Think about what you want to gain from movement. As we've said before, being a sweaty mess proves nothing.
We know now why we need to track, we just need somewhere to go to! Define your goals, know what you want! You can track all you want but the numbers will be meaningless without direction. Maybe you want to gain muscle or increase your endurance?
I set myself SMART objectives. If you've ever been in a sales role, more than likely your manager has beaten you up about SMART!
Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Relevant. Time.
Specific: This is what you want to accomplish. I want to lose 5kgs/I want to Bench Press my bodyweight/I want to run 10k in under an hour. These are very specific goals which you can work towards. Your goals really should be based on performance or body metrics (i.e. weight, body composition) rather than attendance based. For example, I will attend the gym three times each week is attendance based and it's a means rather than an end. Pretty soon you'll be wondering why you're going to the gym when the initial motivation boost wears off. Remember that we're training now rather than moving randomly.
Measurable: Can you measure it? Gaining weight and losing body fat won't cut it: there's nothing actually in that statement to measure. Try gaining 5kgs or lowering body-fat by 10%.
Achievable: You're not going to be an elite athlete in three months. You're not going to be an elite athlete in one year. Set yourself an achievable goal; if you don't, your confidence and motivation will take a big hit.
Relevant: Is your goal relevant to your specific? If you want to bench press 100kgs it's not going to happen by training to run a marathon. No matter how hard you run.
Time: Set yourself a time limit to meet your goals.
It's a jungle out there; So many places to go.
Define as many SMART goals as you want but remember to be realistic about them. Don't try to load yourself with too much so that you're crushed under the pressure. Remember you have the rest of your life ahead of you. Don't go thinking that you must lose weight, gain strength and complete a full marathon in one year.
When you have your goals defined, figured out how to work towards them and you track your progress, many things happen which will make time spent working out much more rewarding.
- You know exactly why you're doing what you're doing.
- You'll be able to figure out if what you're doing is actually going to help you perform/look the way you want.
- Each work-out brings you closer to your goal. As you progress and your numbers go the right way you'll be rewarded which will reinforce your behaviour.
- You will be able to picture yourself at the finish line.
- Even if you don't yet have the discipline, you'll be much more motivated to keep going.
There's one thing that gets said a lot. "I want to lose weight and gain muscle at the same time." There are two circumstances where this is possible:
- As a total beginner but the results will flat line very quickly.
- Being very overweight to begin with. Same as the above, your results will flat-line, just not so quickly as above.
To lose weight, you need to eat less than your body needs. When your body doesn't get enough energy from food, it will start to break down muscle and fat stores for energy. To gain muscle you need to eat more, you can't create something from nothing. So you can't achieve both at the same time. An analogy is wearing camouflage and a hi-vis. Which one will you wear? Wearing both achieves nothing as they're opposing goals.
What are we actually trying to achieve here?!
In our next mission, I'll examine nutrition and explain just how important it is and why it's more important than any amount of hours you spend training.
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In this nutrition series:
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