So with the New Year approaching, the gyms will be full of those whose resolutions are to: lose weight; build muscle; gain strength; build booties; tone.. etc etc.
Now are these goals being set realistically? The majority, probably not.
You see we tend to have our eyes set on the end result.. but a lot of people don’t take into account the steps needed to get you there.
And what happens when you’ve bought a gym membership/classes and/or spent an ‘X’ amount of money on a personal trainer; or purchased the services of a nutritionist..and after the first few weeks have gone by you realize you haven’t seen your numbers change.. or that you’re still having to struggle to put on your favourite pair of jeans? What happens then?
You lose motivation. You want to give up. You think it’s impossible.
But the truth is, it’s not impossible. Everything is possible with enough determination, dedication, and… the proper plan.
Coaches have game plans; architects have blueprints; teachers have lesson plans… (you get my drift). These plans have a basic structure to them: the necessary steps needed to achieve an end result.
They provide guidance. They provide a time frame. And there will even be a plan B, C, or D in case something goes wrong.
This is where having a plan set in place is crucial if you are serious about your fitness goals.
Setting Realistic Goals
○ Be specific. Instead of saying I want to lose weight, state the exact amount of fat loss you are looking to achieve. Ex: 20pds of fat mass
○ Make sure that the goals you want to achieve are realistic. If your goal is to lose 20pds in one month, you might want to re-evaluate. Healthy fat loss is 1-2pds per week (4-8pds/month), this ensures that you are not losing a significant amount of muscle mass.
Track Your Progress
○ This is an important part of reaching your goals. Keep a workout journal to track your progress in the gym; a food journal or calorie app will help keep track of what and how much you’re consuming.
My favorite way of tracking my progress is with pictures. By taking bi-weekly or monthly pictures I can compare and actually see changes in my physique that I might miss by looking in the mirror.
Note: I did not include weighing yourself as a way to track progress because the scale does not tell you the whole story. The scale might not even budge but if your clothes are suddenly fitting better or even too big..then you know you are doing something right.
○ Hey, life gets in the way more often than not. Obstacles are also a natural part of change. By coming up with strategies to overcome obstacles, you won’t be caught off guard when you hit a speed bump.
Avoid seeing obstacles as a reason to quit, instead use them as a learning opportunity and improve on strategies. This will ensure you are ready the next time you find yourself in the same situation.
(Here’s a good article on setting fitness goals.)
So to all those starting new at the gym this January.. I wish you luck & success on your fitness journey.
To the veterans.. I wish you gains, gains and nothing but gains! 💪
You have an upcoming event and you want to look your best in that new dress.. or maybe you’ve booked a beach vacation and want to feel confident in your bathing suit. Whatever your reason may be, spending 30+ minutes on a boring treadmill (or any cardio machine) may not be the wisest choice.
For those who are familiar with it know that it’s alot more intense than an hour on the treadmill.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is when you alternate between high and low intensity exercise(s) or between high intensity exercise and a short period of rest.
For example, a short sprint up a hill followed by a walk back down is interval training. Or a set of burpees followed by bodyweight rows. Or squat jumps followed by pushups.
The reason why? The bursts of high intensity (such as 10-20 seconds of sprinting) create a metabolic demand in the body that is effective for long-term fat loss. HIIT and heavy weight training create a state of ‘stress’ in our bodies by reducing oxygen supply to tissues, increasing body temperature, reducing body fluids and fuel stores, and causing tissue damage. This chaos prompts the body to create endocrine and defense reactions in order to deal with the problem. Basically the body is forced to adapt.
Benefits of HIIT:
• strengthens the cardiovascular system
• improves carbohydrate & fat metabolism in skeletal muscle
• results in fat-loss without compromising lean muscle mass
• improves strength and power
You end up getting more ‘bang for your buck’, for example 5 minutes of HIIT = approximately 30-45 min of treadmill or elliptical.
If you would like to incorporate HIIT, ensure you do a proper Warm-up & cool-down.
Example of HIIT Workout:
▪2 min Warm-up skipping
》20 seconds fast skipping (high intensity)
》10 seconds slow skipping (low intensity/recovery)
▪ Repeat for 9 intervals (5min)
▪ 3 min cool-down
You can replace the skipping rope with incline intervals on a treadmill or even the row machine
Want to get fancy with your HIIT workouts? Try it with resistance exercises. You can try alternating burpees with pushups… jump squats with inverted rows.. the possibilities can be endless!