Goal: Setting yourself up to fail Part 2

SMART Goal Continued

I started the other day by going through the SMART goal frame work and the meaning behind it. In this post I will discuss the framework’s draw backs, risks and limitations.

Risks

When planning a SMART goal, it’s important to be very ‘realistic’. You should go through all the apparent risks on that part of the frameowrk. Failure to do this can cause a few holes in the logic or risks to appear. For example a car manufacturer that wants to be the market leader in cheap cars. They may set themselves a goal to produce a car that costs consumers less than £5,000. This if course looks great on paper and would be a revolutionary idea. However, cheap parts means potentially a cheap job and could risjk the compaines future business plans. The bottom line is to evaluate the risks and not be too unrealistic.

Be aware not to set up too many goals at one time, it can be great to have a whole board set up with several tasks for the New Year. What is likely to happen is that they will either confilct with one another or you will get confused by trying to keep up with everything. Have one or two core goals that you are chasing at any given time.

Accountability

The SMART goal framework works well if you are able to discipline yourslef to achieve what you need to. There isn’t, however, any accountability included. To be properly successful with this framework you must make sure you are accountable to something or someone. This can be a close relative or partner. If you aren’t fully committed to what you’re doing then there is a risk that with no strong accountability, the goal will be lost.

Reliability

The person you choose to be accountable to needs to be reliable. Reliable so that when you’re faltering below where you should be, they will step in and re-position you in the right place to continue the goals. Briefness is a must here, and they must be able to remind you of any times you fall off the wagon.

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Weight training: Overcoming adversity

I had one of those days recently, a culmination of tiredness and fatigue that just makes you feel like you don’t want to do anything. The ones where you feel lethargic and I didn’t want much food- it’s a horrible and unexplainable phenomenon that plagues most of us. We all want success in our lives- in some form. Whether it’s financial, physical or professional. The true path to success lies in being able to show to yourself that you can overcome adversity in every day life. Life is full of tough breaks and times that push resilience and make you feel like quitting.

Weight training (or any kind of tough training) is not only beneficial for the skeletal, muscular and cardiovascular systems. But it is also a chance to showcase your own ability to yourself.

Life is about repeatedly showing yourself that you have the ability and courage to overcome everyday obstacles

I use this time to do things that I don’t want to do, Squatting at maximal level for 5 repetitions is tough, and sometimes nauseating. But the result is that my mental toughness improves. When I have a bad day I know it’s just one in a line, I know that life is about repeatedly showing yourself that you have the ability to overcome obstacles. Overcoming adversity is not a cure for never having bad days. It is an additional mental weapon to fight the Dragons and demons that seek to get inside your head every day. Build mental toughness and you will be able to shout louder than the voice inside your head, telling you you’re no good, that you’re not special.

Run until your lungs burn

Punch until your vision is blurry

Push. Everyday. For greatness

What you think is what you get.

 

Can I workout at home?

The answer to this question is, Yes. You can. But there are benefits to attending a gym that cannot be always achieved through home workouts:

  1. The main benefit to a gym is that everything you need is there for you to use. The building has machines, weights, bands, medicine balls, kettlebells and more. These are all designed with a certain purpose in mind and each contribute to different aspects of the ‘Fitness continuum’.
  2. If your goal is to get strong or train for a particular event, such as triathlon, marathon etc. Then a gym may be the best place as it has all of the equipment (including a pool sometimes) that you need to achieve that goal. If you want to get strong then it is a must as unless you own your own gym, home workouts cannot supply the stimulus needed.
  3. There are like-minded people all around you, there is a generalisation that a gym is full of judgemental people, of course there are some. But for the most part a gym is full of people that all have a goal in mind, and it can be very refreshing to be surrounded by people who are closer and further away than you to the goal, whatever it may be.
  4. Personal Trainers are there to help, and most will be happy to help you with a quick question if you are not in mind to pay for their services, they can offer you with good exercises that you might not have used before, or a piece of equipment that you want to try, but don’t want to look like a fool trying.

Home workouts are picking up in popularity of late- with people choosing to use their own body weight or certain pieces of gym kit as stimulus. They have some benefits which I will list below:

  1. If you don’t enjoy a room full of sweating bodies- or crowded machines with people on their phones, then a nice workout in the comfort of your own home can be quite enticing. You can set your own intensity and have your own space. The only thing you need to have in both cases is Discipline.
  2. For older trainee’s who’s main need is just increasing a bit of strength or gaining balance then a home workout can be a good introduction to getting the body moving before you moved onto weights or swimming. It can also be a good confidence booster.
  3. If you struggle with the motivation to get up and go to the gym after a long day. Then it can be useful to try some home training. It is a good way to build habits- if you want more advice on habits then see my post How to (help) stay motivated

Whatever you choose to do, hopefully you can get moving soon, or if you already are: Keep it up!

Myth: Does Fat turn to Muscle?

The Myth

I was speaking to someone this week about their exercise habits. It occurred to me that very few people actually have knowledge of the fat to muscle relationship that regular trainees/trainers take for granted.

They said they couldn’t lift weights as they had very little fat on their body for the muscle to come from.

Let me be clear on this:

Fat and muscle are two different types of tissue.

Muscle and fat both derive from different components and their chemical make up is totally different to one another.

Muscle is mainly formed of proteins which interact with each other when a contraction takes place. Muscles are made up by millions of fibres. Which are turn controlled by a nervous stimulus.

Fat is made up of adipose tissue and doesn’t possess any nervous ability. It is a fuel source, albeit a harder one to use during exercise. Whereas muscle is not a fuel source.

If you are in a position where you want to build muscle but you have no fat, you are in a prime position. Because that means you haven’t got to worry about getting rid of excess fat and can concentrate on building the body you desire.

This is also true for the reverse. There’s no way for muscle to turn to fat. If you stop training then you may gain fat but your muscles will only atrophy which means they will get smaller.

If you find yourself in a position where you have fat and want to build muscle then again, you have no issue. Your programming will be different to the person described above. But you are still able to achieve the body you want. See my post on “EPOC training” for more information. This will give you a clear cut way of gearing you programming towards your goal!

Building from the ground up: Strength Foundation

Whether you are a seasoned trainee or you are just starting out in the gym- it’s important to know the principles that will govern results. Prinicpally what we are concerned with here is being able to add weight onto the bar. The simple way to see progress in the weight room is to see whether you can lift more than the previous session, this is how we know we’ve had an improvement in strength.

There are three categories when it comes to trainees training with weights- Novice, intermediate and advanced Trainees. Someone who  has been training for 5 years may think they are an intermediate trainee, but can still benefit from some novice techniques. Most people will fall within the novice catergory- simply because they have not followed the proper techniques and may have started to lose results in the process, also becauuse the further you up the chain the more specialised you will see. For example more intermediate trainees and definitely advanced, will be athletes and thsoe in sports teams.

A simple way to know if you are within the Novice catergory is- can you add weight onto the bar after 2/3 days of rest? If so it is not a big problem, it simply means you have somewhere to start.

For a novice program I would look at training the whole body in every session- it is the easiest way to ensure that all bases are covered, and if your goal is to get stronger or lose weight then there is no need to start doing different body parts on different days.

To get you started:

Three times a week

Monday:

Bench Press 3 sets of 5 reps

Squat 3 sets of 5 reps

Deadlift (only once a week) 1 set of 5 reps.

Wednesday: As above (no deadlift)

Friday: As above (no deadlift)

That is a very basic program for someone who would be a beginner- what this will do is set the trainee into a habit of training and introduce the body to weightlifting, after that you can play with other variables like frequency and other exercises, but the overall program should revolve around the main core lifts that the body can do. These are

Squat

Bench

Deadlift

Overhead press

(Pull) Chin up

The alst two can be itnroduced into the program once the trainee has progress pas a specific point- that being when they can manage the new movements. Further down the line the trainee can be introduced to further movements such as Olympic based movements as well accesssory movements with Dumbbells.