Typically, this time of year inspires a lot of women to bravely embark on journeys to find their higher selves.
Some of you may be starting new businesses, and others may be trying to learn new skills…many of you are going to be working on repairing and improving your relationship with your body by starting a fitness journey.
That “fitness journey” is often defined by some nondescript goal such as “I want to lose weight this year” and the path becomes aimless thereafter…soon you forgot you even set a goal at all, but you still remember how everyday how you and your body are not on great terms with each other.
We see this SO MUCH as trainers and it’s extremely frustrating because it’s a toxic cycle of disappointment and dwindling self-efficacy that can be quite simple to fix!
The first step is to set a SMART Goal–a goal with 5 important qualities that will not only help you achieve the goal but also keep you motivated along your process. If you are unfamiliar with SMART Goals, please check out our blog on SMART Goals here.
Once you have a SMART Goal, prepare yourself with these fitness journey must-haves:
You need a plan or program!
A plan or program for your nutrition and exercise habits will ensure that you are doing the necessary work to achieve your goal, and not doing anything unnecessary or counterproductive to your goal. For example, if your goal is to build lean muscle mass all over your body, you would want to be doing a Bodybuilding Program instead of a program that is encouraging caloric deficit and tons of cardio.
When you implement a nutrition or exercise program, you are doing organized work that has been proven to help people get the same results that you are looking to achieve without you having to think too hard about it everyday. That is especially important if you are one of the 99% of women who are busy and have way too many things to think about everyday because it minimizes the chances that you will not do your workouts or get off your meal plan.
You need a designated space and equipment!
To work on a fitness program, you tend to address 3 main things: diet and nutrition, exercise and stretching, and stress management and recovery. For all of these things you need some designated space or equipment: you need space to cook, to store food, to move, to stretch, to have quiet time.
Decide beforehand where you will be cooking and storing food-buy storage containers if necessary. Clean and organize workout space and exercise equipment, or plan on getting a gym membership. If you can only do bodyweight workouts at home, then plan for that and plan on which space in your home you will do this! Look up an at-home exercise program that accommodates the space and gym equipment you have.
You need a self check-in process!
A big part of a fitness journey is checking in with yourself periodically- both to determine your progress towards achieving the goal, and to determine if you feel overall health with your current nutrition or exercise program.
Having designated days for fitness progress check-ins are helpful both to allowing you to frequently see victories, and to creating a sense of urgency and accountability to yourself.
Having a specific method of measuring fitness progress (such as energy on a scale of 1-10, or body weight) allows for consistency among measurements and allows you to be prepared with your measuring tool every week or month.
You need an accountability buddy!
An accountability buddy is a person (or group of people) who know you are on a fitness journey and are either doing it with you or are helping to keep you accountable to your journey.
Examples of this include workout partners, personal trainers, attending group exercise classes, using social media to document your journey, fitness challenges, or even you sending your friend a sweaty selfie or picture of muscle pump after every workout.
The benefit of accountability buddies is that it helps you feel less alone on your fitness journey and more motivated to put in effort that will also inspire your partner.
In the instance of a personal trainer, they also serve as a resource for information to help you feel more comfortable about your exercise technique and dietary habits!
Reach out to our coaches for training for individuals, partners or small groups of 5!
You need to have the attitude of gratitude!
This is the last thing on the list, but probably the most important!
It is really important that you work to stay in the attitude of gratitude while on your fitness journey. What this means is that you stay grateful for what you are and what you have right now!
Waking up every morning and being disappointed in yourself for not looking the way you want to will not help you, and will only put you in more of a “starved” mindset that will often cause junk food cravings.
Instead, practice being grateful to your body for how far it’s gotten you, how much effort it’s able to give you. Practice loving your body better.
Likewise, apply this same effort to your nutrition mindset. Often times we are perpetually disappointed when eating healthy…that’s why “diets” are a thing: healthy eating habits are perceived as temporary diets that must be endured for a short amount of time to achieve weight loss. We sit down to a salad at lunch and frown, telling ourselves “Okay just 4 weeks of these awful salads for lunch and then I can go back to cheeseburger”.
Instead, try telling yourself “I am grateful to have access to healthy, fresh foods. Any food is a blessing, and especially so when it nourishes my body and provides it health and wellness.” It seems simple but you have control over your mindset and power your mindset has over your life will only be exposed to you once you do learn to control the mindset.
And that’s it!
No journey is a direct path from Point A to Point B but we have found that these aforementioned qualities will get you on the path, keep you on the path and moving forward! Everything else you need along the way is already within you!
It’s simple, but it’s not easy…It’s not easy but it’s worth it!
You’ve got this girl-we believe in you!
This mini-article was written by Elexis Smolak CPT, CNC, founder of Adapted Fitness and Master Trainer. Learn more or schedule a virtual coffee at AdaptedToYou.com