It’s not easy to make lifestyle choices that will turn you into an elite athlete. By elite, I’m referring to anyone that eats right, trains hard consistently for at least a few years and competes for consistent podium finishes (or medals). In my eyes you don’t have to be at the top of your game or headed to the Olympics to be an athlete. If you are athletic and work hard enough to compete well at the local level, you’re doing great, keep it up.
But the average person not only has trouble reaching their goals, they haven’t even taken the time to write them down. I’m going to break down a step for you to work on each week so you have the week to conquer it before you move on to the next step.
Nutrition is the most important building block of fitness. It’s the foundation for which great athletes are built. If you eat garbage, your body will perform that way. You might still get some fitness benefits, see results and think everything is gravy, but I guarantee you aren’t working at the level you could be. You are going to plateau and quit exercise completely, or get frustrated into gaining weight because you give up any kind of structured eating habits.
Eating well is for life. It’s not something you do for a week or two or a couple of months. That means you have to make changes that you can live with forever. To lose weight your eating has to be that much closer to perfect, then you can get away with things to maintain where you want to be. And by getting away with things I mean having the odd treat. When you’re really switched on to your goals and eating right, you’ll be surprised how little you crave the things you crave now.
Have you ever tried dumping cool-aid or fruit juice into your car’s gas tank to see how it would function? Probably not. But that’s essentially what we’re doing with the way we eat, but we aren’t paying attention to how we’re performing. Like high performance cars on the road people are assuming the type of car, money spent on the car (genetics and rich parents) are the reason that car can perform better than ours. Sure, genetics will play a bit of a role in your performance, but not enough. You -can- reach your goals.
Here is step 1 for this week: Write down your goals and put them in two places you’ll see them. I think the best place is your fridge (or kitchen somewhere) and your car. Those are your two enemies when it comes to making poor judgement errors. You’re either driving to it, or pull it out of your cupboards. Seeing your goals written down will help you focus on them when you want to eat something or buy something you shouldn’t.
Your goals should be:
1. Concrete. Lose weight is not concrete. Lose 8 lbs is concrete. If you don’t like the idea of a scale because of all the muscle you might be packing on (if you’ve been working out for years you probably aren’t this person), you can make a concrete goal of losing 3 clothing sizes or pant sizes or fit into a dress. Maybe it’s to see your abs in the mirror.
2. Long and short term. You need to build on success. To do that you need goals you can hit along the way to make you feel great about yourself, and an ultimate goal. You might say lose 1 dress size every 8 weeks for 24 weeks. The short term is 8 weeks and the long term is 24 weeks. Break it down like this so you have shorter more manageable goals.
3. Realistic. Don’t set yourself up for failure or unrealistic goals. If you need some guidance you can always ask. Losing a dress size a week for 4 weeks is sure to result in failure or in the least be unsustainable. Anyone can starve themselves for a while and lose weight, not many people you see two years later have kept it off. I’m giving you goals once a week so you don’t make big changes too quickly. It isn’t all or nothing. It’s small changes over time that you can live with.
4. Want to be better. Success comes with desire. Enough desire and you can do almost anything. It sounds good to say all these things but it’s another to act on it when your friends say, “Let’s go for ice cream.” Want it badly for yourself and you’ll get more success than you’ve ever imagined. But it starts with a desire to succeed that is greater than your desire to eat bad quality food.