Goals are wonderful but only if you keep them. We all plan to, but how many of us stick to our health and fitness goals more than a month maybe two? Since opening my fitness centers in 2007, I have seen so many people with wonderful intentions come and go then, come back only to go again but wait….here they come again. Don’t feel bad because I am just like you and fall into the same slippery slope that seems to turn into the inevitable hamster wheel.
1- Don’t set your goals around weight loss only:
What do we have to do to make these health and fitness goal stick?
I will have to say this sooner or later so let’s get it out of the way. PLEASE do not set your goals around weight unless it’s your new personal best squat or bench press. Setting yourself up for weight loss goals can be the fastest way to sabotage your goal. In all honesty, how many times have you felt good about your weight or maybe the recent loss of some and then stepped on the scale to just be disappointed. The scale has the ability to ruin a perfectly good moment or even day. Why? Because we are worried about a stupid number.
Now if you focus on body fat loss and forget the scale, you will be much better off. There are numerous ways of checking your body fat. Find someone who does body fat testing with calipers, or my favorite way is to grab that pair of pants (sweatpants do not count) from the dresser, put them on and see how they fit. 30 days later try those same exact pants back on and check the fit. Roomier in the waist, thighs and/or bottom will help you get a better physical confirmation if you’re on the right track.
The key is when you lose the body fat the best possible scenario is that you are in a fitness routine that will help fill that void with lean, sexy muscle. Yep, I said it, sexy muscle.
I always get a good chuckle when I run into people on the streets and they tell me as soon as they lose some weight, they will join the fitness center. Why would you wait to join the fitness center if you are in need of losing weight or, rather, body fat? If you need an excuse please let me know because I have heard (and probably used) them all.
2- Set realistic goals:
One major thing I think most of us fail to do is set realistic goals. Sorry ladies you can’t all have a body like Jessica Alba or Blake Lively. Guys, not all of us can be looking like Duane “The Rock” Johnson or Chris Hemsworth. Having realistic goals about your body and genetics will help in the long run.
One thing you need to be mindful of on your weight loss journey is how quickly you shed those pounds. How many times have you lost weight to just find extra skin hanging around (pun intended)? Ladies, how are those “bat wings”? You know what I am talking about, that dreaded skin on the back side of the arm. It’s the number one complaint I get from women. Guys, how are those man breasts coming along? The reality is when you lose weight rapidly without a fitness plan in place this could be the end result. Is it a bad thing that you lost weight? Well, that depends. Is your weight loss because you lost body fat or because you lost water and muscle?
Let’s take my wife, Kristina, as an example again. When she reduced her sugar and simple carbs, she lost 18 lbs. Her weight loss was slow and steady over 6 months. She didn’t have a rapid loss of water or muscle, so she kept her muscle intact and lost fat. Now I know when we start working out again she will see her weight fluctuate, and more than likely, it will go up as her body fat drops but lean muscle takes its place. (Interesting fact, muscle weighs more than fat. A pound of muscle can be up to 4 times smaller than a pound of fat.)
We need to make realistic goals but we also need to put those into realistic time frames. Break down those goals. Make a long-term goal, but have smaller achievable goals on the way to your main goal. No one I know ever enjoyed failure. So why set yourself up for that now? Small rewards along the way can be a wonderful way to help you keep on track. The best way to look at this is a thought I shared in a previous article, “You didn’t get to where you are overnight. Don’t expect to change it overnight.”
3- Find a partner:
If you are like many, we work better and harder when we are in the company of others, especially in fitness. The “I won’t be outdone” mentality can be a great way to keep you pushing yourself and help hold you accountable. With a partner, you can help encourage each other and as my wife would say, it gives you someone to share the misery with. It is also a great way to share some great eating ideas.
4- Take it one day at a time:
Life is crazy for most of us. This can be used as one of the go-to excuses for most anything. However, for the average person, health and fitness needs to fit into our lives, not to occupy it. I find a well planned 20-30 minutes fitness routine is adequate to get your muscles working and calories consumed and it’s better than the guilt of skipping it all together. Many people will join the fitness center and jump in with both feet, spending 1-1 ½ hours per session working out. I see the highest level of drop out rate with this mentality. Slow and steady is key.
5- Have fun:
Nutrition and fitness can be daunting, overwhelming, confusing, and in all honesty sometimes depressing, especially if you're not seeing results. It’s an easy excuse to quit. But guess what, it can be fun, rewarding, and can help you be more efficient in your daily activities.
So how do you make it fun you ask…
- Find a positive environment to pursue your workouts.
- Download some music that makes you feel good and energized to play when you're working out.
- Find that friend to spend some quality workout time with.
- Change up your workouts to keep them fresh and keep you from getting bored.
- Try some new recipes and foods that help you towards your new health and fitness goals.
As you think about your goals and if you find yourself struggling, don’t be disheartened. We here at The Body Shop Fitness Centers would be happy to help in any way we can. We are more than just a “gym”. We try to help create a fitness family. And like many families, we may not always be perfect, but we do what we can for each other.
About Matt Dryden: Matt has been offering personal training services in fitness and nutrition for over 12 years. He began his interest in Health and Fitness while working as a Correctional Officer and Police Chief when he realized that in this profession that those men and women should have the fitness level of being able to protect and serve the people he has sworn to do so. Matt went on to become a certified personal trainer and began educating and helping fellow officers in setting and working toward their goals in fitness.
Matt started his gym, The Body Shop Fitness Centers, in Shell Lake in 2007 and now offers locations in Shell Lake, Spooner, and Trego, Wisconsin. These locations offer a wide variety of fitness training opportunities unique to each location. To find out more, visit The Body Shop Fitness Center website or Facebook page.