Falling off the fitness wagon, and surviving the fall.
Yep, happens to the best of us, not just the gym rats and fitness wannabes. Ordinary people and athletes often become sidelined for reasons other than injury or time. That means (most times) you just let it happen! This is one of many reasons I stick to a very strict schedule with my workouts. Missing one makes missing the next a whole lot easier!
So there's the first tenet--consistency+reality+goal+setting.
Make sure your schedule is reasonable. Poor scheduling is just as bad as setting unrealistic goals. I also schedule my training to ensure the gym is a more friendly environment. Every meat-head trains chest on Monday (I call it National Bench Day). I train back on Monday.
If you're not an early riser, don't try to get to the gym at 5:30 am. If you have a physically challenging job, don't think that you're always going to train after work, especially in hot weather. My many years as a carpenter I trained at 5:00 am, even for my powerlifting meets.
If you're unhappy with your appearance, there are many things that you can do, but NOT going is the last thing it should be. Get some nice workout clothes, bring a friend, talk to other members, educate yourself (if people talk to you, you will sound serious and knowledgeable-great confidence booster!).
Here's the big thing. Know why you're going (or training at home-whatever). Having clear cut goals, reasonable SHORT TERM goals (long term goals are only attainable by many short term goals), Lowering you cholesterol ten points, losing five pounds in three weeks, adding five pounds of muscle in a month, dropping a dress size in four to six weeks. These are all admirable goals, and very realistic.
Combine fitness goals with dietary guidelines!
Know your food and the role that it plays in your goals. Be financially prepared to do so, too. This type of mindset will help, as it includes another portion of your life - making the goal an amalgamation of things that are your lifestyle. Know what kinds of things (full circle) your diet and training style will elicit. I say that because the mind is a powerful tool!
Construct a programme that you enjoy!
Sure, you need to keep your goals in mind. Man, everyone hates work, but I've had many jobs that I looked forward to going to every day. Make sure your regimen includes a plethora of activities that you enjoy. Make sure too, there is a standby for activities affected by weather or other conditions outside your control.
Make things that should be simple, simple. This article gives ideas on how to do just that.
In the capsules that follow, I'll explore different mindsets and other tools that will help you stay on track. These are really where you have to start, and it will take you longer to do that than it will for me to publish the next capsule ;-)
This is something that many people don't give enough thought to. The inability to effectively shape your goals is a sure formula for failure. Shaping goals revolves around some common sense, some individual thought, and some "science" (used loosely).
Here are some things to think about. Some of these are basic, but those are the MOST easily overlooked.
1) Do I have enough time? -- you need to be 100% realistic. Think about every day, all the things that happen, all that can go wrong.
2) How much of this do I want? How much of my goal setting do I need?
Okay, if you're 100 lbs over weight, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and insulin sensitivity- your fat lazy ass needs to get off of the couch, shut that stupid Demon Box of a TV off, step away from the Doritos, and get some exercise, after you go to the store and buy some good food.
That's a NEED!
If you're a little over weight, lack some energy, get winded easily, feel physically weaker than you'd like- that's a want.
Doesn't mean don't do it, but your life doesn't depend on it (maybe). Hell, even wanting to fit into some better clothes is still an admirable goal. Optimal health feels really good. Eve the journey there does. Learning, pushing yourself, feeling better in your skin, having more energy to play with your kids (or whatever), getting laid more often 'cause you look good and exude confidence. Sex rules! Who doesn't feel good when having regular *rockin'* nookie?
I'll go on with goal shaping, but first things first. Start here. I did when I was <100lbs!
A brief interlude
This article, as well as many others that I've written will help dispatch some closely held misconceptions. This is NOT my opinion, it is fact. Cold hard unadulterated FACT.
Like it or not, the mind is responsible for just about everything that happens to/with our body. Where fitness is concerned, this knowledge might be harder to find than one thinks. Make a distinction between anecdotal evidence and cold hard fact. Where the Internet is concerned, looking for articles which receive peer review is generally a safe bet. Google Scholar is a great resource when looking for reliable information.
Many articles are open access, meaning you can see full text without a subscription or pay-per text. Oftentimes, it's only the abstract that's available, but that's ordinarily plenty, provided you're not writing a college essay. Wikipedia is a prime example of a source to take with a grain of salt! Wikipedia can be edited by anyone. Large corporations have even been snagged altering articles and entries that cast a bad light on them.
Sometimes the people in the gym are an excellent source of information, too. Don't disregard anecdotal evidence here, just be mindful that people aren't experts based on the fact that they exercise. Sometimes we can learn how NOT to do something by looking at these people! Being a certified personal trainer doesn't hold much merit either. Passing a 100 question test (I finished in 6 minutes) and forkin' over 125.00 is no guarantee, especially because you can take many of these tests as many times as you like, THEN pay for the certificate.
If you admire someone's achievements, ask them questions. Most people that are into fitness like helping others, too.
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