When it comes to developing a fitness plan to lose weight, most people tend to rush into a fad diet, gym membership, tv gimmick or whatever they stumble across that seems to offer a solution. The problem with this approach is that it typically leaves the person a few bucks lighter and not where they wanted to be. Real results take time, adaptation and effort over time. Here are 3 simple tips to get on track, stay on track and making progress toward your goals.
1. Understand where you are. Having a clear picture of your current situation helps you goal set and execute a plan that fits your needs, ability level and availability. Simply diving into a high intensity workout program and a hardcore diet might work for the model in the magazine, but will probably leave the average joe defeated, frustrated and burnt out.
2. Reflect along the way. Once you start working towards any goal, you have to take time to reflect, review and analyze your efforts. What is working? What is NOT working? This is a critical step that very few trainers or coaches address when it comes to strength, conditioning and getting into shape.
3. Stop talking and start moving. A bad plan executed is better than a great plan on paper. Now, maybe your plan seemed great on paper and life got in the way. Oh well, welcome to the club. That’s why you reflect, adapt and make changes to improve your situation.
Here are some questions that may help you on your path to fitness success:
Do I have a clear fitness goal to work towards over the next 3 months? This could be a race, event, weight goal, bodyfat, etc. Once you have a clear objective, then it becomes easier to work backwards and set weekly, smaller goals to make sure you are staying on track. For example, if your 3 month goal is to lose 15lbs, then you know that you need to lose 5lbs/month, or a little over 1lb/week. Simple, right?
Did I workout today? I typically recommend people exercise or move daily, even if its just a walk. We were designed to move, so sitting in the car, couch or in front of the computer all day isnt gonna help any of us get healthier. Reminding yourself to move daily is a great start, while other athletes may be focused on more detailed exercise regimens.
Did my meals reflect my fitness goals? This can be a great addition to keeping a food log. Recording your food intake helps all of us become more conscious of our eating habits. It is pretty easy to look at a week’s worth of food and see problematic habits. Missing meals, poor food choices, sweets, snacks, drinks, and other bad choices are easy to spot.
Did I communicate with my team, coach or support group? We all need support when we are chasing a goal. Surrounding yourself with a good support team is vital for long term success. So, if don’t have someone to hold you accountable, then find someone quickly! It can be a friend, loved one, coach, trainer, support group or a workout partner. The key is that they understand your goal, why its important to you and they are willing to hold you accountable along the way. So, once that person (or group) is in place, make sure to communicate with them daily. Talk about successes, difficulties and ask questions along the way.
Did I read or watch something inspiring today? Once the emotion of your initial decision has passed, you have to keep the flame alive daily. New healthy habits can be difficult when life gets busy, kids are sick, work is crazy, you’re traveling, etc. Life gets in the way. The good news is that the web is full of inspiring videos, stories, pictures and articles. I’ve also found it helpful to read more books. Find a few things that move you and keep them close. Whenever you need a little pick me up, read a new article or watch a great video.
Did I take time for myself today? Working out and eating well doesn’t complete the puzzle. Most of us are busy, stressed and pulled in a hundred directions. Taking a few minutes of “me” time is important for our physical and mental health. Maybe its 5 minutes of controlled breathing, a manicure, a massage, reading a book, a walk on the beach, or whatever makes your mind relax.
Did I learn any lessons from today? Being healthy is a lifestyle, so we are constantly learning what works, what doesn’t and how to adjust our habits to fit our current situation. Keep tabs on each days events and how they helped you or hurt you. Maybe you learned a new exercise, a new recipe or met a person that inspired you.
These are just a few questions to help you reflect. As you develop a specific plan for yourself, take some time and create specific questions that apply to your journey. Review them daily, weekly and monthly to make sure you are on track, moving in the right direction and making progress.
Just because you are busy doesn’t mean you’re productive.
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