Over the years I’ve seen more people fail than succeed in their quest to get fit, so it only seems appropriate that I address the most common issues that throw people off track. In the coming weeks we’ll look at a range of common mistakes people make and I’m sure that you’ll recognize yourself in some of the upcoming scenarios. First up – the importance of setting realistic goals…
Too often we think about what we want to look like, or how we want to feel, before we accurately decide how much time we can commit to achieving our goals. And of course, the “want it now attitude” only fuels most people’s delusional expectations of what to expect when starting a new program. Years ago I ran my own small training studio and in the window I had my bodybuilding Trophies proudly displayed.
When a prospective new client came in he asked (pointing at a bronze statue) “Are you going to make me look like this?”, to which I replied “The name on the door’s Alfonso Moretti Fitness, not David Copperfield!”. Most of the time the prospective client smiled and signed up. The point is you have to be realistic!
First and foremost you need to be honest about how much time you are able, and willing to commit to an exercise program. I assure you, anyone in the media, on TV, in magazines, or in any spotlight, with a phenomenal body and excellent fitness stamina got there by putting a considerable commitment into their exercise and nutrition program.
In my opinion you need to eventually work towards at least 4 hours per week of appropriate exercise, although you can start with less knowing that in the future your plan will call for more. Once you have decided how often, and how much work you are willing to put into your plan, then you can form accurate goals for yourself. You can’t just say “I want Angelina Jolie’s arms”, or “Chris Evans’ legs” as you have no idea what these celebrities are doing to look as good as they do. And it’s unlikely that if you only have 3 half hour sessions per week scheduled, that you’ll make remarkable progress.
Instead, you need to look at yourself and say “ I want to improve X, Y and Z”, and then form a plan on how to achieve them. Any program, trainer or system that promises incredible results in a very short time is in my opinion “selling” you. Yes, you can make continual progress, but just as you reached a de-conditioned state over a period of time, time is what is required to get back into good health and fitness.
Your goals may be to lose 10lbs, have shapelier legs, or be able to run a mile in 8 minutes, but whatever it is you need to plan your workout around your goals. For instance, if your goal is to lose a bit of fat and get in terrific cardio vascular condition, I don’t think Pilates, or a Zumba class will be best suited to your needs.
Realistic goal setting is what leads to attainable results. And if your goals are big, then break them down into a series of smaller targets along the way to your final fitness destination. When building a house the concept is drawn up, the plans are made and construction happens one step at a time, each step building on the next until the final product represents the original vision.
Along the way adjustments may need to be made, compromises may enter the equation, and even once finished the house still continues to get updated and maintained. That is exactly how you should approach your fitness regime. One step at a time. And with realistic goals…