Summer is a time when a lot of people jump on the fitness bandwagon believing that this is the year they will lose weight and tone up once and for all! But for many people, their enthusiasm for exercise tends to fade within weeks and eventually they realize that losing weight is a lifetime goal, not something they can accomplish in a short amount of time. If you really want to be successful at reaching your fitness goals, I have included some effective tips below to help you be a success!
A few months ago, I asked five friends what motivates them to workout during the warm summer months. As you read their answers, notice that I didn’t ask them what their goals were. Later on in this article I will be working with you to create your own goals.
Shannon: I want to be in bikini-ready shape by summer time so I can walk on the beach and feel confident about my body. My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Mexico and I really want to wear this little bikini that he bought for me!
Sarah: Having just had my second child I want to lose the weight that I had gained during my pregnancy. Plus, I know how important it is to set a healthy example for my kids. My mother worked out as I was growing up and I would like to do the same for my two boys.
Patty: Competitions are my motivation and I have one every three to five months. If I really let myself go, when contest time comes around I will have more work cut out for me to get in shape. This is extra work that I wouldn’t have to do if I balanced my weight training and cardio plan along with a clean off-season diet. I try to fit in 4-6 workouts every week during the year but need to stay more disciplined on my diet and cardio.
Tara: I feel better and have more energy when I hit the gym regularly. I work full-time as a dental assistant so at the end of the day I’m able to release some tension and stress by hitting the weights and running on the treadmill.
Stella: On the weekends I know that I will be eating out at restaurants and drinking some alcohol so I try to balance that by working out hard at the gym. If I workout 4-5 days a week then I can have a little fun on the weekends. So being able to drink on the weekends motivates me.
All of my friends understand what they want but did they have the tools to reach their goals and did they really care? Do any of my friends resemble yourself? If you don’t have a specific idea of where you want to be then you won’t be very motivated to get there.
Shannon is one of my friends who’s really dedicated once she sets her mind to something. After a couple of years of hearing her talk about starting a running program, Shannon finally committed herself and lost about 20 pounds. She is feeling and looking the best she has in years!
As a successful Internet entrepreneur and mother of two, Sarah is incredibly busy with an appreciation for going on long walks with her friends and family. Walking is a great exercise for overall fitness, but Sarah would like to step it up a notch by summer time and start jogging.
Patty has her eyes set on competing in a fitness contest and she is about to change gears from her off-season diet to her pre-contest diet. The last few months she has relaxed a bit on cardio, but kept up with her weight training and she has been able to gain some lean muscle mass. Patty believes she has what it takes to qualify for the contest within the next few months!
Picking up additional work shifts at the dental office and also trying to get over a cold, Tara has been away from the gym for about a week. She is feeling run down, but knows this will pass. Ten years ago, Tara and I met on the stage at a Venus Swimwear contest. Fitness is a part of Tara’s life and she never lets small things get her down. She is optimistic and views fitness as a gift.
Stella works several nights a week at a very nice restaurant, so her morning starts closer to the afternoon hours. Arriving to the gym with her Starbucks in hand and her blonde hair in a pony tail, she steps onto her trusty elliptical trainer and opens her novel. Stella never misses a beat, or a good glass of Chardonnay on the weekends!
Let’s look at how you can set your goals and achieve them! What is motivation?
- The wants, needs and beliefs that drive you.
- Motivation is the push of mental forces to accomplish an action. Unsatisfied needs help create motivation. On the biological level, this includes the basic human needs of food, shelter and survival which are all very powerful motivators. On the psychological level, people need to be understood, affirmed, validated and appreciated. On the business level, motivation occurs when people perceive a clear business goal and pursue a specific skill set of knowledge and practices.
On the biological level, motivation is extremely powerful. It’s so powerful in fact, that one may feel that they cannot control what they eat. As a figure competitor, I understand how controlling biological motivation can be. For me, and possibly for you, it’s almost as though we have two brains. One brain, which we will refer to as the “good” one, is listening to our goals carefully and helps you create a game plan. However, your other brain, which we will call the “bad” one, may turn on without warning and take over your actions. Just when you thought you were feeling motivated to eat healthy and follow a clean diet, your “bad brain” engages and creates havoc. What you have in mind for a week of clean eating is corrupted and you end up at your local fast food joint piling greasy food into your mouth!
Besides eating right, you also need to exercise which is the key to keeping the weight off. To help you along your way, you must understand that:
- Relying on just willpower will not work. Willpower equals short-term success. Long-term success requires planning, discipline and finding ways to motivate yourself every single day.
- Motivation takes hard work. What motivates you might change from day-to-day. Each morning, I want you to think about your goals and then commit to them. Be true to your goals and choose specific actions that will help you get there.
- There will be times when you simply won’t want to eat healthy and exercise. You are never alone! Try to understand that you will have to work on staying focused because this is what successful people do to reach their goals.
- Say goodbye to diets. Create a meal plan that works for you that is based on your tastes and physique goals. Another person’s nutrition plan may not work for you. Every person’s body is different so find the nutrition plan that works best for you.
Ask any person who is very successful what motivates them and most likely they will talk about setting goals and reaching them. Goal setting is the key to motivation and overall success. So what motivates you? I’m going to ask you several important questions for reaching your fitness goals:
- Why do you want to lose fat?
- Why do you want to eat healthier?
- Why do you want to gain muscle?
- Why do you want to exercise?
When you think about your answers, do you really understand your goals? Goals are always things you want to achieve and they are never things you don’t want!
- Correct Answer: I want to stay at my current weight.
- Wrong Answer: I don’t want to gain weight.
Be specific about your goals. Provide detailed numbers and times. Don’t use words like “lots” and “more”. Tell yourself exactly what you want.
- Be realistic. Ask yourself if it is possible. Winning a fitness contest may be possible, but it might not be realistic.
My Own Personal Goals Include:
- I want to place in the top three at my next fitness contest.
- I want to gain more size in my legs.
- I want to lose body fat and tone up my body.
Next, we need to set up our objectives. Simply put, objectives are the things we need to do in order to get what we want:
- Objectives are very specific. They tell you exactly what you will need to do and when you will need to do them.
- When you think about what you will do, make a true commitment to it. Objectives are defined with words like “I WILL”! Do not use words like “try” or “maybe”. Forget about them!
- Be sure your objectives can be measured. Every day or every week you need to ask yourself, “Did I do this?” and you will answer with either a Yes or a No. Don’t leave room for “maybes”.
Time for some examples. Say that I want to gain muscle and lose body fat for my next fitness contest. This is what I will need to accomplish:
- I will eat 5 meals a day spaced 2.5 hours apart consisting of 25-35 grams of protein, 25 grams of carbs along with healthy fats like Udo’s or flax oils.
- I will drink 1.5 gallons of water a day.
- I will weight train six days a week.
- I will do cardio for 45 minutes, six days a week.
I want to lose body fat and tone up my body for my next fitness contest. If I complete all of my objectives then there is a pretty good chance I will reach my goals. I suggest that you write down your goals and objectives because it will be easier for you to see them and fulfill them!
Habits can take 21 days to break and it can take three weeks before you start seeing changes in your body. In fact, you may not drop a pound, but you will lose inches.
I want you to be honest with yourself. Are you sincerely interested in getting in the best shape of your life? Have you set realistic goals for yourself? How can you develop the internal motivation that really counts? When it comes to motivation, “knowing” is not as important as “doing”, so get started right now!