Building your lifestyle to support your fitness and performance goals is a critical element to achieving success. Many people view fitness as a quick fix, short-term process. To me, this is the farthest thing from the truth. Fitness is a life long journey. As you may have short-term goals to go after, you must create a long-term mindset. There must be continued movement after those short term goals. If you do not think this way, you end up yo-yoing through various quick fix systems, only to end up back where you started.
I am first going to talk about a few lifestyle strategies that are needed to help with time management, self-awareness and mindset. These components are just as important when striving for a fitness related goal.
Time Management: Creating your weekly blueprint is vital to taking control of your time and life. When you manage time more efficiently, you become responsible for the things you want to achieve. This should become a weekly task. Sit down on the weekend and plan the upcoming week. Add in all of your fixed appointments, your family time and events, any social events, workouts, basically, anything that is a priority. This sets you up to be successful. The key is following through, so make sure you do your best to stick to your weekly design. With that said, allow for some flexibility in your schedule because things will pop up unexpectedly. For example, say your normal 60-minute workout is not realistic because of a kid’s soccer practice. Simply adjust, and make the workout 25 minutes. You can still get in a good sweat in a small time frame. Something is better than nothing. The idea is to be flexible with this schedule. If you want to improve your fitness or run a marathon or lose 40 pounds, managing your time is so important for you to be successful. Find the system that works for you and complete it every week.
Self-awareness: I have been talking about this concept more and more because it is so valuable when going after your fitness goals. Self-awareness is looking deep within yourself and recognizing your true self. What do you want? How bad do you want it? What are your passions? What are you willing to do? How do you react? These are all self-awareness questions. If you are looking to lose 20 pounds, you must become self-aware and recognize what it’s going to take to achieve that goal. Then ask these questions, “Am I willing to build the lifestyle necessary to go after the goal? Am I willing to eat foods that support my goal? Am I going to be consistent? What action steps do I need to start?” If you really want to achieve something, you can do it. But you must look within yourself first and decide to commit. Mindfulness meditation is a great practice to improve your self-awareness. This is an exercise for your mind. You sit in quiet, maybe listening to calming music, and practice breathing. Allow your thoughts to come and go, but always get back to your breathing. Focus on the present moment. Regular practice of mindfulness meditation will strengthen your self-awareness and rejuvenate your inner energy so you can keep going after your goals.
Mindset: Your mindset can be your main weapon to achieve any goal your heart desires. This is if you decide to work on it. I believe in a growth mindset: a type of mindset that believes we can change, we can gain knowledge, improve our intellect, increase our optimism, get better at a sport, etc. But just like you must lift weights and workout to gain physical strength, in order to build this powerful mindset, you must implement mental conditioning drills in your program. One of the best tools I recommend is reading. Reading is growing. There are so many books out there that will teach and motivate you to work on your mindset. When you are consistently inputting positive and supporting words, chances increase that you will build a strong mindset. Be aware of your thoughts because your thoughts ultimately turn into your actions. If you can rearrange your thoughts to supportive, positive and encouraging, the mindset will become your weapon to go after your goals.
Now that your lifestyle and mindset is supporting your endeavors, let’s look at the specifics of setting and achieving certain fitness goals…
First you need a goal. Without direction, you fly aimlessly and possibly end up in the same place where you started. This goal does not have to be a concrete, outcome-based goal. Let me give you some examples…
“I workout to improve my mobility, keep my cardiovascular system strong and to stay energized in my daily life.”
“I workout to maintain the physique that I have. I love to eat and drink good wine so my workouts allow this sustainability that I am looking for.”
“I workout and eat healthy foods to feel better and look younger.”
“I workout so that I can keep playing adult soccer with my friends.”
These objectives could still create motivation for you to live a healthy lifestyle. Many people think they need outcome-based goals but that’s not true. Outcome based goals are great, if that is what you are shooting for, but they are not for everyone.
Let’s look at a few examples of outcome-based goals…
“I will lose 20 pounds over the next 20 weeks.”
“I will run my next marathon in sub 3 hours and 45 minutes.”
“I will go from 28% bodyfat to 23%, three months from today.”
Now that you have a direction, what do you do? Answer: Know expectations. This is critical. It takes a reversed engineered game plan to achieve your goal. There will be things you will need to do everyday to get your desired results. What will those things be? This answer varies on the person and their specific goal. Write out the top three things needed to accomplish your goal. Do these three things over and over. Do them everyday. These daily actions are the fundamentals you need to achieve the success you are in search of.
I will give you some practical examples…
“I will lose 20 pounds over the next 20 weeks.”
Action #1: I will drink 70-80 ounces of water everyday for 20 weeks.
Action #2: I will workout 4-6 times for 30-60 minutes per week for these 20 weeks. I need two days of aerobic based exercise (walking, running, cycling, swimming, etc) and 2-3 days of strength and/or interval type training sessions.
Action #3: Out of 21 meals in a week, 16 of those meals will support my goal of weight loss. Lower on the carbohydrate side (still needs to be 25% of diet), medium protein, and medium healthy fat.
“I want to improve my mobility, keep my cardiovascular system strong and to stay energized in my daily life.”
Action #1: I will drink 70-80 ounces of water everyday.
Action #2: I will commit to this workout schedule for the rest of my life:
· 4 x 10 minute mobility routines (40 minutes/week)
· 3 x 30 minute brisk walk (90 minutes/week)
· 2 x strength training workouts with my trainer (120 minutes/week)
· 1 x 60 minute bike ride (60 minute/week)
Total: 5.1 hours/week
Action #3: I will eat 3 servings of vegetables and fruits everyday for the rest of my life.
I want to supply you with some workout strategies as well:
· When you train, focus on quality movement and good exercise technique. Don’t just move haphazardly. Results come when you are controlled and deliberate with your movement in the gym. Plus, you increase your chances of pain and injury when moving without control.
· Listen to your body. You shouldn’t be in pain when you workout. If something hurts and affects your movement, stop and find another exercise.
· Push something and pull something with your upper body. Work your legs, both the front side and back side. And don’t forget to strengthen your core by implementing stability exercises like planks, side planks, hip lifts, birddogs and farmer walks. Add power drills like medicine ball slams, controlled jumping and sled sprints. A sample workout could look like this:
Dynamic warm up:
20 jumping jacks
Knee raise pulls x 10/leg
Quad pulls x 10/leg
Straight leg kicks x 10/leg
20 jumping jacks
Power set: 2-3 rounds
Medicine ball overhead slams x 8
Medicine ball chest slams x 8
Controlled squat jump (reset after each jump) x 8
Strength set: 2-5 rounds
Perfect push up x 10
Inverted rows x 10
Goblet squat x 10
Single leg deadlifts x 5/leg
Front plank x 30 seconds
Side plank x 30 seconds/side
Farmer walks x 30 yards
(Google search will show you examples of these exercises)
The game plan has been built and now the execution must begin. No goal is achieved without action. Once you start, the key is to be consistent. If you have a day that strays away from the plan, simply move on, get back on track and keep going. If you want to achieve your goal, the idea is to stay on course.
If you have any questions regarding anything in this article, please private message me on Facebook.