You say you want to lose weight? You say you want to gain weight? You want to lose body fat? You want to gain muscle? Get stronger? You, along with approximately 50% of all Americans, have pledged to get into better shape for your New Year's resolution.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans do not stick with their resolutions. Based on feedback from many of my training clients over the past 10 years, many people just get started on the wrong foot.
So what should you do to get started? The following are guidelines that will help turn your resolution into reality.
1. There is no "off
Understand that getting into shape has no down time. Losing body fat, gaining muscle or just wanting to be healthy must be a lifestyle. If you don’t make changes in your lifestyle, you are destined for failure.
You must decide if getting in shape is something you truly want and whether you are willing to make the firm commitment.
It’s not easy. But, getting into shape doesn’t mean that you are destined to a life of misery. In fact, the harder you work and the more in tune you are with your body, the easier it gets. The more progress you make, the more motivated you will be.
your ultimate goal
Your mind can be your greatest ally on the road to success.
Once you set your big goal, you need to use your mind to visualize how you want to look. You must also be able to imagine how you will feel.
This concept of visualization may seem odd to some. However, it may interest you to know that many of your favorite athletes do some sort of visualization to maintain their optimal performance. For example, Michael Johnson, Olympic gold medal winner, said that he actually sees himself running with perfect form and then winning the race before it has even begun.
Power lifters see themselves bench pressing the weight successfully before they have even made the attempt. The mind must travel there first so that the body can follow.
To help yourself visualize, put pictures of role models up on your bathroom mirror or on the refrigerator to help you see your ultimate goal.
Write your goals on a piece of paper and keep it in plain sight so you can constantly be visually reminded of your goal, even in your weakest moments.
Don’t worry about other people seeing these reminders. Announcing your goals is another facet of the visualization process. When you are aware that other people know, your motivation levels rise. These people can also be a support system as you travel toward your goals.
3. Big Goals, Little Goals
One day a gentleman came to my gym and asked about personal training. He'd just recently turned 50 and said he was fed up with looking and feeling horrible. I asked him what he would ultimately like to achieve. He said he would like to get to the same shape and size he was when he was 20. This was definitely a lofty goal, but achievable. He wanted to go from a 40-inch waist to a 34-inch waist. To reach his goal, he was going to have to make a long-term commitment.
To reach your big goals, you must set small goals. These small goals must be made daily and weekly. Simply establish your nutrition and workout goals for each day and each week. Take your big goals and segment them into smaller, more attainable goals.
When Thomas Edison was asked what it was like failing 2,000 times before finally inventing the light bulb, he said, “I didn’t fail 2,000 times. It was a 2,000-step procedure.” Very few people have been successful on their first try. They failed, and then tried again. Each small setback is a learning process.
If you fall off the wagon, use it as a learning experience and hop right back on. Don’ be discouraged and give up.
4. Keep a Journal
In your road to fitness, you must track your successes and failures and constantly monitor your progress.
Record your daily workouts. Record your food intake and dietary habits. Also include how you felt on a particular day. Include how you felt during your workout. You must keep records of what works for you and what doesn’t. There are guidelines for working out and proper nutrition, but each body responds differently. You need to track what works for you, and what doesn’t.
It’s not easy. There is no magic pill. There is no workout machine. There is no special herb or anything to make this an easy task. Anyone who says that a product can make it simple and easy is full of it. You must make a commitment.
Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to add muscle? Do you want to gain weight? Do you simply want to improve your health by lowering your blood pressure or lowering your cholesterol?
Whatever your goal, you must make the commitment to long-term changes. Set the goal, chart your course, make the commitment, monitor your progress and begin moving toward your goal. Take the time. Do it for yourself. Make working out and eating well part of your lifestyle. Make them as much of a priority as brushing your teeth and washing your hair.
Now that we have established the goal-setting process of self-improvement, my future articles will give specific information on how to achieve your goal. We will address such topics as:
Diet and Nutrition:
Protein requirements for growth and maintenance, carbohydrates and their effects in the body, macro-nutrients vs. micro-nutrients, proper supplementation, is creatine safe and how should I use it, how can you increase your testosterone naturally, and many other topics to give you the information you need to reach your goal.
Proper weight training techniques, most effective training routines for muscular growth, weight loss and maintenance, avoiding injury while training, add repetitions or add weight.
These are just a few of the topics that will keep you informed, knowledgeable and privy to the TRUE and NO-NONSENSE tools needed to keep you healthy and strong!