Motivation and Pre Workouts

I once had a client who worked something like 25 hours a day. She worked a labor type of job during the night shift and a desk job during the day. She didn’t have much energy for working out so she took pre workouts to get through her workouts.

I also had another client who loved to take pre workouts but he didn’t have nearly as busy a schedule as she did. He had the perfect amount of time to workout, he just lacked motivation so he too took pre workouts to get through workouts.

I’ve been thinking about pre workouts a lot on your behalf. Full disclosure is that by and large I am pretty anti most supplement because the supplement industry is so unregulated and profit driven to the point where it becomes unethical. There are some vitamins, minerals, and supplements that really can help. What I am against is the supplements that make grandiose promises with no true science to back them up.

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While pre workouts are not necessarily bad, you certainly don't NEED them. There are a lot of supplements out there that say they do things for your that they couldn't possibly do. Some can be helpful but even if they are they are helpful only in very small percentages.

The real solution to to find and focus on what keeps you motivated. Motivation is the best pre workout of all. Motivation can be extrinsic, coming from outside sources like wanting to look good for an event or to fit into some piece of clothes. It can come from someone else wanting you to do something and you doing it for their sake. But motivation that comes from a source other than within yourself will quickly fade.

You need to find what really gets you going. Maybe you want to be able to play with your kids for hours without falling behind or needing a break. Maybe you want to live to see them get married and you want to be a grand parent.

My main motivation is that if I am not working to be the best version of myself that I possibly can I feel like I am wasting my life. Hope that didn't get too dramatic on you, but that's the way I fuel my desire to accomplish. One of the reasons I want to be the best me possible is I can empower others (namely you guys) to be the best you possible.

Another thing you can do to improve motivation is to focus on eliminating things that suck the energy out of you. Do you hate your job? Do you have to do things daily that you would really rather not? Do everything you can to either change these things or change the way your look at them and you will find much more energy and motivation.

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If you have all of the motivation you need and your lack of energy is truly due to physical factors you should focus on rest and nutrition first. If that isn’t enough and you need a little more energy, stick to natural sources of energy like coffee or tea. And drink plenty of water.

So what's your motivation????

Perrier Bottles and Quality Workouts

It was a hot day and I was at a family function with my big tough cowboy uncle. When you see a man standing at about six foot two with a cowboy hat and hands as rough as sand paper you expect to see a gallon of water. Not this cowboy. He was drinking from a little bitty green glass water bottle. It was a Perrier water. I was confused.

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I wanted to find out what the big deal was with this water so I got a bottle of my own. It felt great drinking the sparkling water from the little green bowling pin shaped bottle. It wasn’t the water itself, the water didn't taste any different to me than any other sparkling water. It was the bottle, the bottle made it a quality experience.

Quality is something that just about everyone can recognize but its really hard to define. I have no idea what makes that tiny bottle of water so special but theres something about it that makes you wanna drink more.

What this have to do with working out? Hydration and finding a quality gym and trainer. You gotta stay hydrated and sometimes you need some good quality help.

Your body is made up of about 70 percent water so hydration is key. Dehydration can rob you of your ability to perform at your highest level. Being well hydrated helps keep your joints lubricated, your spinal discs cushioned, and your muscle and skin supple.

Another benefit of proper hydration is that it can keep your weight down. Sometimes when you think you’re hungry you may simply be thirsty. Drinking water throughout the day will help to reduce hunger.

You should drink about half your weight in ounces of water per day. So if you weigh 150 pounds you should be drinking 75 ounces of water per day. A good way to know if you are properly hydrated is to take notice of the color of your urine. If it looks like a Monster Energy drink you need to drink more water. If it looks like lemonade you’re probably pretty well hydrated.

Perrier

When you exercise you should drink more water than when you aren’t. It can be helpful to weigh yourself before and after a hard workout and drink an ounce of water for every ounce of weight you lose during your workout.

Another important thing to consider is that drinking caffeine or alcohol can reduce your hydration. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics: they draw water out of your body. So make sure to drink water between your glass of whiskey or your cup of coffee.

Once you’re hydrated you’re ready to go to the gym. It’s important to find a gym where you see the value and quality. Finding a gym that you like can be the difference between reaching your goals and not.

At different times in my workout career I have passed up as many five gyms on my way to the gym where I wanted to workout. When people would ask me I had no intelligible response for them. I liked it and it had a quality that I couldn’t define.

If you want to succeed at getting in shape make sure you stay hydrated and find the Perrier bottle of gyms. If you need extra help make sure you find a trainer who knows their stuff and actually cares about you.

Dress Shopping and Going to the Gym

My niece recently turned 16 and had a big birthday party. She had particular ideas about what she wanted her “Dress to Impress” party to look like and she knew she wanted the perfect dress. I wanted her to have it so I took her shopping.

I picked her up in the morning thinking we would only spend a couple of very awkward hours (it turned into several) in a bunch of girly stores. To my delightful surprise she isn’t the most glam type of girl and she felt almost as awkward as I did in Forever 21 and the thousand stores we went to just like it.

She would go in the dressing room to try on dresses and I would wait outside. She only came out to show me the dress if she thought it might work. So there was a lot of me standing around by myself holding a purse in a girls clothes store. Talk about awkward.

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All of the awkward standing around was worth it when her face lit up cause she found just the dress she wanted. Now it was time to find shoes and accessories so we doubled back to most of the stores we went to and then some. I had to try to figure out what shape of jewelry you could wear with a dress that had a big bow on it.

The party went great, she really liked it. She even liked the center pieces we made from the supplies we got at Michaels. Yes, I went to a craft store too. All of the awkward was worth it.

All of the dress and craft shopping got me to thinking about how much it pays off to ignore the awkward situations you may get into. When you start working out it can feel really awkward to go to the gym. You might feel like everyone there knows what they’re doing and that you could never get in shape like them. It can be very intimidating.

Don’t worry about what other people think in the gym. You will never lose weight or gain any muscle from someone else working out so don’t let their presence impede your progress. Who cares what they think!

One time when I was just beginning to go to the gym I didn’t even make it in the door cause I was so worried about the buff/6 pack guys in it. I sat in my car, all 225 pounds of me, and thought about how fat I was and how uncomfortable it would be to be seen in the gym trying to lose weight.

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Eventually I got over the feeling and lost the weight. I felt uncomfortable in the gym because I was fat. I was completely wrong, the gym is exactly the place for people who are out of shape. If you’re new to the gym or not you should never be deterred by what people there may think of you.

Never feel uncomfortable in the gym. Don’t be intimidated and don’t feel out of place. You belong and if anyone intentionally makes you feel otherwise they're the ones who shouldn't be there. The only exercise to be ashamed of is the one you aren't doing. The more awkward it is to do the more you will enjoy the success it brings.

 

Get Jealous or Get Inspired

When I was a bit younger I had a less than positive outlook on things. When your outlook is less than positive you can look at peoples’ success and become cynical or jealous of that person. Instead of being jealous, you should get inspired.

Years ago I watched as someone in my profession advancing at a much faster rate than I was. He was tall and very athletic looking (he basically looked like The Rock wearing a uniform), but I felt I had just as much skill and more knowledge. I would attribute his success solely to the way he looked ignoring all of his hard work. In my mind he was born athletic looking and I wasn’t and there was nothing I could do to compete with that.

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By attributing his success to his build, I became jealous of the advancements he was making. My jealousy turned into complacency. In my mind I was never going to look like him so I was never going to get where he was. I stopped taking the steps necessary to succeed.

The jealousy sort of began to consume me. I would see an assignment that he was given and think that it should have been mine. He would move up in the ranks and I would say “why wasn’t it me?”. When I should have been studying more and working on my craft I was fixating on the “fact” that I didn’t look a certain way and since I didn’t I was never going to make it.

As I became more enlightened and got into better shape I began to change my outlook on the way I viewed these type of situations. I began to notice all of the work the successful people around me were putting in. In the past I would get jealous and make excuses for myself. As I got older and wiser I became inspired by the success of the people around me.

When I would see someone succeeding from where I was from and doing what I do I would get inspired. I would see that they made it and I believed I could make it too. Instead of being jealous I was inspired and I put in the extra work to achieve.

When you look at a friend who has changed their life and gotten into better shape you can do one of two things: you can get jealous or you can get inspired. You can look at their after picture and say its the lighting that makes them look so good or you can blame it on their genetics or say they took steroids. If you think these things you will not succeed. You will become more and more bitter and weak.

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If you look at a friend (or anyone) who has achieved and positively made a change in their lives don’t get jealous get inspired. They are an example of the fact that it can be done and you can do it too.

Have a positive body image. You need to love yourself and be secure enough to look at someone in better shape than you and not get jealous or discouraged. Have enough confidence in yourself to make progress, not excuses. You need to look at the success of others and get inspired. You can do it too and if you put the work in you will do it too.

 

It’s Possible and You Can Do It

"Many people are deterred from seriously attempting...because they think (before trying) that it is impossible. But when a thing has to be attempted, one must never think about possibility or impossibility...one must do the best one can.” CS Lewis

CS Lewis is one of the most logical and analytic thinkers/writers that I have ever read. For this reason I am able to take his unrelated quote and apply it to getting in gear with your fitness program. I’ve seen it too many times, people get paralyzed by fixating on the entirety of a task instead of just taking the small steps and doing it.

Look at the accomplishments of Henry Ford (the man who Ford cars are named after) for example. He is most known for his success and innovation in the assembly line process of making cars. If he sat back and thought about all that it takes to make a car he might think it was impossible. He would get caught up in the fact that there are so many parts and so much labor that go into making a car that it would seem impossible to make cars for the masses.

Henry Ford didn’t get caught up in thinking about the possibility or impossibility of making cars, it was his mission to get it done and he did the best he could. He broke the tasks up into smaller processes that were easy for a trained worker to do. It would be very difficult and time consuming to get one person to do the whole task, but he could get someone skilled and efficient at completing one of the tasks.  With a worker for each task together they would be able to make cars efficiently.

If all you do is focus on the enormity of the task as a whole, you will not succeed. Your thoughts can consume you. The more you think about it the bigger the task gets. The 30 pounds you have to lose turns into 50 or 60 pounds in your head and it seems impossible.

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You get inside your own head and it becomes impossible to achieve your goal. If all you think about is the possibility of succeeding or failing you will never give your best effort. The key to success is always putting forth the right amount of whole hearted effort.

If you want to lose weight and your heart and mind don’t believe you will succeed, you won’t put forth the right effort and the prophecy will fulfill itself. In reality, it is possible. To achieve it you need to do the best you can. The operative word in this is DO. You must do what it takes, step by step, in order to succeed with your goals. Thinking about getting stuff done does not get them done. You have to actually do them. No options.

Its hard to focus on losing one pound when all you can think about is losing 30. By thinking its impossible you create failure before you even make an attempt to succeed. Don’t get caught up in thinking about whether or not it is possible or if you will success. Just do what it would take to succeed and you will.

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Don’t think of your goals as impossible, think of them as something that needs to be done. Then take the steps to get them done. There is never failure in giving your best to a task and it is always impossible to complete something you never start.

 

 

Rest to Progress

I was still in high school and I decided to make some improvements to my car. For a second let’s gloss over the fact that it was almost 25 years old and the odometer had turned over more times than I could know for sure. For those who have never been in a older car, odometers did not used to be digital and some of them would turn back to zero after they passed 99,999.

Anyway I decided to spruce the old thing up starting with the windows cause what high school kid wants you to be able to see in their car. Once I tinted the windows I thought it would be a shame if I didn’t put rims on it. And after I put the rims on it how could I not paint it. So here I am putting rims and paint on a car that I couldn't rely on to take me more than an hour drive.

One day I was driving my old car with the new paint and rims listening to some song that I probably couldn’t stand to listen to today (not that it was terrible, but songs have expiration dates). I stopped at a red light and I was bumping my music but when the light turned green the car wouldn't go. The engine was blown.

Don't lose track of priorities and get stuck at the light.
Don't lose track of priorities and get stuck at the light.

What I should have done was maintenance the engine and stuff stuff like that and gave it a weekly wash. What I did do was ignore that and focus on the things that I thought would make it look better. In the end it did look better…all the way to the junk yard.  I fell victim to thinking more was more and I lost track of my priorities.

Enough about me let’s talk about you. You just started a workout program and you want to get results as fast as possible. The program says to lift weights 3 days a week and do some sort of cardio 5 days a week (nothing major just 15-30 minutes each time).

So what do you do? You think to yourself that if you were told to lift 3 days a week that lifting 4 or 5 days would be better and that if you were supposed to do 5 days of cardio why not go every day? And 15-30 minutes? That’s for slow progress so you’re gonna do an hour.

You were told to eat 1200 calories a day so that you could lose 2 pounds a week. You think 2 pounds a week is nice and all but 3 or 4 pounds a week would be better so you decide to eat less than 1200 calories a day.

The problem is that your priorities are all wrong. While you should be focusing on making habits that you can keep and taking the time your body needs to recover, you're putting the pedal to the metal and trying to get it all done in a day. But you know the saying about Rome.

Don't do too much and get burnt out.
Don't do too much and get burnt out.

What your impatience and motivation has done is blind you to the fact that your body needs rest. As you workout, especially when you lift weights, you make microscopic tears to your muscles. The way you get stronger and make progress is when those tears in your muscles repair themselves and grow back bigger and stronger. That doesn’t happen without rest.

So when you decide to do more than what is recommended you aren’t helping yourself, you’re taking away the time your body needs to repair and improve itself. Your body needs about 48 hours between working a particular muscle. Adding extra workouts takes that time away.

Without taking the time you need to recover you just keep breaking your body down and taking away its ability to repair itself. Not only that you aren’t eating enough since you decided to try to lose more than the recommended pounds per week.

Your body uses food as an energy source as well as the building blocks to repair tissues, one of them being muscles. If you eat too much you add tissue that you don’t want, aka fat. If you eat just enough your body maintains itself. If you eat less than maintenance you will lose fat, but if you eat too much less your body decides to slow down on the burning and hold on to that fat just in case you aren’t gonna feed it.

When you start a workout program make sure that you work hard AND get enough rest. Also make sure you that you’re eating below your maintenance calories but not too far below. You want to develop habits that you can keep for the long haul. Don’t try to do it all at once and lose track of priorities. You’ll get to doing things that you could never keep up.

You’ll probably lose a bunch of weight fast but won’t be able to keep up with the ridiculous time and energy commitment you brought upon yourself. When that happens you’ll gain the weight back and then some. Build good habits that you can keep. Rest to progress or you’ll get stuck at the light.

Insults to Progress

Let me be honest with you, trainers often think that if you aren't doing it their way you aren’t doing it right or that you aren't doing anything at all. Pride aside, we should never let our own arrogance be to the detriment of our clients. That’s a disservice to the people who need us and a disservice to who we are as people. If someone is doing something active, no matter what it is, it is better than doing nothing.

Anyway about a year ago one of my online clients came to me after she had gone through the whole sales presentation with a training salesman at one of the corporate gym chains. It turned out that in person training wasn’t the best choice for her so she decided to sign up with me.

After signing up with me she continued to workout at the gym where she got the sales pitch. After training with me for about 6 months she had gotten into the best shape of her life. But like most of people who lose a lot of weight it was hard for her to see her progress beyond being blinded by what she believes to be her problem areas.

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A lot of the times she went to the gym the same sales guy would make comments as she came in to workout. The comments would range from “When are you gonna sign up” to “you’re doing that lift wrong, you should get training.” She would either come back with a quick rebuttal or brush it off carry on.

By the time last week came around she was finally feeling good about herself. In fact I felt that she was a little on the skinny side and needed to add some calories to her diet to put on a little weight. I actually had told her that a few months ago.

So last week she walked into the gym and Mr Sales Trainer said, “When are you gonna sign up for training?” She replies “I don’t need your training, I look good.” To that he responds “No, you don’t”. Not knowing what to say to such a brash comment she just walks away and goes to the locker room to get ready for her workout. It was on her mind throughout the workout and for days after.

When I heard about it, I was instantly outraged. Not only was I upset because it was my client who I am proud of for making so much progress but also because as a trainer I look bad for that jerk saying something like that. What kind of man would say a disparaging comment like that to a woman???

He said it in hopes of making a sale. While I know selling is a part of our business as trainers, it is a necessary evil and it is something some of the best trainers hate to deal with. What a good trainer really wants to do is get you to sign up to help you change your life. Money is a byproduct, not the driving force. What this guy was trying to do was get her money at all costs. At the cost of her emotional well being.

The problem with this situation stems from the corporate structure of this company. They hire non trainers to sell training and then pass the people along to real trainers. The trainers don’t have to sell training and the sales person doesn’t have to talk to the client again. The training sales job attracts pushy sales people who could care less about the people they are selling to and abysmal situations like this arise. This is not ok!

I write this to tell you that you are beautiful (or handsome) and you shouldn’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you are doing any form of exercise you are doing something special and I am proud of you. Keep your head up and keep pushing along. I’m still happy for whether or not you’re doing my program, even though I think mine is the best ; )

 

 

Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day (Not)

pancakes_10710886Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Ok...now you’ve officially heard it a million times. But never once was it absolutely true.

Do you eat breakfast cause you want to or do you only eat breakfast because the  media and the “experts” told you that if you didn’t you would never lose weight?

Let’s revisit the basic principal behind any successful weight loss program, reduction of total daily calories. The importance is not when you eat but how much you eat. Think about the amount of calories you could save if you didn’t force yourself to eat breakfast first thing in the morning.

Also, delaying breakfast can actually help you to fight off craving so that you can eat less calories in a day. Think of how hungry you get shortly after you eat a conventional breakfast, you know the "healthy" (aka carb heavy)ones you see on TV with the cereal, and toast, and orange juice. After your sugar high wears off you end up hungrier than a dog when he sees food.

Another thing you might not expect is that delaying your first meal can actually HELP your metabolism and not destroy it like we’ve been told. Lets think about why we store fat...we store extra body fat in case we don’t have access to food. If you spend every waking minute with food in your system why would your body want to live off of your extra body fat? It has food in your stomach, and that’s easier to break down into energy than stored fat is so you'll burn the food and not the fat.

There is research out there that says breakfast is important because it boosts your metabolism. But your metabolism actually raises proportionately to the amount of food you eat. So its not that it raises because you ate breakfast, it raising because you ate. It’s not because you ate it first thing in the morning.

Breakfast foods are tasty. You can eat them anytime, not just at "Breakfast time".
Breakfast foods are tasty. You can eat them anytime, not just at "Breakfast time".

What most studies didn’t look at was when breakfast was eaten. If you delay your first meal you’re still going to get that raise in metabolism, and if you save the calories from your first meal and combine them with your second, you’re metabolism will raise that much more (if that’s how you want to look at it). So breakfast is important, but not at the time you think, it’s important later.

There was a study done at Vanderbilt University that found that the people in the study who delayed their first meal lost more weight than those who ate breakfast at their usual time.

When you first begin delaying your breakfast you will probably feel really hungry. This is because of the hormones in your body, specifically the hormone Ghrelin which gets used to your meal timing and actually predicts when you are “supposed” to eat.

If you’re used to eating first thing in the morning or every certain amount of hours, Ghrelin is going to spike at those times. After a few weeks (at the most) you will be able to re-train the release of your Ghrelin and have more control over when you can eat. If you can maintain the willpower to stick to the new eating pattern, you will be able to retrain your hormones to allow you to delay breakfast (and other meals). If you are able to delay breakfast you will be able to reduce your daily calories.

A benefit of allowing yourself to be hungry and produce Ghrelin is that when that hormone is present you are also producing more growth hormone. Growth hormone helps you to build muscles and burn fat. So you don’t have to visit your local "gym pharmacist" to get extra growth hormone, you just gotta deal with a little bit of hunger.

Another benefit to delaying breakfast is that when you are hungry and producing Ghrelin, you are also producing the “feel good” hormone: dopamine. Dopamine is the hormone that is at it’s height when you are most happy. Like when you’re reading this article.

Not only will you produce more happy hormones, you’ll also be more alert and be able to get more done. Think about how you feel shortly after a meal. You’re probably lackadaisical and in need of a nap. Now think about how alert you are when you’re in search of food. When you’re hungry and/or looking forward to food you’re able to get more done because you’re more alert. Also because getting stuff done is a good way to get your mind off of being hungry.

To be successful with this strategy you need to be dedicated to it and not compromise with yourself. It will take time to train your mind and your body to delay your first meal. But it’s totally worth it.

When you successfully change your eating pattern to delay breakfast you will start losing fat cause you’ll be producing the right hormones, eating less total calories, and giving your body a chance to live off of its stored fat.

There is No Tomorrow, Don’t Procrastinate

RockyI don’t know about you, but I get amped every time I watch one of the old Rocky movies. When I was in junior high and high school I watched all five of them every summer. (I even watched Rocky V each summer, and anyone who has ever watched it knows how much dedication that takes to get through.)

I always found a way to get motivated when I watched the Rocky movies. I was always able to draw a connection between the struggles Rocky was going through and whatever I was doing at the time. Yesterday, I was thinking about how people procrastinate and put things off until “tomorrow” and I thought about some of my favorite movies.

In Rocky III, Rocky is training for a rematch against Clubber Lang (aka Mr. T). In their first fight together, Rocky was not prepared for the fight because he did not train properly. On top of that, on the day of the fight his long time trainer Mickey suffered some sort of a heart attack just before the fight. So Rocky was completely unfocused on top of being undertrained, as a result Clubber Lang whooped him pretty good.

After the fight, Rocky’s once rival Apollo Creed agreed to train him because the way he was used to fighting was not going to be good enough to beat Lang. During the training Rocky remained unfocused and afraid of dealing with what he had to in order to win. While Rocky and Apollo were sparing Rocky was completely unfocused and Apollo began to get frustrated as he had his way with Rocky in the ring. Rocky kept telling Apollo “Tomorrow. We’ll do it tomorrow.”

Rocky got caught in the trap of putting off the hard work until the elusive “tomorrow”. As Apollo was hitting Rocky in the head, all that Rocky could think about was finding a way to stop it, but “tomorrow”. He would rather keep getting hit in the head and deal with it tomorrow than to make it stop now. To that Apollo said “There is no tomorrow!”

We’ve heard that same thing before in a million different ways, but until we start to live like there really is no tomorrow we are going to keep squandering out potential. We continue to put the hard work off until “tomorrow”, and all that does is postpone the pay off.

Too often do people get caught up in putting things off because they are not easy. If we know we need to workout to lose 10 pounds, so many other things seem so much more important when it comes time to go to the gym. Suddenly those dishes in the sink just can’t sit there any longer. Or your movie collection absolutely needs to be re organized.

The reason we do this is because we are looking for short term gratification. We can see the results of cleaning the house right away. But sometimes we could go to the gym for weeks and not see a difference. The things that are most worth it take the most commitment. So stay on track and keep plugging away at those big goals cause “There is no tomorrow!”. You will succeed if you put the work in.

It’s time to be like Rocky and do some soul searching to find what really motivates us to take on our most difficult challenges. And in the end, just like Rocky went on to beat Clubber Lang after a long hard road of training and struggles with his inner demons, you will reach your goals and it will feel better than any short term gratification ever will.

Goal Setting

Goal Setting

goalsWhen he talked of setting goals my high school basketball coach told us to shoot for the moon because if we failed we would at least land somewhere among the stars. Is it a coincidence that not too many of his players went on to play in college? Setting goals is not about planning to fail, its about knowing what you can accomplish and getting it done.

I knew darn well that players on our team didn't have the talent to make it to the NBA or even major college, but thats what he had them shooting for. The problem was that in shooting for that they neglected to take the steps necessary to accomplish what they really could have accomplished. They could have gotten scholarships to play for a Division 2 or 3 school, but the NBA was calling so they didn’t bother with any of that.

I don’t say this to be bitter about not playing b ball in college. After all, as my coach said to me “You’re smart, you’re gonna make it to college anyway, you don’t need basketball.” This was the catalyst for me quitting. What’s the point in going through the process if you don’t have a goal and you aren't going to attain it.

Brad-Pitt-fight-club-bodyWhen you set out to make your goals for weight loss and the changes you want to make in your life, make sure you really think about what you can truly attain and what you’re willing to do to attain it. Most of us won’t book like Brad Pitt in Fight Club, so if we set out for that we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. If we start out looking like Jonah Hill in Superbad we may be able to look like Jonah Hill in 21 Jump Street. We just need to make sure we don’t go back to looking like him in The Sitter.

SUPERBADThe point is that we all have an aptitude for the type of physical condition we can get ourselves into. We need to find out what that is, and by no means sell ourselves short of our absolute full potential. After we find out what that is, we need to do everything it takes to be the best that we can. To do that we need to set goals.

We’ve all had a speech from either work or school about setting SMART goals, the acronym is sometimes a little different, but a popular one is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. No matter which acronym is used this is a good way to look at setting your goals. If we set clear goals and take the time to reflect on them and gain appropriate feedback we will be motivated to keep working toward them. This motivation will lead you to working harder toward your goals.

We need to set specific goals that are difficult enough to keep us challenged. If we do this we will perform better than if we set vague and easy to accomplish goals. If a goal is easy to accomplish it is always easy to leave it be until the elusive tomorrow. The bigger the goal the bigger the feeling of accomplishment.

 

How to Set Goals

When you set goals you have to be clear about what you want to accomplish and when, make sure its worth accomplishing, make sure you are committed to accomplishing it, seek measurable feedback, and don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed.

 

Set a Clear Goal: What you want to accomplish and when

Set a clear goal, no ambiguity. Set a date of completion. And know what it will take to accomplish it. Saying “I will lose 4 pounds in the next 30 days” is much better than saying “I want to lose weight.”

You know from being told a million times that to lose a pound of fat you need to burn an extra 3500 calories, so you know to lose your 4 pounds (or 1 pounds a week) you need to create a 500 calorie deficit each day on average.  So you know what it’ll take to lose your 4 pounds in the next month. If you say you want to lose weight, theres always tomorrow.

 

2. Make Sure Your Goals are Appropriately Challenging

Your goals needs to be challenging enough to keep you interested and motivated, the pay off has to be worth it. Your goal also have to be realistic enough to actually attain them.

As we know the bigger the goal the harder it will be to attain. What we also know is that as the difficulty increases so too does the pay off and sense of accomplishment. Setting appropriate goals will keep you on track to succeed.

Your goal also has to be relevant and specific to what you actually want to accomplish. Saying you want to look better for your wedding is different than saying that you want to lose 12 pounds to fit into a specific dress in a specific size is much more relevant to the goal. The pay off for forever having a picture of how you looked in that dress will be much more motivating than just looking better.

 

3. Make Sure You are Committed to Doing What it Takes to Reach Your Goal

The harder and more worth while the goals is to attain the more it will take for you to reach it. You have to be willing to do what it will take to reach your goal.

If your goal is worth it, it is going to take a lot of hard work. You have to be willing to pass on going to lunch with the people in the office or going out for drinks with your friends every week. This doesn’t mean never do it, it means you need to really cut back.

You will be faced with challenges along the way, you need to be willing to do what it take to push through them on your way to your goal.

 

4. Check Back in to Your Goal and Look for Measurable Feedback to Stay on Track

If you don’t stay in tune with your progress you will stop making progress. You need to check in with your progress regularly to make sure that you are on track to reaching your goal. This doesn’t mean checking in too often and getting discouraged when you didn’t lose a pound from one day to the next. It means checking in about once a week or so to see where you are.

If you are on track to reaching your goal you will be motivated by the progress. If you don’t check in during the process and aren't at your when you hit the deadline you will feel like giving up. If you check in during the process you could have saw in advance that you weren’t going too reach your goal in the time given and you could have readjusted your goal. This way you can keep motivated and know that you're working toward something instead of give up cause you didn’t reach your goal.

 

5.Don’t Allow Yourself to get Overwhelmed

You are going to have to work really hard to reach your goal, make sure you don’t get overwhelmed. This is easier done if your goal is appropriate for the time you’ve given yourself. Give yourself enough time and know what will be expected. And don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do it every single day, just don’t make a habit of letting yourself off the hook.