Want to take your fitness to the next level? Before doing anything else, you need to acquire the right mindset. To achieve any goal in life you need to understand what that goal exactly is, how far you are from getting there and to design a plan of action that incorporates all the variables. It's no different with your health and fitness goals. Following a dedicated plan of action is an essential focal point for ongoing success.
Whether you are trying to shed some excess weight, aiming to look leaner and feel better in your skin or wanting to improve your performance and become stronger, the principles of creating your plan will be the same. Here are six essential tips to follow for long-term success.
#1. Prioritize Sustainability
Whether you’re new to exercise or have been working out for some time, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of focusing on short-term goals. These targets could range from hitting a certain weight within 6 weeks to running a personal best in next month’s 10km run.
While having milestones along the journey is vital, it’s important to remember that the ultimate target is to become a fitter and healthier person for life. Make fitness a part of your life rather than a sacrifice. You won’t regret it.
#2. Build A Suitable Schedule
Working out as and when allows too much room for putting training off due to lack of motivation or time. Therefore, building a set schedule can be the key to staying on track and ensuring that you stay active throughout the week.
Whether you allocate time slots or simply stick to working out on set days doesn’t matter as much so long you stick to it. Either way, it will allow you to plot your strength training progress over the weeks and months to come.
#3. Choose The Right Exercises
All exercise is good exercise. Better than sitting on the couch at least. For the best results, though, you don’t necessarily need to work harder or longer. Instead, you need to work smarter.
The exercises that make your body move the most are the ones that bring the biggest results. This applies to both cardiovascular and strength training. Do your research into the best exercises for your specific long-term goals, or ask a trainer to point you in the right direction.
Persisting with the idea of working out without focus will bring significant limitations in what you can achieve.
#4. Slow & Steady Wins The Race
In a similar vein to the idea that long-term goals are better than short-term goals, you should be prepared to build your strength in a progressive manner. Many beginners work to failure, but this may become counterproductive.
Novices (or those taking on a new type of fitness challenge) should ease their body into the moves. Spend time preparing your body for the workload, and then it’ll perform far better under higher intensity. Besides, you won’t see any results if you keep injuring yourself and have to stop training every now and then.
#5. Keep Progressing
While preparing your body for the workload and increase in intensity is important, you should remember that the only way to get stronger is to keep progressing. Repeating the exact same workouts at the same repetitions/sets under the same load week after week will see you reach a limit before flatlining.
If you wish to continue getting fitter and stronger as the weeks go by, you need to actively do more by stepping up the workload each week. The body is very quick to adapt, just make sure you do it over time in increments that challenge your muscles and nervous system but don't overload them too soon.
#6. Track Your Progress
Seeing how far you’ve come is one of the best ways to stay motivated. Making further adjustments is an important step as you progress. Without tracking what you do, how will you know if you are moving in the right direction?
Take a notepad with you to jot down the exercises, reps/sets and weights. In the digital age you can of course do this on your smartphone too. Whatever works best for you. If a workout log is good enough for professional athletes, it’s good enough for you.
Besides, you will have bad days, everybody does. I encourage you to take a look at your log and check one of your first workouts, then your most recent ones and use that as a motivation boost to hit the gym even when you don't feel like it.
Do you have questions on how to create your plan or just want to know how Team Howell can help you achieve your goal? Feel free to get in touch!