Plain and simple, your training should be a reflection of your fitness goals. That means you should definitely have fitness goals or you are just going through the motions.
So what are my fitness goals? Most people will say they want to be healthy and look good. My answer is more complex. My fitness goals can be broken down in to three categories; physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual and they all tie together.
Physically, I want to progressively get stronger and more fit even as I age. I want a fitness that makes me strong, explosive, powerful and fast. I want a fitness that keeps me lean and muscular and gives me the confidence to take my shirt off at the beach. I want to be proficient across all metabolic pathways which means that I am prepared to go hard for 10 seconds, 10 minutes or 10 hours. I want the type of fitness that would make me good at any given task. I want a fitness that protects me from the ravages of age and time. I want a fitness that protects me from injury. I want my fitness to help me age gracefully and keep me independent. I want my fitness to give me the ability to play with my future grandchildren and great grandchildren.
I want a fitness that not only builds my heart but tests it as well. I want a fitness where the workouts humble me but in turn make me confident and proud. I want a fitness that helps me to thrive, survive, and makes me feel more alive. That means I want my fitness to help me handle life's challenges whether physical or not. I want my fitness to transfer across other aspects of my life; to help me have the courage and discipline to handle any and all of life's challenges.
I want my physical strength and fitness to be a reflection of my spiritual strength and fitness. I want to honor God for the gift of my body and to be a wise steward of it. I want my fitness to be an inspiration to my children and future generations.
Lastly, I want to have no regrets. I want to look back on my life and know that at any given point or age, I was trying to be the best that I could be. I am as fit as ever but I know that I can't run as fast as I did in my younger years. But I have no regrets. I have milked it for all it's worth. And 20 years from now, I want to know that I milked this time of my life for all it was worth as well.
So the next time you see me lying on the floor trying to catch my breath, that is all part of the plan. There is a purpose for the pain.
Anyone who knows me can testify to the fact that I am very routine and structured. The same goes with my diet. I eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every single day. This usually includes snacks as well. A while back, I decided to add more protein to my diet through a protein shake at night. Problem was that I added this in ADDITION to my normal snack I have at night. That is what this extra protein shake became to my weight...an ADDITION.
Now I only add the protein shake when I know I have burned more calories on a certain day. Otherwise I substitute it for something else instead of just adding it or I skip it altogether. After starting this, I immediately dropped the extra weight. You have to maintain that caloric balance and portion control to maintain your weight. To gain or lose weight, you have to skew those numbers either positively or negatively. It really isn't rocket science.
Weight gain or weight loss is a simple formula. If you take in more calories than you burn, you gain weight. If you burn more calories than you take in, you lose weight. The complexity comes when you start talking about the types of food you eat, the way your body responds to those foods, and the genetic make-up and body composition of each person. These all have an effect on your weight but simply speaking, calories in must equal or be less than calories being burned otherwise there is weight gain.
Just keep in mind, if you eat breakfast and an hour later you eat a donut because there was a big box sitting in the break room at work, you have to either burn those extra calories off through exercise or take something out of your normal diet to keep a caloric balance. One way or another you will have to either work it off or go without during another meal or snack if you want to keep from gaining weight. Ultimately you have to decide if that extra donut is worth the extra work, want or WEIGHT!
As I get older, I continue to understand myself a little bit better. I have a clearer view of what my strengths and weaknesses are. One of the beauties our fitness training is that we maximize those things we are good at but we also target and train our weaknesses. That is how we improve. Some of my weaknesses could also be considered strengths. It all depends on your perspective. One of those is that sometimes I have a tendency to be a little quick on the trigger. Other times, I am too apprehensive to pull the trigger. I tend to overthink things. Again both can be considered a strength or a weakness. It is all relative to the circumstance.
This thought all started with my son and I shooting a pellet gun at some targets. He had never shot a gun and was very slow on the trigger. So slow in fact that he would psyche himself out and never pull the trigger at all. I kept asking him if he could see the target in which he said yes. He simply was too scared to pull the trigger. He was scared that he might flinch and miss the target. I then put my hand over his and forced him to pull the trigger. When it comes to shooting a gun, that is how I am. Once I see the target, I don’t hesitate. If only I could be that way in other areas of my life.
Do you have the courage to pull the trigger? Pull the trigger on what you may ask. I guess that all depends on what the target is... what is at the end of your aim. Many people are quick on the trigger when it comes to their words but how about their actions? This is not something totally foreign to us either. We see reminders all the time.
“Actions speak louder than words.” “You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.”
Taking action many times requires faith. Faith is not just limited to spiritual beliefs. It takes faith to drive your car down the road and trust that you will get home safely. It takes faith to trust that your food was cooked right at your favorite restaurant. It takes faith to trust that I really am not trying to kill you with every workout.
Ultimately, faith and actions must work together. James 2:14-26 talks about it clearly. It says that faith without works is dead. So in other words, actions are necessary to prove your faith. Anyone can say that they want to get in shape but do they have the actions to prove it? Do you have the nerve to pull the trigger on joining a class or getting a gym membership?
One thing about shooting a gun is that it is either all or nothing. There is no halfway. So in other words, buying the new running shoes and yoga pants is only half the battle. Actually using them for what they are made for is the other half. James 1:6 talks about not wavering. Find your target, take aim and SHOOT. The longer you hesitate the less chance you will ever take the shot. Once you get the target in sight, take aim and pull the trigger. That is the first step towards hitting the bullseye!