I truly believe that reaching your fitness goals can be simple. Yes it takes patience, determination, discipline, sweat and a lot of cursing at food we want to eat but can’t. In this post I’ll walk you three steps that I use whenever I have a goal I want to reach.
Step one: The end goal
Sounds silly, but you need to be 100% sure about what you want. Do you want to do a certain race or event in X amount of time? Do you want to modify your body composition? Hit new PRs at the gym? Make sure that whatever you choose can be measured and has a time frame.
The part that most people screw up with is the time frame. We tend to just push it back when we see that we haven't reached our goal within the first time frame. I am the same way. If I’m not accountable in a certain way, I will gently push that time frame back and back and back so far that I kinda forget about my original goal. But since I know a trick or two, I always keep myself accountable. How? I sign up for events that will challenge me! Since I like to exercise, I choose various sporting events, be them races, tricks, or more recently different fitness competition. What I really like about this approach is that no matter what you do, you can't push back the day of the event. You either put in the work and surpass yourself at whatever you signed up for, or you don’t put in the work and either don't finish, do poorly and end up loosing your money’s worth. I can’t say I float in money so when I use to do an event, I always make sure I do my absolute best.
You’re not as competitive or as inclined to register in such events? no problem. You have something that motivates you that you can also use to help you meet deadlines. It could be other types of events, a birthday, a trip, whatever. You must find what can keep you accountable. Hell, worst come to worst give a friend X amount of money and tell them they can keep it if you haven't reach your goal by a certain date. Always, always have a time frame for your goals, and a most importantly a way to keep accountable to that time.
Step 2: The in between goals
Now that you have your end goal in mind, how can you get there? If you sign up for a half marathon and have never run before, you may want to reach certain distances by certain dates for practice. If you want to add 20 pounds of muscle mass in a year, you can set monthly weight gain goals. You see where I’m getting at here. You have your destination, plan out your journey (#cheesy).
The train of though here must be to understand HOW you are going to reach this goal. Another way to look at it is how can you modify your current routine to accommodate your long term goal? If you signed up for a half marathon, you can set a plan to go run 3 times a week. You're not planning out what type of runs you’ll do but rather saying “ok from now on I'm running 3 times per week no matter what”. Then later you can add an extra day of running. For weight gain or weight loss, you can set new habits around your food. When go from cutting to bulking, I don’t do it within a week. First I add carbs back in at noon. I do that for a week. Then I add them at 4ish. Another week. Then I add them back to my whole day. Then I gradually increase my portion sizes. It takes 1-2 months.
In the next step I’ll show you have you can evaluate those in between goals and always stay on track.
Step 3: my secret tool
This is a tool that I use outside of fitness, in all my endeavours. It has helped me tremendously in and out of fitness: the weekly accountability check in. Have you progressed towards you goal this week? If yes, keep doing what you’re doing. If not, what can you do differently next week? Here’s what I ask myself for my fitness goal (current goal to place 1st at my next fitness show, 2 months away): Have I leaned out? Have I increased the weights that I usually lift? If I answer yes to any of these two, I keep doing what I'm doing. If I answer no to both, it’s time to figure out what I’m gonna do differently next week. This habit takes time to develop, give it a try and stick to it for a month. Pick a day that you do your check in. It only takes a minute or so of complete self honesty. It pays of big time in the long run.
Sometimes, you wont see any progress for a few weeks. It happens, and it’s normal. What’s important is that you realize this is happening and keep on trying new things, set new in between goals. The goal here is self empowerment, not self loathing. It’s very important to make small, incremental changes from week to week. That in itself is something I love about this tool, because it makes me think about what’s a small yet impactful change I can make in a week? Let’s take someone that wants to lean out but hasn't seen any progress in the past few weeks. What can that person do that’s not to big yet have a big impact. Had a HIIT workout into the week? Decrease the portion size of 1 or 2 meals a day? Going from 1/2 cup carbs a lunch to 1/4 cup? Did they go out partying every weekends for the past few weeks? If their training is already top, maybe they'll focus more on food or vice versa.
Extra tip: there’s always one question I always ask myself which I find to be very valuable: “Am I happy? Do I still enjoy life?”. Sometimes we get caught up chasing goals that we don't necessarily want or need. It’s so important to stay happy guys, keep your life balanced between what you want to do and what you have to do ;)
Clem fitness Inc.
Clem fitness is a Personal Training service based out of Vancouver. Our area of expertise is muscle definition, meal planning, designing workout plans and teaching you how to live a fit and happy lifestyle.