To get fit or lose fat takes focus- on the right things
Updated: Jul 5
You're all set to get in shape and ready to get stuck into some serious workouts. You'll need to be focused of course but it's what you focus on that's really going to count if you are to shed the pounds and get your body to where you want. Ultimately it's the cumulative effect of workouts (or healthy meals) done consistently over months and years that'll be the cause of significant change. There really is no other effective way, we all know it. It's that plain and simple word- habit. Here are some key things to focus on to build the habit of exercise- once constructed it will likely be one of your most valuable assets:- 1. FOCUS ON EXERCISING FOR A DURATION & AT AN INTENSITY THAT'S ACHIEVABLE YET EFFECTIVE. Just as you don't teach someone to swim by dropping them in the middle of the ocean, you wouldn't start building your running endurance by going out for a 2 hour run. Conversely you wouldn't regard just a 2 minute run as useful either. Running for a minute, followed by walking for 2 minutes and repeating that 5 times to make a 15 minute workout might be an appropriate start. That'd likely ensure it's not overwhelming or to difficult to get started on but also provide a sense when it's when done, that it'll make some difference. Such an approach will help develop that repeatability you need to make real change. Give some thought to how you can make that mix of intensity and duration right for you. 2. FOCUS ON DEVELOPING OR FINDING A PROGRAM WHICH IS EFFECTIVE AND PRACTICAL Naturally you want to exercise in a way that's going to force the body to adapt and change (which is essentially what getting fit is!) however it really does need to be practical. When I say practical I mean you need to ask yourself the following questions: Does it take a lot of time and effort to get to and set up? Is there a lot of equipment needed? Is it accessible at times that are suitable for me? You may have found an amazing program that will undoubtedly yield results but if the equipment and/or set up are elaborate it's unlikely you'll get it done often enough to get the benefits. Exercise is a deceptively difficult habit to form, there wouldn't be a huge industry based around it if wasn't, so in a sense you need to make it as easy as possible to get workouts done. Really think about making it as practical as possible. 3. SCHEDULE IT. Make it like an appointment in your diary. Think and plan specifically where and when the workout is going to happen. Making such plans dramatically increases the chances of it actually happening. Whats more if you can schedule it for the same day, time and location regularly you'll go even further toward ingraining the habit to a point where you barely have to think about it. Scheduling is also a large part of what makes personal training effective. 4. FOCUS ON YOURSELF AND YOUR OWN PROCESS AND GOALS. There is so much potential distraction with technology and social media. YouTube and Instagram throw up all sorts of glamorous and staggering physical feats and transformations, there's also easy access to all the latest and greatest workouts and exercises. While such parts of the cyber-world can provide inspiration, they can also be breeding grounds for doubt, confusion and distraction. Trust in stringing together workouts you know are appropriate for you & don't allow your confidence in your plan and routine to waiver. Get onto really committing to your own process. 5. HAVING APPROPRIATE ROLE MODELS Similar to point 4, a professional athlete or actor or the like probably has genetics, time, support, resources and even youth that you don't. Many masquerade as experts who may well not have the overall knowledge to be dispensing sound advice to others. Perhaps there are people you know that have a similar life circumstance and have made significant lifestyle changes? Ask what approaches to changing behaviour really worked for them and what they found most helpful. Such people could be great, grounded, realistic role models. 1 person who does influence me is admittedly from the land of the internet- James Clear, he's an American who blogs on habits. I find the content of his articles to be high on substance and low on hype, reading his blog has certainly flavoured this particular article. There could well be someone out there who has a similarly positive impact on you and your goals.... 6. BEING PREPARED
This goes along with scheduling workouts. Organising and planning your clothes, shoes, food, drink, transport etc, while seemingly trivial, will enable good eating and effective workouts. This is especially relevant when busy or stressful times arise. Proper preparation prevents poor performance! (And reduces the chances of missing workouts & eating poorly!) 7. SMALL PROGRESSIONS Just like many workouts done over time are imperative for improved fitness or fat loss, having very small progressions is also part of the wise way forward. You don't necessarily have to go incredibly hard to make great changes to your body. Sustainable progression however will make a difference. Imagine your were to do push ups 3 times per week as part of your routine. If you were to start with 3 sets of 10 repetitions and increase by 1 repetition per week i.e. in the 2nd week do 3 sets of 11 repetitions. After 6 weeks you'd be doing 3 sets of 15. A significant increase- if you do the math's it's an extra 15 repetitions in total per workout from where you'd have started! (3 x 10=30, 6 weeks later 3 x 15 =45) I've expanded on the importance of this in another post, those very small increases can be made in basically all aspects of exercise and really do add up to a big difference. Focus on making those tiny progressions often. 8. THINKING ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE ACHIEVING RATHER THAN WHAT YOU'RE NOT. It's a little bit like consciously practicing gratitude, there is a need to deliberately think about what's going well and the progress you've made. Otherwise the ill effects of comparison with others can start to deflate confidence and cloud over the sense of progress. Deliberately considering the number of workouts you've done over time, or healthy meals, or increases in strength are just some ways of reminding yourself of the progress you're making and that your efforts are indeed worthwhile. It's an under-rated means of getting and staying motivated. 9. CONNECTING, COMMUNICATING AND EXERCISING WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE. Human beings are essentially social creatures & while it is possible to develop a solo exercise habit, it's typically much easier and more enjoyable if there are others involved. If you've organised to meet someone for a walk, bike ride or gym session there is that level of commitment which means you're inclined to turn up simply to avoid letting them down. This is another reason using a Personal Trainer works- it creates accountability. The right people associated with your exercise can offer support, motivation and enjoyment. It probably won't automatically happen for you though, you need to be proactive by making contact & plans. Ready to do something about your body and lifestyle? Need some help to get there though.....? I offer mobile personal training & exercise programs and coaching. Get in touch and find out how I can help.