3 Ways You Know Your Fitness Program is Off Track

Advice about how the best ways live and stay healthy is ubiquitous. A quick look on YouTube reveals hundreds of hours of video from sports therapists and trainers. Each one with slightly different and sometimes conflicting advice on the best exercises and forms. The advice can even appear to change as the latest fitness trends come into focus.

Bombarded with so much information, it can be very easy to get off track. You may find yourself not training consistently, losing motivation, using routines that work against each other or (worst of all) potentially using a routine that causes an injury. Below we will go through some key ways to see if your program is off track and simple ways to stop it from happening.

Are You Motivated?

The cliché is that exercise must be a chore, when the truth is exercise can be, and should be, fun. As Per Wickstrom, has shown through his research into the links between exercise and beating addiction, the right exercise can be a genuine life saver. It can help you build confidence, make new friends, counteract the effects of depression and help with other health problems. So, the simplest and most important question to ask is “How do I feel?” If the answer includes:

  • Sad
  • Uncomfortable
  • Bored
  • Frustrated
  • Not wanting to train

or a combination of any of them, then look at why you want to exercise and what you want to achieve. Find something that inspires you or try a new technique. Even running does not have to be dull if you introduce techniques like Fartlek.

What Have You Achieved?

While feelings and how motivated you are can be clear indicators of a program’s usefulness, it is essential to have some form of goal. Understand why you want to exercise and you will have a great framework to build from and great ways to measure progress over time.

For example, if you are looking to build strength, you will want to lift more weights and stick to short periods of intense cardio rather than long distance runs and cycling. For long distance running, a combination of specific weights, running 3 to 4 times a week and considering Pilates and yoga for core strength will do far more-good than hitting the bench press. Once

you have your why, this will give you your how.

Keeping a simple record of your progress is the compass that will keep your program on track. Without some reference, it can be easy to lose your way. Hitting a plateau, having a bad session or suffering from a condition such as dysmorphia can undermine your confidence. Clear evidence of progress will help you keep going.

Monitoring and measuring your goals and progress these days is remarkably easy. Modern fitness apps and devices allow you to keep an online record of distances walked in a day, your average heart rate, how many lengths you did in the pool and even how well you slept. If this sounds a little formal, start by asking yourself things like:

  • Do I feel better about myself?
  • Are the stairs at home easier to handle?
  • Can I walk for longer without a rest?
  • Do my clothes fit better?
  • Is my golf handicap improving?
  • Am I having fun?

Alternatively, you can ask a trusted friend for some honest feedback.

Does It Hurt?

Regular training, especially as part of a competitive sports team, weight training or distance running, can involve a certain amount of discomfort. However, certain types of pain can be an indicator of an injury or genuine harm being done. Sharp pain, deep in muscles and joints, can be indicators of strains and sprains.

However, not all injuries appear instantly as a sudden stabbing pain. If you are getting consistent pain in the hands when gripping, in the shins when running or in other parts of the body, these can be indicators of overuse injuries. Overuse injuries include such ailments as tennis elbow, shin splints, golfer’s knee and conditions such as tendonitis. Understandably, any form of injury is the ultimate indication that something is wrong with a routine. It cannot be stressed enough that prevention is better than cure. Many overuse or soft tissue injuries can become chronic conditions.

Things to watch out for include:

  • Not building enough rest into a program
  • Not warming up properly
  • Not stretching properly
  • Not hydrating enough
  • Sacrificing technique in a rush to results (e.g. trying to lift weights that are too heavy, or running harder and faster than you should)

Listening to your body is key. If your body is giving you warning signs, take notice. If you are getting regular joint pain, seek medical advice. Exercise with a trainer or a friend if possible, as it is often easier for someone else to spot any warning signs.

So, what can be done to help prevent things from going off track?

Staying on Track

As mentioned above, understanding why you want to exercise and setting simple goals can make all the difference. Not only when creating a program, but also maintaining it over time. One way of the best ways is to work with a qualified trainer. They will be able to tailor your program to your needs, help you monitor your progress and update your routine to make sure that it does not become boring. A good trainer will also monitor technique to maximize benefit and minimize injury risks.

If you cannot afford a trainer, then asking staff at your local gym for help is a good place to start. Alternatively, try training with a friend or a club. Most importantly, listen to your body. Improvement will happen over time with good and consistent training.

Keeping some form of record is also key. It can be as simple as a notepad and pencil or using apps like Couch to 5k or Zombie Run. Also, there are various devices from companies including Fitbit, Garmin, and TomTom. Most of this technology will link to social media, so you and your friends can support each other even if you cannot always train together. If you are using devices or apps with links to your PC or phone, especially if you are using public WiFi, remember to protect your data and keep your health information private.

Finally, have fun and enjoy your exercise, no matter what it is.

Please comment below and share your experiences. What ways were you going off track? How did you get back on the straight and narrow? We’re eager to hear your thoughts.

Diamond Grant is a fitness enthusiast, avid hiker, cyclist and marathon runner. She frequently writes fitness tips and recommendations to help lower the level of fitness misinformation available across the web.

How to Stay on Top of Fitness Goals When Lacking Motivation

Maintaining exercise goals can be a challenge that many of us are all too familiar with. One week we are crushing our workouts and the next we’re debating if we can get away with skipping that day’s session. Factors like weather, lack of time and sleep can sabotage our progress and throw our goals off track. Dr. Josh Sandell of Orthology, a world-class solution for rapid recovery from physical injuries and chronic pain, is explaining how to be strategic in staying on top of your fitness goals.

Set specific goals: Don’t rely on a plan to simply head to the gym for an hour a couple of times a week. You’re likely to lose interest and waste time figuring out what to do and how to do it. Choose a specific workout each day like kettlebell training, treadmill sprints or a Zumba class to keep your workouts fresh and specific. Do your research on the exercises you plan to do ahead of time, or ask a fitness floor staff member for help so you don’t waste time and energy. Add classes or workout plans to your schedule and mark it on your calendar. This will help you turn your vague goals into more specific and achievable tasks.

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Start out small: Out of shape individuals shouldn’t expect to be marathon ready in a few weeks of working out. Break down your goals into a series of smaller goals like increasing run time by two minutes each day to build up to larger goals. The thought of attempting larger goals in general can be daunting and often make us want to give up. The satisfaction of achieving small, more attainable goals will help keep you motivated and set to succeed in long-term goals.

Track your progress: Tracking any changes you see can be extremely rewarding when feeling like no progress has been made. Take notes and progress pictures and track your measurements like body weight and changes in strength. Reassess and record progress on a regular basis, even if your strength goals aren’t where you thought they would be, you can look at your notes and see that you’ve increased weight on strength training exercises since you started.

Allow for imperfection: Don’t abandon your goals when life gets in the way. It’s common to slip up and take a few days off here and there as life gets in the way. What is important is getting back to exercise as soon as you can to maintain your progress and keep on track of goals. This means if you are running tight on time, squeeze in a quick 20 minute high intensity training session. As long as you continue to make an effort and execute your workouts, the results will follow.

If working out was simple, physical activity would not be a global health crisis. There will be many ups and downs on the road to achieving your fitness goals. It is important to remember that fitness will help you improve the quality of your life and make way for a better, happier you.

About Dr. Josh Sandell, DC, DACBSP, CSCS, ICSSD

Dr. Sandell pioneered the multidimensional, systematic approach to treating orthopedic injuries that sets Orthology apart. The unique methodology he developed is founded on the latest scientific and technological advances in medical research, and is supported by over 5,000 research articles. It’s been proven in many of the world’s top athletes to rapidly resolve injuries, restore function, and improve athletic performance. Now, Dr. Sandell’s unique expertise is accessible to anyone.

Dr. Sandell attended undergraduate school at University of Minnesota Duluth and holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Exercise Physiology as well as Human Biology. He is a licensed Chiropractic Physician and has earned two post-graduate professional certifications in Sports Medicine (DACBSP and ICSSD). In addition, Dr. Sandell is also a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).

Achieving the Physique of an Athlete

Getting the look of your dreams may be hard but it is in no way impossible. The key of course, lies in your will and determination to make these dreams come true. However, although it can indeed be a determining factor, willpower alone is not enough. You also need to

Credit: http://theathleticbuild.com
Credit: http://theathleticbuild.com

possess a lot of knowledge on how to achieve your plans. By upholding just these few simple rules you yourself can obtain a physique you always wanted to have but never before believed possible.

Proper motivation

Changing your lifestyle is hard. Especially when you are supposed to leave behind a life of delicious food and idleness and embark on a never-ending voyage consisting of exercise and moderation. This is why you need to have a clear goal in front of you. By making this happen, you will know exactly why you do the things you do and this will help you endure. Endurance and patience are two key features that are necessary for any athletic success.

Breaking the bad habits

 The greatest misfortune here lies in the fact that all the things that are stopping your progress are so much fun. There is nothing more relaxing than lying around in sweat-pants entire day, watching TV and eating pizza. In the long-term, however, the results of this kind of lifestyle can be devastating for your organism. Because of what they do to your body many of these habits may be called an afflictions, but luckily for you most of these afflictions are curable.

Nourishing beneficial behavior

Since you can obviously get rid of your bad habits with little or no trouble, it would be only natural that you should acquire some new ones. Try to encourage any form of physical exercise, and start going to the gym. In order not to start skipping as soon as the going gets tough, try to trick yourself by going there with your friend or friends. Skipping a gym day is no big deal, but letting your friends down is something that is never easy.

Changing your eating habits

It is imperative that you fundamentally change your eating habits. Your breakfast should be the strongest meal of the day, while your dinner should only be a light snack. It is also imperative that you have your breakfast as soon as you get up, since this way you will awaken your metabolism from the earliest morning. Furthermore eating after 8pm should be strongly discouraged.

Proper supplementation

 You don’t see a professional hunter go hunting with nothing but a bow and arrow because using a rifle is an unfair advantage. The truth is, humanity has advanced in every aspect fitness included. Proper supplementation can help keep you motivated at all times. Some supplements are best when consumed before while some others like Legion Recharge can help you after the training has already ended. Seeing the results of your work sooner will also help keep your motivation on a satisfactory level.

 Changing your lifestyle is hard. Especially when you are supposed to leave behind a life of delicious food and idleness and embark on a never-ending voyage consisting of exercise and moderation. This is why you need to have a clear goal in front of you. By making this happen, you will know exactly why you do the things you do and this will help you endure. Endurance and patience are two key features that are necessary for any athletic success.

Doing exercises properly

This is perhaps the single most important piece of advice there is out there. When they first start working out, some people (especially men) are obsessed with the weights that they lift. In order to lift more and in this way progress, they risk not doing exercises properly. This way, they not only slow down their progress but also increase the risk of an injury. Getting injured while training is something that should be avoided at all costs.

Being realistic

 The fastest way to get discouraged is to start believing that you are in fact making no progress whatsoever. The greatest risk of this happening is if you are not being realistic. It is true that proportionally, you progress the most in the first few months of training but expecting some radical changes two weeks into training will bring you nothing but disappointment. We said it earlier and we will repeat it again, two most important things are endurance and patience. Without patience, there is not much that can be achieved.

By following just these few simple rules, there is no telling what can be achieved. Replace some of your old, bad habits with some new ones, start exercising regularly and you will already be well on your way towards the inevitable progress. If you find any aspect of this regime too hard to bear, try to find the way to cheat around it. Where there is a will, there is always a way.

About the Author

VsafL3XZ_400x400Mathews McGarry is passionate about many forms of strength training, and spent years lifting, dragging and flipping all manner of heavy objects. After graduating from the Faculty of Health Sciences, he started writing about his experiences, and sharing tips for better life. Follow him on Twitter.