My client Steve slid a piece of paper across the table to me.
I looked down and began to read.
Across the top, it read: Get Steve Skinny Incentives.
The paper went on to describe how Steve was going to send Nicole and me to Hawaii with $500 of spending money if we could get him to lose 20 pounds in the next three months.
As he and I both signed the bottom of the paper, I thought “this guy is committed.”
Steve started out strong, losing a few pounds a week for the first month. Much to my chagrin, his weight loss petered out as did our hopes of a tropical vacation.
Steve had great intentions. He was even willing to make a big commitment financially to make his goals a reality. Yet, things didn’t work out for Steve. It left me frustrated as a coach. I want my clients to see results.
I’ve been a trainer and coach since I was 18. I’ve seen a ton of clients meet and exceed their goals. But, I’ve also had many clients not even come close. Recently, I’ve thought often about the patterns of those who’ve been successful. The ten things in this article are the tips and tricks I’ve used personally and with clients to help them get in the best shape of their lives and stay there long-term.
1.) Start with why
If you don’t know why you’re trying to lose 10 pounds, it’s going to be much harder to get the weight off. You need to write down your why. It may be something like, I want to be fit and healthy to keep up with my grandkids. It can even be something vain like, I want to look great at the beach this summer in a swimsuit. Be honest with yourself and write it down.
2.) What’s your end game?
One of the questions I like to ask clients as we make goals is, what would be different if we were to meet a year from now? Usually they will start by saying, I’d be 20 pounds lighter or have bigger biceps. Then, I probe deeper, “what would change for you on a day to day basis. How would life be different?” This gets clients thinking and visualizing how life will look when goals are reached. Visualization is powerful. Use it.
3.) Find some groupies
Groups make everything better. Including fitness. When you’re in a group, you’ll be more likely to stick with your workout routine and be more motivated when you’re working out.
Nicole and I dreamed up Village Fitness as a place to help people accomplish their goals long-term and get in community. We humans thrive when in community. Surround yourself with good people pursuing health and fitness and you’ll be more likely to stick with your workout routine.
About a month ago, after a Saturday morning session here at Village, I saw two of our clients set off on a walk together. They had nothing in common save (that’s some old english right there!) a desire to be fit and healthy. They came back laughing and smiling. It was a small but marvelous occurrence. Community is so important in fitness.
Kyle Dake was one of the most prolific college wrestlers of all time. Every morning, Dake would wake up and write down I’m going to win a national championship this year.
He won four NCAA championships in 4 years at 4 different weight classes. It’s something that’s never been done before.
The benefit comes from keeping your goals at the top of your mind each day. If you daily focus in on what you want to achieve, your actions for the day will propel you towards your goals. Life gets in the way. Things which are not as important come up and seem more pressing than pursuing what’s really important to us. Focusing on what you want to achieve every day can help make your actions reflect what you want to achieve long-term.
5.) Break it down
Having a big goal like losing 100 pounds is great. But, it’s daunting. The sheer magnitude of goal like this can be enough to send your subconscious into a little hole to hide.
Break your goals down into smaller chunks. For example, I’m going to lose 5 pounds this month.
Having smaller chunks for your goal will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Plus, once you hit month one and you’ve lost 5 pounds, you’ll feel good and want to continue.
6.) Drink coffee
Coffee can help suppress appetite, increase energy, and even decrease our subjective feelings of pain. Caffeine just before a workout can help increase your motivation and help you get the most out of the sweat session.
You don’t need to go crazy. A cup or two will be plenty to get you the health and motivational benefits from coffee.
Keep your coffee as close to black as possible. This will help you get the health and goal-boosting benefits from your coffee without the extra calories.
7.) Create rituals
Rituals, or triggers, help our subconscious to prepare for whatever action we are setting out to accomplish. Doing the same task following another task or at the same time each day can help establish habits.
If you always go for a glass of wine when you get home at night, it will be the first thing you think of when you get home. Your brain will be primed to think about wine as you enter the door at night.
A classic trick to make exercise easier is to set your clothes out the night before. It may seem trivial, but anything you can do to make it easier to get to the gym is a good thing.
Have a set time to exercise each day. At Village Fitness, the most consistent clients have a set schedule for their workouts. For example, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6am. Every week it’s the same. This helps eliminate choice and extra thought going to your workout schedule.
Shop and prep food at the same time each week. For many of our clients, this is Sunday afternoon. If you plan for the week and do prep work ahead of time, you’ll be set up for success.
8.) Do something daily
The clients who have the best results tend to do some sort of movement nearly every day of the week.
Jerry Seinfeld used the “X” method to keep up with his goal of writing jokes every day. Each day he wrote jokes, he would put an X on his wall calendar. Eventually, the X’s started adding up. Jerry said he really enjoyed checking things off every day and seeing how they looked on the wall. He kept writing jokes each day. Some days, he would write jokes just to keep himself from missing an X on his chart.
You don’t need to use a wall calendar. However, doing a task every day will build momentum and help keep you going.
If you’re trying to build the habit of exercise, I suggest doing a 10 minute workout every day of the week for month. A short workout won’t crush you and you’ll start to get into the habit and routine of daily movement. After a while, you can miss a day and you’ll have no problem jumping back in the next day.
9.) Use music
Music can help increase motivation and push you to work harder. Music is scientifically proved to increase mood and boost motivation.
Make a playlist of your favorite workouts songs and boogie down when you need an extra kick.
Here are a few of my favorite workout tunes:
- My Way: Calvin Harris
- All Night: Icona Pop
- Honey: Moby
- This Girl: Kungs and Cookin’ on 3 burners
- Uptown Funk: Mark Ronson (ft. Bruno Mars)
10.) Just do it
All the motivational tricks and tips in the world can only get you so far. Some days, you really wont feel like working out or eating well. Those are the days when you just need to suck it up and get it done.
That’s all for today,