Just Do It
Last time we talked about setting SMART goals as the fundamental process to reaching all your health and fitness goals this year. Once they are set in place it’s time to get to work and start doing. Even if you have the most amazing goals set in place if you don’t start taking the necessary steps to ensure success then nothing will get done and failure is right around the corner, again. We don’t need another tick in the win column of the mind. The mind is a very powerful tool that loves to stack the deck against us anytime we set out to do something great. It makes a habit out of remembering all of our past failures and bringing them up at just the right moments to break us down. So let’s give you a few tools to overcome the mind and keep you motivated to make some real changes this time.
Mistake 1: One size fits all
The first 3 weeks of the year always start off with so much promise and this year you have enlisted the help of a certified personal trainer, well, maybe you haven’t gone that far but you’re definitely reading this blog. So, your 3 weeks into a new workout plan that you found in some magazine, or online, or a friend recommended it worked for them so it has to work for you too right? WRONG. The first mistake people make when they are new to fitness is believing that what works for one person will work for them. This is not to say that it won’t work for you but chances are you are not at the same fitness level as the person who created the routine.
What do I do?
For starters, take a look at the routine and check for exercises that you are unfamiliar with and learn how to perform them safely and properly. This can be done by conducting a Google or Youtube search for the particular exercises. Next, look for exercises that may cause injury or may aggravate any current or past injuries and DO NOT do these exercises. Finally, keep in mind that you’re new to fitness and that’s ok. There is no need to push yourself too hard too soon. Instead, learn the proper form and technique to be used for each exercise and move at your own pace. Once you get the hang of it then you should increase your intensity.
Mistake 2: I’m bored
If you make it past the first month of training you’re in good hands as most new habits are formed within the first 21 days. Congratulations, but you’re not done yet. You want to make this fitness thing a lifestyle, something you can keep up with for the long haul. The mistake a majority of people make in the fitness world is allowing themselves to get bored with their routines. This is why many of the people who have been going to the gym for years tend to look the same year after year. They haven’t changed things up since day one. On the other hand, most people who become bored with their routines just quit.
What do I do?
In this day and age there is absolutely no excuse for allowing your workout routines to become stale and boring. The internet is chalk full of free fitness information for you to choose from. Where do you think personal trainers get all their insider information from? On top of that there is a plethora of apps you can download to your smart phone or computer that allow instant access to all sorts of exercises, routines, and meal plans. Changing your routine doesn’t need to be a complicated event, it can be as simple as increasing the resistance used during your workouts, decreasing rest periods, or changing a few exercises. Anything that keeps you motivated and seeing results will keep you hungry for the next workout.
Mistake #3: Avoiding weaknesses
Just like in real life if you avoid the weaknesses in your muscle development they will come back to haunt you. Almost everyone I know is naturally stronger on either their right side (right handed) or their left side (left handed). This can also hold true for the different muscle groups within our bodies. For example, my right side is stronger than my left in every exercise I perform, and my legs are stronger then my arms. You might be thinking well yeah obviously your legs are stronger than your arms but what I mean is my legs are naturally strong and I can push a lot of weight with relative ease. Whereas, I really have to work at making my arms stronger in order to see growth. The point is if you ignore your weaknesses your muscles will reflect the imbalances in the mirror and even worse you leave yourself susceptible to injury.
What do I do?
The more your mind wants to avoid doing something, the more value it holds for you. This one is simple, start off with one area of fitness you struggle with and commit to improving it. Once you overcome your initial aversion, you improvements will be dramatic. For example, let’s say your left arm is weaker than your right arm when performing a bicep curl; I always have clients perform their weaker side first and count the reps. Then when they go to do the stronger side I have them stop at the number of reps they performed on the weak side. Before you know it the weak side catches up and we move on to the next weakness.
Mistake #4: Not crossing the line
Unlike in the business world, he/she who habitually crosses “the line” during their workouts is rewarded big time. The line I am referring to is the threshold for pain or discomfort our bodies go through during an intense workout. A lot of people think they are working out hard just because they made the effort to go to the gym. If you think a leisurely walk, riding a stationary bike while reading, or any other mild form of cardio will blast you into shape, you have another thing coming to you. Sure it requires effort, but it’s not enough.
What do I do?
You have to find that line in whatever you’re doing and habitually cross it. It’s that one last rep beyond what you think you can do. It’s that extra agonizing pain you must endure after you finished a set. The pain doesn’t last long, but in the moment you must push yourself past the pain on a continuous basis. That’s the secret to becoming fit. Note: the pain I refer to is lactate acid building up in the muscle as it performs work; it is the burn you feel when you get close to your last rep. On a scale from 1-10 it would fall around a 7-8. It is not joint, bone, or unusually sharp pain and if it is you have gone too far.
These are the most common things we work on with clients daily, and why I felt it was important to shed some light on how to overcome the mind when focussing on your health and fitness goals. Hiring a personal trainer is more than just someone barking at you and counting reps, there is both an art and a science to helping people achieve their fitness goals. Everything I blog about is from my experience with helping clients learn how to effectively train both their minds and bodies for success.