Last week, we discussed the first two reasons why you may not be making progress in your fitness levels. Below are three additional reasons why you might not be seeing the results you had hoped for.
You Don’t Have A Goal/Reason For Working Out
To make progress, the first thing you must do is establish a goal. Without a reason for doing the workout you have chosen to do, it’s very easy to lose focus and eventually fall out of your fitness routine (See Creating A Workout plan You Can Stick To.)
One of the best tools for goal setting is the S.M.A.R.T method:
S – Specific: The more specific you can be when establishing your goal the more likely you will achieve that goal. Instead of “I want to lose weight” have your goal be “I want to lose 25 pounds.”
M – Measurable: Find a way that you can actually measure your success. Following our 25 pound weight loss example, something measurable might be having your favorite pair of pants fit perfectly again.
A – Attainable: Make sure the goal you choose is not something completely overwhelming to you, but is something you are confident you can reach. It might not be reasonable for you to make a weight loss goal of 50 pounds, whereas 25 pounds is definitely doable. When establishing your goal, remember to work within your own personality as well as the resources (money, time, support) available to you.
R – Relevant: Is your goal something you really want? Or, are you doing it for someone else (whether it’s their idea or not?) This is the difference between extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation. Back to our fat loss example, an extrinsic motivator might be wanting to look better for a spouse, whereas an intrinsic motivator might be wanting to learn how to be healthy and enjoy the process of learning about health.
T – Timely: Set a reasonable timeline to achieve your goal that allows you some flexibility, but also helps you stay on course. Instead of just “losing 25 pounds”, a good example might be “lose 25 pounds in one year, by my next birthday.”
Your Workouts Do Not Match Your Goal
- Want to gain muscular endurance?
- Want to gain muscular strength?
- Want to build muscle?
- Want to increase overall stability?
- Want to improve cardiovascular fitness?
Once you have your goal set, make sure your workouts match up with your goal. Although there is some crossover, the goals listed above generally require different methods of training to best achieve the desired outcome.
It’s also a good thing for your goals to be progressing and changing. For example, for 12 weeks, your goal may be to improve cardiovascular function. Then, your goal becomes building or gaining strength for the next 12 weeks. Having evolving goals is key to a well-rounded fitness program and overall quality of life.
External Stressors Are Sapping Your Energy
Every day responsibilities, not sleeping enough, poor nutrition and a host of other life stressors can all wreak havoc on your progress in the gym. It’s inevitable that life is going to get in the way at times, but there are still many things you can control during those seasons. Control what you can, accept the rest, and do your best to work around and through life’s curveballs.
Don’t expect progress to be linear. There will be ups and downs, but what is your trajectory? Look at your growth over time instead at a single point in life. The big picture tells a more accurate story instead the snippet you see right now.
Keys to Progress In Your Fitness and Overall Health:
- Workouts should be challenging, but not completely draining.
- Workouts should progress and change in some way.
- Set S.M.A.R.T goals (for both your workouts and nutrition).
- Workouts should match your goal.
- Control stress and stay as consistent (in both your workouts and nutrition) as reasonably possible.
The information found on this blog is based on my own personal thoughts and opinions. I am not a doctor or registered dietician. Please be sure to consult your health care professional before starting or changing any fitness or nutrition program.
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