Working out is hard work, we persevere though the pain, sweat and tears because we’re compelled, motivated and devoted to our success. So how do we measure our success? When do we celebrate? When do we look back on what we’ve achieved?
People are so keen to workout, that they dive straight in, without giving it a whole lot of thought. An effective exercise routine takes thought, planning and then the hard work. So I’ll take you through some of the basic things you should be considering about your routine.
What’s your goal?
Deciding on your goal is the first most important thing. It stops us from just doing the exercises that feel easy, or the ones we’re good at and allows us to focus everything else around how to achieve that goal. Over time your goal can change, but try and be really honest with yourself and say “over the next 60 days where do I want to see change?” This could be: burn fat, strengthen my core muscles, work on my six pack, build bigger arms and shoulders, etc…
Avoid the traditional idea of setting a weight goal. Saying to yourself I want to loose 6 lbs might seem good, but in reality weight is not a good measure. As you exercise, you’ll burn fat, but you’ll equally be building muscle, which will affect your weight. If weight loss is your goal, it’s much better to measure yourself than record your overall body weight. Saying “I want to loose 2 inches around my waist,” is better than trying to loose a certain amount of weight.
Choosing the right exercises
Now you know what you want to achieve, it’s time to plan which exercises will get you there. There’s plenty of information on the Internet, so search for exercises that are specifically aimed at your goal and try to stick to credible sources that you recognise and trust. Don’t just do the exercises you already know and find relatively easy, but work with new exercises that may initially seem difficult, but it’s the variety that’s important especially if you’re working on a new area. Of course you can never beat the classics: push ups, pull ups, sit ups, bicep curls… but try the new variations too.
What should you be eating?
There’s not a lot point in pushing yourself hard through your workout, if you’re going to eat junk food all week. You should spend as much time planning your meals and snacks, as you do planning your workouts. Research which food types are best for your goal. Put simply make sure you eat healthy, balanced meals and sort yourself some healthy snacks and control your portion size. If your goal is to build muscle, still eat healthily, but make sure you’re eating enough to fuel your workouts, you don’t want to compromise your muscle growth because you’re just not eating enough.
And finally, sleep
I say this in nearly every post, but it’s because it’s so important, and yet is often the one thing people fail to address. Get enough sleep. We’re talking 7-8 hours a night. So at around 10:00pm, start winding down, switch your phone off, and get into bed. You’ve been working hard and your body needs time to rest. In fact, a lack of sleep can cause you to want to eat more than you need too.
That’s all there is to it, set your goal, plan how you’re going to get there and when you do, congratulate yourself! Whatever your goal, I’d encourage you to regularly record your progress. Try each week writing down your measurements, recording how much weight your lifting, or even just take a photo of yourself. It might not seem like much is changing straight away, but stick with it and after a couple of months, look back on just how much you’ve improved and thank yourself.