5 Steps to Reach Your Fitness Goals
So you’ve made up your mind to get strong or perhaps lose a bit of weight or run an extra 5 kilometers. Congratulations! You’re now one step closer to where you want to be. Making up your mind to do something is just half the battle. I come across a lot of people who would like to get in better shape but never actually commit to doing anything about it. Whatever your background, by making the commitment you’ve set the ball rolling to achieve your fitness goal.
Now that you have made up your mind you’ve starting going for a run 3 days a week and maybe even lift some weights. You’ve been watching what you eat and try not to load up on an apple cinnamon muffin with your morning coffee. It feels fabulous until you get to the end of week 2. All of a sudden, what seemed fabulous and exciting doesn’t seem exciting anymore. What happened? What went wrong? It is hard to put your finger on why you feel this way.
It’s alright, you’re not alone. Every time you try to do something new it takes time to get into the rhythm of making it a habit. Don’t get me wrong, your motivation to start is great. But that’s just how motivation works! It gets you started but it is habit that will keep you going.
For your best chance at actually reaching your goal try these 5 tips.
1. Get a goal that works for you
If you want to look sleek and ripped like Channing Tatum or Sophia Vergara, that’s great. But remember they didn’t get there overnight. Depending on where you’re starting it might even take a little longer than 12 weeks. When I first tried to lose weight I set myself up for an ambitious 25 KG weight loss in 12 weeks. Little did I know what I wanted to lose was fat and even by aggressive standards 1KG per week is the safest bet. Similarly, if you already run 5 KM 3 times a week it’ll still take you 10 to 14 weeks of dedicated training to get ready for a half marathon. You also need to consider your other life commitments such as work, home chores, time with your partner and maybe even kids. Whatever you do make sure you’re able to fit your goal around enjoying life to the fullest. If you don’t enjoy it it’ll be like going to work to a bad boss. It sucks! Once you have a goal that you feel you can work toward, write it down. read it everyday for at least 90 days or till you reach your goal. You want it to be front and center in your mind.
2. Visualize success
Once you’ve got your achievable goal set visualise what success looks like. This is not some run of the mill self-help style advice. Visualisation is an important technique used by professional athletes not only to motivate themselves but to literally trick the brain into thinking that it’s real. When your brain thinks its real it almost forces your body to act a certain way. So even on days when you don’t feel like going for a run or the gym you’ll gravitate toward actually doing your workout or eating the right things like you’ve decided. If you’re not the most creative person and can’t imagine it just grab a picture of someone you admire and stare at this picture for 2 minutes everyday. Imagine yourself being that person. How will you feel? What will you be thinking then? If your goal is about improving performance watch one of millions of videos on youtube of what that looks like. Do this everyday though. You want to create a strong image and an emotional connection to what you want to achieve.
3. Plan your schedule
There will always be other more pressing matters to attend to. When your brain’s trying to juggle a few things at a time which one do you think will be the easiest to drop? Slipping back into old habits is way too easy if you don’t plan ahead. If you’re going to eat healthy, plan your groceries for the week such that you only have good nutritious food in the fridge or pantry. On the same note, there will always be situations where you have to work late. Will you miss your workout? Plans themselves aren’t set in stone but plans will give you structure so that you don’t miss out the good things you’ve decided to do to get fit.
4. Track what you do
If you’re the kinds that like to fly by the seat of their pants this will be quite unnatural to you. if you already maintain lists, bravo, you’re halfway there. Track your progress and what you do. Track nutrition, workouts, supplements, sleep and water intake besides your vital body stats like weight and body fat. There are plenty of apps out there like MapMyRun, LoseIt and fitness buddy to help you stay on top of what you’ve done. But why? You ask. Its simple, if you don’t measure it you can't change it. Imagine if you weren’t able to complete your 5Km run 2 days in a row. Will you know what caused it. Tracking helps you run diagnostics on your plan to see what's gone wrong. Once you know that you can easily fix it.
5. Keep good company
The path to fitness goals can be treacherous. While I won’t go to the extent of suggesting that you should unfriend all the people who don’t support your goal, do keep company that will support you through your effort. It helps when someone cheers you, shares your workout pain, keeps you accountable. It all adds up to make the fitness journey more enjoyable.
These steps will only aid you in reaching your fitness goals. There is no substitute for hard work. You’ll still have to put in the effort to get there. Stay strong, stay driven. Make it happen!
Harshit is a thrill-seeker and lover of fitness, startups, motorcycles and photography. He's the founder of Workout Champ; a startup driven to help people smash their fitness goals. He's often spotted on the road on his hand customized Triumph Thruxton (motorcycle) and Jeep Wrangler.