How to Crush Your Goals This Year and Get Where You Want To Be
With the first month of 2017 in the books, how many of you are already where you want to be, or are well on your way in the right direction? How many of you are still a little lost and need some help and guidance to get started? Here are a few ways to get you going on your way to CRUSH your goals this year!
You Don’t Get The Body You Want By Sitting On Your Ass!
One of the most important things you can do to achieve your goals and attain the body that you want is to first consider what you want to achieve and why it’s important to you. Then you must commit, be hungry for improvement, and keep coming back over and over and over again.
Start by setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals. The goals you set should serve to motivate you and make you a little nervous; nothing great has ever been achieved while inside of your comfort zone, and overcoming these nerves and fears makes you stronger. Writing down these goals will help make them feel more tangible and of more importance to you. Next, you will need to design a plan of attack on how you’re going to achieve these goals.
To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift
Get up before the enemy does, be aggressive, and attack the day! Find a time that works best for you to allow yourself to make the most of your workout. For me, I get up every morning at 4 am, which allows me to truly focus on my goals. By getting up this early it allows you to take care of the things that are important to you and be able to truly focus on your goals. If you push things off to later in the day then that allows for other things and others to chip away at your time and keep you for attack your goals.
When you try to squeeze in time to workout it allows for your job, your boss, your family and friends to chip away and distract you from your time to put in the work you need to. At 4:30 in the morning all of those people and distractions are asleep and can’t distract me from what needs to get done, and I can focus all my attention into attacking my goals. Trust me, I know it sucks to hear that alarm go off early in the morning, but that’s where self-discipline kicks in. If you put things off until later in the day, then you are allowing for distractions and other people's priorities to chip away at your precious time. Once you develop self-discipline, you will soon find yourself getting up before the alarm, feeling aggressive and ready to attack the day! When you have discipline in your life you will create and develop will power, which enables you to become a stronger person in all aspects of your life.
No matter where you are, the main goal should also be to get up and get a sweat on. Whether you are at home or on the road at some rinky-dink hotel gym, your goal is to get up, get moving, and get after it. Don’t worry about whether or not you have your normal equipment with you; get creative and find something that can get your heart rate going. Do some burpees if you must; and them do them until you are puking in the trash can. Trust me, it's a good time and you’ll feel better afterwards.
So get up early, get aggressive, and bust your ass. Because, believe me, you’ll feel so much better about your day and most importantly about yourself, I guarantee it!
Stay True To Yourself
One thing that helps me stay true to my workouts is scheduling them in advance. Just like anything in life, if it’s not important to you or those surrounding you, it will be easy to forget or push aside. As we get busy, we tell ourselves, “I’ll do it later" or "I’ll do it tomorrow.” Your morning cardio session gets bumped into your evening workout time and then your evening workout gets bumped to another day, and so on. If this sounds like you, you need a workout partner; either one that has the same goals as you or is willing to work out with you and keep you motivated and accountable. You may want to look into hiring a personal trainer.
Another way that keeps me honest with myself is sharing my goals with others. Share your goals with those that can give you advice, keep you on track, and hold you accountable. A friend, family member, or significant other are several good options among many. They will be more likely to be honest and supportive of you, but also unafraid to give some tough love when needed.
Additionally, social media is a great way to share your goals. This is a great way to reach out to others and get support and encouragement from those you normally wouldn’t. With social media, you can connect with others outside of your immediate social circle who share the same goals. When I post on social media, it helps me stay accountable as I don't want others to think I am a quitter or full of shit. As I continue to post updates about my progress on my goals, people tend to start asking me for advice and look to me for motivation. This pushes me to keep moving toward my goals and it feels good to know I'm inspiring and helping others.
Warm-Up Lives Matter!
Listen, I get it. You want to get into the gym and get after it! Warming up is one of the most important thing you can do for yourself. This will get your blood flowing and, most importantly, reduce your risk of injury. This is your time to visualize your workout and get your body ready for what you're about to train. I like to visualize and go through the motions of each exercise and rep in my head before I work out. This allows me think of how and what I am going to do as I practice my form as well as creating the mind-body connection in the muscles I'm about to train.
I like to start my warm up with 5-10 minutes of low intensity cardio, then move on to doing very light resistance work. This is when I work on really visualizing my muscles contracting and working on the mind-muscle connection. I warm up the muscle groups I'm going to train. By going really slow I'm able to concentrate on my mind-muscle connection while going through the full range of motion with each rep. By going slow and concentrating on your form, you're able to effectively increase blood flow to the targeted muscles, which will improve nutrient flow and aid in muscle growth.
Train to What Your Goals Are
Forget all those cookie cutter diets and workouts. What worked for someone else may not work for you. Remember, you want to start with short, attainable goals first. After you have come up with your goals, give yourself four weeks of 3-4 days of exercise each week and nothing less than 30 minutes a day. The goal is to get a sweat on and move your body. Within the first four weeks', work on your form and write down everything you do, including what weight you used. As a few workouts go by, you are going to want to push yourself and see what you can do and want to lift heavier ... DON'T! BE PATIENT!!! This goes for everyone, no matter what your skill level or how long you have been lifting. Never increase the weight until you have mastered the proper movement and form and also don’t do so without a spotter.
Work on the movements and form. If it feels weird and you’re not really feeling it in the muscles you're working on, drop the weight and slow things down. As a trainer, the number one problem I see in the gym is people lifting weights they shouldn’t be. This does nothing but build bad habits, both with bad form and poor attitude. It also greatly increases the risk for injury. A lot of times I see people lifting super fast because they need momentum on their side to get the weight to move. Start slow, use lighter weight and concentrate on your form, targeting the muscle with mind-muscle connection.
You will see results a lot faster as well as an increase in strength. You are not the best person to judge yourself on how your forms look - have someone else watch you as you go through your movements. You can also record yourself and have someone you know that is more advanced give you some pointers. Again, don’t be afraid of what others have to say and the answers they might give you. Yes, the truth hurts sometimes, but it’s ok. They are only trying to help you and hurt pride is much better than a strained muscle or snapped tendon.
What the hell is mind-muscle connection anyway? Lifting is more than just being physically strong. Hell, anyone can throw some iron around but are they really getting anything out of it? It’s all about how you throw that iron around is what counts. You really want to concentrate on the targeted muscle you are training. As you go through the motions of working on that working muscle you want to visualize it as you are contracting it. You want to feel that pump and feel that muscle grow as you work it. Go slow and control the weight as you concentrate on each rep and demand that muscle to work and grow the way you want it to. If you don’t feel the muscle contracting then you are lifting too much weight and using too much momentum and your form is all sorts of jacked up or you are simply just lifting to fast to feel anything. Again – shitty, jacked up form! Go slow and control the weight, don’t let the weight control you. You are in the gym for a reason; be in charge of the weight and your muscles. Move the iron in a way that is comfortable but with good control and form and make your muscles work the way you want and need them too.
Treat Your Rest Periods As Seriously AS Your Workouts
Take your time seriously between sets, no matter how long you have to work out or how long your rest periods are. Your rest period is your time to drink your water and regather your thoughts and energy. Take this time to about how your last set went. Was it a good set? Ask yourself how it felt , replay it in your head as you go through the motions and see how it felt and if it didn’t go the way you thought, then play your next set in your head as you go through the motions and visualize yourself doing the next set. Could you have done something differently? Again if you felt like that set wasn’t good and you felt like your hands should be placed differently or that your elbows show be in instead of out, then correct as your visualize and go through your next set in your head before you hit your next step. What rep did your start feeling it or at what rep did you stop feeling your muscles contracting, what was your form like at the rep or reps?
These are all things to think about as you are resting. You want to make sure you are correcting any corrections that need to be made and as your time is coming to a near to start thinking about your next set, get yourself motivated and mentally ready to get after it!
Most Importantly…….. Eat For Your Lifestyle or the Way You Train
You will never outwork a shitty diet. You have now decided to make a change in your life and think hitting the gym is going to get you all the result in you are after. It’s a good start, but if you don’t start on your diet and eating habits first then you are going to have hard time getting where you want. I have seen this too many times, where someone comes into the gym and want to make changes to their body and lose weight. So they come in for a month, maybe two, and are working out 3-5 times a week, but they are not seeing the result they want, so they start dipping out and then cutting the gym all together because they think it’s too hard to work out and achieve the results that they want. When I find out they are wanting to quit the gym because they are just not getting the results they wanted, I will always ask them, “Why do you think this is, and what are your eating habits? “ I will always get the dumbfounded look of, “Oh, whatever do you mean my eating habits? I am working out and burning so many calories I figured I could have some extra calories.”
The most important thing you can do for yourself is adjusting your diet. Your diet is responsible for 80-90% of your successes or failures. The fastest path to success is with a good diet and meal plan. Keep your total number of calories under control, cut out all the junk food, give up soda, fast food, processed junk and start eating real healthy foods, such as fresh veggies, fruits, and lean meats.
Remember anyone can push the iron around or go run a treadmill, but if you don’t change your eating habits and focus on what it is going to take to achieve your goals, then it doesn’t matter what you can do in the gym because it will all be for nothing. No matter what, you need to fuel your body properly for it to work the way you want it to. Just like anything in life, you pay for what you get. If you buy a nice car and only put in cheap fuel and oil it’s going to run sluggish and not perform the way it was meant to. So why half-ass your own body by feeding it shit only to feel like shit afterwards? Whatever your goals may be fuel your body properly to achieve the results you want.
Are you finding yourself counting calories, sticking to your numbers, and even still not seeing results? The problem might not be about the number of calories, but the kind of calories. STOP!!! Stop living your life revolving around calorie counting. Change your approach to food and start eating around your lifestyle and what your fitness goals are.
Start by knowing what your basal metabolic rate is. My basal hooty what? Your BMR is very important to know because it is one of the main contributing components of energy expenditure. Each day, your body must breathe, blink, control body temperature, grow new cells, support brain and nerve activity and contract muscles and all of which your body requires a significant amount of energy (calories) just to function on a daily basis. Knowing your BMR is the first step to getting an idea of how much fuel you need to keep your body going all day long and is also very important no matter if your goals are to lose weight, gain muscle, or run and train harder.
The Mifflin-St. Jeor Equation
For men: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) + 5
For women: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) – 161
Once you know your BMR, you can make a more realistic guess of your total daily energy expenditure, or TDEE. This reflects the entire amount of calories/energy that your body burns in a 24 hour period while working, exercising, sleeping, and yes even while you are eating food.
TDEE, total daily energy expenditure, is the amount of energy in calories you burn per day. TDEE is best calculated by factoring in your BMR, or basal metabolic rate, and your activity level. BMR is the amount of calories you would burn per day at rest. It is important to know your TDEE when trying to set up a proper bulking or cutting diet.
Your TDEE is often referred to as your calorie maintenance level. This is the amount of calories that is required per day to keep you are your current weight. After you know your total daily energy expenditure you can either add calories per day to gain bulk, or lower calories to cut fat.
Once you have your BMR, you need to account for the additional energy expenditure as noted above. Equation includes multipliers that you can apply to your BMR based on your general activity level. This will give you a good starting point for determining how many calories you should eat, and then you can adjust based on how your body actually responds.
(And here’s how you do that when you’re wanting to lose weight. Here’s how to do it when you’re wanting to gain weight.)
1.2 = sedentary (little or no exercise)
1.375 = light activity (light exercise/sports 1 to 3 days per week)
1.55 = moderate activity (moderate exercise/sports 3 to 5 days per week)
1.725 = very active (hard exercise/sports 6 to 7 days per week)
1.9 = extra active (very hard exercise/sports 6 to 7 days per week and physical job)
At this point you want to start adding in your macronutrients. Macronutrients are what make up the caloric content of a food. Normally referred to as "macros," the three categories of macronutrients are carbohydrates, fat, and protein. The caloric combination of the macros is where that mysterious total number of calories comes from. Here's how to break down your calories.
1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
It's not about how many calories are in your food, but what kind of calories are in your food. Even when you set a strict calorie limit, you could be eating total garbage and I felt like shit because you are not getting all the nutrients you need. This balance will give you more energy, better workouts, and faster results.
Here is a little example on whether you want to lose fat or gain muscle.
Boost Metabolism: and/or Build Muscle: 40 percent protein, 35 percent carbohydrates, 25 percent fat
Fat Lose: 45 percent protein, 35 percent carbohydrates, 20 percent fat
For healthy calorie cutting use this percentages and set up a sliding scale that accounts for your goals, 15-20% below maintenance calories = conservative deficit
20-25% below maintenance calories = moderate deficit
25-30% below maintenance calories = aggressive deficit
31-40% below maintenance calories = very aggressive deficit (risky)
50%+ below maintenance calories = semi starvation/starvation (potentially dangerous and unhealthy if not medically supervised)
I know this is a lot to take in and tracking all of this can be can be tough plus very math intensive, I highly recommend downloading a macro-counting app. One I like and very easy to us and navigate is My Fitness Pal, its free and you can follow your friends. You can enter your foods for each meal while the app does the math for you. That way, you can see if you're reaching your daily numbers, and start reaching your healthy goals. I use with my clients to help track what they are eating as well as a way to hold them accountable.
Your next step will be determining what healthy meals to match up with your training and fitness goals all while leaving you satisfied and energized. As your body fluctuates or you decide to change your exercise routine you are going to want to recalculate your BMR to know whether or not if you should be eating more or less as well as adjusting your macros to training routine or desired fitness goals
Drop your ego at the door and be your own competition
Sorry to break your heart, but there is someone better than you. You are always, and I mean always, going to come across someone who is going to be better than you. They will be stronger, faster, better looking than you. They will be better trained and smarter than you and, oh yeah, way better looking than you. And guess what? You will never, and I mean never, be able to avoid that. Now let that sink in for a few minutes ...
We good? Good! Guess what? It’s ok! Because you are not trying to be them and will never be them, no matter how hard you try. But you know what will trump that every time? Being consistent, disciplined, and hungry to be your best. You have your own goals and life to worry about. You should only be in competition with yourself because it’s the person that stares back at you in the mirror every day that wants to kick your ass and that is the person you should be worried about the most. It’s that person that has driven you this far, it is that person that has pushed you to make these changes in your life, it is that person that wants to see you fail and it is that same person that wants you to succeed more than anyone in this life!
Focus On the Mental Game
Once you have made yourself a plan and set your goals up, now focus on them, shut out and ignore what others are doing. Concentrate on you!
Don’t hang out at the gym, it’s not fucking social hour at the bar. You have shit to get done, so get in and get after it and leave because it’s now time to eat and refuel your body!
Take photos of yourself every 2 weeks to keep track of your progress and to make changes to your diet if need be. Photos will help you stay motivated and help you see what areas may need improvement. Don’t get discouraged by taking photos and looking at them, think of them as a tool and a point of where you want to be.
Post your goals in 3 different areas, the bathroom mirror, and the refrigerator and at your desk at work. By doing this you forced to see them and are constantly reminded of what your goals. This will help you stay motivated and mentally in the game.
Take a step out of your comfort zone and do something that scares you. The more you do something that makes you feel uneasy the more you will slowly build strength and self confidence in yourself. Talk to random people, eat something you normally wouldn’t, read new books or articles, listen to new podcast, and then start tying all of those into your goals. Start reading, listening to podcast and talking to people that have something to do with what your goals are or share the same goals. These are all things that will help you with your goals and in and out of the gym. By doing these things it will also help you with more self-confidence and building strength within yourself. After a while you’ll notice how easy it is to accomplish your goals and how good you feel about yourself as you scratch off your goals.
After you have been hitting the gym hard and getting the results you have been working so hard for, you’ll really feel a big difference in your mental strengths and your ability to do thing you normally wouldn’t have in the past. You will become a stronger and better person trust me!
Be the hero of your own movie and get the fuck after it!