Starting Your Fitness Journey
People often think fitness is the physical aspect, however it is mainly psychological. Everyone knows fitness is important. You know healthy eating is important, however changing your identity is not something everyone knows. We will discuss the mental side to changing behaviour, then get into a brief portion regarding the actual modalities.
What You Must Ask Yourself
- Whats my goal?
(Google SMART goals)
- How will I do it?
Make KPI. Key performance Indicators. If a salesperson needs to sell 300 cars a year to make their financial goal possible, they won’t sell 300 in a day. They will sell 1 a day or at least 5 a week.
So if someone has a goal to increase strength and cardiovascular health in 2 months… Sadly they will not fulfill that goal by performing 21 hours of exercise in a day. They must spread those 21 hours over the course of a month. That is their daily KPI.
- Why do I want that goal?
When you think you have found your why, ask again why you want that why. Continue this. Some might think they are deep after realizing they want to be healthy enough to travel or hang with grandkids. That is still too superficial. How would those things make you feel. Why do you want to feel such things?
This is an intrinsic motivator. Something you want to do for yourself, pleasure or fun.
Without a goal, you may find yourself lost.
Many people have a bias towards fitness. They belief a workout only counts “if”.
A lot of people’s definitions of fitness are “it has to burn”, “i have to sweat”, “i have to suffer” etc. I am here today to tell you this is simply information you have heard through the media and friends your whole life and it is a fallacy.
I want you to find anything that requires energy expenditure that you feel you enjoy. Could be nature walks, could be playing basketball in the driveway with your kids. Could be the dog park, a round of golf, literally anything that brings you joy!
Redefine fitness folks.
Identity & Tips
Reaching goals lasts a long time. Will power, aka motivation does not. Guess what does? However one thing does last a long time. A habit. Habits trump motivation. Do you use motivation to brush your teeth? No! You just do it without thinking. This is because you identify as a tooth brusher. If you forget one time, you get right back on track.
Let’s change your identity to being fit. And don’t discount yourself by saying “I am trying to be fit, or I am becoming fit”. When you are exercising, you are doing what a fit person does, therefore you are a fit person. The only reason you are saying such things is because of comparison. Never compare to others, only to yourself.
How does one create a habit? Intrinsic motivation. Something that is pleasurable, for yourself and(or) fun. Use this as fuel until you create a habit.
- Find an accountability buddy. They don’t have to exercise with ya, they can even just talk with you about goals.
- Here are some ways to increase self efficacy. Reflect on your accomplishments, vicariously experience through others by watching some videos of the fitness modality you think you enjoy. Use verbal or social persuasion by someone. Again this could be a video, a friend, family or coach. Change your psychological state by increasing knowledge on the subject. My spiel today is changing your psychological state regarding fitness. Those are all methods of increasing self efficacy: Past experience/accomplishments, vicarious experience, verbal/social persuasion, psychological states.
- Transtheoretical Model: Stages to fitness from precontemplation phase all the way to maintenance phase. Survey done and folks listed more cons about fitness when they were in early stages, listed more pros about fitness in the later stages of the transtheoretical model. This is a reminder that the first step is the hardest step. Momentum is everything. To get through the first few stages using the identity change process earlier.
- Social Cognitive Theory: Change outcomes via your knowledge, self efficacy and environment. To explain further, your expected outcomes are affected by your behaviour. Makes sense right. Your behaviour is affected by your environment. Environment is your social support or lack there of, and barriers in your community/social circle. Your behaviours are also affected by personal factors. Factors that have to do with yourself. Knowledge, goals and self efficacy to name the major ones.
- Self determination theory: If you want to feel determined according to the experts, apply competence, relatedness, and autonomy. Where do we find these things? From our environment and relationships. Once we have those three things a ripple effect occurs that could make you an exerciser until your last day. For once we gain competence, relatedness and autonomy, towards fitness we are typically more engaged in fitness. That ripples down to increased performance, persistence, and creativity. When those go up, a person has fun and gains pleasure. That sounds exactly like intrinsic motivation, which you know by now, that is the way you do this forever.
- Lateral thinking: Performance, health and aesthetic goals all have to do with one another. Focus on a different goal than that in which you are fixated on.
Setting A Baseline & Progressive Overload
Now that you can work on the mindset part, we can discuss the physical exercise part.
As I mentioned before, this part will be very short because the mindset is absolutely everything for making fitness a lifestyle. It is a prerequisite, the actual exercising part is easy once you are motivated.
How many days/week should you workout? More than you currently do. This can be empowering because if you currently exercise 0 days, all you need to do for the first month is 1 day a week. Starting out with a huge volume of exercise doesn’t magically increase gains. It actually causes people to hate exercise. If volume dedicated success, the high school teens going from 0-max lifts, would be looking like bodybuilders. Literature suggests that people see muscle mass changes in 4–6 weeks. It doesnt happen overnight.
You want to elicit the most amount of progress with the least amount of work.
Now, after roughly a month, you must change one of these five variables: Load, reps, sets, rest, tempo of the rep. That is what we call progressive overload, it is the key to a long list of health benefits.
That is everything you will need to ensure starting/resuming your journey.
There are other tips and tricks that will help with management and efficiency towards your goals once you have established a habit. Please reach out to me for a call or message and I would be happy to help.
See what I do on IG and FB at Zev Sport Performance.