5 Tips For Success With Your Training Program
1.Make a SMART Goal (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound goal).
First off you need to specify your goal. Precision is extremely important in goal setting. Do you have a performance goal? Write it down as specific an actual figure correlating to that e.g. improve my current squat max by 10kg.
Do you have a nutrition / lifestyle goal? Again, write it down as a figure e.g. hit 2 grams of protein per kilo of lean body mass.
Do not be vague or subjective with your goals, e.g. improve squat or increase protein intake. You will be far more motivated to hit the actual number than simply aiming for the clouds.
You also need to have a measurable goal in mind. This will keep you accountable and allow you to monitor progress. Ask yourself this… How can you actually achieve a goal if you cannot measure it? You can’t.
Do you have a body composition goal? Then monitor your body fat and measurements by getting readings through your PT. Whilst the mirror can give you an excellent indicator on how your body composition is coming along, it is somewhat subjective and not the best way to track progress. Body fat readings will give you an objective standpoint by which adjustments to your training and nutritional program can be made.
Ensure your goal is attainable. There is a time and a place for setting extremely optimistic goals. Many different factors such as current lifestyle, ability to handle stress, training background and general health all come into play when setting a fitness related goal. Not everyone has optimal health, the right training background and lifestyle to accommodate an intense twice-a-day training program. Likewise, if you struggle to eat enough protein throughout the day then simply try increasing your protein intake at breakfast and slowly build that up with other meals throughout the day. A consistent, steady approach will benefit you in the long run. Do not attempt to run before you can walk.
Have a realistic goal that is individually tailored to you. People have different preferences, attitudes, biomechanics and aspirations and that should be taken into account when goal setting. In the modern era of social media, it is easy to get caught up in other peoples fitness journey instead of focusing on your own. Sit down and think about what you want to achieve from the training, nutrition and lifestyle changes you are about to make. Resist external pressure and set an individualized goal that you are passionate about and that is realistic for you!
Finally have a suitable time frame for your goal. Set multiple time levels for your goal e.g. set a weekly goal, a monthly goal and so on. Set the time-scale too long (6 months+) without adequate smaller steps leading up to that goal, and you’ll soon become unmotivated. Setting smaller steps leading up to the long-term end goal is important to staying driven and focused.
2. Eat foods that your body enjoys
The vast majority of the food you eat should be of a high nutritional quality that you and your body enjoys. Filling your daily intake of food with a wide range of high quality food sources that you enjoy eating will allow you to make it part of a healthy lifestyle.
A nutritional plan that is bland as a piece of cardboard is a recipe for disaster in the long run and is unsustainable. Similarly, a IIFYM (if it fits your macros) style plan that allows you eat whatever rubbish you like as long as it ‘fits your daily macros’ is a recipe for inner turmoil in your body. If you wish to get results at the gym and have the energy to do so fuelling your body with the right foods is important.
3. Get a program you can stick to
When programming for yourself or having your PT write a program for you, make sure that it is the type of training you enjoy and it is a plan you can stick to. Relate it to your SMART goal.
Let your coach know a) what your goals are, b) how much work you are willing to put in to achieve that goal and c) let them know your training style preferences.
Be honest and realistic with your coach. A 6-day split training program will not work if you can only make it to the gym 3 times per week. You will be spinning your wheels if you cannot realistically stick to the program you have been given, no matter how great the program is. The best training plan you can get is the one you stick to.
4. Be patient
Be prepared for changes to your body composition, health and performance to take time. Yes, with a few technique adjustments you might be able to add 10% onto your squat with the help of an experienced coach. However the vast majority of people should not expect to add 10% to your squat every week for months on end. Impressive feats of strength and power that receive publicity via social media have been the product of years, in most cases even decades of consistent training and hard work. The result you see is an accumulation of hard work, planning and time.
The same goes for body composition. The top Physiques and Fitness athletes didn’t achieve that body in an 8-week cutting phase. They slowly built up a solid base of muscle and training capacity (ability to be able to handle volume) over many years that enabled them to achieve that figure. In the age of instant gratification and quick results it is easy to become carried away and expect a cover model body in a matter of weeks. For most people this is simply not the case. Instead, focus on your own self-improvement and embrace the journey that you will able to continue for years.
5. Don’t be phased by small losses
Look at the bigger picture and the end goal. Had a bad training session? Find out the reason(s) why, acknowledge them, find out what you can do in the future to prevent the problem and most importantly move on. Don’t let a bad training session turn into a bad week of training. That 1 ‘bad’ training session out of 20 you complete in a month won’t make or break your progress, but letting the 1 session snowball into a week will. The same goes for nutrition. Had an unplanned cheat meal or spilled over your nutritional intake for the day? Do not stress. The most important thing is to not let those 1 or 2 bad meals turn into a whole week of bad eating. That will dent your progress.