START A FITNESS JOURNAL
What’s a fitness journal? Excellent question, we are thrilled you asked!
Regardless of whether you join a fitness class at our Warwick gym, you have a personal trainer, or your goal is to get to the point where you are able to jog without pain, we’d recommend tracking your progress, complete with its highs and lows.
Here’s why: taking the time to track your progress is a big part of it, but from a more general perspective, a big part of maintaining mental health and wellness (for many people) is found in writing on a daily basis. While journaling of any kind connotes a healthy kind of introspection, journaling about weight loss, fitness gains, and the future will help you determine your goals, hopes, and fears.
In our experience, we’ve found that a great number of us are unaware of what might be holding us back; writing helps cast light on these unknown factors. It might be an unspoken fear that we are afraid of success as much as we are of failure. Writing every day helps train yourself to investigate these kinds of things. Eventually, you will probably learn to enjoy the journey for what it is, as you learn more about yourself and how you can be more consistent.
We believe writing each day is a form of discipline, a sort of working out of a different kind of muscle. Although it’s a different kind of discipline, discipline leads to more discipline. This trickle-down effect will have an impact in multiple areas of your life. For instance, we regularly talk to folks who are more satisfied in their relationships and professional life — in no small part because of the focus and discipline they’ve gathered.
Journaling is a great way to kick-start this process. And remember, you don’t have to write an essay every single day! Start small and work your way up, just like if you were training a different muscle group.
SET GOALS THAT ARE REALISTIC
Setting realistic, achievable goals is key to successfully implementing a long-term plan.
Ann Kulze, MD, author of Dr. Ann’s 10-Step Diet: A Simple Plan for Permanent Weight Loss and Lifelong Vitality, says that you might be on the road to disaster if you can’t help but set grandiose, lofty, and unachievable goals. “If you set unattainable goals, such as losing 30 pounds in just a few months, you’re setting yourself up to fail.” It’s better to try to focus on your health and create sensible eating strategies.”
While most of us (we think) aren’t going to actually try to lose 30 pounds in 60 days or anything of that nature, the principle remains. It’s easy to get discouraged while you are working out regularly but can’t seem to see the results you want. Hey, we get it; exercising is challenging, so that’s why it’s key to establish medium-term goals for yourself. Otherwise, it’s easy to find yourself throwing your hands up after a few months of hard work because your body fat percentage is not the same as Brad Pitt’s.
Don’t get too short-sighted either. Track your results monthly rather than weekly. This will give you a better sample size (for more accurate information) and won’t have you stressing about each and every workout or calorie you consume!
A SETBACK DOES NOT EQUAL FAILURE
The final point we’d like to make in today’s blog (which has gotten a lot more philosophical than we intended) is that we want you to understand that setbacks aren’t synonymous with failure. It might sound a bit trite, but that doesn’t make it untrue. And the reason we are inundated with memes, gifs, and best-selling books about “getting back on the horse that bucked you off just one more time” is because it’s so easy for us to give into failure.
We all need to come to grips with the fact that setbacks will happen. Cheat days take place, and oftentimes that’s okay, as it’s not the worst thing in the world to give ourselves a break from time to time. It’s when we get down on ourselves for not being dedicated to our fitness program that the trouble can start. Cheat days become cheat weeks, weeks become months, and pretty soon we’ve undone all of that hard work we’ve accomplished.
Why does this happen? It’s tough to generalize accurately, but there’s some truth to the idea that it’s because we care too much. We get down on ourselves and create negative momentum. So, what’s the tonic? As is the case with most difficult questions, the answer is something similar to, “it depends”.