How Would You Eat An Elephant
A wise man once asked...
... "How would you eat an elephant?"
If you were anything like me, you'd wrestle that cute little sucker to the ground and go for it like a savage until you collapsed in a triumphant food coma.
A smarter and arguably more sensible approached would be to:
- Take a step back
- Assess the situation
- Form a plan of attack
- Execute said plan
In other words, you'd set goals.
And that's what I would advise anyone wanting to get fitter, faster, leaner or stronger. Most people start their fitness program highly motivated, but if you just go for it like a savage, you could find that you've bitten off more than you can chew, become overwhelmed and give up before you've really got started.
You are more likely to turn your dreams into reality and reach your goals when the are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Or S.M.A.R.T.
Cute right 🙂 🙂
Using the S.M.A.R.T approach gives you a step-by-step plan to achieve your goals. As I go through each step with you, I highly recommend that you get a notebook and pen out. Studies have shown that goals writing down on good old-fashioned paper are more likely to be accomplished than those simply typed up on your lap top or phone.
First things first. When setting goals you need to be clear on what you want to achieve.
It's a lot easier to work towards something specific such as lose 20lb, lose an inch from your waist, gain half an inch on your biceps, a faster 10k time or something totally superficial like getting six pack abs, than it is to work towards a vague one, such as "get fitter" or "lose weight".
Once you have a specific goal, write it down, along with the reason why you want to achieve it.
Write in the first person to make the connection.
"I want to lose 20lb of body fat, because I want to fit into the clothes I was wearing 3 years ago. I want to get back to the body I had when I felt fitter and healthier. I felt better about myself and I had more confidence."
Once you have it written down keep it somewhere close and read it on a daily basis to remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing and how important it is to you. Try to visualise how you will feel once you've accomplished it. Remember the confidence you will feel once you've achieved your goal. Use that as fuel to keep you motivated.
Now that you have a specific goal in mind, you've wrote it down and visualised how it will feel once you're successful, you now need a way to track and measure your progress.
A tape measure and the scales are two ways of tracking your progress, as is how a favourite piece of clothing fits. If your goal is performance based, you may need a stop watch or some other way at measuring your progress. Beep test anyone 🙁
If a visible six pack is your goal, then know that you will need to drop your body fat down to 15%, probably closer to 12% or less if you really want them to stand out. Body fat callipers, a camera for progress pictures, and the way you look in the mirror will be your methods for monitoring your progress.
You now have a specific goal and you know how you're going to measure and track your progress.
But how are you going to make it happen?
What is your plan of attack?
What type of diet will you need to follow?
What type of exercise will you need to?
These are all questions you should consider when formulating a fitness and weight loss plan. If you're unsure where to start, it may be worth seeking the advice of a personal trainer or nutrition coach to help you formulate a plan and design a specific program to help you reach your goals.
It might be realistic for someone with normal genetics to gain two inches on his or her quads, but I think mine are a lost cause. Heck, I've got a six-year-old son with bigger quads than my chicken sticks 🙂 🙂
It's not realistic to lose 2 stone in a day. And it's not realistic to get six pack abs in six weeks if you're 3 stone overweight. But it's realistic to lose between ½lb to 2lb per week through diet and exercise.
This will give you an idea of how long it will take to reach your goal. However, weight loss is not a linear process. Some weeks you will drop more than 2lb, and some weeks you might lose less than ½lb.
This is natural and is due to hormonal fluctuations, hydration levels and sometimes what you have eaten the night before. It DOES NOT mean that what you are doing isn't working. It's normal to plateau for a week or so as your body adjusts. The important thing is that you're being consistent. Consistency over the long term will see you achieve your goal.
You now have a specific, measurable, achievable and realistic goal. You now need to set yourself a deadline.
Having a deadline gives you something to work towards. A holiday, a wedding, a photo-shoot or a fitness competition all serve as a target for completing your goals.
So using our 20lb weight loss example, you now know that it will take 10-40 weeks to achieve depending on the approach that you take to get there. Slow, steady and gradual lifestyle changes are easier for some to manage and maintain.
Others want their results faster, a kick-start to get them moving in the right direction. But know that the faster you want your results, the bigger the sacrifice you have to make. But it can be done.
I've helped countless clients get stunning results with my 21 day and six week programs. It just depends on whether you're willing to pay the metaphorical price to achieve rapid results.
Basically, you need to stack the deck in your favour.
- Your nutrition needs to be on point.
- Your hydration needs to be on point.
- Your sleep needs to be on point.
- Your stress levels need to be low
Basically the more you're willing to do to achieve your goals, the faster you'll get there.
However, in my opinion you have to do what is right for you and your personality. There is no "right or wrong" way to achieve your results. It just depends on how fast you want them and what you're willing to do to get there.
So in closing, the next time your setting fitness and fat loss goals, don't be a savage, be SMART. You'll find you'll achieve them a lot faster 🙂
Have an amazing day.
PS. No baby elephants were eaten or harmed while writing this article