What’s stopping you from achieving your goals?
If you want to lose a stone, drop a dress size, run a 10k or get fit and healthy – what’s stopping you from achieving it?
Whatever kind of Goal you’re trying to reach it’s rarely going to be easy. There will be barriers along the way that will test your determination and willpower, but it all comes down to how important your goal is and how much of a priority you make it.
You have a choice – either you do it or you don’t!
Firstly, you must make sure the Goal you have set yourself is for all the right reasons. It should be something that YOU want to achieve, not something you think you should, or that someone else has told you to do – a goal should be personal.
We all have a set of core beliefs about what we believe we are possible of achieving. Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you’re right. You have to believe in yourself if you want to achieve your goal as you’ll never achieve anything that you don’t believe you can.
So, if you’ve already decided on your goal, make sure it’s a S.M.A.R.T Goal.
Specific – What exactly do you want to achieve?
Measured – How will you track your progress?
Achievable – Are you capable of reaching it?
Realistic – Is it a sensible goal to set?
Time-framed – When do you want to achieve it by?
If your goal isn’t S.M.A.R.T you could be setting yourself up for a failure from the start. Setting your goals too high is the most common way NOT to reach your goals. For this reason, I’ve never been one to promote quick fix diets and gruelling exercise programmes. I’ve seen it happen time after time – embarking on a plan that becomes a chore to do and although it may have instant results, it’s just not attainable in the long run and often leads to injury, gluttony, burn out and ultimately you end up back to where you originally were. If you want to make permanent changes, it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to require you to be committed and will require a Lifestyle overhaul, not a month of extremely low-calorie diets and over exercising. Again, the choice is yours.
If you’re guilty of any of the following excuses there’s a back up plan for them all!
1. Putting it off until ‘someday.’
As ‘someday’ never appears on the calendar, you’ll never accomplish your goals if you keep putting them off. If a goal is important to you, create a time framed plan of action and stick to it
2. Waiting to take action until you ‘feel’ ready.
If you wait until you feel ready to tackle something tough you may be waiting a long time so act now!
3. Not being prepared
Change isn’t easy – there’ll always be barriers in your path to your success sent to try you, so be prepared! Some days are harder than others but once you develop a plan for dealing with those situations you’ll feel more confident in your own abilities to keep going. Use your mental strength to keep reminding yourself you’re going to need to work hard to achieve your goals.
4. Seeing mistakes as failure.
Progression rarely happens in a straight line. Sometimes, you’ll have a blip and take one step back but it doesn’t mean you’ve gone all the way back to square one. Just because you failed to reach a goal in the past, it doesn’t mean you will fail again. Don’t let your past experiences doubt your future aspirations. Rather than thinking you’re destined for failure, learn from it, move on and get back on track.
5. Not making your goal a priority.
Goals are easy to set but actually doing the work is another story as you have to decide what kind of priority you’re going to give your goal. Otherwise, all your other daily activities will take over. Whatever your plan is – write it down and put it in your diary and again STICK TO IT!
6. Giving up before you see results.
Everyone wants results to happen immediately but just because you can’t see results, doesn’t mean your efforts are wasted. You need to stick to your goals longer than you might think before you start to see and experience the changes.
7. Sabotaging your goals just before the finish line.
This one may sound strange, however, the fear of successfully reaching your goal can sometimes be a real problem. Perhaps you don’t believe you’re worthy of success? Be honest with yourself and be on the lookout for warning signs that you might be about to give up.
8. Setting your sights too high.
If you’re really excited about making positive changes, you might be tempted to set the bar too high but if you take on too much too fast, you’ll set yourself up for failure. Set some short-term achievements and celebrate each milestone along the way.
Are you prepared for the Challenge?
Once you’ve decided on your personal goal, you’ll need to be fully prepared if you’re going to achieve it so preparing in advance is vital. Having a sensible plan and being mentally prepared is what will make or break your achievements.
Excuses will arise that may prevent you from taking action, however try taking away all the negative thoughts and reasons you CAN’T do it and replace them with reasons you CAN!
Think positive – you’ve got this!
A Day in my Life
As a Personal Trainer, Class Instructor, Writer, Business owner and a single Mum, I have no choice but to lead a super organised lifestyle. In fact if I haven’t got each day planned out in advance I get too stressed out to manage it all, so being organised is my No.1 priority. I’m very lucky to be able to say that although my weekdays are hectic, I really love my lifestyle and all the challenges that go with it!
The Morning routine……
My alarm goes off at 5.45am each morning. I’ll be completely honest here – I don’t jump up full of motivation. I hate getting out of bed BUT once I’m up, dressed and I’ve talked myself round, I feel ready to tackle the day ahead.
After my breakfast (usually porridge) I generally train with clients from 7am to 12.30pm. Now that my children are older I’d rather be out of the way of the usual ‘are you up and dressed and ready for school yet?’ chaos!. If I don’t have to leave until later, I use the time to go for a run before work (again I don’t always feel like it but the feeling of going out for a run before I start my day is great so I have to talk myself into it!).
I always make the time every day for my own training (I schedule it in my diary at the beginning of each week). I usually go to the gym or go for a run as soon as I’ve finished training with clients. My clients sessions inspire me, especially if someone’s done a kick ass session – I go to the gym and do the same!
Going back to the diary……I’m a creature of habit. I like to do the same thing at the same time everyday which may sound really boring to some, but it helps me feel more organised and in turn I get more done.
After my gym session or run, I go home and have lunch which is generally some kind of salad, chicken or eggs and rice combination. I’m not the greatest of cooks but I try to be as creative as possible and if I’m taking a photo of my lunch to post on social media, I find I try a little bit harder with the presentation and in turn it actually tastes nicer. I then walk my dog and I use this time to re-charge my brain.
If you’ve got a hectic lifestyle it’s so important to look after yourself. As the saying goes ‘You can’t pour from an empty vessel’. It’s not being selfish, its self-care. I switch my phone off for just 20-30 minutes and try to clear my mind of any stress that’s going on. It’s not always easy to turn off from the outside world, but it’s very beneficial to your personal well-being and mental health to take just a bit of time each day to get some head space. Just breath and live in the moment without any distractions – even if it is while walking the dog in the rain!
So, after my half an hour of calm, the madness begins for round 2!
As the kids are returning from school I have my crazy 2 hours of the day. You know the scenario……I’m sat at my laptop trying to write, do my admin, pay bills, sort client folders etc. and the kids are asking ‘When’s tea ready?’ ‘Where’s my rugby shorts?’ ‘Can my friend come for tea?’ the dogs running around like a lunatic, the window cleaners knocking at the door and while you’ve successfully managed to sit and have a wee in private you get interrupted by a PPI call!
I constantly feel like I should do more with my kids – they always see me working, on my phone or going out to work. However, I was a stay at home mum whilst they were both pre-school so I suppose its good for them to see me now running a business and I’m hopefully inspiring them to do something they love and to work hard at it.
After our evening meal (which I always try to sit down as a family to eat) I’m back out to work to train my evening clients or class members. If it wasn’t for the fact that I love my job, there is no way I’d leave the house on a night. I’m a real home bird and could quite easily stay at home all day, but when I get to my class and see my class members giving it their all, I just love it! I’ve got a great team at my classes and along with my PT clients, as much as it’s MY job to motivate them all to work hard – they really motivate ME to do my best too.
I usually have a couple of hours on an evening before I go to bed and if I’ve got everything on my list done for that day I get chance to put my feet up and watch TV or read. Actually, this very rarely happens if I’m honest! In reality, I tend to walk the dog (again), pick up my phone, text clients, google workouts and post on social media (I’m working on not doing this as much BUT it’s a vital part of my job!). Then just as I’m about to get into bed I’m usually reminded that I haven’t washed a P.E. kit that needs to be ready for the next day!
Now I’d like to say I switch my bedside light off at 10pm and fall fast asleep but I currently have a bit of a problem with my sleep pattern. Sleep is so important for good health and I know I should go straight to sleep but my brain doesn’t seem to agree – this again, is an area I need to work on, but it’s so hard when you have a zillion ideas buzzing though your mind when your head hits the pillow.
So, this is my daily routine Monday to Friday and by the time the weekend arrives I generally switch mode. I’m an all or nothing type of person and although I love going for a long run on a Saturday morning, I also love slobbing on the settee in the afternoon. It’s the same with food, I eat healthily 90% of time but, I can eat A LOT, so I really look forward to my Saturday night Meal out or takeaway – it’s all about the overall balance. I haven’t drunk alcohol for over 2 years now and it makes a massive difference to my weekends, in fact it makes a difference to my working week too. Since giving up the booze I’m more productive, I perform my job a lot better and I seem to have more time as I don’t have to nurse a hangover which is a good job really as when my alarm goes off at 545am on Monday morning, I’m ready to do it all over again!.
Rest and Recovery
No matter how extensive your fitness program may be, the time you spend working out is only a part of the process necessary to achieve your fitness goals. If you’re planning your training but not your recovery, you’re not going to fully reap the rewards from your Workouts.
One thing that is often misunderstood is the fact that your body becomes stronger AFTER you exercise and NOT during the actual workout itself. The real secret to getting results depends on what happens during the recovery period following the workout. This is why the correct recovery and rest is so important.
There are different types of recovery – Short-term (which happens immediately after a workout set) and Long-term (the period of time between workout sessions).
Short-term recovery can be anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes and it’s important to replace energy stores within this period. But the longer recovery period between workouts is the one to focus on, because it’s the time after the workout when the body adapts to the training session. The correct care of your muscles and connective tissue, eating the right type of post workout nutrition, the quality and quantity of sleep and, even the types of clothes you wear, can all promote the post-workout recovery that’s necessary to help you maximise the results from your time spent exercising.
During exercise, your muscles expend energy and experience stress. After exercise, the body needs to replenish energy with carbohydrates and repair tissue with protein so having a post-workout snack with the correct ratio of carbohydrate and protein can help massively. The correct nutrition also assists the release of the muscle-building hormones to repair and build new muscle tissue.
Stretching and Myofascial Release
Stretching, Massage, Foam rollers, Compression balls and Rolling sticks can all help to reduce muscle tightness. If a muscle doesn’t cool-down properly, the collagen fibres (which are part of the connective tissue surrounding each muscle) can create knots. Massage works by manipulating muscle tissue to break up knots and can help reduce muscle tightness and improve joint movement.
Sleep is probably one of the most important factors that can help improve your overall health and fitness. Your body produces most of the hormones needed for tissue repair during sleep so it’s vital to get enough to assist in the recovery process.
Ice, Cold Baths and Cryotherapy
Cold treatments are extremely effective for recovery as they can help cool down the body’s core temperature, reduce inflammation and promote healing in tissue that was used during the workout. The cold temperature brings increased blood to the area, which brings nutrients and oxygen to help promote healing.
Sauna or Hot Tub
The heat from a sauna or hot tub increases the body’s circulation, which removes metabolic waste products while also carrying oxygen and other nutrients necessary to help repair tissue used during the workout.
Alternating between high and low intensity workouts (muscle confusion) either daily, weekly or monthly and taking a few days off every few weeks to allow the body to rest and recover fully.
Wearing Compression clothing before and after a workout is a relatively new form of recovery treatment that may also be effective. The pressure from the tight clothing can improve circulation which will help remove metabolic waste and promote blood flow to help the tissue repair and rebuild.
Too much exercise without enough rest and recovery can lead to injury or illness, both of which could prevent your regular workouts. There are dangers to overtraining without the correct recovery periods between and If you don’t take enough R&R for your muscles to adapt this will certainly affect your ability to achieve your fitness goals.
NEVER forget to include RECOVERY into your Fitness programme!
What is the best Exercise for me?
Finding the ‘best’ Exercise for you can be very confusing. You hear it all the time “The Perfect Workout Plan”, “The one secret workout you need to lose weight”, “Guaranteed to give you a six pack” and for most people who start a fitness plan they’ll eventually stop either through boredom, exhaustion, or because it just isn’t sustainable long term. There really isn’t the ‘best’ workout! The best workout for you is the one that works towards your personal goals, gets results, fits in with your lifestyle and most importantly that you enjoy doing – because if you really don’t enjoy exercising, you’re not going to stick to it!
To find the right Exercise for you ask yourself:
What are your goals?
Are you exercising to lose weight? to sculpt your body? to gain strength? to increase flexibility? to run a marathon? or just to increase your fitness levels? The type of training you choose should be specific to your goals.
Are you seeing results?
Seeing results is a sure indicator that you’re doing the right type of exercise for your goals and generally getting results from your training will motivate you to keep at it. If nothing seems to be changing how you’d like it to be, you’re probably not doing the right exercise for your goals.
Does your training fit into your lifestyle?
You need to determine realistically, what time you have available for training, can you get to the gym or get out for a run? Does a Wednesday evening class cause childcare issues? etc. There’s no point in a 2-hour training session being part of your plan if you don’t have the time to spare. If you’re short of time, planning in a 20-minute home workout will be far more sustainable.
Do you enjoy it?
Probably the most important factor of all! If you look forward to your sessions rather than dread the thought of them, then you’re more likely to keep at it and it’s the consistency of your workouts that will get you to your goal. So, as soon as you feel boredom setting in and your workout starts becomes a chore, change it around!
So, if you’ve been doing the same workout for months and have stopped seeing results – try something new today!
Which is the Best diet to follow?
It’s the question I get asked most often…….
Dieting is always confusing as there are so many different approaches and so much misleading information about the best way to do it. It’s unfortunate that those wanting fast results will more often than not resort to those diets with the biggest weight loss claims.
So whats the Magic Ingredient?
There really is no magic in drinking a magic shake for breakfast, a magic bar for lunch and a healthy meal in an evening – if you cut your calorie intake down to extremely low levels WHATEVER you’re eating, of course you’re going to lose weight fast! and despite very cleverly worded advertisements, there really is no single food that will make you lose weight, just as there is no single food that will cause you to gain weight beyond its calorie value (i.e. 500 calories of chocolate is no more fattening than 500 calories of chicken breast) however, the healthier option will always have more nutritional value and therefor be of greater benefit to your body.
To put it in basic terms (and it really is pretty basic)
If your wanting to reduce your weight sensibly, by losing body fat rather than muscle CALORIES are the main factor. You must consume less calories than you expend but still enough for your body to be able to function and perform as it should. This is so important. Yes you will lose weight a lot faster if you can survive on 500 calories a day, however, it’s not sustainable, you will feel crap, it’s not healthy and more often than not the results won’t be long term – do you really want to be a size 8 for your summer holiday and back to a size 16 for Christmas?
Secondary MACRO’S (Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats) are also an important factor to consider and they can be manipulated depending on what goals you’re wanting to achieve. It may sound confusing doing the calculations but many Food tracker apps (such as MyFitnessPal) do all the maths for you.
And finally Meal TIMINGS can fine-tune your diet if you’re working your diet and nutrition around your training goals.
Meals off plan don’t have to jeopardise your results as long as they are part of the overall plan – life would be boring without them.
So if you’re wanting to lose weight, don’t be misled by all the hype. Start with the basic maths calories and then work on the rest – it really is that simple!