Recipe For Success, How to Reach Your Fitness Goals
We have all been there, made the decision to start training, eat healthy and lose those pesky pounds before we have to hit the beach. We make a deal with ourselves, Monday we are going to start in full force!
Monday comes around and life happens; a tough day at work starts the bargaining process ‘let’s start tomorrow’, and before you know it a month has passed and nothing has been accomplished.
Unless you are one of the lucky handfull of people, starting a training regime is difficult, actually very difficult and anyone who tells you differently is probably trying to sell you snake oil!
Our default setting as a species it to do as little as possible and conserve energy, which is something you can observe in nature, lions do not walk or run around the whole day in search of prey, in fact they spend on average up to 15 hours a day sleeping and just two hours a day walking.
Just what is needed to succeed in your fitness and health goals?
On paper the process is deceptively easy.
1. Goal. Have a specific achievable goal you can work towards. Losing weight or being fitter are not goals, they are wishes. Be specific with what you want to achieve and by when and why.
An example of a goal will be to lose 10kg of body fat by the first of December 2016 to fit into my wedding dress. Be as specific as possible and break the big goal down to smaller goals along the way.
2. Plan. Set out a specific plan on a day to day basis, just going to the gym whenever and doing whatever takes you fancy will set you up for losing your way. Plan when you are going to train, put it in your diary, keep track of your training and make sure you know each time you train exactly what you are doing.
Make sure your training reflects your end goal, be specific with your training to optimise your results. Know what you are going to eat. If very motivated pre-prepare your food. Have a strategy when you go out to a restaurant. Always remember not to beat yourself up when you deviate from the path, you inevitably will fall off the proverbial wagon. Just get back to your routine and don’t stress it!
3. Support. This is very important, do not go at it alone! It is incredibly hard to start and keep motivated. Get a friend to join you. Do your homework and invest in a good Personal Trainer, spend the extra money if you are serious about getting results.
A good trainer will take all the guesswork out of the process giving you one less thing to worry about during the day. It is also have someone to be accountable too.
4. Motivation. Your motivation is what is going to determine if training will stay a chore or become a habit. There are two types of motivation – extrinsic and intrinsic. The difference being, as the names suggest, a motivator from outside yourself like losing weight or looking better in clothes, in other words the motivation comes from external things.
The crucial motivation for success is Intrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is behaviour that is driven by internal rewards. The motivation to exercise comes from within the individual because it is intrinsically rewarding and specific and different for each person.
Some factors that can increase intrinsic motivation are, challenges (consistency in an activity, trying out something you have never done and getting proficient in it), curiosity to learn more (new complex exercises or activities) , control over yourself(mood improvement more confidence), cooperation and competition(meeting up with friends the gym, participating in events) and recognition (giving yourself credit for what you have accomplished).
The most important takeaway to reach your fitness goals is find what will push you further make you go train when life gets tough, find that intrinsic motivator and before you know it you will go so far beyond your initial goal!
Live through movement!
Connect here with WatchFit Expert Henry van der Walt
2. Malone, T. W. & Lepper, M. R. (1987). Making learning fun: A taxonomy of intrinsic motivations for learning. In R. E. Snow & M. J. Farr (Eds.), Aptitude, learning, and instruction: III. Conative and affective process analysis. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.