Recipe for Fitness Success, 5 Things to Focus on to Achieve Your Goals
So you made the first step, you got into the gym, you’re ready to make a change. You’re exercising, you’re seeing some results, but you feel lost. You don’t know what direction to take, you feel like you could be making better progress.
I get that! We’ve all been there. I’ve always wished fitness was more simple. But here’s the thing, it is simple! Just don’t overcomplicate it.
Fitness works, but keep it simple!
Here are 5 simple aspects to focus on when striving to achieve your fitness goals.
1. Get More Sleep
Most people in today’s society don’t get enough sleep. However when you combine exercising and not sleeping you get an even worse combination.
Exercising is catabolic, or it causes your body stress (good stress) and breaks down muscle fibers in your body. Your body then responds in times of rest by recovering and overcompensating (building itself up) so that next time you will be able to handle that stress more efficiently.
This is good, however if you do not sleep, you will not recover, and you will go the opposite direction.
Aim for a solid 8-9 hours of sleep a night.
2. Mix It Up
When things go stale and you feel like you’re not improving anymore, its time to change things up. This might sound complicated but it’s actually super simple, so again don’t overcomplicate.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Don’t beat a dead horse. If you’ve exhausted one avenue of exercise and you’re not seeing results anymore, do something different!
For example, if you’ve always lifted weights for 3 sets of 10 reps, doing the same exercises, and you’ve been doing this for months and you’re not seeing progress, its probably time to make a change… switch it up!
- Change exercises.
- Find variations.
- Change your set/rep scheme
- Increase the weights
- Change your rest between sets
- Change your cadence (lengthen or shorten the duration of a single movement)
- Switch to calisthenics
- Add more compound lifts
- Add supplementary exercises
- Change your program (for example going from a body part split to and upper/lower split)
- Switch to free weights
- Add some cardio
- Take a fitness class
Educate yourself, work out with a buddy, learn from others, research what has worked for others and then take your own opinions. What works for someone might not work for you, don’t be afraid to explore.
There are many ways to mix it up. Your body is smart, it will adapt and things will go stale. Keep your body guessing. Confuse your body. Don’t let it be satisfied. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable.
3. Challenge Yourself, Up the Intensity
Are you challenging yourself at every workout? You don’t need to completely annihilate yourself, but you do need to push yourself.
It’s ok to be happy with where you are, but it is never ok to be satisfied.
Always be looking to improve. If you are weak in one area, focus on it.
Push yourself. The hardest moments are the ones that mean the most. You know yourself best, you know when you’re cheating yourself out of reps. Bring intensity to every workout.
One of the best ways to build this if you don’t already have it is to start working out with someone who is intense about fitness.
Jim Rohn says You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. If you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people. Find a gym buddy and stick with it until you develop your own intensity to work out and be successful and fit.
4. Respect Your Diet
Ever heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen”?
Diet is one of the most important things. If you don’t eat well, you won’t feel well, you won’t perform well, you won’t recover well, and it will create an endless cycle that will end with you giving up on fitness.
Use JERF (Just Eat Real Food)
Super simple. And don’t use the excuse that it’s expensive. Eating healthy can be cheap.
Stick to the perimeters of the grocery store. Cut out the simple carbs and sugars.
Eat colorful food! I like black beans, chicken, rice, broccoli, carrots, oatmeal, and smoothies. I live off that stuff. Keep it simple! It’s not that expensive, and your body will appreciate it.
Not only will you feel and look better, but your brain will thank you. You will be a more intelligent person if you cut out the sugar and stick to healthy snacks instead.
Have a snacking problem? Snack on carrots and hummus, not chips. Health isn’t complicated, be creative, and be disciplined, try new things, take a step and get focused.
Here are some healthy affordable options:
- Ground turkey (look for manager specials)
- Frozen fruit
- Peanut butter
- Frozen spinach or kale
- Bananas (insanely affordable!)
- Apples (look deals)
- Almonds (I order big bags of them online)
- Almond milk
- Pasta (I like whole grain)
Be creative, look for deals at stores, there are lots.
Diet is 80% of it! Be disciplined, because no amount of exercise will matter otherwise.
#5. Make Clear Goals
One of the smartest moves I ever made was deciding to set fitness goals. It gives you direction and it gives you motivation. I write down my goals every morning, a technique I learned from Brian Tracy, if you haven’t heard of him, look up some of his YouTube videos or pick up one of his books. He’s got some awesome advice.
Goal setting can be tricky, but once you get into the habit it can really propel you forward.
Start with asking yourself, “What do you want”. Be specific! Be realistic! It’s ok to set crazy long term goals, but be sure to set short term goals as well.
Do you want to lose 50 pounds this year? That’s fine, but set a specific goal.
- To lose 50 pounds this year you need to aim to lose about 4 pounds a month or a pound almost every week of the year.
Perfect, we have a goal of a one pound loss every week, but lets get more specific.
- To lose a pound a week, we need to eat a little bit less, but how much less?
- We need to eat about 500 calories less every day of that week, totaling 3500 calories a week
So our new goal is to eat 500 calories less each day for the whole year, but because I don’t like negative goals like that we’re going to change it to be more positive.
Using a calorie calculator, like the one on this site, we can calculate about how many calories we burn.
So using myself as an example, I burn around 3000 calories a day. So in order to lose 50 pounds this year, all I would need to do is eat 2500 calories a day for 50 out of the 52 weeks this year. Look, I even get 2 weeks off.
The key here is looking at it the right way. I get to eat 2500 calories a day. Don’t focus on the limiting factor. I get to fill by body with 2500 nutrient filled calories every day, that are going to fuel me to complete my workouts and live an amazing life.
This is just one example, but its HUGE. Setting goals is huge.
One thing to consider is that you don’t have to limit yourself to weight goals. You can set other specific goals as well, such as:
- Run a mile in X amount of time by X date
- Bench press X amount of weight by X date
- Be able to hike X amount of miles in one day X date
Be specific, and be time bound.
Set a timeline. Hold yourself accountable and get it done.
Here are the basic steps again:
- Set a goal
- Set a date
- Break the goal down into its simplest steps (how you are going to achieve it)
- Take the first step.
“Goals are just dreams with deadlines”
Got questions or concerns? Want a specific topic discussed? Don’t be afraid to reach out! I’ll respond as soon as I can. Stay healthy, stay functional my friends 🙂