Lets face it. Fitness goals are hard to hit. There are various things that make these goals hard to hit. For me personally impatience and schedule are the two hardest things to overcome. After both of those things, then fun is the other factor. If its not fun, would you do it? The answer is no, but lets talk about overcoming these obstacles and how to overcome your own obstacles.
What is perhaps the most disheartening thing that I and perhaps you may encounter when attempting to crush your fitness goals? Its not seeing results immediately. The fact that you wont see results for perhaps months can really hurt your goals. Lets face it, we all like to see results and seeing said results helps keep us motivated.
So how in the heck do you overcome this? Well, you can man up and do the work outs and stick with it. That is the easiest way to stay with it. That, however, is probably considered self induced torture by some. I try and find something I love and figure out how my work outs will help with it. Hiking for example is a good reason to incorporate a lot of cardio. In fact, its a motivator to incorporate as much incline, the most resistance, and the fastest pace I can endure and still complete my hour to an hour and a half of cardio that was planned for that day.
Another method to combating impatience that works for me is micro managing my goals. Some times I get really obsessive over numbers. My gym has plenty of cardio machines that tell you have far you’ve run, how fast you’re going, how many calories you’ve burned, your heart rate and many other statistics. So in knowing that I do get obsessive over certain things, then I try to find something to obsess over. In this case, when kept in check, it is a healthy obsession. You just cant let it get out of hand.
In a nut shell, I keep track of my numbers. Mostly the distance traveled and calories burned. I run until I hit numbers that make me happy.
So I mentioned obsessing over numbers. Yes I did say that I tend to focus on distance traveled and calories. Its an easy thing to keep track of on a work out machine that provides you with numbers. I don’t feel as though working out in the gym 100% of the time is necessary though. In fact, real world activities are great ways to get exercise and might just target other muscle groups you’re missing in the gym. Yeah… you do have a muscle there…
So if you don’t have a machine giving you numbers, then how do you get those if they do in fact motivate you? Well, your cell phone is a great help when it comes to this. I personally use Samsung Health. I don’t use it horribly often, but when I’m doing an activity such as hiking it lets me keep track of distance, speed, altitude, calories burned, heart rate, ect. It gives me a good metric of what I’ve accomplished and allows me to compare my work out to previous work outs.
I’m not familiar with other health apps, but I’m sure there is both better apps out there as well as other apps that work just as good. Perhaps in the future I will explore other apps, but for the time being Samsung Health is working for me and doing what I need it to do.
Either way, getting data gives me small micro goals to hit and when I do hit them it feels good. Lets face it, if it feels good, then you’ll keep doing it.
But You’re So Busy…
Are you really busy? I am very busy. I am, however, lucky that my work schedule is flexible right now. It might not stay like this forever though. A lot of people are incredibly busy. We are bombarded with tons of stuff through out our day and it seems like our responsibilities seem to take over our lives. We wake up, we work, we sleep. That is often times how life feels, but that is not how life is in reality.
I have kids and kids take your time and your attention. Lets face it, ignore your kids and the consequences are grave. There is no telling what a bored child will do… Sitting you kid in front of an Xbox is tempting, but its not good parenting. I try to get my kids out and doing things. Going swimming, going to the park, doing things like Taekwondo, and keeping them active is important to my health and theirs.
So you might ask how I balance family life, work, and my fitness. Its simple and it only takes a little time. I found all the patterns in my daily schedules and worked around the other activities. I’m up at 3am, at work at either 5am or 6am, and I’m off at 2:30pm or 3:30pm. My after work/kid activities are on certain days at certain times. On Monday and Wednesday I have a good amount of time between work and other activities. During the other nights of the week I can fit a work out between when the kids go to sleep and when I go to bed. On Saturdays I make time for a hike and a work out.
All this working out is made possible by good time management and knowing what is going on in my life and scheduling. Remember, you don’t need 3 or 4 hours to get in a good work out. If you hit the gym for 45 minutes to an hour, then you can still get a good work out in. All you need to do is manage your time well at the gym as well and you will succeed.
Making It Fun…
How do you make working out fun. I mean after all, it can bring the suck when your arms are spongy and don’t function right the next day. Luckily the suck eventually goes away once your body is used to working out. Its a matter of getting past that point. After that though, you might get bored with what you’re doing at the gym.
Remember when I talked about data? Well I use this data as motivation. I find it fun to crush previous records. For example, on my last hike I decided the previous hike was too easy and in order to make it more difficult I strapped on 17lbs of body armor and a couple pounds of water. I was probably at 20lbs total. I did it and I also did it in a faster time than the previous trip out. Crushing records is fun and it feels good. It gives you something to work toward and having something to work toward is crucial to success.
Switching up your work out is also crucial. Not only can you get bored doing the same thing over and over again, but your body also gets used to it. So switch up your work out! Google and Youtube are good places to find different work outs. Fitness magazines can be helpful as well. Just make sure that you’re getting a well rounded work out and that you aren’t targeting the same muscle groups day after day. Those muscles need time to recover.
Your workouts need just as planning as your schedule and keeping things fresh keeps things fun.
Fighting Burn Out.
So you started working out and you’re burned out. You’re hurting and its not the good kind of hurt. Its important to keep a few things in mind. You have to keep this enjoyable and you have to keep it sustainable. Your biggest opponent is yourself and the only persons judgement that matters is your own. You are your biggest enemy.
One of the most important things to remember is that you need to keep things in moderation. If you’re just starting, then start small. Work into the bigger things. The important thing is that you can sustain your fitness and your health. Being able to work into something slowly and then ramp it up in intensity as you can handle it is important. It will keep you from getting hurt and it will keep you from getting burned out.
If two days a week and light lifting are what it takes to get you broken into all of this working out, then that is what you need to do. Don’t be ashamed that other people are lifting more and lifting more often. You can work to that point if you want to or feel the need to. Do not compare yourself to others. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is yourself. A little competition is good if it’s done in a healthy way though.
Friends Are Good.
Working out alone can get, well, lonely. Find a friend with similar fitness goals. I have a friend that helped train people’s fitness while in the military. In fact, the pictures of my friend while he was at his peak and the people he helped train are insane. I don’t aspire to look like Arnold, but he takes great pleasure in helping people achieve their fitness goals. Hes like a personal trainer. You don’t need a friend that can act like a personal trainer though.
Just having some one to work out with can be a lot of fun. They can add inspiration and motivation. A friend can keep you moving forward. Often times they act as your greatest cheer leader. They can inspire you to push out those last few reps. A good friend will refuse to let you give up. That is also a characteristic of a good trainer. Having a person telling you that your fight is not over yet can be all that you need to hear to push on.
Just remember that when you are working out with friends, your time management must still be put to use. You do not want to waste time. Keep your heart rate up, work hard, and have fun. Don’t get too side tracked. Remember that you have a goal.
Summing It All Up.
To sum things up, you need consistency to be successful. Coming up with a schedule is key. Keeping track of your data can help you push harder and see progress even when it is not blatantly apparent in the mirror. Keeping your work outs manageable is also key. If you cant keep it up, then you wont do it. So keep it manageable. Also make sure that you’re consistently having fun and changing things up. You don’t need to be in the gym to get a good work out. Best of all, involve your family and friends when possible.
You are trying to better your health and your life. You will feel so much better in the end when you’re taking care of yourself and you have your health as a key part of your life. It will impact all aspects of your life. I personally don’t want to be so out of shape that I not only cant defend my family, but that I also cant enjoy my family. This is why fitness is so important. So you can get out and enjoy life and be healthy doing it.