Hire A Professional
Hiring a coach is always a great idea when you are trying to achieve a goal. There are various reasons why working with a professional can be impactful to your success. The biggest reason is that hiring someone costs money! I can remember when I first started coaching, I told everyone I knew I would run fitness classes for free. Guess how many people showed up? ZERO! Do you know why? They had no skin in the game causing them to wake up and go exercise. When I started charging people ahead of time attendance improved twofold.
Furthermore, hiring a professional who has experience can be the person who holds you accountable more than a friend or family member might be able to. A friend or family member may not want to say the truth because the truth might hurt your feelings. A coach has one objective, to help you reach your goals in a safe and healthy way, but is supposed to say what the person needs to hear!
Set A Long Term Goal
One giant mistake people make is their goals are too short (i.e. 6, 8 or 12 weeks) and that leaves the door open to “yo-yo”. What do I mean by yo-yo? When a person “yo-yo’s” they tend to jump on the weight-loss wagon after the holidays or before vacation to try to look and feel better. Setting a goal and attempting to achieve it in such a short time can result in the person burning out. Therefore, when it is time to go on their trip or the 8 weeks are up they completely stop eating clean and exercising. Unfortunately, many who take the route explained end up going backward and gain it all back.
The key to achieving your goal is to break habits and form new ones. In order to achieve a goal that will last a lifetime, it is important to alter your current lifestyle. Therefore, in order to set an effective goal, the time frame should be six-plus months to give yourself the opportunity to change your habits and form new ones. A few examples of effective longer goals might be to run a 1/2 or full marathon, lose a large amount of weight (50-100lbs) in a realistic time frame, hike a giant mountain, or commit to a gym or an online coach for 6-12 months. Any of the above goals will require you to break habits and form new ones for a long period of time. However, if that goal is achieved wouldn’t you want to continue that lifestyle so you do not end up back where you started?
Implement Strength Training Into Your Routine
Strength training can be one of the best ways to get great physical and mental results. In my experience working with athletes and adults, self-esteem can be very low when they first enter the gym. However, after a few sessions, there is a noticeable change in their confidence levels and how they look at themself in the mirror. When physical changes are made (weight loss or increased muscle size) the individual potentially can behave in a more empowered and upbeat way.
Furthermore, muscle weighs more than fat and that actually helps you lose more weight or burn more calories. While the above information may scare people and cause them to not want to strength train, the physical and metabolic changes outweigh (no pun intended) the potential increase in weight. By increasing muscle mass and decreasing fat, your body ends up burning more calories throughout the day simply because it is working harder to support the new muscle that has been developed. In addition, after a strength training session, your metabolic rate increases meaning your body has to work harder in order to help your muscles recover and adapt to the training stimulus.
Lastly, one of my favorite reasons why strength training can be so influential is that there are multiple styles of training. While all of those styles result in your muscles burning, you sweating, and you feeling sore there is not a one size fits all training method! Facilities offer large group fitness classes, semi-private classes, or personal training. Most gyms have a variety of equipment to use such as:
- TRX Trainers
- Medicine Bals
- Battle Rope
- Resistance Bands
- Squat Racks
Having access to a variety of equipment can keep your interests high, and better assist you in reaching your goals.
Keep A Journal
Achieving your goals might sound extremely simple when the only thing you have to do is break your current habits and form new ones. However, if you do not have an understanding as to how or why those habits formed or you are not intuned with your emotions, it will be very difficult to maintain new habits and reach your goals. In addition, stress can influence your hormone levels and affect how your body functions. For example, stress can increase your cortisol levels which can result in weight gain, breaking down unwanted muscle tissue, and slow down your digestive system. All of the above can inhibit your success, but also cause you to either get hurt when working out, gain unwanted weight, or see no changes when you exercise.
In order to maintain a clear mind and also break bad habits, journaling can be helpful to organize your thoughts, relieve stress to maintain focus, and also give you an outlet to speak truthfully about your feelings. Knowing the why can be impactful as it can give you a better understanding of your feelings which usually influences your actions. It is so important to connect your actions to your feelings so you can focus on replacing your current habits when those feelings occur. The HALT acronym is a powerful thought tool if you struggle with your choices because it allows you to stop and think about what you are feeling:
If you can HALT and ask yourself “why am I about to do this particular task” doing so can help you rethink that choice next time around or even in the moment. Then with your journal, you can ask yourself the below questions and respond appropriately:
- What made you feel that way?
- Why are you thinking about what you are thinking?
- Why do you want to do what you thought about doing?
- What else can you do differently based on your goals?
Achieving a goal takes time, consistency, effort, and determination. The very reason why I suggest setting a long term goal is so you can work on all of the above. Working with a coach can be very effective, however, if you hire someone for just 12-weeks there is only so much you can do; breaking a habit may take a while because you have to understand why you are making that choice and how you can develop healthy habits; lastly, strength training can take a few weeks to get some of the movements down especially if you are older and have an injury history or poor movement patterns. If you dive into a training program without understanding proper technique that can result in an injury that sets you back a few weeks, months, or even longer. Take your time with your goals, embrace being uncomfortable, and follow the above steps to get to the finish line!