After years of training I have discovered that there are “5 P’s” that can pertain (not one of the four) to each person pursuing (also not one) looking to increase their fitness. The 5 P’s are: Planning, Persistence, Patience, Practice, and Progression.
When starting or continuing an exercise regime, planning is the first step to success. You must first be honest with yourself and ask, “what are my goals, what do I want to get from this program, and how am I going to accomplish those goals?” Make these goals realistic, losing 30 pounds in one month probably will not happen and will most likely not be safe. Setting unrealistic goals can deflate and derail your exercise efforts. Setting and accomplishing small goals will only motivate you to keep working towards new goals. The best way to go about this is to set short and long-term goals. It is very important to WRITE THESE GOALS DOWN and put them where you will see them often. Short-term goals should be up to 3 months. It can be anything from doing 10 push ups to losing 10 pounds to running a mile faster to eating better. From there goals, should be set in 3 month intervals. Continue to make the goals harder, and eventually you will reach your overall goal, whatever that may be.
Setting goals then leads to the next P which is persistence. If your immediate goals are not met, often times the first response is to quit exercise all together. This is when it is important to dig deep, show resolve, and work harder to accomplish those tasks. Keep plugging away and those goals will come to fruition.
Thirdly, you must show patience. Sometimes, during an exercise program, things may not go exactly as you planned at the onset of the regime. Your body does not know what you want to accomplish, and sometimes it takes longer to figure out then you may have hoped. Often times,when clients are feeling dejected when they are not seeing the results they hoped for, I ask them, “how long did it take you to get to your current state?”. Becoming overweight and out of shape did not happen overnight. On the same token getting back into shape will not happen overnight either. People ask me, “how long will this take?” My reply is everyone is different, but if you are patient and keep your goals in mind anything is possible.
Practice is also very important. Often times people fall back on their old eating habits, and poor exercise habits. These bumps in the road may happen, but if that does occur it is important to snap out of those bad habits and practice the techniques that have helped you accomplish your past goals. It may take some trial and error, but if you keep trying eventually you will find what works for you. Sometimes exercises and workouts will get harder, and you may feel embarrassed or deflated that you couldn’t complete them at first. But if you keep at it they will get easier, and you will find that once was hard is now done with ease. Again, accomplishing another goal.
Finally, and perhaps the most important aspect of accomplishing your goals, is to constantly progress your diet (caloric intake and healthier eating habits) and your workouts (making them harder by increasing weight, reps, exercises, decreased rest between exercises, and performing the same workload in less time) will keep your body guessing. The body is a complex machine and within weeks it gets used to the workload and stress placed upon it. Once your body realized how it is being used it will no longer need to work as hard to complete the prescribed tasks. This is why progression is critical. You must constantly keep the body guessing so it has to keep changing to meet the stress placed upon it. One thing I do with my clients is to give them a timed challenge or workout. In the following month we will to a multitude of different exercises, keeping the body guessing and pushing it harder. Then, a month later, we revisit the previous challenge to asses how much better and easier they complete that task. Doing this gives me tangible evidence if we are progressing or not. I can then adjust their program accordingly.
Putting these 5 P’s to work will give you a good base from which to work. If you can stick these in your mind, and know that it will take hard work on your part, accomplishing your goals will be much easier. You must make a plan and stick to it, show persistence, have the backbone to be patient, and constantly progress in your exercise regime.