Activ8 Advice: Planning Ahead & Your Mentality Matters
By PCYC Lang Park Gym+Fitness Trainer, Deborah Meade
When you get tired in a race situation you need to find something from within to push past the pain barrier and keep you moving towards the finish line. Having the right mindset and staying mentally strong is just as important as being physically strong. Reflection, preparation and celebration of small wins can be effective tools in helping you tackle your larger long-term health and fitness goals.
Plan your workouts & meals ahead of time
The importance of planning and scheduling should not be under-estimated. Spending some time on the weekend to set yourself up for the week ahead can be beneficial and get your week off to a positive start. Get your food sorted for the week by grocery shopping, prepping and portioning food. Schedule your exercise for specific times/days and check it off your list or calendar each time you complete it. Have a back-up workout that can be done anywhere with minimal equipment in situations where you are unable to make it to the gym, or organise a workout buddy for support on days when you need a little extra encouragement.
Don’t fall into the all-or-nothing mentality
If for some reason you miss a workout during the challenge, or if you have a bad day sticking to your nutrition plan, or a night out where too many drinks are consumed or you feel like you haven’t performed to your potential, don’t just abandon the program altogether. Each day is a new day with the opportunity to start afresh and get back on track. Remember, it’s about long-term consistency, not perfection. Take it one day at a time and don’t stress if you slip up when you hit those stumbling blocks, just dust yourself off and try again.
Your motivation was probably at an all-time high at the beginning of the challenge, but now you’ve reached the halfway point, that motivation may be starting to wane. There will always be hurdles along the way that may make you feel as if you want to give up or leave you feeling frustrated that you aren’t reaching your destination as quickly as you would like. The scales won’t always show you the number you want to see, you may feel as though your workouts haven’t been great and that your performance is going downhill. Hormones, sleep, stress, and other external factors such as work and family can all play a part in how you’re feeling and how your body is responding. Everyone falls off the wagon from time to time, but with four weeks of the challenge remaining, jumping back on is essential to reach your long-term goals.
Reflect on your goals, make adjustments & set new ones
For effective self-reflection, be honest and critical of your current habits to identify strengths, and areas you would like to improve on to create more meaningful goals. Break the bigger goals into smaller reasonable, achievable goals and when you check those off, make some more. By breaking your goals down into short-term goals it not only seems less daunting, but you make long term success more likely and also open up more opportunities to reward yourself when you reach those milestones. Reward based training is a great way to keep you on track to reach your target. Apps such as Strava, Couch to 5K, and My Fitness Pal can help keep you accountable, record your progress and give you encouragement along the way.
Be organised and establish an action plan that will set your body up to perform at its’ best. Celebrate your wins that got you to the point you are at now, and grow from the failures you experienced as well. You made a commitment to sign up to the Challenge for a reason; so don’t give up when you have already made so much progress!