We believe that setting your goals is something you need to get on top of as soon as possible, in this newsletter, we have given you three simple but essential rules to follow when it comes to setting those goals for the rest of the year ahead.
Rule 1: Your health always comes first!
Longevity, being pain and injury-free and maintaining a stable body weight is crucial for your health and wellbeing. Entering into events that require you to fluctuate your weight drastically, pushing your boundaries to the point of injury, burn-out or worse, to the point where you hate exercise, is the worst thing you can do to your body and is a massive injustice to your psyche. When you exercise, no matter what exercise it is, you must enjoy it. It’s a simple thing but if you don’t (without getting too technical), your body will begin to reject it. Our brains will associate a painful experience negatively, especially if it’s a once-off event without prior training or a build-up to it at least. Once you have created this negative feedback loop it will be harder for you to do the same activity again because now you associate that activity with pain rather than pleasure. This isn’t helpful for longevity and you will be at greater risk for injury while you are training at levels that make you experience pain. I’m not saying every session will be easy, because it shouldn’t be, but you must learn to love it. Even if you have to trick yourself into believing you are enjoying your workout, do it, because you must learn to associate movement and exercise as a positive experience. Doing this will encourage your body to want it and even crave it, helping you make this activity a daily habit. Once it’s a habit and a part of your daily routine, it’s downhill from there. Creating a daily habit of exercise is your first step in achieving any health and fitness goal, and crucial to your wellbeing and longevity. Recent studies have proven that those who sit less live longer, and so there is a direct correlation between sitting and death. The scale is simple: longer sitting times = earlier death, less sitting times = longer life. The answer to your health is to get up, get active and get started on achieving your goals.
Okay, now once you are motivated to move, give yourself some targets to achieve. We all know the power of goal setting, both long and short term goals are important to set, achieve, and update regularly. You must revisit them and keep them somewhere you can see every day. It’s even better when you have someone else who can see them and hold you accountable for them, like your training partner or coach.
Setting your initial goals are individual; we will all be different. My advice is to set several smaller goals and then one or two major goals for the year. For example: If you set your major goal as a half Ironman in June then entering smaller sprint-type triathlons would be a smaller goal. Entering something like a marathon, a long swim or a bike event will be great smaller goals too because they are all disciplines of the half Ironman; so they will all be added training for you and help you build confidence in a race environment. So the smaller goals will all lead and assist you to achieve your major goal/s.
Rule 2: Stop practicing…
Well, not really. Always practice, but the point is too many folks are waiting on their fitness levels to get to a “certain fitness level” before they enter an event or put themselves out there for a goal or a challenge, when in reality they are capable of setting a realistic goal right now, giving themselves enough of a time frame to train for it and conquer it. The “I’m still training” mindset is holding you back. The best way to train is to do, so find a challenge you will enjoy and enter them. Start working towards it every day and, even if you don’t get your best time or the result you wanted, a finish is good enough and a baseline for improvement for the next time. These micro-achievements will keep you motivated and you will slowly learn which events or disciplines you enjoy and want to pursue long-term. Once you have a goal and you have committed to an event, your training will be so much better just because you have something to work towards. It really makes waking up and going after it a lot more consistent, because you know if you don’t wake up and do your training you will suffer and let yourself down. Paying for events is a great motivator because money drives most of us (unfortunately). We won’t want to not do the event, because we paid a pretty penny.
Rule 3: Be consistent!
When it comes to reaching your goals to becoming healthy, and even just in life generally, being consistent is one of the most important – if not the most important – element to success. Rather consistently workout for thirty minutes three times a week than going for one suicide Saturday once in a blue moon. Choose to constantly eat and hydrate well rather than crash dieting and starving yourself of certain macronutrients to drop weight suddenly. Rather work at something with a well thought out plan, increasing your effort over a period of time so as to maintain a sustainable work-versus-rest relationship. Consistently chipping away at your goals will keep you motivated, hungry for more and is the one factor I can say has kept me fit and healthy all my life. I can’t emphasise this one enough. If you consistently eat and hydrate well, then having the odd glass of wine, a glass of beer or chocolate won’t thrash your goals. However, if you are erratic with your planning and have no routine, then even one bout of bad behaviour can throw you off target. Explaining this is a lengthy one (I’ll write an article on hormones and how this all works in relation to your insulin levels and the effect foods and drinks have on our body’s ability to use what we ingest for energy), but trust me on this. I don’t have a number, but I’d guess sticking to a clean diet, perfect hydration, sleep and exercise most of the time would be 90%, which is more than six out of seven days a week, so a whole day of bad behaviour is a no go! Routine and consistency go hand-in-hand. Waking up the same time every morning, planning your daily meals, workouts, sleep time, rest time and your time is crucial to consistency. Without planning and routine, you will not keep on top of your performance. It must be planned, scheduled and prepared. This way you can not only be sure you will get the job done but also illuminate any anxiety or excuses of when you will have time to do XYZ. If it’s not scheduled, book it in for another day when you have time because your pre-priorities (planned schedule) must take preference. Having a plan and sticking to it will definitely increase your chance of success and enjoyment.
1 – BE HEALTHY.
2 – TAKE ACTION (STOP PRACTICING).
3 – BE CONSISTENT.
If you have, but you feel you are lost on how you are going to achieve them, don’t stress! We are here to help you. Reach out and ask us how to plan, train, diet and conquer your goals this year, or join one of our special training groups where you will train with others entering the same events as you, or with those with the same health goals as you have and with those at similar fitness levels to you. Having a training partner or team makes it much easier to maintain your focus and will certainly increase your chances of success. Having a coach to guide and encourage you makes all the difference and will certainly be the biggest value-add to your health and fitness goals in the short and long term.
And to close:
Train smart so you learn to love it; exercise should be fun and continuous. Exercise is not a race with an end, it’s a privilege, not a chore, so while you can, cherish it and be grateful for your ability to move. All too often people walk into the gym and say, “I want to lose this much by this date”, or “How long will I have to do this for before I can look good and then stop?” Unfortunately, both of these mentalities are sure to lead to disappointment. You need to accept that if you want to be truly healthy, exercise is for life.
Your goals will change over the years and that’s a good thing. It keeps you learning new skills and promotes new motor connections in your brain, which keeps you younger for longer. Change is good but be consistent enough to reach your goals first before giving up to the next one!