Having been traveling on business for a week and visiting 5 countries in one shot, never seeing the outside of the hotel room in the process, its easy to get disheartened watching as some of the recent gains I have made soften and disappear. There was absolutely no time for me to get anywhere near a gym, and I was forced to survive on bodyweight exercises and a regime of food that I wouldn’t normally eat, but had no real choice to do anything about. As you get older, this happens faster than when you are younger, and if you are not mentally prepared for breaks in your usual regime, you might see this as an excuse to ease up and lose focus.
Accept the ups and downs as part of the process, and most importantly, keep your target clearly in your mind.
Basically, you are at war with yourself: your mind, your body, your surroundings, your need for sustenance, your discipline and work/study lifestyle.
In any war, there are victories and defeats on the way to your ultimate target. I read here how all of you are designing tactics to help you achieve your goal. That’s great, but you need an overall strategy, and a plan in place also just in case you meet some obstacles on the way: work, study, sickness, injury- whatever life decides to through at you in no particular order.
Write yourself out a plan- where you want to be in 3 months, 6 months, one year, and keep track of every little bit of information you can related to that goal.
As a member of this club, lets start this off with both an overall strategy and the tactics you are going to employ to get you there. Also, rather than think of a set goal that is static, and therefore impermanent, think of an overall sustainability plan, where by once you reach your target, you can keep it.
This is an ongoing battle, and if you want to create something that lasts, you will need to keep your awareness and a flexible plan.
Ask yourself these questions:
1. What is my goal- long term and short term. Getting cut up one summer and then losing it all the next.. is not so good. Pick the middle, achievable, sustainable road, and go for it.
2. How many times a week? 3-5- 6 days a week?
3. What is your time line? Be realistic, and maybe consult a coach or personal trainer for a check on your goal and whether it is achievable within the time you have set
4. How will you keep track of your results? Diary/log? Daily etc
5. Will you be consulting a coach regularly and keeping track of your progress? I definitely recommend consulting a coach, even if just initially, to make sure that what you plan to do is logical, doable and reasonable given your other level of commitment ( read the other points about diet and supplements etc)
6. Where will you train? Gym? At home? What will you do if you cant get to a gym for a few days? Figure out how you can get around any unpredictable obstacles that pop up
7. Aerobic activities- will you do them or not? If you want to be lean, you will need them, but be careful not to do too much
8. Diet- are you going to regulate your diet to support your gains? For some of us, this means beer/ wine/ desserts/ extra fatty foods are going to need to be watched or limited to moderate amounts, depending on age
9. Supplements- are you going to use them? It is highly recommended by everyone- protein powder, multi vitamins, creatine monohydrate,- you need to look into all of these and find a good balance
10. Make a best case and worst case scenario for your goals, just in case something happens to interrupt your plan
This is your starting point, then all you need to do is implement your plan.
If you are starting off from scratch, you need to prepare both your mind and body before you start hitting things heavy, or you will crash and burn before you get started. If you are going to use kettlebells, you need to be in pretty good physical condition before you start, or you will find some of the exercises pretty grueling, and it is definitely not recommended by me to lift any of the heavier bells until you are well used to moving them around and putting them on the ground properly while you practice.
If you are going to the gym, a well trained instructor can go over the basics you need in about an hour. You can always learn something about form and technique; its easy to slip into bad habits which could hurt you in the future, so be wise and check.
Bodyweight exercises, you can start them right now, but go for the more basic moves first and work your way up.
To summarize, ask yourself this- how important is this goal to me? Is it possible to balance the rest of my lifestyle around this goal so that you can do everything well without sacrificing something you will regret later?
A little planning goes a long way. May victory be yours!