My philosophy to reaching fitness goals is to slowly introduce sustainable changes that will help you to reach your health/fitness/wellness goals. Baby steps are HUGE! Well, they’re not huge, obviously…they’re baby steps… but, they’re incredibly important. If done correctly, I feel these baby steps will build on each other to help develop a lifestyle, helping you reach your ultimate goal. Over my years in the gym I’ve seen many people come and go. You’ve probably seen or experienced this yourself around January 1st. Huge goals are set; hit the gym to run the treadmill 30 minutes 5x/week and do 45 minutes of resistance training 3x/week. Then, all carbs are gone, pizza….gone. Bread….gone. Rice….Gone. It goes something like that….
Starting things off all gung-ho sounds like a great idea until it’s not anymore. Things start to get overwhelming very quickly. It starts to get frustrating. These workouts and this nutrition schedule is interfering with your family/social/work life way more than you ever thought it would. It gets more frustrating. Then, you say to yourself “Screw it. This sucks. I’m done”. If you’re on a New Year’s Resolution kick, this is probably somewhere in the beginning of February. Then, you get stuck in your same old habits, no closer to reaching any of the goals you initially set for yourself.
I don’t know about you, but this HAS to be intimidating for anyone. Totally flipping your life on end and changing absolutely everything about it. Do you think you could survive this type of change long term? Would you want to go through this abrupt change long term? Does it sound like fun? Does it sound sustainable? I’m guessing your answer to these questions is “No.” So how do you work towards your goals while fitting proper fitness and nutrition in your busy life? How do you make sure things don’t get overwhelming?
To be honest, it’s hard. The whole fitness and nutrition thing….it’s difficult. The magazines, tv shows, social media influencers….they make it look so easy. Even though it’s hard, it is manageable with small incremental changes to habits. The first step to reaching your goals is figuring out what those goals are. Let’s think long term goals first. Do you have a goal or two in mind? Good! Now, is that long term goal realistic? Why is that your long term goal? Think of your current life and the way you live it. Do you enjoy food, alcohol, downtime? If so, how is that six-pack going to fit in there? I’m a HHUUUUUGGGE fan of Precision Nutrition , and there’s a great article that discusses the different trade-offs that need to be made if you’re truly going for a six-pack. It also shows the trade-offs that need to be made for other levels of leanness. So, how do you make your long term goals mesh with your life? Baby steps!!
I’m currently studying for a health coaching certification through the National Society of Health Coaches. They state that “…The social context of one’s life must be taken into account if we are to be successful…” . This is interesting, because it sounds to me like if huge changes are suddenly made, they’re not going to fit in your lifestyle, and you’re going to have problems. We’re going to have problems. How do you take into account your current situation and start to adapt towards sustainable change? Small goals….even if it seems insignificant. Make a goal, no matter how small and stick with it until it’s a habit. Maybe your goal is just to show up to the gym twice a week. That’s it! Maybe your goal is to drink 1 extra cup of water 3x/week.
Work on those small changes. Turn them into habits. When you feel comfortable and that habit is just that, a habit, set a new goal. Eventually these goals will add up, and you will learn how to make food and fitness work with your lifestyle. What’s the point of being in shape if you’re miserable? To me, the whole point of getting in shape is to enjoy life more, not to lock yourself inside a prison of “I can’t eat that.” and “Sorry, I can’t. I have to go to the gym.” Set small goals, and eventually, you’ll learn to make healthy eating habits and fitness a part of your lifestyle!