2017 is about to wrap up and it’s flown by. It probably seems to fly by quicker towards the tail end of the year because everyone has their sights on the holiday season, almost wishing the time away. But it’s also a good time for reflection. Like have you accomplished those resolutions you set 12 months ago?
Big up if you have! Achieving goals don’t happen without some effort and discipline. Was it rewarding accomplishing those goals, though? Or perhaps you didn’t meet your resolutions. You could have smart goals and well laid out plans to achieve them, but you may still end up indifferent or not having accomplished them at all. And that could be down to knowing your why.
Because you want to get stronger, put 10kg on your deadllift, get your first pull-up, rehabilitate an injury, look better naked, or out-run your grandchildren. Everyone’s why’s are different, but knowing your reasons has the same effect. Your why’s–the reasons for doing something–guide your actions and influence your feelings.
Why we program and coach the way we do at CFJ is based on several why’s, but there’s one big why governing all of that. Lifelong health and fitness. That means more people with a better quality of life, throughout life. It means more people living an active life for as long as possible. It means people who are more capable, in general.
So as much as we love seeing a full PB Board and a busy PB Bell, we’re okay if you don’t get that PB. You aren’t always going to PB everything all the time. You still had a good workout. You’re doing more than sitting on the couch which is more than just about the rest of the population. And you’re fitter and healthier than when you started with us. You are also (hopefully) making better decisions around your food and recovery. That’s what matters.
What matters to you, though? What is behind your decision to come to the gym? Let us know in the comments section below.
New Year’s resolutions inevitably include some goals around food, and most often, they are short-term goals. Like “dieting” for six weeks to get rid of the holiday fat gained (how do people put on 8 kgs in two weeks??), or a 30-day detox to “boost the metabolism.” If you did end up that far off the rails, then you most certainly have some changes to make because if you don’t, you’ll be in a far worse condition next January! But crash diets and detoxes aren’t the solution. Correction, they aren’t A solution.
Detoxes and diets are what today’s lazy society gets suckered into doing to “rid their bodies of toxins” and “fast track their health.” A silver bullet, sensible nutrition and training aren’t sufficient to make and keep us healthy. You therefore need a special mix of herbs and supplements, a diet of liquidised fruit and vegetables, or concoctions that flush the liver. Just for around 30 days, though.
Let me first state that the concept of needing to remove toxins and clean up the diet is real. But our bodies are well equipped with highly efficient and natural methods to remove toxic substances. Yes, you need sensible nutrition to support those processes. And detoxes and cleanses are anything but sensible.
The liver and kidneys are your innate detox units. The liver prevents pathogens from entering the blood stream and has a nifty way of removing insoluble toxins via the kidney. The kidneys filter out acids, remove urea and other waste, and control water and electrolyte balances. We have lungs to get rid of carbon-dioxide. These are just some of the well equipped systems the human body has to detox and cleanse.
The most obvious way then to keep the body clean is to support the functions of its vital organs. We do that largely by eating foods that contain supportive elements and by avoiding foods that contain harmful elements. Eat a variety of animal proteins from reputable sources. Avoid polyunsaturated fats and hydrogenated oils – manmade fats and oils. Avoid refined sugars and processed foods. Don’t binge on alcohol. Eat lots of vegetables, some fruit, nuts and seeds, and little starch. Drink (water) to thirst and eat when hungry. Do all of this at least 80% of the time.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Detox advocates will generally argue about all the environmental toxins in the air, water we drink and surfaces we’re in contact with. But the reality is that the ‘food’ being consumed poses the biggest threat.
There is no concrete evidence to support the efficacy of detox and cleanse programs. And even if they do work, they aren’t designed to be sustainable and therefore whatever results they might effect are not permanent. It’s like flushing and replacing your vehicle’s oil every month – unless you replace the filter every time you do so, you aren’t taking care of the root cause of dirt build up.
This is very much why diets don’t work either. Unless the changes you’re going to implement are manageable for at least 80% of the time in the long term, that is, forever, you’re going to become a yo-yo. ‘Diet’ for six weeks, off the rails for three months, diet for six weeks………
I also believe that people use diets as an excuse for when they’re out of shape. “I haven’t been dieting, that’s why I’ve picked up body fat.” No, young grasshopper, you’ve picked up fat and your performance sucks because you were dieting.
It’s pretty simple, in my opinion. Eliminate items that mess up your bodily processes (man made stuff), eat nutritious whole foods at least 80% of the time (eat whatever satisfies your soul the rest of the time), sprinkle with regular training, sufficient sleep, and add lots of sun. Instil healthy lifestyle habits. Do things that you can maintain forever.
This article is a repost from January 2016. There’ll be alot of reposts this year because the Knowledge Blog is stacked with good articles that, well, I don’t want to write again! They’re good reminders for older members and fresh information for all the newer members. So if you’re reading an article this year that sounds familiar, it is.
During our break, as you do, I often got asked the common “What are your resolutions for the new year?” question. I’m personally not one for new year’s resolutions because I don’t believe that you should wait for a particular time of year to set goals. Goal setting, attaining and re-setting should be an ongoing process. And I also feel that we should always be striving to be just a little better than yesterday, not just at the turn of the year. Especially if come February those resolutions are forgotten, and that’s often the case with New Year resolutions.
But, there is a lot of energy around this time of year and if all those around you are fired up to make some positive change then it may well be a good time for you to get working on some new goals. I’m certainly excited for the year ahead and fired up to keep giving our members the best fitness service around!
Whether or not you’re into new year’s resolutions, here are some tips and reminders to get you setting and sticking to goals.
- Set short, tangible goals. Tangible means attainable, realistic. These should often include behavioural goals over performance-based goals. “I intend to train on four days a week for the first month of the year,” instead of “I want to increase my back squat by 10kg by the first test week.” The latter goal is NOT tangible, either.
- Commit to a challenge. The Open, a local competition, an obstacle race, sports tournament. That sort of commitment drives a subconscious consistency in your nutrition and training.
- Pick just one weakness to work on at a time. Yes I know, there is SO much to work on ALL of the time. But STICK TO THE PROGRAM and you’ll get there. And now we have the UpSkill program to give you tailored guidance on anything YOU want to work on.
- Work on your strengths too. It’s easy to get caught up in what you’re unable to do, so don’t forget to keep working on your strengths too.
- Surround yourself with like-minded people. They don’t have to be CrossFitters, but they need to be the sort who don’t belittle your goals. I can think of a few hundred people between two facilities who fit that role. Try to train at different times, work with people fitter than you, publicise your goals so those people can hold you accountable too.
- Get to know more people.
- Enjoy the process. Attaining goals is important, but if you don’t, review, learn and re-set. The journey is what matters!
On behalf of the CFJ teams, I hope that 2017 is a fruitful one for you all!
Setting a goal is simply thinking about what you want. When you know exactly what you want your actions are focused, and your time and resources are more organised. There’s a method to goal setting, though, that drives better results.
The SMART mnemonic for goal setting is a bit cliché, but it works so that’s what we use in combination with a visualisation task for goal setting and attainment. Before we get there it’s important to start with your “big picture.” Your big picture is what you want overall, what you’re looking to achieve in the long-term – it’s a lifelong approach. All your current goals have you consistently working on and towards your big picture.
For example, one of CFJ’s overarching goals is to develop health and fitness through life for all members. We offer a variety of services to achieve that goal. But there’s a process to setting up those services in order to achieve the overarching goal. It’s the SMART goals process.
There needs to be a number for it to be specific and objective. “I want to lose weight” is NOT specific. “I want to lose 2kg of body fat” IS specific. “I want to get fitter” is NOT specific. “I want to improve my baseline fitness test by 30 seconds” IS specific. You have to be honest with yourself, and you must be ready to commit.
Unless your goal is specific (is number-based), you won’t be able to evaluate the actions you’re using to achieve the goal and you won’t be able to measure how close or far away you are from that goal.
This is where realistic short-term goal setting becomes important. Set goals that you know are doable fortnightly, monthly or within three months. If you set exorbitant goals you end up in a demotivation loop where you set a huge goal, don’t meet it and become demotivated. Ask for guidance if you’re not sure what numbers are realistic for changing body composition and fitness.
The goal/s need to be relevant to your big picture. For example, if your goal is to develop general physical preparedness through life (broad and inclusive fitness), is two CrossFit sessions a day relevant? If your goal is to tone up (increase muscle mass and drop body fat), is doing lots of “cardio” relevant? See the big picture and understand the little pieces that fit together to make it.
All goals need to have a timeline. Long enough to allow for the goals to be attainable, but short enough to keep you motivated. Set a deadline and when you get there, evaluate progress and the actions you took to get there before resetting the goal. If you didn’t get there, consider a change in tactic. That’s why the goal needs to be specific and measurable 😉
Once you’ve got goals set out using these guidelines, perform a short visualisation and feeling task. Take a moment to think about the emotions you’d feel when you accomplish a particular goal, and attach that feeling to the goal. Have it written down next to the goal as a reminder. For example, “If I lose 2kg of body fat I will feel proud of my body.” Attaching an emotion like that to a goal is a powerful motivator. Every time you stray or lose motivation, remind yourself about how you’ll feel when you accomplish the goal. It will keep you going!
Making your goals public is a big help too. If your friends, family or training mates know what your goals are, they keep you honest and accountable.
Setting goals give you long-term vision while keeping you constantly motivated. Goals provide focus for the effort you’re applying, and the sense of accomplishment upon attaining those goals establishes a healthy feedback loop that further drives motivation. But the goals you set must be smart, and the actions you implement to achieve them must be relevant.
I’ll delve into setting smart goals in another post. Today, I’d like to talk about actions that are relevant to the goals you set. While this information is directed to health and fitness, I think applies to other areas in life too.
In fitness, especially, the actions people implement in lieu of the goals they have set are often misdirected. It probably has a bit to do with all of the confounding information out there along with a perception of what seems to be working for others. So, a reality check: Unless you have the relevant experience and education in health and fitness, you’re probably working towards your goals ineffectively.
There are a couple of classic examples.
“I want to tone up (lean out).”
Spends lots more time doing slow, long distance efforts (“cardio” / sweat fests / endurance-based). Tries to burn more calories than consumed based on some sort of calorie counting method, and cuts dietary fat consumption to reduce caloric intake. Also wants to avoid putting on any muscle.
“I want to get stronger.”
Adds in more “strength training,” typically in the form of a squat program. Uses the prescribed loads (or more) in metcons to “go heavier” at the sacrifice of intensity. Doesn’t want to sacrifice other aspects of fitness so is sure to throw in conditioning work after the “strength training.”
There’s another strong trend that is evident in people with misdirected actions for their goals – they typically have short-term views and are therefore looking for quick fixes. They throw all eggs into a basket to chase a short-term goal, go bust for a while thereafter (and not having really accomplished the goal), before booming again on another target, and then bust again. Boom-bust, all-or-nothing – they’re the same traits!
Ineffective, and often counter-intuitive. But if you’re going it alone, then that is expected. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone!
All new members now start with goal setting, at their very first meeting with us. Goal achievements, goal resetting and consistency in working towards goals is then tracked by our Client Services Managers, coach Zuleikha at HQ and Carl at EAST. And if you’ve been a member since before these systems were introduced, you just need to get in touch to get that support. But seek out the guidance and support of a coach, because unless you have the relevant experience and education in health and fitness, you’re probably working towards your goals ineffectively.
Goal setting under guidance tends to be more realistic, but it’s good to understand the goal setting process so I’ll cover that in the next post.