As a fitness enthusiast and gym junkie (rat), a lot of people come and ask me, “What workout routine/exercises should I follow?”, or “How much protein should I eat in a day”, “How do I get big?”, and the list goes on. I reply with some simple questions, and quickly realize that the person is not on the right track. I have been seriously working out through various methods for 15 years, and have been on all sides of the spectrum in terms of physique.
In this article, I will articulate a few things I have learned over the years in order to help you succeed in your fitness goals. (Mainly geared from the male point of view, however females can learn from this as well)
- What are your fitness goals?
This is a simple question, but so many people fail to clearly articulate this. Many people “want to get bigger and cut”, but “don’t want to get too big.” First off, you will not “get too big”, it’s not that easy. But in all seriousness, you need to first assess where you currently are at, and where you want to be. Do you want to be able to run 5 miles? Do you want to gain muscle mass? Do you want to lose weight? Beginners usually are in need a mix of these things, but identifying what your goals are is the first step. Think of it as your end product. How can you get somewhere when you don’t have a goal?
2. Creating a plan
You MUST have a plan in order to meet your goals. The plan must be maintainable and realistic. I suggest speaking to a personal trainer to create a plan based on your goals. Your plan should include both a strength/weight training portion, cardiovascular portion, as well as diet portion. Each of these ingredients will be critical for success.
3. Executing your plan
#1 and #2 are easy, so far you didn’t have to do anything. Now is the hard part. You must follow your plan, to the “T”. Below are some areas where I have seen people fail because of lack of execution.
- Motivation: Plain and simple, you have to be motivated. Just like anything in life, you have to be determined to succeed, at all costs. Motivation is the engine that will keep you pushing and going in order to reach your goals, I cannot teach you motivation, you need to have it. Everything else is useless otherwise.
- Consistency: Many people fail to see results because they are inconsistent in their execution. For example, some may skip cardio days, or eat meals that are not part of the program, which can significantly hinder progress. This is a snowball affect, which delays or slows progress. The person then feels less motivated based on the lack of results.
- Discipline: You will run into obstacles in trying to reach your goals. Pizza, chicken wings, and cheese steaks may come your way, you need to be disciplined enough to resist. Your work out must take priority over television.
- Intensity: In order to get results in the gym, you need to have high energy and intensity. You have to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
- Tracking: How will you know if you are progressing if you are not tracking progress to your goal? You must put check points in place to keep you motivated, and also see what is working and what isn’t.
4. Long term sustainability
If you are able to succeed and meet your goals, you need to develop a plan to sustain the successes you have achieved. Fitness is a lifestyle, not a quick fix. Developing a long term plan after you have met your objectives is critical to a healthy life.
Above is some general advice on how you should be approaching your fitness goals. Notice how I didn’t mention anything about what weights to use, how much cardio you should be doing, and what you should be eating. One should understand the above before embarking on your journey. Without it, you won’t have the base to succeed.