Successfully navigating from Point A to Point B typically requires someone to ask two critical questions: Where are we now (point A)? Where do we want to be (point B)? Once we know the answers to these two questions, we can decide on the best route. Doing so without these answers is wasted effort.
The same is true of our fitness journey. Before we can begin to plan our path – the workouts and nutrition habits – we must first know where we are and where we want to be. Seems simple, right?
Is Point B Really Where You Want to Be?
What is your fitness goal? Write it down for me.
Now, list at least 5 reasons achieving this goal is important to you. Easy, right? Maybe not, if you’re like many of us.
Fitness goals often have one of two major shortcomings. They are vague, like “get fit” or “get healthy” or “eat better,” or they are specific in the wrong way, like “lose 15 pounds” or “get back in my old jeans.” Neither of these will carry much motivational weight for us. To make them mean something, we have to find a specific result that we want, with specific reasons that it’s important to us.
Listing the reasons you want to acheive your goal helps you not only to define the goal, but also to plan the path for success. You may even find that a different goal is more suitable. Either way, being as specific as possible when determining Point B makes the planning much easier, and will also make it easier to adjust when you find yourself off course occasionally.
Are You Really at Point A?
I love reading articles with cover models’ custom-designed work outs and meal plans. These workouts are just that: customized and not suitable for everyone.
Training history, motivation, available time, prior injuries – all these factor into determining your starting point in a fitness program. If you and the celebrity don’t share the same answers to these questions, then you can’t ride together since you’re starting at a different Point A.
The process doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. I recommend getting an evaluation from a fitness professional, and if you have any known illnesses or injuries it is important to be cleared for any increase in activity by your doctor.
How to Draw the Roadmap
Now that you’ve written down your goal and your why, how do you get from Point A to Point B?
This is actually the easy part. Just do more today than you did yesterday and then do a little more tomorrow. Next question.
Okay, so there’s a little more to it, but that really does capture the spirit of the thing. We always want to try out the next big High Intensity Super Dropset Pyramid Cardio Density Set, when we just need to master the basics like these:
Include resistance training in your exercise plan. Strength training promotes stronger bones, leads to healthier and more painless joints, helps prevent musculoskeletal injuries, accelerates fat loss, develops movement competency, and increases boss-ness. Push, pull, squat, hip-hinge, lunge, plank, and carry heavy things, period.
Switch whatever cardio you’re doing for intervals once a week and stay active by walking the other days.
Pick one nutrition-related change, such as drinking more water, and start today. Change that thing, and only that thing, for two weeks. Then pick the next thing and repeat.
How to Stay On the Road
There will be potholes and detours. How do you stay on the path you’ve chosen once you get started?
Start slow. Don’t go 100 mph. Ease on the throttle. Once you’re on the interstate, you can go 100 (note: this is an analogy; if you get caught on a real interstate doing over the speed limit, that’s on you.)
Forming habits is a simple matter of setting realistic expectations. A great lesson from Precision Nutrition is to gauge confidence levels on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most confident. Pick habits that you can stick to with a confidence level of 9 or higher.
Let’s say you sign up for a gym membership and get the latest High Intensity Super Dropset Pyramid Cardio Density Set workout from a magazine. Your new habit is to work out for 90 minutes a day five days a week. What’s your confidence level? If your confidence is less than a 9, pick a simpler habit. Start small.
Same goes for your nutrition habits. Whenever you ask yourself about a new habit, your response should be, “Pshaw! I can do that!” Extra points if you actually say “Pshaw!”.
The Long and Winding Road
What happens if I fail?
Any fitness journey will have it’s ups and downs, twists and turns. Give yourself permission to take detours and then get back on the road. Enjoy the cookie and move on. Log the missed workout and move on. Stop wasting time beating yourself up about it.
I’m a bit surprised that we made this road analogy last this long, but I think you’re ready to start your journey. Don’t worry if you have to make some stops or extra turns along the way. You know what you’re goal is and your GPS can recalculate.
-Coach Donovan Manley