Summer is always the time of year when people have some kind of fitness project planned for themselves, such as our Beach Body Challenge. I want to share with you how to make it work for you.
There have been some very successful personal training businesses that have done well from a model of 6 week or 12 week projects. They work so well because the expectations are set early and there is a very definite start and finish. This can help with motivation a lot as people can make sacrifices for short periods such as this.
So how do we get this to work for you? All of us have stopped and started on many a "get back in shape" plan. "I'm really serious about it this time! I will be 100% dedicated! I will stick to the plan!"
Tip 1 - Decide how long your project will be and halve it
For most of us 12 weeks or even 6 weeks is a really long time to train 4-6x a week, stick to a meal plan and restrict ourselves socially to avoid temptation. My advice, especially if you have tried and failed before is to break it up into 2 week blocks or halve what you originally intended. You need to be saying to yourself things like "Of course I could do that! That is so easy to do! Are you sure its not too little?"
By doing this we alleviate a huge amount of self imposed expectation and a huge drain on our willpower which we know is a limited resource. It also allows us the ability to get our head down for a short period of time with better clarity and focus before we start questioning our motivations in the first place. Once we hit this reduced target, we can reassess how we got on and the set the next target/ deadline for ourselves.
Obviously there is a minimum amount of willpower and effort required, which I think is two weeks, but hopefully you see my point about getting started and breaking the journey. For 6 weeks this would be 3x2 week sprints with a progress review every 2 weeks to see what is working and what needs tweaking.
Tip 2 - Plan it all out
Before embarking on an intense fitness project, make sure you have everything planned out.
- Where do I get my meat and veg from?
- How much do I need to budget?
- Should I outsource it?
- What do I need for my goals?
- What social events do I say yes or no to? What are the absolute essentials I can't miss?
- What will I say when people ask me what and why I am doing this?
- How do I get myself to bed earlier so I can get the recovery I need?
- When is the best time to train according to my daily routine?
- How will I remind myself why I started this for when times get hard?
- Who is really supportive of me doing this and how can I spend more time around them during this?
- How can I make this project as easy as possible for myself?
Tip 3 - Keep motivated by tracking your progress
It is very important to keep track of how you are getting on on an intense project. Motivation will vary and nothing helps more than having feedback throughout.
Some examples may include:
Factual- body fat %, weight, how much stronger am I getting in class?
Visual- photographic before and afters
Behavioural- habit checklist "Did I eat X amount of meals today- Yes or No" did I snack inbetween meals?
Recovery- How motivated out of 10 am I to train today- 1-10, keep a tally each day
Tips 4 - Bring friends
It has been proven time and time again, that people succeed far more frequently when involved in a group scenario. The accountability, social aspect and fun factor really come into play here. Especially when times get tough, getting fit can be a pretty lonely place. You do not see your friends as much as you used to, the vices you used to indulge in to let some steam out are gone and many people are questioning your motives constantly as it can make them feel uncomfortable.
When planning a project, try to find a friend or meet some new like minded people and make it a social event. Go to any good gym class and see how busy they are. Always the same faces, the same community. These people stay on it for years. We are social by nature so take full advantage of that when possible!