By Jeremy Koerber, ACSM Exercise Physiologist, founder of Fit To Hunt.
2020 is coming in hot and soon, gyms, fitness centers, boxes and studios will be jammed packed with people looking to create something awesome. The problem is their motivation is short lived. They are basing their actions on emotion and time of the year. Don’t get me wrong; we want you in the gym crushing goals and preparing for your outdoor adventures, but a goal without a plan is just a wish.
To be successful you need to create a sustainable action plan that includes strategies and tactics that fit your personality, likes, and dislikes while creating discipline. Essentially, you need to answer the who, what, where, how and why.
Follow these steps to develop a personalized action plan that will have you ready for anything mother nature can throw your way.
Use the holidays to find your thing
Are you contemplating re-joining the same gym you canceled your membership from in 2019? Stop right there. If it did not work before, why do you think it will work again? The bigger question is why did you quit the first time around. Did you dislike the workouts? Were the workouts too hard or too easy?
One thing to consider is your need for socialization. If you thrive in a community, Cross-Fit or boot camps may be the type of workout that keeps you coming back for more. For others, working out alone or with a buddy may be what fuels their fire. Stop trying to repeat mistakes from previous years and try out different types of fitness experiences before the New Year arrives.
A lack of direction is a dangerous thing. If are not thinking through both long and short-term goals, your action plan will have no purpose, and neither will your workouts. Be specific.
If you live in the Midwest and are planning a western hunt, your goals might look something like this:
Long Term: Five-day archery elk hunt in New Mexico September 2020
- Total body strength train 3 days per week (perform for 4-weeks and re-assess/adjust)
- Run 3 miles for time 2 days per week (perform for 4-weeks and re-assess/adjust)
- Ruck 5 miles one day per week (perform for 4-weeks and re-assess/adjust)
If your goals were a road map, your long-term goal is the destination. Your short-term goals are the routes you take to get there.
If you are coming back after a long layoff, ease back into your workouts. One of the biggest reasons people quit in the New Year is doing too much too soon. Exercise will likely create some muscle soreness and discomfort but if you are experiencing mind-numbing pain simply standing up from a chair post workout, you may be doing too much.
There is a psychological component to sustainability. You are better off with less volume and intensity in the initial stages. Focus on collecting daily wins by completing your workouts. We all like winning but if you are so sore from the first workout of the week you cannot complete the second, it will suck your motivation. In the early stages, stay within yourself and win the day. Everyday.
Keep it simple
Trying to implement an exercise plan and overhaul your nutrition at the same time is a daunting task. In fact, too much change is a fast-track to failure. You will not see physical changes without combining exercise with proper nutrition and many people do not even know where to begin. This is why Wilderness Athlete 28 Day Challenge exists!
The 28 Day Challenge combines the most powerful products in the Wilderness Athlete line in a fashion that makes nutrition easy. It is a blueprint for accelerating fat loss and building muscle. It is also simple.
The program also includes a workout tracker, training log and Facebook group to keep you accountable. If you struggle with nutrition, the 28 Day Challenge should be your first stop in 2020.
Motivation is fleeting. Discipline is the cornerstone for success. Don’t think for a second that person crushing their workout next to you is motivated 100% of the time. They aren’t, but it is likely they have a disciplined process they follow religiously whether they feel like it or not.
If we only worked out or ate clean when we felt like it, we would never workout or eat clean. Start studying those around you who are consistently exercising and staying true to their eating strategies. Emulate their processes and learn how to be disciplined.
Schedule your life
If you are continually trying to find time to exercise you will never develop a consistent routine. You must make the time.
Take out your phone right now and schedule your workouts. Factor in barriers such as work, school and shuffling kids. I like to look at my schedule on Sunday evenings and plan out every workout. Give it a try and watch your consistency improve.
Use the next few weeks to think through your goals, strategies and tactics for 2020. When done correctly, you will create a personalized program that is fun, produces results and is sustainable.
How do you plan to accomplish your goals in 2020?