1. Change your Behavior First - By Setting Clearly Defined Objectives and Attainable Goals
People who really want to change the way they look, move and feel must first set clearly defined objectives and attainable goals. This concept isn’t anything groundbreaking or novel, but the psychological and behavioral sciences behind goal setting and attainment speak for themselves.
The best intentions usually fall short because of haphazard approaches “I’m gonna workout every day and twice on Saturday for a whole month.” or ridiculous goals “I’m gonna lose 25 lbs in 1 month.” that can never be met leading to subpar or even dangerous results. More importantly, these lackluster performances create a negative association to fitness and training which sabotages our psychology and behavior.
When it comes down to making tremendous positive modifications in your lifestyle, training and nutrition are just tools for you to build habits and behavior changes. And no, we aren’t talking about quick fixes or magic pills, but rather the types of behaviors that are forged into your every move and thought and are developed and mastered over time.
2. Let the Science Do the Driving
Let’s face it, vanity and ego are powerful motivators of change. But, there’s a fine line between letting these motivators dictate your training instead of contributing to it in a positive and meaningful way.
We’ve all heard that “common sense isn’t always so common.” We also know that common sense conveniently disappears in the face of vanity and ego when in the pursuit of fitness. Any serious lifter or fitness enthusiast knows that vanity and ego are tools that when leveraged properly can lead to long term success. However, science is the vehicle that safely gets you to your destination and this includes; training, nutrition and lifestyle changes. Be real with yourself and be honest about your long-term solution. You will find that this supports behavior modification adherence.
3. Always Know Where You Stand
Making a positive change in any goal you set out to attain is dependent on you not only knowing where you want to end up, but also where you currently stand. The only way to find out where you stand is through an assessment. Assessments determine current strengths and weaknesses and validate the quality of a program prescription. Anyone seeking real results from an exercise program should not begin without this critical component. It would be like a visiting a physician and never receiving any diagnostic tests before being prescribed a treatment plan or medication. One could also argue that without periodic assessments you can’t accurately quantify the long-term success of any program or regimen.
4. Keep an Open Mind
We are creatures of habit. Even more so, when it comes to our training philosophy. Don’t fall victim to the dogmatic belief of any one program. Failure and potential injury surely await those who behave in this manner. There are many different forms of exercise and ALL have value if leveraged correctly. Remember all those times you plateaued, developed a nagging injury or where unmotivated, but you never changed your training routine?
Creating dynamic long-term results in your health, physique or performance is not dependent on one single perfect approach, but rather the synergy of many gold-standard methods and techniques to formulate your perfect programming and strategy set according to your needs, your current ability levels and your specific goals.
As soon as you buy into the misguided thought that there is only one way to produce notable results in strength, hypertrophy or function, your results will be limited. It’s as simple as that. If you look at anyone who embodies what it is to live with physical prowess and resiliency, it’s clear that there is a multi-faceted approach to the way they choose to train, eat and live. That’s because no two people are the same, and long-term results depend on you identifying and defining your individuality and planning accordingly.
5. Train Pain-Free
“No Pain, No Gain” is one of the most dangerous narratives ever presented to the fitness industry. From Jane Fonda in the early 80’s to today, it continues to mislead many who follow this false sense of success. We all know how hard it is to build muscle, burn fat, get strong and perform at elite levels. But, do you know what’s even harder? Trying to achieve those goals while your body is always chronically broken down, hurt and continuously battling itself to stay out of pain’s way while trying to achieve goals simultaneously.
Injures should NEVER ever be accepted as the cost for achieving increased strength or athletic performance. If you are a fitness abuser who is a self-fulfilling injury prophecy that can literally predict their own orthopedic demise with clock like precision, you are most likely to blame.
Though injuries sometimes do randomly occur without signs of negligence or a lack of proper programming, execution or detail, but most of the time injuries happen due to a lack of judgment and focus. This includes activities in AND outside of the gym. This doesn’t mean you stop training altogether or push through a workout in a perfunctory manner. Both options yield no results. Instead, listen to your body, improve the programming or monitor your rest periods to achieve greater long lasting results.