There is a huge difference between just becoming fit and staying fit. Becoming fit happens in the first year or so, staying fit, however, is for life. Your success is in learning to enjoy the process. Let me simplify the fitness process so that you can plan backwards around your goals. Remember that success in fitness is reliant on hard work and effort, it is not something innate, therefore it requires time, patience and consistency. Here are my five habits for success.
- Set a Realistic Goal
The problem with a lot of people who first get into fitness is that they fail to plan for the long-term. They assume that the challenge will be with the working out or nutrition whereas the actual challenge lies with being consistent with both.
This challenge is what makes somebody successful at being fit rather than not. The problem with most people is that they fail to take into the long-term aspect of consistency. You can do this by setting realistic goals rather than vague ones.
Types of goals include but not are limited to:
- Aesthetic goals (training a weak body part or enhancing an already strong one)
- Having a lean body type/ Gaining muscle mass
- Being able to perform well in a given sport or improving performance in an exercise (for example: getting stronger at the deadlift)
2) Set a Plan
- The difference between setting a plan and having a realistic goal is that one simply cannot be successful without the other. Let us take for instance the goal of having a lean body type, a plan can only be successful in so much as you are specific with your goals.
- Let us say for instance that you do not have a particular goal in your mind, in that case you will definitely not follow through with a random plan. You can be as specific as you can be your goal and find a plan specific to that. Be sure that your fitness goals also mention time frames and work with your schedule, this is part of the planning progress.
3) Focus on your performance/health
- Let us first remember that goals that are difficult to achieve are ones worth pursuing. We must bear in mind that despite goals being necessary, they should also realistically be psychologically sound ones. While I would never advocate basing your worth off of the size of your biceps or if you managed to lose 5 kilos, I would go as far as to add that it is a pretty psychologically unsustainable measure of fitness success. Try focusing on your performance instead, you can ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I getting better at my compound lifts?
- How do my pants fit? Are they tighter? Looser?
- Am I getting compliments on my body shape?
- Am I able to perform more reps and sets?
- How do I feel afterwards? Am I so fatigued that I mistaken it for a plateau? Is my body recovering well?
4) Learn to nurture the relationship you have to your body.
- This definitely will help your long-term success. Sometimes it is not about the results, sometimes it isn’t even about how you feel at the gym, sometimes it is just the act of moving that you need. Listen to your body when it is tired, and learn to see it as your partner no matter what it looks like.
5) Learn to enjoy the process.
- It will never happen over night, it sure will not be over the first week, month or year, so learn to love it. Try to take progress pictures, remember how I emphasise progressive overload in all of my blog posts, I do it for a reason. Progressive overload can mean lifting heavier loads, handling more volume, or having tighter fitting pants (if the goal is to get bigger). Understanding that progress is measurable through effort and work is what will keep you consistent in the long run.