Health and fitness is a state of mind. Achieving your fitness goal (if it’s to lose fat, build lean muscle, or as ambitious as running a mile in 7 minutes) is not something that happens overnight. We have outlined 5 key principles that can help you achieve and sustain your fitness journey:
It is within our nature to think we can conquer a task without understanding the principles. How many times have you purchased a furniture with the determination not to rely on the instruction manual and jump into building; only to end up with one or two missing screws.
Just as it is essential to follow the instruction manual to building any furniture, you need to be able to apply the same principles to your fitness journey. Understanding how to perform a specific exercise and appreciating the impact of what a cheeseburger is doing to your body (nothing wrong with this, as long as it is done in moderation); are important understandings required when trying to adopt and sustain a healthy lifestyle. You must be able to walk before you can run.
As we approach the festive season, many of us will be gearing up to start planning resolutions for the beginning of next year. My main favourites in the past have been “time to cut out chocolate” or ‘I want to lose weight”. How many times have you sworn you were going to lose weight for the umpteenth year in a row; only to stop going to the gym after one month? The sad reality is that the majority of us quit before we achieve our goals. You must have a clear vision of what it is you want to achieve. One of the best tools for setting achieving a goal is to apply the ‘SMART’ technique.
Smart (simple, sensible, significant).
Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
Achievable (agreed, attainable).
Relevant (reasonable, realistic and results-based).
Time bound (time-based, time limited).
RELATED: SMART Goals
Let’s go ahead and set a SMART fitness goal:
‘I want to adopt a healthy diet and work out 3 times a week for a period of 8 weeks,
so that I can do 30 bodyweight squats in one minute’
Assess yourself and understand what you can achieve. The outcome of a goal-setting is influenced by the effort and commitment you are willing to make to achieve that goal.
Using the above goal of ‘doing 30 bodyweight squats’ as an example, you first need to assess your strength to understand how many bodyweight squats you can do within a specified time. This compound exercise focuses on working the thighs (known as the quadriceps) as well as the butt (glutes) and back of the leg (hamstrings).
Planning is a beneficial tool that should be applied to help achieve your fitness goals. If you can only commit to working out 3 times a week, make sure you plan these sessions ahead of time and note which exercise you will be carrying out during each session. If you have limited time to cook, prepare your meals ahead of time to prevent you eating unhealthy food that will de-rail you from achieving your goal. ‘A goal without a plan is just a wish’.
I’ll do it now
I’ll do it later
I’ll do it tomorrow
It is so simple for us to say we will do something, but the majority of us struggle to put words into action; primarily out of laziness (myself included). If you find yourself in the same boat, today, I want you to ask yourself WHY? What is the stumbling block preventing you from taking action. I want to encourage you to take action and JUST DO IT. In most cases you will find that the potential outcome of your actions out-weights the stumbling block and fears preventing you taking the initial action. TAKE THAT BOLD STEP TODAY!
We as humans are so quick to throw in the towel when we slip at the first hurdle. Just because the change to your physique was not as dramatic as what you expected after 2 weeks of adopting a healthy lifestyle, this should not be an excuse to quit. Do not be discouraged. Nothing happens overnight. Reaching a target will require lots of small, on-going improvements.
Here are some approached to help you stay consistent on your journey:
- Stay motivated- tracking your journey by taking weekly progress pictures can help you reflect on how far you have come and act as a source of motivation to continue.
- Two is better than One- find yourself a partner that can hold you accountable as well as support you through your journey. .
- Get back up- Life gets in the way sometimes. A bad week of over-indulged on junk food, or skipping a workout, should not be an excuse to give up. Get yourself up again and keep going (Our Instagram feed can help you with that).
Remember your new journey is a lifestyle and not a temporary process. Set yourself realistic expectations but do not expect miracles overnight. Stay consistent to the process and you will notice the changes on your physical appearance as well as your overall health. Apply the various tools and techniques available to help sustain his newfound journey.