Whenever your goal is to get fit and lose weight, you’re making a plan – even if you’re not planning. Some people have a goal, yet don’t make arrangements or gather ideas for how to reach that goal.
They simply want it to happen. They might even make a commitment to be better, but that type of thinking is a form of self sabotage, because intentions aren’t plans, and you need to be aware of doable tasks that help you cross the finish line.
Lack of planning is setting yourself up for failure. You’re almost giving up on yourself before you ever get started, because you know deep in your gut, that you’ll be quitting in the not so distant future.
Maybe this is why you don’t make plans. Why go to the effort if your true, underlying intention is to start this journey for appearance’s sake only? If you truly wanted to succeed, you’d be actively working toward that goal.
If you’re serious about losing weight and getting fit, then spend some time in the planning phase. You’ll want to make plans for your nutrition as well as your exercise routines.
You might want to start off small, such as making plans to improve your diet habits little by little. Have a milestone for when you want to be eating a certain way, and celebrate those milestones that you reach.
Do the same with your exercise. Maybe the goal at first is to be able to walk 5 miles. So you start off by having a plan to see how many miles you can currently walk. Then plan how much you’ll increase your walk each week or month until you reach your goal.
Meal prep planning is a great way to reach the numbers on the scale that you want to see, or the clothing sizes. You plan out meals one day a week and cook them one day, then eat those meals all week so that it takes the pressure off of you.
Do everyday planning, too. For example – with the weather – if your plans include an outdoor walk every day, watch the news to see what the forecast is for the coming week. If rain is expected, have a plan for an indoor walk at the mall, at the gym, or on a treadmill at home.
Don’t wait until the last minute to come up with ideas and plans. In today’s world, we’re often in such a hurry or so stressed, that it’s sometimes easier to break the commitment than it is to follow through thanks to a little bit of planning along the way.
Working out is something that many of us feel we should do more of – whether that means jogging, lifting weights or training for some kind of sporting event. The hope is that by training, we’ll be able to build more muscle and burn more fat, which in turn will give us the physique that we’re looking for.
Thus we go about creating these elaborate training programs, filled with multiple workouts throughout the week. We combine this with some kind of diet that involves eating a very small number of calories and we generally just force ourselves to live in discomfort for days and months to reach our goals.
Except come day two, we will often already have abandoned that goal. Why? Because it’s just too intense to stick at and we were too ambitious.
If you’re already tired and you’re inactive most evenings as a result, how do you intend to add 5 hours of training to your current routine? And how do you intend to do all that while also factoring in 30 minutes of travel, washing and cool down after each session?
Or when taking into account a calorie deficit giving you less energy than you would normally have?
The first problem with this type of training and thus the first thing you need to fix, is your ambition. It’s great to be realistic of course – but not at the extent of being realistic. There’s only so much you can expect your body to accomplish in a given week and your energy (not just your time) is finite. Instead of starting with five one hour workouts, who about starting with three half hour ones? And find other ways to make it easier too; such as training from home.
Focus on the Vision
What’s also important is that you focus on the vision and you focus on ‘dream’. Why is it that you want to work out? What are you hoping to achieve? What would it feel like to have that body you’ve always wanted? To feel confident and energetic?
It’s too easy to miss that connection between our dream and the steps we have to take to get there. So to make sure that you’re driven in the right direction, really focus on that dream and what it can deliver you.
Really imagine what it will feel like to accomplish your goals and use this to drive you!
When it comes to getting more done and being more productive, mindset is absolutely key.
We need to be able to focus on our goals and stay motivated enough to take the steps necessary to accomplish them and that’s the only chance we have of completing challenges and getting to where we want to be.
But in order to do this, we often have to fight our impulses and our instincts. That means we have to force ourselves to get up and to work, even when we’re feeling tired and just want to go to bed. It means that we have to motivate ourselves to focus on a long, hard day’s work even when we’re tempted to go home early and watch the next episode of Game of Thrones.
This is what many of us think of as mental discipline: the ability to force ourselves to do that which we don’t want to do. To take our ‘medicine’ as it were and thereby keep progressing forward.
But it might not actually be the best method. Because as it happens, being at constant war with yourself is not conducive to great productivity!
So instead of doing that, how about working with your gut instead?
Understanding Your Energy Flow
A lot of us pay too much attention to time management. We act under the assumption that if we have time to do something, then we can do it.
In reality though, our ability to complete work is much more related to our energy. If you don’t have the energy necessary to focus or to work, then you won’t be able to do it or your work won’t be as good.
And as it happens, our energy levels come on in waves and are largely out of our control.
For example, first thing in the morning many of us struggle with something called ‘sleep inertia’. This means our brains are still groggy from the night’s sleep and we aren’t as productive.
Likewise, we tend to be less efficient right after lunch or dinner. That’s because an influx of carbohydrates gets broken down to tryptophan and that tryptophan is then converted into serotonin. In turn, the serotonin is converted to melatonin, making us sleepy!
We’re all likely to be tireder during 4pm too and of course some days are worse than others depending on what we did the day before.
So instead of forcing yourself to change to meet your schedule, how about switching up your schedule so that you’re doing the most important work when you’re the most awake?
What is your fitness philosophy?
In other words: why do you train and exercise? What is it that you hope to achieve by being physically active?
Many of us train because we want to look better. Some of us train because we want to be healthier and stave off disease. Others train because they want to perform better at a particular sport or activity they enjoy.
But I have a different reason for training: I train because I want to change the way I feel and because I want to change my mindset. And this is also one of the driving factors behind my diet choices.
One of the biggest limiting factors in most of our lives – one of the things that most prevents us from achieving all that we want to achieve – is tiredness. You wake up in the morning and instead of leaping out of bed filled with enthusiasm, you instead struggle to drag yourself up and to actually start being productive. Then you get home and instead of doing something fun, interesting or productive, you instead just crash on the sofa and watch day time TV. Sound familiar?
Everything you do is less enjoyable when you’re tired. All of your decisions are worse. All of your challenges are harder. And I’m not talking about physical tiredness – I’m talking about mental tiredness. And that’s what you can actually fix with the right training program and diet, unbeknownst to many.
How to Increase Brain Energy
So how can you increase energy in your brain? One method is to increase the strength of your heart. If you do this, then you’ll be able to pump more blood, oxygen and nutrients to your brain, thus allowing it to perform more optimally. How do we do this? With steady state cardio This means the kind of cardiovascular exercise that involves long durations of exercise. A good example is running a few miles twice a week, which can help to enlarge the left ventricle in your heart. This also reduces stress by helping you to lower your resting heartrate and thus produce less cortisol.
Also important is to increase the efficiency of mitochondria. These are the parts of the cells that turn glucose into usable energy and the more you have and better they function, the less tired you will feel. You can increase these with a combination of HIIT training and foods/supplements that are known to support them such as CoQ10, PQQ, l-carnitine and others.
Don’t believe that simply changing the way you think can have a big impact on your life or your accomplishments?
It’s a somewhat abstract concept to think that just being more positive or more driven can attract more good things to you, or that focussing more on the good in your life can make you happier.
So how about a demonstrate to show just how powerful the mind is? What if the brain could make you considerably stronger, simply if you change the way you think?
Introducing Hysterical Strength
Hysterical strength is a term used to describe historical examples of people tapping into incredible physical power. The most common story is that of mothers who have to rescue their children from being trapped under cars or some other heavy object. In these scenarios, the mothers call upon some kind of superhuman strength and manage to physically move the cars out the way. How can this be possible?
While this has never been proven, there actually is a good scientific explanation for how it might work and some evidence to support it.
That’s because we normally are only capable of accessing around 30%-50% of our muscle fiber. When exercising or going about our normal routines, we can’t use 100% of our strength because we would risk injuring our ligaments or exhausting ourselves. You can see this when someone gets an electrical shock – this causes the muscles to contract to their fullest which is enough to throw the individual right across the room!
But under times of incredible stress or in life-and-death scenarios, it might just be that the brain is able to tap into those hidden depths. This would work because of the release of stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and perhaps other neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine. Together, these could improve communication across the neuromuscular junction, thereby recruiting a greater number of muscle fibers and allowing the individual to access their ‘full’ strength.
Putting it Into Action
In theory then, you could gain more strength simply by imagining your family trapped under a car. If you could really believe it, then you might be able to access hidden strength enough to break your records in the gym.
But there are easier ways according to the research. That’s because yelling at the top of your voice just so happens to trigger a small stress response and studies demonstrate that this is enough to allow you to gain a little more strength during lifts! Talk about mind over matter…