feel amazing, and you look at yourself in the mirror and you like what you see. Right?
Now keep that image of you at the top of your mind. How do you feel? Do you have more energy? Less pain? Are you stronger? Have you lost a ton of weight? The more clarity you have of your future self, the better it will help you succeed.
The details of what, why, when, and how are just as important as painting a clear picture.
What is your goal?
Is it to become stronger? Maybe you want to improve your overall health? If it’s a list of things, then write them down. After you have it all down on paper, rearrange your list from most important to least, so you have a better idea of what is more important to you.
Why do you want to achieve this training goals?
Dig deeper. Is this more for yourself or your family? Many people will argue that you should only do this for yourself. Which I agree with, but if you need that external motivation to get you started, that’s fine. You can do it for yourself for your family.
When I ask potential clients why do they choose now to be the time they change their lifestyle, the answers are similar. They pretty much say, “I’m just done with feeling bad about myself.” Just those words gives me a lot of information about that person because I’ve been there and experienced that feeling of being fed up.
Another way to think about the why is to ask yourself what will happen if you continue down the same path. Do you have an injury or medical condition that can worsen as the years go on? Do you have a few bad habits that you know will affect you in the future?
When will you start?
This is big because people will pick a date with no planning and prepping, and wing it until they give up (this is a perfect example of motivation without determination).
What popular time of year do people make training goals? Take a second to think.
New Years. Yes, the most popular time of the year where gyms are so full that it’s impossible to get a parking spot. When patience is a virtue until mid February when the gym clears out.
The thought of those training goals is still in the back of their mind, but that is where it will stay. They try again, put it off, try again, and put it off.
Setting yourself up for success is key. I will get more into that in a moment. When you want to change your lifestyle, it’s more than just telling yourself that you will start on a certain date. It’s mentally and physically preparing for this change. So, the day you start, prepare yourself ahead of time for a successful outcome.
How are you going to do this?
You have a few options of getting started with your training goals.
Will you be doing this on your own, or will you hire a personal trainer to help hold you accountable?
If you do this on your own, do you know what fitness program you will start with? You might need to start with the basics of exercise before progressing yourself to the more advanced. Going for a high intensity interval workout for the first time might leave you sore for days, or worse, injure you. You will have to recover for a few days or weeks. When you heal, you get right back into it….or you don’t continue at all.
Personal trainers will design an exercise program that will work for you. They will ensure your safety. Correct you when needed. Push you to keep going.
If you hire a personal trainer, are you two the right fit? Is this trainer certified? How long has she been in the business for? What is their specialty? Are you their client or just a paycheck? I am not insulting any fellow personal trainers. I have met, and learned from many amazing trainers, but in reality, personal trainers are a dime a dozen. Remember that you’re still socializing with another person, and if their personality doesn’t match yours, your experience might not be so great.
These days, you can work with a personal trainer online. It’s more affordable, and your programs are still customized for you. However, if you’re the type who feels like they need to schedule sessions to hold yourself accountable, then online personal training might not be for you. There are many other factors to consider when weighing the pros and cons of online personal training.
So, do your research and choose wisely to ensure your hard earned money is well spent.
Group classes are a great option.There are all different levels, from beginner to advance, and the instructors usually have high energy. If you’re a social butterfly, and/or enjoy friendly competition, then group class can be a good fit for you.
Setting Yourself Up Ahead Of Time
Plan it out. From what clothes you will wear for your workout to what times and days you will workout.
If you exercise at home, pick a room or an area that has the least amount of distractions. Maybe somewhere that you walk past the most because on those days when you don’t feel like working out, when you walk into your workout space, and you see everything setup, you tell yourself, “Well, I’m already here. I mind as well do it”. But that all depends on your home’s layout.
Now you have your space picked out. If you have any exercise equipment, set them up so they’re all ready to go. If you have a mat, lay it out if you can. But if they’re a trip hazard, so doing this might not be an option. As long as you can see them every time you walk past them, it’s a reminder of why they’re set up.
From my experience, the hardest part of beginning your workout for the day is getting ready for it but once you’re there, it’s not that bad. So, pick out your workout clothes the night before. If you have on appropriate clothes to workout in at the moment, then go for it.
Nutrition Is 80% Of Your Success
I might get hell for this but I believe you can eat what you want but in moderation, under three circumstances:
- You portion the amount of food you take into smaller, more reasonable sizes.
- You meet your macro and calorie count throughout the day.
- You understand that stress or boredom eating isn’t an option anymore.
There is more to this, but it depends on you and your eating habits.
This does not mean you can eat a big bowl of pasta for lunch and skip dinner. In fact, skipping meals is a big no-no.
Strict diets are for those who are on a close deadline. So, the more you’re not rushing yourself, the better.
Many people fail their diets because they’re so strict. If you’re miserable during the process, it might not last long.
Commercial diets make people believe the only way to beauty is to look like the models that are promoting them. That’s not how I work. Do what will make you happy. If you’re 5”4’ and your goal is to weight 145 lbs., then do it. As long as you’re happy and healthy.
As far as the food you eat, ask yourself a few questions. What foods are your weakness? Do you eat when you’re stressed or depressed? Do you eat more when you’re happy? Find your triggers and figure out a way to remove these habits.
If weight loss isn’t your goal, figure out what foods you need to have a successful outcome. There are many different training goals that people have, so whichever one is yours, do your research.
Are you the type who eats three big meals a day or six small meals a day? What works for everyone else might not work for you. As long as you get the needed amount of nutrients that your body requires, do what fits your schedule.
Meal prepping for the week is a great way to ensure you get the exact amount of calories you need to per meal, every day. However, if that doesn’t work for you, there are other options to try.
It all comes down to the 3 R’s
Habits are formed by reminders, routines, and rewards.
- Reminders are the triggers that start your behavior.
- Routines are the behaviors themselves or the actions you take.
- Rewards are the benefits you gain from doing a behavior, good or bad.
A great example of this is what I wrote before about setting up your workout space in an area where you walk past the most. Let’s break this down into the 3 R’s:
- Reminder: You walk past your workout area and you see your yoga mat, some weights, and your towel. Now you’re thinking about all the reasons why you set them up in the first place.
- Routine: You get changed into your workout clothes, and you get started. This behavior repeats itself over, and before you realize it you see the…
- Reward: You look and feel amazing. All that hard work has paid off, and still is. You pride yourself for not giving up (as you should).
This system has been proven over and over again through research. So, it’s not always about waking up before everyone else, and thinking happy thoughts to get your day off to a good start. I mean, if that will help you, then go for it.
Don’t overwhelm yourself
Start off with something small so it’s easy to accomplish. As you accomplish the smaller training goals, work your way up to the ones that your found more difficult, and by then what seemed impossible to do might not be so bad.
Everything you do in life is a workout session
When you go to the grocery store, park as far away from the storefront as you can. Get that walk in, and when you’re bringing your full cart of groceries back to your car, walk a little faster while pushing that extra weight.
When doing laundry, do squats when loading and unloading the laundry from the machines. Do lunges while holding the full basket of clothes.
These are just a few examples. Get creative with your daily routines, and eventually you might notice lifting what use to be heavy is feeling light.
How bad do you want to succeed?
Your determination is what will predict your outcome. If you’re serious about getting fit and healthy, then you won’t stop until you get there.
Sure. There will be a few relapses. It happens to the best of us. Just get yourself back on track, and you will do just great.
Reach Your Training Goals – Summary
- Create a clear mental image of your future self. Compare your current situation with the future where all of your hard work has paid off. The more you think about the big picture, the more determined you will be to get there.
- Question everything. The more you go into detail about what, why, when, and how, not only you might find a deeper meaning, but it will get you started with the planning process.
- Plan it out. From choosing your workout clothes to the time and days you will workout, have a schedule. Plan your meals the day before too.
- Nutrition is a big part of the process. You won’t see that six pack without proper nutrition. If it’s a strict diet you need, then go for it. Remember, losing any more than two pounds a week isn’t the safest, and the faster you lose weight, you will pack it back on just as fast.
- Habits are created by changing your daily routine. Remember the 3 R’s. Reminder, routine, and reward.
- Don’t put too much on your plate (pun intended). When you’re feeling stressed out about the whole process, take a step back and refocus.
- If you want it bad enough, it will happen. You just need to stick with the plan, and be patient.