Why The Most Common Goal Being Set Is A Cause For Failure

 
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It’s time to get specific, very specific. One of the most common things I hear as a fitness professional is “I want to get toned and fit.” That’s a good goal, at least the desire for improvements is there, but that’s also one of the most generic and un-motivating goals anyone can set for themselves. Honestly, it’s a ‘goal’ that sets most for failure. Here’s why:

Reason #1 - The desire lacks a specific goal for individuals to work towards.

Here’s the reality, in the world of health and fitness, there’s no real limit to how healthy or fit a person can get. The longer I work on my health and fitness, the more results, the more benefits, and the more gains I reap. Health and fitness is a spectrum versus a singular achievable destination. I know exactly how long my flight from Singapore to Bali was, but with health and fitness, there’s no real measurement to the distance because there’s always room to do better and there’s always room to improve. I can continue to improve my flexibility, improve my strength, increase my endurance, increase my muscle mass, reduce my fat percentage, etc. because the capacity for improvements is endless.

Reason #2 - The desire is undefinable.

Everyone has a different preference and definition to what “toned and fit” is because it lacks universal identification. Toned and fit is a description, not an identification. Body type preference also comes into play here, what I find toned and fit may be too much or too little for some people’s expectations. For example, some people may want larger bulkier muscles, while others want leaner muscles, or others want bigger butts while others prefer to focus on their abs. There’s a multitude of desires when it comes to what each person wants, so if I can’t even define what I want, how can I expect to achieve it?

Reason #3 - Everyone’s body is different.

Everyone has a different idea of what the ideal body is but the reality is, each person is born with different body types, with different genetics, with different metabolisms, and therefore with different capacities. Before identifying what is my ideal body type, there must be an understanding of the reality of each individual’s body. Each body is beautiful in their own way, but genetics and physiology is something we’re born with, therefore the limitations of this reality are also inherent.

SOLUTIONS:

Solution #1 - Identify the desires and intentions.

Everyone has different desires as to what the ideal body is. Identifying what this means within the context of one’s own body and what this means for each person is key to the success of each individual’s health and fitness journey. This is Why Identifying What Drives You Is Important. There also first need to a be a clear understanding of the why. Why do I want to embark on this health and fitness journey? Understanding our desires and motivations is an important first step because Intention Matters. What I am driven by is different to the person next to me, so I should expect that how I motivate myself is different too. Identifying these critical components will help to identify the goal.

Solution #2 - Come up with specific goals.

Once I understand the why, I am then able to identify specific desires and motivations to help me identify specific goals. “I want to be able to do 10 push-ups because I want a stronger upper body,” “I want to be able to do a 20kg (approx. 44 lbs) deadlift because I want more shape to my butt,” “I want to be able to jog from my house to the gardens without stopping because I want to work on my endurance,” the possibilities are endless, but the main thing to remember here is to come up with one or a few specific goals to keep you motivated and start with the why! Of course, once you’ve achieved the goal, cross it out and set a new one!

Solution #3 - Accept that each body is different.

Accepting and working with what I have to achieve my healthiest and fittest self is the first step to a successful wellness journey, here’s A Beginner’s Guide To Working Out, which explains several criteria to get right in order to aid a successful fitness journey. These criteria listed are what I believe are key components to a successful health and fitness journey. The main point to draw on is on accepting and celebrating the body we have been blessed with and to work on optimizing its potential.

Everyone has the capacity to improve their health and fitness, but there are too many fad diets and fad workouts out there which mislead people’s expectation of themselves. Especially with the rampant existence of media nowadays, there’s a race towards perfection and unrealistic aesthetic reaches.

The shift that’s needed in the health and fitness world is an acceptance towards all different body types. Not everyone is tall and lanky, but that is the projected ideal for females in this world. Not everyone is big boned and chiseled, but that is the projected ideal for males in this world. What’s more important is to keep moving forward towards a healthier and fitter self, because what’s more liberating is the freedom to love one’s only body and to treat it like the holy temple it really is. Meaning to do whatever it takes to help this body I have to achieve its best potential.

Each body is unique, each body is different, each body has its own capacities and therefore its own potential so why not work towards its personal best, rather than drowning my mind and my body with unrealistic and unachievable expectations of what society and media have deemed as worthy?

 

Inch Your Way To Summer

 

When the idea of summer comes to mind-- BBQs, trips to the beach, and plenty of pool time comes to mind. Getting that summer bod is what a lot of us are after, especially as spring subsides or as the rainy season draws to a close for those of us living in the tropics. A massive reminder of that New Year’s resolution (which we might not have jumped on quite yet)! Summer parties, boat parties, and all the festivities which come along with summer is what might daunt us, but don’t let the change in season scare you.

If you don’t have access to a gym or any equipment, here are some of my favorite moves to get myself in the groove for summer (no gym memberships or equipment necessary)!

Exercise 1: Burpees! (YAY!) When chasing that beach ready body, burpees are my go to! It’s an all body workout that fires up a lot of the beach baring essentials.

Do 4 sets of 12-20 burpees with 20 second rests in between each set. Tip: If you don’t have a stopwatch, count up to 20 slowly (“One mississippi, two mississippi…”)

Choose according to your fitness level. Remember quality over difficulty is key here! It’s more important to get that posture right versus completing the more difficult version with faulty posture.

1. Start with your feet shoulder width apart. Squat down and plant your palms on the ground around shoulder width apart. Then jump backwards with both feet to a straight arm plank. Remember to keep the core engaged, spine straight, and clench the butt to keep the hips tucked in. Avoid arching the back at all times!

2. Lower the body to the ground, as you would in a push up. Tuck the elbows in and breathe in as you lower down. Imagine you had to hold paper in between your armpits. Squeeze those armpits tight and don’t let those elbows flare!

3. Right before your chest touches the ground, breathe out and push back up to a straight arm plank.

4. Finally, reverse the motion. Jump both feet in towards the arms into the starting squat position. Then jump upwards with both arms in the air and “wave it like you just don’t care!” Remember to land with soft knees! Absorb as much of the downward momentum by following through the motion and allowing the knees to bend into the starting squatted position.

If this is too difficult, follow the following steps (as seen below). Step 1 is the same as above.

2. Lower the body all the way to the ground. Rest the chest, thighs, and body onto the ground and release the toes to straighten up.

3. Then tuck the toes back in and jump both feet in towards the arms into the starting squat position. From there, jump upwards with both arms in the air. Remember to land with soft knees. Follow the momentum through and allow the knees to bend into the starting squatted position.

If both options are too difficult, instead of jumping with both feet together, move the feet backwards one at a time.

Exercise 2: Plank + Spiderman Plank Crunch which is a variation of the classic plank. I am a massive fan of plank variations because they’re core burners that you feel immediately.

Do 4 rounds of each exercise. For the plank, slowly count to 30 (“one mississippi, two mississippi...”). Then do 12-20  spiderman plank crunches. One right and left leg crunch counts as 1 rep. 1 round counts as 1 set of 30 second plank and 12-20 spiderman plank crunches. Take a 20 second rest between each round. You’ll end up doing 4 sets of 30 second planks and 4 sets of 12-20 spiderman plank crunches (for each leg).

1a. For the plank, start with a push up position. Making sure the hands are in line with the shoulders. Bend the elbows into a 90 degree angle. Rest the forearms parallel to each other on the ground with the palms facing the ground and fingers spread out wide. Remember to keep the elbows hugged in.

1b. Look down in between the arms with the head and spine straight. Keep the core and butt engaged, to make sure the hips is tucked in.

2a. For the spiderman plank crunch, remain in the plank position. Move the right knee towards the right elbow, then repeat the same move on the other leg. Keep repeating these movements until the 30 seconds are up! Remember to keep the non-moving leg engaged, along with the core and hip tucked in!

If this is too much, straighten up the arms into a straight arm plank and complete the same crunch motion (as seen below). Alternate option:

Exercise 3: Single Leg Bench Step Up is a classic to get the tush and hammies fired up.  

Do 4 sets of 15-30 single leg step ups for each leg. Take a 20 second rest in between each set. You’ll end up doing 4 sets of 15-30 reps for each leg.  

1. Place one foot on the bench. Make sure to place the whole foot on the bench without any overlap over the edge of the bench. Starting with one foot on the bench, look straight ahead with the back straight. Keep the weight on the heels and step up. Let the other foot hang behind. Avoid pushing off the resting foot when stepping up.

EXERCISE 4: Squat Jumps & Crab Walks are a mean tag team that’ll help get those legs and bottom ready for those sexy summer shorts.

Do 4 sets of 5 rounds with 2 squat jumps (1 squat jump on each side) and 4-6 steps in between. Moving from one side to the other counts as 1 round. Rest for 30 seconds in between each round.

1. Stand with the feet shoulder width apart. Squat down with the back straight and weight on the heels. Making sure the knees do not go over the toes. Spring up to a full jump with both feet extended and both arms swinging down. Land back to the ground on soft knees.

2. Stay in a lowered squatted position and start to move laterally from one side to the other. Start with the inside feet and take 4-6 steps in between. Then repeat the squat jump. Walk back in the same squatted position to the opposite side and repeat the jump. Avoid standing up. Push through the burn!

EXERCISE 5: Push Ups + High Plank Lateral Shuffles are great preparation for those shoulder bearing summer tops.

Do 4 sets of 4 rounds with push-ups at each side and 4-6 steps in between. Moving from one side to the other counts as 1 round. Rest for 30 seconds in between each round.

1. Start in a pushup position with the back straight, arms shoulder width apart, hands in line with the shoulder, and palms firmly planted on the ground with fingers spread out wide.

2. Lower the body down to the ground and hug the elbows in (making sure they do not wing out). Right before the chest touches the ground, push back up into a straight arm plank position.

3. Look straight down to help keep the head aligned to a straight spine. Once back up, start to move the hands and feet laterally. Move one feet first, followed by the hand on the same side. Repeat for 4-6 steps before doing a pushup at the other side, then move back the other direction. Keep moving until time is up.

For an easier option, eliminate the push-up from the sets. For a challenge, increase the number of push-ups by 1 each time you reach a side.

EXERCISE 6: Bench Dips are a friend to the skinny straps and shoulder revealing tops popular in the summer.

Do 4 rounds of 15-25 bench dips. Rest for 20 seconds in between each round. The farther the feet the harder the exercise.

1. Start seated on the bench with the back straight with both feet flat on the ground and hip width apart. Hold on to the side of the bench with palms flat on the bench and fingers hanging onto the side. Start to move the butt off the bench by walking the feet forward slowly until the desired distance is achieved. Note: The straighter the leg the more difficult the movement. If you’re going for the more difficult version, with legs straight, then rest on the heels with the toes pointing up.

2. Look straight ahead and avoid looking down. Keep the weight on the heels and start to lower the body down to the ground. Maintain a flat back throughout and do not bend over.

3. Finally, push back up right before your tush kisses the ground.

Whether you’re home or on the go, these moves will help you inch closer to that beach ready body.