+ what to do about it!
I’ll be back later today with some pics from the weekend, but in the meantime, I thought it would be fun to do a bit of a discussion post.
Let’s chat about fitness goals and some things that could be in way of our success. Maybe you’ve been cranking along your routine for weeks, months, years, and not seeing the results you’re after. Sometimes we hinder or our results, or can let outside factors affect the final outcome. Even though I haven’t trained clients since P was born, these are some of the things I’ve noticed with clients and also myself.
Here are some of the things that could be deterring your from reaching your fitness goals + what you can do about it:
1) You don’t have a plan.
I believe that consistency is the key when you want to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle, but there’s something powerful about having a solid plan in place. What’s your goal? What are you working towards? If you’re wanting to stick with it for the long haul, consistency should be your mission and aim to hit your ideal amount of training sessions each week. However, if you’re working towards specific goals (increasing mile time, squat weight, decreasing body fat by “x” amount, etc) it’s helpful to have an action plan for how you’re going to get there. Going to the gym and going through the same motions, or taking the same classes, is AWESOME for consistency, but a balanced plan can take it to the next level.
Some of my ideas:
-Check out your training plan and make sure that it’s a nice mix of steady state cardio, interval training (for my intermediate/advanced friends), stretching/recovery/mobility and strength (working all muscle groups). I get SO TEMPTED to do the same things all the time, but I know in my heart that it will get me the same results. So I’ve been making a conscious effort to mix it up, or I’d do probably barre everyday and spin or OTF mixed in there.
-Some methods to work towards specific goals:
Increasing mile time: Complete a 1-mile run at your fastest pace for a benchmark. In your running routine, add in some tempo work and interval training with your long run. Try to increase your tempo speed gradually over time (new goal!) and your sprint speed (new goal!). Test your sprint mile again in a few months and see how much you’ve improved. Make sure to add cross training and strength into your routine to prevent prevent overuse and to also strengthen the muscles in your legs to support your running.
Increase squat weight: I’d recommend working at this one with a buddy. #1: make sure your form is ON POINT. It’s worthless to stack plates on the bar if you’re going to hurt yourself, mmm k? A majority of the time, we can squat WAY more than we think we can. It’s helpful to do this one on a Smith machine because if it gets too tough, you can just set the bar on the rack instead of worrying about getting it over your head to set down. (This is another reason why having a squat buddy is helpful; they can assist you as you set up and get the bar down to rest.) Take note of your max squat weight, and continue to strengthen the rest of the muscles in your lower body and core to support your strength training.
Fat loss and muscle gain: lift heavier weights, increase protein while staying mindful of carb and fat intake (and their qualities), add interval training, eat lots of veggies, get good sleep, and drink lots of water. I’ve also heard that drastically cutting out alcohol can make a huge difference, but this is where I raise my wine glass and say, “Let me know how it works” haha. This is where consistency can make a huge difference; stick with it to see results, and avoid “quick fixes.” Slow and steady wins the race.
2) You’re stuck in a rut.
Our bodies are intelligent machines and will kick things into cruise control whenever possible. If we constantly impose the same demands, we will achieve the same results. This is why it’s important to change things up and add little stressors into your workout whenever possible. Change the types of weights you’re using (try TRX, kettlebells, cable machines, barbells, stability balls, ropes, and slam balls to mix it up!), adjust your muscle split (instead of circuit training, try a lower/upper split or check out this weights 101 post for more ideas), add in different types of cardio, or take a new class. Anything you can do to keep your body guessing will encourage results! For more ideas on busting a rut, check out this post and this post.
3) Despite the best intentions, you’re doing too much.
This is one of the most common things I see, and also something I’ve been guilty of doing in the past. More doesn’t equal more when it comes to health and fitness. Aim to dance in the happy line right in the middle of “balls to the wall” and “recovery nap day.” A balanced training plan should have at least 1-2 days of rest each week of gentle stretching, yoga or walking; no strenuous activity. The body needs rest to recover and grow back stronger.
4) Excuses and true barriers.
There are so many excuses in the book (“I’m too tired,” “I don’t have time,” “My kids/job/life keep me too busy,” “I don’t have equipment,”) and the list goes on of stories we tell ourselves that get in the way of our success. Instead of telling myself “I can’t,” I’ve actually started saying, “I’m not making that a priority” in my head. Because, the reality is that I probably could, but I don’t want to, so I tell myself that I *can’t* do something. The goal here is to access our inner monologue to determine if we’re being truly honest with ourselves, and how we can change this mindset for true priorities. And if something isn’t a priority, it’s ok to say no!
You don’t need a lot of time, money, or fancy equipment to take care of yourself or take your goals to the next level. You just have to find that internal motivation and even if you have to get a little creative, you can make it happen. <3
Of course, there are true barriers that can stand in our way, like an injury or illness. The best thing you can do in these situations is to be patient with yourself,. Do what you can with what you have. If you’re too sick to work out, focus on eating well to fuel your body and facilitate healing. If you can’t take your favorite class because you’re injured, talk to your doctor about safe, low-impact alternatives.
5) Lack of support.
This can be a significant one, because finding a caring gym buddy or healthy food friend can really help to propel you towards your goals. This is where I run around virtually high-fiving my internet friends. Even if you don’t have a physical support system, there are men and women all over the world, here on the internets, who want to cheer you on. A great example of this is our amazing Summer Shape Up Facebook group! The support and virtual love from SSU-ers all over the world has been incredible.
So tell me friends: what goal are you working on right now? Was there ever something that stood in your way that you had to overcome?