Everyone has goals.
Goals are nice. They make you feel good about yourself. You can write down your shiny, little goal and put it in your pocket.
Every time things are going bad, you can pull the piece of paper out and read it. You’ll feel fuzzy. You have a goal, and people who have goals are special.
That goal will stay in your pocket for as long as you want it to. Having a goal isn’t much without taking action to get it.
A goal without a plan is a dream, right?
We ask our online clients about their goals first. Goals are important to have so there is an ideal in your mind to strive for.
Maybe you like the phrase “ready, shoot, aim”. That phrase makes sense in your head. Because you understand that ACTION is the key to getting shit done.
It’s hard to argue that logic. The doers and shakers always make more progress than the thinkers and the dreamers (or the ones with vague goals written on a piece of paper and shoved into their Levi’s.)
Many who struggle to lose weight combine these two items – goals and action – and they attempt to conquer their goal.
It may look like this:
Goal: I want to lose 40 pounds.
Action: I will run 3 miles, 4 days per week and stop drinking alcohol.
Will this work? Maybe.
Will you be able to keep it up forever? Not sure.
Will it be enjoyable? Possibly, but it seems highly unlikely, especially if you are a runner.
You have goals, which are nice. You are taking action which again, is nice. But there’s a key component that’s missing.
The actions you have taken in order to meet your goal are rather vague.
What you need is a system. A system you can put in place in order to make gradual, incremental progress towards your goal.
The beauty of the system lies in the tinkering and adjustments to the system.
Without the system, you don’t have much to adjust.
To apply for 1:1 coaching and get your own, personalized fitness system, click here.
Systems Vs. Goals
The ironic part of having a system is that ultimately, a goal becomes the purpose for creating the system in the first place.
Without wanting more in terms of self improvement, and having a specific goal to aim for, there will be no need to begin to implement a system.
A system is just that – a comprehensive view and understanding of the various components that when executed in unison, will bring you closer to your goal.
Ask a college football strength and conditioning coach their plan is to turn a wiry, 18-year old into a fierce middle linebacker in two years.
Rest assured, there is an entire system behind that coach’s plan. That system will include:
- Strength training using specific progression parameters and a set number of training days per week/month/year in order to make continually improvements.
- Cardiovascular and explosive work to maximize quickness and movement on the football field.
- Nutritional guidelines and parameters in order to build lean muscle mass and to ensure that fat isn’t accumulated unnecessarily.
- Basic habit guidelines such as hydration expectations, sleep requirements, and supplementation guidelines.
Most freshman football players don’t become monsters without a system.
Surely your goal isn’t to be a First Team All Big-10 linebacker, but the concept remains in tact.
If you want to maximize your gains and have a way to continue progress even after your goals are obtained, your system is paramount.
Components Of A Proper Fitness “System”
We are going to assume two things before we start to discuss your own fitness system.
We are going to assume you have a goal and are willing to take action.
No system will be perfect from the start. Your system will need tinkering and refinement over time. You will need to always “live your system” in order to keep moving forward. Your system may morph and change shape. You may find yourself switching training methodologies or dieting protocols. But the key components of the system will remain in tact over time.
A few questions to ask yourself as you start your system:
Question #1 ==> What is your main goal?
What do you wish to do? Are you trying to lose fat? Do a set of 10 pull-ups? Bench press 250 pounds? Run a marathon?
You do need to have a defined goal in order to start to put the other components of your system into place.
Question #2 ==> What will your exercise regimen look like?
Will you weight train?
If so, how many days per week can you (realistically) commit to training? What exercises align with your goals? How many sets and reps will you complete each training session? How long will your training sessions take? What does your schedule look like? Are there any roadblocks in your lifestyle which could keep you from training as you wish?
Will you do road work and/or run?
If so, how many days per week will you run? What paths will you take? Will you run indoors or outdoors? How many miles per session – and per week – will you aim for to start? What is your progression model (how will you measure how you increase your work over time)?
Will you do a bodyweight routine?
If so, where will you complete your routine? Will your routine change over time to continue to provide you with the necessary adaptations to change your body? Does your bodyweight routine require any equipment that you currently don’t have?
Question #3 ==> What does your nutritional plan look like?
Will you count calories and/or macronutrients?
If so, how will you decide how many calories and/or macros you should be assigned? Are you getting a moderate amount of each macronutrient and staying away from extremes? Are you going to ensure you’re eating nutrient dense matter, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole food sources?
Will you have a habit based dietary approach?
If so, how many times per day will you eat? Will you fast or eat multiple times each day? How many snacks will you eat? What will each meal look like?
Question #4 ==> How will you track the progress of your nutritional plan?
Will you use only the scale?
Will you be able to adjust your nutritional plan when the (inevitable) stalls take place?
Will you be able to adjust once you meet your goals? After you get the weight off, do you have a plan to keep it off?
Tips For Maximizing Your System
In order for your fitness plan to have all the components of an actual system, we have a few tips which will help you.
Tip #1 ==> Don’t deprive yourself from the start.
A system should be put in place in order to “produce fruit”, so to speak.
If your main goal is fat loss, don’t start off with anything extreme.
You do want to create a positive feedback loop, so getting results is certainly important.
But if you start your system by creating a 1,000 calorie deficit from the get-go, your system may be too extreme to survive the long haul.
Tip #2 ==> Diet on the foods you like (within reason).
Any diet in existence which has worked long-term has one common denominator:
Eat whole foods and make most of your meals at home.
After that is taken care of, you can begin to fill in the details.
Sure, you may be able to pull a “Jared the subway guy” type diet, but realize that when Jared pulled off his infamous feat, he ate an incredibly regimented diet. He ate 3 6-inch turkey subs with no cheese or mayo/oil per day. Every day.
Also, you should realize that Jared didn’t keep all that weight off, either.
You’ll need to create your own meals and you will need to keep dining out to a minimum.
What foods do you like? Pick some proteins, some carbs, some fruits/veggies that you like, and create a meal plan with them.
Tip #3 ==> Make this simple; you’re not Emeril here.
It’s tempting to scour the internet to create intricate “healthy” meals.
Most of us don’t have time to take 15 ingredients and create a masterpiece for every meal.
In your system, you should always consider lifestyle before anything else.
Your breakfast can be as simple as a protein shake and an apple.
Your lunch can be as simple as a ham sandwich with mustard and a baggie of carrots.
Whatever you choose as your “go-to meals”, they should require minimal effort to make and should be appealing to you.
Most easy, simple meals can be created in 5 minutes or less, and won’t waste any of your mental fortitude to create them.
Tip #4 ==> When you switch to maintenance or a building phase, you should eat more of the same.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to think you’re “there” because you’ve met your goal, so you begin to up the calories.
The problem isn’t in upping the calories – the problem is that when you do up the calories, your mind instantly goes towards all the “treats” you’ve deprived yourself of.
All of a sudden, you’re thinking about sugary cereals, bagels with cream cheese, and delivery pizza instead of thinking about lean protein sources and whole food carbohydrates.
Those who have mastered the art of raising their calories understand that the best thing you can do is to eat the same foods that got you lean. You simply eat more of them.
Tip #5 ==> Always work to minimize your variables.
Variable minimization is a key factor in a proper system.
Your goal is to understand that if you implement your system correctly <this> will happen to you physically.
With the introduction of too many variables, it will be difficult to make adjustments to your system.
Keep your meal frequency, your meal composition, your training schedule, your hydration, and even your sleeping patterns as constant as possible.
With our online trainees, we utilize a complete system.
All a client must do is execute the system in place, and we have reliable and appropriate data to draw conclusions from.
We don’t make adjustments based on conjecture or guesswork. We have clear parameters and methods behind the alterations to the systems we have created.