Updated: Jan 6
There are moments in our lives when we find ourselves standing at a crossroads. We know it is time for change, to choose a different path. When I made the decision to open Total Transformation there was a reason that I chose the tagline, “Transform your body, mind, & spirit.” I believe that it is impossible to achieve health and happiness without discovering a balance between all three of these areas in our lives. When I wrote CROSSROADS: My Search for Truth Through Music and a Lot of Red Wine, I discussed many of the crossroads that I faced in my own life - physical, intellectual, and spiritual - and I published my story as a way to help others overcome their own struggles. Whether it be our health, relationships, career, or any other challenge we find ourselves up against in these hectic and crazy lives we live. It was the crossroads that I found myself standing at that inspired me to become a personal trainer, life coach, entrepreneur, and author.
In the last few podcasts and blog posts I have focused primarily on the spiritual side of health and wellness, but with the New Year almost upon us I am willing to bet I am not the only one thinking about the changes I am going to make on January 1st. As 2020 quickly approaches there is no better time to focus on our physical health.
Before you even begin to think about the changes you are going to make there are three things you must acknowledge:
1. You and you alone are responsible for your own health and happiness.
2. Your health and happiness are worthy goals, and you are deserving of them.
3. The actions that you take each and every day will determine your success.
You have taken accountability for yourself, so now it is time to begin planning. The first and most important step is to set your goals. It is impossible to achieve something when you have no idea what you want to accomplish.
I utilize the SMART goal setting method with myself as well as my clients. Your goals must be:
1. Specific - well-defined, clear, unambiguous.
2. Measurable - set with specific criteria that allow you to measure your progress toward your goal.
3. Attainable - not impossible to achieve.
4. Relevant - pertinent, applicable, and relating to your life purpose.
5. Time-Bound - set with a clearly defined timeline, including a start date and target date.
We begin by setting Product Goals (long-term). Some examples of these are:
1. I want to lose twenty pounds.
2. I want to have more energy.
3. I want to drop my body fat into a “normal” range.
4. I want to increase my strength.
5. I want to increase my endurance.
6. I want to sleep better at night.
7. I want to lower my A1C.
8. I want to improve my balance.
All of these goals can be accomplished over time. I prefer to work in eight week increments with my clients because eight weeks is an adequate amount of time in which to begin to see and feel results. At the end of the eight weeks we evaluate the progress that has been made, make any necessary modifications, and set new goals for the next eight weeks.
You must learn to be somewhat flexible with your long-term goals. If you set appropriate goals you will make progress toward achieving them, but everyone is different. We have different pre-existing health conditions, fitness levels, and challenges that we come up against in the process. The best that you can do is acknowledge that you are going to put in your best effort, but your long-term goals may need modification along the way - and that is okay.
Don’t take on too much at once, or your new program will quickly go from exciting to overwhelming and you will lose your motivation. Allow yourself time to develop new habits and ease your way into a new routine. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen. I have discovered the most success when I focus on a few that are the most important to me. When I have made significant progress I then move on to the next goals.
Once your Product Goals (long-term) are in place, then it is time to break those goals into Process Goals (short-term). These are the actions you will take every day that will help you make progress toward the long-term goals. This is the “now” part, the part that you have complete control over.
We look at the long-term goals we have established then break them down. For example if your long-term goal is to increase your muscular strength then your daily goal might be to strength train three times a week. Keep in mind this is a general guideline and we take many things into consideration when determining an individual’s goals. For example someone just beginning a fitness routine would have a slightly different goal than someone who has been consistently strength training three times a week and is looking to make muscular gains.
We establish five daily goals - these goals are not only related to your fitness routine. Again, the daily goals are tailored to what specific long-term goals you want to achieve and what specific challenges you have to overcome.
Some examples of the short-term (Process) goals that I set with my clients would be:
1. Strength train 3x per week.
2. Cardio 4x per week.
3. 80 oz. of water per day.
4. Get ready for and in bed by 10:30 PM.
5. Follow nutrition plan.
6. Journal daily.
Keep in mind these are just examples and are different for every client that I have. They are based around your overall health and well-being, bringing all the different areas of your life into balance. Your goals should be based on behaviors that you are looking to modify in order to become healthier. For example, someone who already consumes an adequate amount of water may not need water intake as a goal because the habit has already been implemented into their lives.
If you are asleep by 10 PM every night, then a bedtime shouldn’t be on your goal list, however someone who hangs up later than they should and doesn’t feel rested in the morning might find this goal beneficial to have on their list. How can you put forth effort into your workouts when you are exhausted from the time you drag yourself out of bed in the morning? Rest is essential to your well-being and if this is something you struggle with then we will ask the question, “What is it that is preventing you from feeling rested?” We will then determine possible solutions in an attempt to effectively implement this into your life.
Once your goals have been established we provide you with a tracking system that I collect once a week. Consistency is the number one indicator in a program’s success, and the primary measure that I focus on. This keeps my clients accountable. I can help them set their goals, but it is up to them to take action every day, and the knowledge that I am going to be looking at a summary of their behaviors each week helps keep them honest and accountable for their actions. The best laid out plans will fail if there is no accountability. I collect their numbers, graph them, and measure their consistency. This data becomes useful when measuring progress toward their long-term goals.
We all have challenges to overcome when implementing a new program into our busy lives, so the best way to ensure success is to identify your specific challenges and plan ahead to determine how you will overcome them.
The next step when implementing a new fitness routine is to determine the most appropriate exercise routine for you. Some of the questions we have to take into consideration:
1. How active are you coming into this program?
2. Do you have any pre-existing injuries or health concerns?
3. How much time do you have available to invest?
4. Can you do group exercise or does your schedule require home workouts?
I can recommend home programs, but I teach group fitness classes (P90X Live!) and believe group exercise provides many benefits:
1. I constantly observe and guide participants, ensuring proper form and injury prevention. 2. The support network and atmosphere in my class makes exercise more enjoyable.
3. You have guidance and direction to ensure that you are incorporating exercises that will be the most beneficial.
4. Group exercise provides added motivation - surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals can be extremely beneficial to your mindset.
5. Variety - every workout is different!
6. Last but not least - we have fun. I have cultivated many friendships in the years that I have instructed this class. My clients and class participants inspire me.
There are a few reasons that P90X Live! is the exercise program that I chose to become certified to instruct:
1. I believe it is the best total body strengthening program that I have participated in.
2. I believe the combination of strength training, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), and cardiovascular training effectively improves all of the desired components of fitness (muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and balance). 3. It can be easily modified to fit individual fitness levels.
4. My monthly membership fees to belong to an instructor network enable me to constantly receive continuing education. Our workouts contain all of the latest exercises and protocols. 5. The workout always contains four key elements - cardio, lower strength, upper strength, and core, but the exercises that we perform and the protocols that we use change from day to day. This always keeps your body guessing and you will never plateau. There are always new things to learn and new challenges to overcome.
If you would like to look at the details for the class (cost, location, time, etc.), visit the fitness classes page. If you are new to exercise and strength training particularly, then group exercise is a great way to ease yourself into it.
For a more in-depth discussion about the topics that I’ve mentioned in this blog then listen to this week’s podcast for more information - available on Apple Podcasts, Tune-In, iheartRADIO, Spotify, and more. If you are interested in working one-on-one with me, I am currently accepting clients. You can visit Lifestyle Coaching or contact me directly to learn more.
If you intend to make changes to your daily routine, then take the next week or so to formulate an implementation strategy. Developing new habits is not easy, but you won’t regret it! Remember that consistency is the number one indicator of long-term success in any program.
I wish you health and happiness in 2020. It is when you find the balance that is right for you in body, mind, and spirit that you will discover health and happiness.
"Your body is your most priceless possession. Take care of it.”
~ Jack Lalane