Last week, I talked about how training at a high intensity and “all-out” and all times of your training cycle is holding you back. For a perfect training cycle, we should periodize seasons of higher and lower intensities and volume over the course of the weeks, months, and years we’re training.
But a perfect training cycle is only perfect on paper.
With myself, members, and clients I’ve worked with in the past, there is RARELY a perfectly executed training cycle.
Something always comes up.
And as it should, to be honest! Unless your life revolves around your health and fitness goals, like a competitive, high-level, professional athlete or bodybuilder, we should always account for some imperfection in our journeys. It’s inevitable.
But there are things that we can do to stay on track during these times. Let’s dive into six big things we can do to stay on track with our goals, even when life tries to throw us a curveball.
Do you prefer to listen? This aired on the Fuel Your Freedom podcast, episode 7. Check it out on all major podcast platforms or by clicking here!
Find your why.
First and foremost, we have to find our why. Our why is the deeper reason that we’re pursuing the goals that we’re after. This is the bigger reason we’re attached to our health and fitness goals.
Let’s say your goal is to lose 15lbs. Awesome, let’s do it! But, deep down, what does that 15 pounds really mean to you?
Does it mean that you have more energy to play with your kids?
Does it mean that you feel confident for your high school reunion?
Does it mean that you can fit into a pair of jeans that you haven’t worn in years?
The “why” is that deeper reason. Because weight you want to lose is never just about the weight.
Do you know your why? If you don’t, take time to ask yourself why you want to achieve your goal. When you have an answer, ask yourself why again. Repeat this cycle five times. After five rounds, you’ll likely have made your way to that deep why that will keep you on track in even the toughest of times.
Look back at your progress over the years.
Sometimes, it’s tough to remember how far we’ve come. Taking progress pictures or tracking lifting progress in a journal is a GREAT way to have a record to look back on.
Looking back to see where you’ve been can renew motivation. Often, we don’t recognize the progress we’ve made and without records to look back on, we also don’t remember where we’ve been in the past.
When you want to stop, take time to look back and see where you’ve come from. You’ve likely conquered tough things in the past. You’ve pushed through and persevered. There’s no reason that you can’t do it again. You might just need that reminder that can do it.
Focus on the big rocks.
Okay, so we all know that there are countless moving parts that can go into a fitness journey. There are big rocks: drinking water, movement, sleep, etc. There are smaller pebbles: organized and structured lifting sessions, additional days of training, tracking or logging food intake, etc. Then there’s sand: tracking all calories, completely structured weeks of training, higher level of regeneration and recovery modalities, etc.
The good news is, we all have different big rocks, pebbles, and sand. These are just some examples of mine. The better news is that we don’t always have to have a “full” jar. We can make progress with just the big rocks and a few pebbles with a sprinkle of sand.
When times are tricky, the big rocks should become a priority. These are the actions or habits that will move the needle forward the most with the least amount of effort. They can vary from person to person, but likely there will be some big similarities – movement, sleep, hydration, etc.
These should nearly ALWAYS be present in our lives – regardless of the intensity of the rest of our health and fitness journey. But at times of greater focus, we may also start to fill that jar with a few smaller pebbles and sand. Take time to identify what those big rocks are for you. Make sure that, regardless of what life throws at you, you can keep those big rocks present and keep moving the needle forward.
Find a support system.
Sometimes we all just need a shoulder to lean on. It’s that simple.
This can come in the form of a gym buddy, friend, family member, or other community. We all go through tough times – it’s much better to go through them with someone else there to support you.
A support system can provide accountability, motivation, advice, support, or really any number of helpful tools when we’re hitting a tough spot in our fitness journey.
Rely on discipline, not motivation.
There are times that motivation will fall. It’s unrealistic to expect that motivation will be high and you’ll always feel amazing and want to go lift heavy, run hard, etc.
There are days that it will be tough. There are days you won’t want to go to the gym. There are days you won’t want to train at all.
But sometimes, those days will fall on days where you have big training runs, lifts, etc.
These are the times you have to push through.
You have to be disciplined enough to get it done. To take the step out the door, to just take the first step toward finishing a training session. The reps might be ugly and but giving it the effort you have in the tank just has to take precedent over sitting home.
Don’t let the lack of motivation run your training (or lack thereof). Put discipline in the driver’s seat and take care of those big rocks.
I can give you all the tips and tricks in the world. Seriously, there are endless bit of information that I can include in this podcast, but at the end of the day, some of it just won’t hit home for you.
There will be times that even the big rocks fall out of the jar. Discipline just isn’t enough. We take a step back from pursuing a health and fitness goal.
That is absolutely okay.
During these times, practice self-compassion. Recognize that you’re not the only person ever to experience this. That this doesn’t define you as a failure of a person. That it’s okay to take a step back.
But at the same time, self-compassion isn’t a get out of jail free card.
Take responsibility for the actions you did, or did not, take during your step back. It’s not the fault of the program, diet, people in your life, etc. It’s 100% your actions. Taking that responsibility, while at the same time practicing self-compassion, can set you up for success when you do want to take a step forward and a step toward a more intentional fitness journey.
There you have it. Six foolproof ways to stay on track with your goals – even when life throws you curveballs. This brings us to our…
This week take time to inventory your goals. What are you working toward right now? What could potentially get in the way of those goals? How can you approach these so that they don’t throw you completely off track?
When we take time to identify potential roadblocks and solutions to them ahead of time, we can be better prepared when the time comes. Some of the most common roadblocks have happened in the past and will happen again: vacations, travel, work stress, family stress, etc.
What are you going to do during those times? What have you done in the past that didn’t work? What have you done in the past that did work? What could you do in the future to move through them instead of getting stopped by them?