Fitness goals: Pick something. You are either in a state of adaptation or a state of detraining. You can maintain fitness certain goals while prioritizing others but you should have at least one primary goal. Goals can include improvements in muscular size, strength, endurance, weight loss, weight gain, body composition, mobility, aerobic conditioning, anaerobic conditioning, etc.
No matter your fitness goal or goals consistency is of the utmost importance. The only way to make changes to your body through exercise is to be consistent. It doesn’t matter if you kill yourself for 30 minutes to an hour once or twice a week if you skip the next workout or the next week. Start simple and form the habit of exercise and healthy diet.
*having a buddy or finding something fun for you
In order to have consistency as you work toward any fitness goal you need to be disciplined. You don’t have to be Olympic medal or word class athlete disciplined, but you have to commit. Holding yourself accountable to your program and diet is not easy. Know yourself as you consider the path to your goals. If you need accountability and know you won’t stick to a plan on your own find someone to help. Discipline doesn’t always come easy when it comes to fitness or diet. It is something that you have to actively work at but it can be achieved with effort and the right support.
You have to hold yourself accountable on an everyday basis and not just when it’s suitable. Even with a trainer and scheduled workouts 2-3 times a week your goals may not be easy to attain. A couple training sessions a week can easily be ruined by a trip to McDonalds after, or spending the next 8 hours sitting in front of a computer screen. Making excuses like genetics, joint or muscle pain, work, time, etc. won’t help you reach your goals. Some people have greater fitness aspirations, and some have tougher uphill battles than others, but where there’s a will there’s a way.
- Have A Plan/Program (SMART Goals)
No matter your goals you should always have a plan. It doesn’t have to be the most intricate, or complex plan to succeed but it should involve progression and specificity to your goals. Most of us in the fitness industry have different thoughts on how to get to different goals; however different fitness goals do have different general steps of progression.
- Take All the Help You Get
Everyone in the gym could use some direction. That can entail planning work outs, learning proper form, or adding in new or additional exercises to work on weaknesses or imbalances. If you have a joint issue or pain the worst thing you can do is avoid it. I can guarantee those issues will only get worse with time. I have worked with numerous strength coaches over the years to work on exercise technique, new programming ideas, and pick up anything else I could. If I can learn from other coaches and trainers then you can assume it would be a benefit to yourself to take some assistance. Someone always knows something you don’t and I can assure you that at least one thing (or everything) you are doing wrong. From a safety perspective alone it would be wise to have some form of training from a fitness professional.
- Diet is Far More Important Than Anything in Terms of Weight Loss
If you have simple fitness goals and you have been dedicated to your fitness program but are not seeing the results you want there might be another issue. It might be time to look at your diet. Losing weight through exercise alone or as the primary focus of your plan is wildly inefficient. It takes most people 4-8 weeks to build enough muscle to change their daily energy expenditure. Beginner weight lifters can put on about 2 pounds per month for roughly the first 6 months. This is with a minimum of 3 days a week training, proper nutrition, and adequate rest. There are several factors that make it an uphill battle for most though. Age, gender, rest, diet and genetics are some of the many issues that make weight training itself a poor focus for weigh training. If you are trying to build muscle and are struggling to see results it may not be your lack of work but lack of proper nutrition holding you back.
Aerobic exercise or moderate steady stated aerobic exercise is another inefficient way to lose weight. Two separate studies with durations of 12 and 15 weeks found that participants focusing solely on diet had an increased loss in fat between 3 and 5 times that of those who solely performed aerobic exercise. Another issue with using aerobic exercise primarily for weight loss is that it does not increase daily energy expenditure post exercise or across a training period in the way resistance training does. Once you get off the treadmill your energy expenditure is done.
Specific- you want your goal(s) to be specific so it’s more likely you’ll accomplish it than have it be general.
Measurable- you want to make sure you can measure your results whether you use a journal, tracker, etc.
Attainable- make sure your goal is attainable. Once you identify why your goal is important to you, you may see overlooked opportunities and ways to make it achievable (ie financial obstacles)
Realistic- only you know how hard you are willing to work and what you are capable of. Your goal can be high and still realistic.
Timely- you are way more likely to accomplish your goal if it is grounded within a timeframe. You can set both short term and long term goals.