Too much, too soon, too fast. I sometimes feel like a broken record saying it, but it couldn’t be more true. With 2013 here, the gyms are about to flood, treadmill and bowflex sales are about to surpass total gross sales of the iPhone 5 and people are going to make the mindset to get in shape overnight.
This is a problem. You wouldn’t attempt to climb Mount Everest without some preparation, so why would you go balls-out and go to the gym seven days a week and start your “diet” January 1st? This is too much, too soon, too fast. Progression is the key; you don’t need to do a complete 180 overnight.
Begin with addressing your desired goals and when you want to achive them. Goals are very important. Use the acronym SMART when goal-setting.
Specific: This is the what, why and how. What thing do you what to achieve? Why do you want to reach this desired outcome? How are you going to achieve this?
Measurable: How do you know for sure that you are making progress? Are you taking progress pictures (highly recommended)? Be sure that you are not aimlessly working towards a goal. Come up with a plan and stick with it.
Attainable: Be realistic with yourself. If you want to lose 10 pounds in a week, it’s not going to happen, but if you say I want to lose 1 pound by the end of this week, that is doable. The feeling of success will help keep you motivated and on track.
Realistic: Don’t get too farfetched. I’m all about dreaming big, but you can always reassess your goals. I’m not saying this should be easy to attain, but make it within reach.
Timely: Losing 10 pounds per week is not realistic. I hear this goal far too often. You will not succeed. Give yourself a reasonable timeline, as this is important. If your goal is to lose 10 pounds but don’t have a timeframe, literally years could pass and you will still be grinding towards losing those 10. A weightloss of 1-2 pounds is realistic, so be realistic and maybe say in two months I’m going to lose 10 lbs, I am going to accomplish this by doing all of that stuff mentioned above.
If you have a plan of action and can commit to that plan taking baby steps, I promise you will do some amazing things. This is not just in fitness but all aspects of life.
Next, look at your weakest point and take baby steps to work towards your goals. Are you currently going to the gym? If not, simply start off with 2-3 days a week. This is a great start and lets your body adapt to the overload being placed on it. What are the weakest points in your current nutrition? Do you drink that horrid double-double every morning? Size down from an extra large to a medium and be sure to pack a lunch everyday rather than going out to eat on your lunch break at work. Something as simple as that can get you some serious weightloss progress rather than going to the gym six days a week and and eating only chicken and carrot sticks.
Initially, a six day per week program with a piece chicken and a carrot or two will provide you some real solid progress for a month or so, but what happens once your body adapts to six days a week of training, chicken and carrot sticks? You don’t have much wiggle room to progress from here. You’re stuck. You’re frustrated the scale won’t budge. You lost 10 pounds in a month, but you literally have nowhere to go and no progress to be made.
Let’s look at my client that took it easy going to the gym 2-3 days a week and cut down the size of their coffee a little. They would likely be down around 4-5 pounds with a few small improvements to their previous lifestyle, but have not become a slave to the gym. To make further progress we could simply add another day to their workout routine or add a little bit of cardio after the workouts that they have already been doing. Possibly lower rest periods between sets. Any one of these options is going to keep you moving forward. As for nutrition, something as simple as switching to a wrap rather than two pieces of bread that you have been packing for your lunches can make a nice improvement. Having a refreshing lemon water opposed to that orange juice you regularly have at lunch time works too. These small differences make a big difference and leave yourself with room for progression.
Another major benefit of making small incremental changes is that you are not going to burn out. You are likely going to enjoy and look forward to going to the gym since it’s making you look and feel great. Your breakfast, lunch and supper won’t leave you feeling empty and unsatisfied. Looking forward to your workouts and enjoying what you are doing is incredibly important. You need to be positive, enjoy the changes you are making and embrace your hard work leading to your transformation. That will leave you successful.
I wish all of you the best in 2013. Good luck with your fitness goals in the new year and remember I’m always here to answer any questions you have. Comment below or e-mail me at fitMD@yahoo.ca.
CC photograph courtesy of Flickr, found here.