The Problem with Time Bound Goals

The other day I found an old notebook that I took with me to a lecture to take notes. Flicking through my old notes I discovered in the back a list of goals I was aiming to complete by the end of 2012!

The last time I had looked at that piece of paper I had only ticked off one or two on the list of goals, and it was very rewarding to see that I could now tick off another four that I had completed without even realising that I had completed them, and without even referring back to the list.

This got me thinking…

In my profession as a PT we of course put a great emphasis on goal setting – and it IS important. Specifically we put an emphasis on making sure our clients have SMART goals which means they must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound.

I would agree that goals need to be SPECIFIC and I think that this is the main problem – most people are far too vague with their goals. But these days I am reconsidering how important the time bound aspect is.

This is because, to be completely honest – a much greater percent of the time people do NOT achieve their goals within the timeframe they have chosen. Sometimes it’s because they were unrealistic about the timeframe. Sometimes it’s because life got in the way. Life is unpredictable, and goals and their importance can fluctuate over time.

The problem with this is that when people realise they haven’t achieved a goal, such as to lose a certain amount of weight by the end of six months, for example, this can be more detrimental to their health than if they hadn’t put a time frame on it. People say if there is no time frame then no one would put in enough effort which is the reason we need a timeframe. But from what I’ve seen having a time frame isn’t what motivates people or gets people to achieve their goals – what motivates them is independent of time – it is a desire to get healthier, a love and enjoyment for the exercise or a very big life change coming up (.ie. a wedding) that they can focus on. Time alone is not enough of a motivator.

Now of course we all begin with a motivator – a desire that makes us want to achieve a goal. If it’s the desire to stop other people pressuring us who want us to achieve the goal, already we are unlikely to have the level of commitment that is needed to achieve that goal. On the other hand even if the desire comes from within, many times this desire is not STRONG at the beginning of the journey. After all if it’s motivating for you to work towards your goal of losing 20kg so you can be a healthy weight, would you have put that 20kg on in the first place? Often times we do have a strong knowing and a longing to improve our health but if we become so unhealthy in the first place it’s usually because there are many other factors in our live that provide a bigger pull i.e. the satisfaction gained from eating junk food. It is often only once we start out on goal journey using at first a lot of self will and a working on self confidence that we truly discover what will and can motivate us.

When people set out to achieve a goal and do not have a strong force behind them or are in the ‘development’ stage of working on their confidence of achieving that goal, and then they see that they have not managed to achieve their goals by their predetermined time this can act as a huge blow to their existing effort. They may have been exercising regularly all the time but haven’t achieved their goal because they haven’t fixed their diet. Do you think seeing that they haven’t achieved the goal will shock them into changing their diet? Maybe. But emotional reactions aren’t usually like that. Often it will turn the other way with an attitude of ‘why am I even bothering? All this hard work for nothing!?” and so on.

Success breeds success so we should avoid highlighting failures with time bound goals. This is another reason why it’s good to make many small goals rather than one big goal.

So what do we do?

  1. Make specific goals
  2. Make a bunch of small goals (in addition to a bigger goal if you have one)– depending on how achievable they are between 3-5 o4 5-10. You don’t want to be overwhelmed with too many to work on at once.
  3. Review the list often write a reminder in your diary/phone to review the list every week, every fortnight or at the very least and the end of each month
  4. Don’t put a time limit on the goals but ask yourself every time you review the list, what am I doing (daily or weekly) to contribute towards these goals?

Number four is the most crucial step that I have found from my own experience. The reason that I completed those goals was that I never stopped working towards them, event though I forgot to review them. Luckily my job supported that, but if it didn’t that’s where the reviewing the list often would be very important.

The most important thing I have realised is not time, but that we are continuously working towards those goals for as long as they are important to us. What you can do might change, how you get there might be slower than you thought but crawl, walk, or run as long as you are moving forward you are still on the path and getting close and closer to your goals. Let each small success become more motivation, do it right at this will naturally increase, as well as the speed towards which you achieve those goals.

Advertisements

Awesome quick skipping workout!

 Skipping is one of my favourite  ways to add a cardio burst between exercises. It is great for really working the calve muscles and even the biceps and shoulders from holding the rope and making little circles as you spin the rope. To skip the most efficiently keep the feet close together, land lightly on the balls of the feet, keep the upperbody relaxed as possible, with the elbows kept close to the body. 

The skipping rope is one of the most light weight easiest pieces of equipment to carry around and can give a killer workout! Below is one I have been doing lately with my group personal training classes:

The skipping/pushup pyramid 

10 skips (turns of the rope)/ 1 pushup

20 skips/ 2 pushups

30 skips/ 3 pushups

40 skips/ 4 pushups

50 skips/ 5 pushups

60 skips / 6 pushups

70 skips / 7 pushups

80 skips / 8 pushups

90 skips/ 9 pushups

100 skips/ 10 pushups

Done! 

How long did it take you? If you get 10 min or under you are doing good.  If you want to make it a 15-20 min workout go back down the ladder or add more pushups if you have the upper body strength. 

But let me remind you that the workout above equates to: 55 pushups and 550 skips! Not bad for 10 min of work 🙂 

Leave a comment below if you try this with your time, and I would also be keen to know hr/calories burned if anyone has something that measures that. 

 

 

 

 

The Mind-Body Harmonisation of Physical Exercise or Why Exercise is like Meditation

 

Physical exercise is so much more than just attempting to look good.  It’s not something necessary for ONLY some people nor should it be about being vain. Yes’s it is about losing weight if you need to for health, sometimes it is about rehabilitation after injuries, but much much more than that working out is about discovering your INNER STRENGTH, developing COURAGE, WILL POWER, SELF DISCIPLINE and DETERMINATION.

Working out teaches you to take the time for yourself and realise your SELF WORTH, the importance, benefits and the amazing results that come from looking after yourself.

The mind that was once the enemy, at first resisting everything, saying you’re not strong enough, fit enough, that you can’t do it, with practice because a powerful ally, connecting to the body in a harmonising union that not only teaches you how to power through the tough times in your workout but likewise builds strength to get through anything life throws at you.

It is not enough to do a workout a one or two times a week or just on the weekends, we must make being active a part of our everyday lives, till it becomes so natural that we don’t even question it. In a world filled with desk jobs, and couch potatoes it is my wish that everyone could make regular exercise such a normal occurrence in their lives that they too can experience the life altering benefits of increased strength, stamina and endurance to both mind and body and live their lives as we are all meant to full of ENERGY ❤

As with all things nothing worth having comes easily. Too many people give up in the early stages saying it is just too hard. But if they just stuck with it, the results are so beautiful and it is so much more than just being physical healthy but about a different outlook on life, a different mindset.

Go for gold! Discover yourselves, amaze yourselves because each and everyone has SO much untapped potential inside them if only they are brave enough to dig deep and bring it out!

In meditation we calm our mind so we can connect with our higher selves. So to with exercise we can learn to reach for something deeper and connect with that source, find out who we really are and who we want to be.

Beach Running, Tips and a Helpful Video

Running is actually far more complicated than one would initially think. Especially if you, like me, hardly did any running for a huge period of your life after childhood and if you don’t participate in sports. Having a break from running and then getting back into it in your adult years – well simply mastering the correct technique for the most efficient movement and speed, and the least wear and tear on the joints can take some practice no wonder there are specialists you can go to just to analyse your running style.

I only started getting into running last year, and at first it was so hard to run outside for even three minutes straight. I used NHS’s free Couch to 5k running podcast program to help me go from 3 min to 20 minutes running straight in a relatively short time and I highly recommend downloading the podcasts if you are new or just getting back into running. http://www.nhs.uk/LiveWell/c25k/Pages/couch-to-5k.aspx

Running it appeals to me for the convenience, no equipment necessary, just put on a good sports bra if you’re a girl, and some supportive sports shoes and out the door you go. It can bring a sense of freedom and a feeling of naturalness few other exercises can replicate.

Beach running is truly one step (if not more) about running on the street. The numerous benefits include:

–        The gorgeous landscape and feeling of freedom being near the ocean

–        Much less impact on the joints thanks to the absorption effects of the sand

–        Not having to worry about being run over by cars

–        Strengthens the foot muscles and works into the calves more

–        Running without shoes is slightly different from running with shoes and many people would argue is more natural and healthy

If you are new to beach running, take it slowly. Even if you go for runs regularly on the treadmill or the pavements, running with shoes trains you to run in a certain style, and running bear feet will always be a new challenge and work slightly different muscles, so don’t rush into it. I recommend no more than 1-2 times per week for the first month at least. Don’t confuse cardiovascular fitness with readiness for going harder faster – especially when it comes to running we have to remember that our cardiovascular fitness can often develop faster than our tendons, ligaments and muscles can adjust. I should know because I made the mistake of ignoring this advice and paid for it when my knees began hurting and took days to recover 😦 (I backed right off, slowed down, and now am fine. Don’t push through that kind of pain.)

The first time I went for a run on the beach was using a walking/running interval program (the podcasts) for 20 minutes. My Achilles tendon and knees ached a lot the next day and I suspect I was running slightly different from how I do on the pavement and with less support from shoes my feet move differently as well. When you run barefoot and on the sand you have to put more of an emphasis on landing on the ball of your foot, and on floating over the tops of the sand rather than sinking in.

My knees hurt the second week as well, though I recovered quickly (I know just the thing I am trying to avoid by sand running!) But I found this video on youtube and since practising it haven’t had any more pain. It has a  series of easy exercises to strengthen your feet and associated leg muscles important for running without shoes and I think that really helped! I recommend when you are getting into this kind of running to give this video a go:

I am really enjoying my weekly beach runs now and would go more often if I could. They are a real treat and give a feeling of connecting with nature, releasing all the stress and tension of the week, forgetting everything and just getting lost in the feeling of the ocean, the sand, the sunset and your feet connected to the ground as they were meant to be – with nothing in between!

Doesn’t that photo just make you want to find the nearest beach and go running along it now? I think I have become a bit addicted to the feeling because I look forward to it all week, and even feel feelings of sadness when i look at those photos and am trapped inside and away from the beach.

Fartlek!

I love using the treadmill to improve my running skills when its too hot or rainy outside, and an easy warm up/cool down before other exercise. But when working on cardiovascular training I do find it painful to force myself to stay on that treadmill and not get off out of boredom. The movement of walking, jogging and running comes so naturally that its easy to lose focus and instead focus on how tiring/painful it is! At least when you are running out doors there is more to look at.

I often run intervals on the treadmill to work on developing speed and being able to endure going faster for longer, but I tend to wear myself out too fast to keep going for a full 20-30 min.

I tried out a Fartlek system today and found that having a set pattern to follow really helped me. I stayed on the treadmill for 35 min (including a short warm up and cool down).

Farlek I have been told means “speed play” and really is just about randomly adding intervals of faster speeds. I followed this pattern I got from a magazine:

2 – 3 – 4 – 3 – 2 

After a warm up run for two minutes, jog/walk for two minutes, run for three minutes, jog/walk for three minutes, run for four minutes, jog/walk for four minutes and then back down followed by a cool down.

It’s very effective, boy do those 4 minutes run go on forever, but luckily the four minute jog/walk is pleanty to recover for the second round.

 

 

 Haha I know this picture definitely applies to some people!  Although the majority of the time I’m at the gym the people next to me are just walking on the treadmill not running so there’s isn’t any point in even pretending its a race. :p

I have nothing against people speed walking on the treadmill, especially if using the incline. But please don’t waste your gym session holding on to the handles that’s cheating!

Les Mills Body Attack Review and Ramblings about first-time fitness experiences

I love trying out new types of workouts and fitness equipment – but I am much more enthusiastic at home and much more reluctant in public. I have to give myself a real push to try out things the first time, especially if I do not know exactly what to expect.

Even though I am a fitness enthusiastic, doing some kind of exercise almost every day and sometimes doing 2-3 hours per day, I still have a real fear of trying out a class for the first time and simply not being able to keep up, huffing and puffing like a lunatic and having to take a million breaks while everyone else is soldering on. This has never happened to me in a class before though at home some dvd workouts I’ve attempted I couldn’t get through them all on the first try – and I hated that feeling…in public it would be a lot worse!!

But you shouldn’t let things like that hold you back. I have tried out many new things in my fitness adventures and the majority of the time they are much less intimidating than I expected, and a lot of fun. A few times they have turned out to be worse than I imagined, but I say to myself, I will give it another go at least a few more times and sure enough I learn to adjust and appreciate all the new ways to work my body!

Back to Les Mills Body Attack. This class is a high energy, high intensity cardio interval program. It has things like jump lunges/split lunges, squat jacks, high knees, running around everywhere possible, and basically not stopping for even a second during the track. I have tried almost every other Les Mills Program available because I love mixing it up, but I had put off Body Attack for so long because of its reputation as being the hardest. Their website says its not for the faint of heart and I mean just look at this:

Anyway today I finally got around to doing it. At Fitness First it is currently the workout of the month allowing you to bring a friend along for free which I did, so I had no excuses!

And….?

I loved it, it was so much fun!!

I didn’t really have anything to be worried about, there were plenty of low-intensity options that I could have slowed down to and easily gotten through with even if my fitness level was much lower. But I kept it high intensity the entire way through and wow, I felt so energetic! What an endorphin rush! The music, the atmosphere and the moves kept my mind occupied enough that I didn’t even feel any pain.

Actually the intensity was nowhere near as high as I expected, I didn’t really get out of breath or feel my heart beating too hard, I know I was definitely doing something right because of the amazing energy surge and endorphin rush I felt. It could also be that I was familiar with many of these types of moves from doing Jillian Michaels cardio workouts at home – she loves things like squat jumps and lunges and high knees!

I think the hardest thing was really getting my co-ordination right with all the arm and leg movements. Some of the leg movements you had to be quite agile this kind of co-ordination and fast feet does not come naturally to me, but it’s always good to practice your weak points when it comes to fitness and the instructor did assure us that no one gets it right or picks it up straight away so not to worry!

Actually I found Les Mills Body Step to be more of a challenge, because you are constantly on the step with very little rest whereas there were 2 tracks in the Body Attack where you are on the floor doing muscle conditioning like arms and abs.

Never the less I could tell it was a tough workout though because afterwards my legs were wobbly and it was a lot of fun, definitely I will do it again and more people should give it a go!

Tomorrow I am going to finally try a spin class…I’ve been avoiding the bike for too long also…personally I find it the hardest to set up comfortably of all the cardio machines.

What’s your favourite Les Mills Class?

Ultra Fitness Challenge

How fit are you? Here’s another test I am going to have to try out and will be blogging my results soon! For now I’m putting it here for safekeeping!

This one is taken from Ultra Fitness Magazine Feb/March 2013.

Why do it?

According to Jenny Stamos Kovacs  “A body that can meet all five challenges with ease could someday have the strength and power to save your life – or at least, help you out of a tight situation.” That is certainly motivation for me.

1. THE CHIN UP CHALLENGE 

  WHY? 

A chin up is considered one of the most valuable measure of upper-body strength and muscular endurance. (A pull up is with the palms facing away from you instead of towards you and is considered by many to be even more difficult). You will find that so many people, men in particular obsess over their ability to push weight and focus on how much they can bench press etc, but they can’t match this ability on the chin-up bar (or with push-ups either sometimes .

HOW

Hands shoulder width apart, palms facing you. Bring yourself up until your chin clears the bar and make sure at the end of each rep that your elbows are fully extended. If you stay in this end position for more than three seconds without moving your body upwards you must end the test. Excessive swinging of the hips will also disqualify you.

SCORE

Out of shape: no reps

Average: Three to six reps

Fit: seven to 10 reps

Ultrafit: More than 10 reps

2. Push-Ups 

WHY

Excellent test for muscle endurance and a very functional exercise that mimics moves in everyday life.

SCORE

Out of shape: less than 20 reps

Average: 20 to 34 reps

Fit: 35 to 49 reps

Ultrafit: more than 49 reps

3. The Vertical Jump 

WHY

The vertical jump is a true test of short-term explosive power, showing how much power you have packed into the muscles of your lower body. Of particular interest this test can also be used to determine if your training is progressing or if you should be resting your muscles for longer in-between workouts. It is recommended that before a workout you measure your vertical-=jump test status and if it id down by fiver percent from your best jump, take some extra time to recover.

HOW

Stand against a wall on a flat surface. Reach up as high as you can marking this point with some chalk (“Standing reach”). Dip down quickly until your thighs are roughly parallel to the ground (don’t pause in this position or it cuts down the power) and then explode up as high as you can, marking your highest point. You get three chances. Measure the space between your standing reach and your highest mark.

SCORE

Out of shape: less than 400mm

Average: 400mm to 500mm

Fit: 501 mm to 700mm

Ultrafit: more than 700mm

4. Single-Leg Squat

WHY

Apart from measuring lower body strength this exercise measures balance and control as well as testing if both legs are equally strong.

HOW

Male sure you go down so your butt is in line with the bench. (Weights not needed).

SCORE

Out of Shape: Less than two reps

Average: Two to five reps

Fit: Six to 10 reps

Ultrafit: More than 10 reps

5. The one-mile challenge 

Brendan Brazier Vegan Athlete

WHY

This challenge measures your endurance and your body’s ability   to generate energy using oxygen. Aerobic endurance can be seen as the foundation for all other aspects of fitness.

HOW

Go to a track/path you know to be one mile (1.6 km) set your timer and take off.

SCORE

Out of shape: 10 minutes

Average: less than eight minutes

Fit: Less than seven minutes

Ultrafit: Less than six minutes

Go on and give it a go for yourself! and don’t be afraid to let me know how you did?

Fitness Polls

Please select two answers, first the specific body area, and second, either upper or lower body.

 

Another poll yes, a bit simplistic, but fun 🙂