Choose Your Own Adventure: A Simple Guide to Crushing Your Fitness Goals
When your a kid, life is nothing more than a series of adventures. Whether it’s helping the Joes defeat Cobra Commander or doing household chores, we always find ways to breathe life into everything we do.
But as we get older, things change. We get jobs, we incur debt, we become responsible adults.
We lose our sense of adventure.
Not only does this affect our secular and family life, it also affects the way we look and feel.
Things like going to the gym or sticking to a diet seem like time consuming labor.
We get bored, especially, when we don’t get the results that we want.
But what if the problem wasn’t our busy life? What if, despite all the responsibilities that we are bombarded with, we could still get healthy, lean and strong?
What if we could go back to our childhood mentality and use this form of thinking as a way of getting into the best shape of our lives?
Well, you’re in luck.
By applying a “choose your own adventure” approach to fitness, you’ll see why getting in shape can be the Adventure of a lifetime.
Preparing For a Most Excellent Adventure
Back in the 80’s, Deloreans, The Breakfast Club and Kevin Bacon were all the rage, but we also had a series of books titled “Choose Your Own Adventure”. These books were essentially a game where you played the protagonist role with the goal of reaching the best possible outcome. Each book featured a different adventure, and, as you moved from page to page, you were given the option of which path to take.
Instructions – usually pointers giving you a page number to turn to – would help direct you towards a new path. Each path, would alter your adventure and eventually bring you to one of many different endings – some good, some bad.
“OK, cool. But how will this help me reach my fitness goals?”
Well, first we must understand that fitness is partly psychological. Yes, to obtain results you must take physical action. But, if you have no desire, no motivation, no clear approach or direction, then there is no way you will ever take the right course of action.
Yet, if you have a system to guide you down the right path, then it’ll become much easier to navigate towards that killer body you desire.
In fact, a study conducted at the Health For Life Clinic, Alexandra Hospital in Singapore showed that motivation and guidance are key components to more effective weight loss among overweight individuals. The same applies to all of our fitness goals, which is where the “choose your own adventure” approach comes into play. This approach to fitness is a way to help guide your steps to a leaner, stronger and healthier body.
By making use of it, you will not only achieve better results, but, it will also be at your own pace and a heck of a lot more fun.
On that note, let’s jump right in.
Selecting Your Goal
Throughout the rest of this post we will refer to the process of getting results as an Adventure, because…that’s exactly what it is. The process of getting in shape should not be something you dread, but something that you enjoy doing. So have fun along the way.
With that being said, choosing your goal is probably the easiest part of your adventure. However, there’s just one problem: YOU’RE NOT BEING REALISTIC.
This is one of the top reasons why many people fail – they don’t set realistic goals.
We look at our friends Facebook posts, watch the latest superhero flicks or simply walk down the street and say to ourselves, “Yeah, I want to be like that person: confident, strong and lean”. This usually follows with picking up the latest issue of any men’s or women’s fitness magazine, proceeded by pumping out as many push-ups and sit-ups that your body can possibly endure. Next thing you know, two months have passed by and we look nothing like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson or Scarlett Johanson.
You can clearly see why it’s easy to lose motivation and relapse to old ways of living.
The Answer: Set smaller goals
We have to start somewhere, so why not start by reaching a goal that we know we can achieve.
This can be anything from losing five pounds, maintaining your calorie and macronutrient intake for a certain amount of days, or reaching a specific sprint time.
Not only would this allow you to see progress, but, it will also provide the motivation that is needed to help you reach your overall target goal. Whether it’s getting ripped by the summer, feeling stronger, fitting into that wedding dress, completing a Spartan Race, improving your overall health or performing a one handed handstand while balancing a little green Muppet on your left leg…you have to start small.
So simply put:
- Establish one main goal
- Divide that main goal into many smaller goals
Next, we’re going to see this approach in action.
The Road Ahead
So, you’ve chosen your target goal and initial smaller starter goals. It’s now time to take your first steps.
As previously mentioned, along your journey you will encounter different paths with each having different outcomes. Depending on the path you take, you will either hit your target goal successfully or obtain completely different results than expected. These could either be better than what you had originally set out for or worse. It all depends on your decisions.
Now, we all have different goals and it would be an extremely long guide if I were to refer to each one. So, for the sake of not creating an eighty page post, I will use fat loss as the example target goal.
Let’s begin by looking at an individual who weighs 280lbs.
This individual wants to lose weight and gain muscle. As a matter of fact, when asked, he pulled out a pic of Ryan Reynolds to show what his target goal was. No lie, he was actually carrying this photo in his wallet.
But would this be a realistic goal?
As a long term goal: yes. To get there, however, he would have to break this down into smaller goals.
His journey would look something like this:
Start of Journey
Perform specific fat loss program and customized diet for 8 weeks
Results: Lost 40lbs. GREAT!
Continue on same path (maintenance) or choose new path?
Selected a new path
Begin high intensity interval training, strength training and re-adjust diet for 12 weeks
Results: Lost an additional 30lbs. EXCELLENT!
Continue on same path (maintenance) or choose new path?
Selected to continue on same path
Continue on Same Path – Maintenance
Perform same workout routine and diet for 4 weeks
Results: Lost an additional 10lbs. Not to shabby.
Continue on same path (maintenance) or new path?
Unforeseen event took place. Program paused.
Did not do any form of training but kept diet in check.
Results: Maintained weight at around 200lbs. GOOD!
Continue on same path (maintenance) or new path?
Chose a new path
Back on track. New workout routine with heavy compound exercises and a carb cycling diet for 4 weeks
Results: Down to 195lbs. End of journey.
So as you can see, he started off with the initial goal of losing forty pounds and was able to reach it. This gave him the motivation to continue on a new path of adjusting his diet and exercise routine, which allowed him to lose an extra 30 pounds, followed by 10 pounds during maintenance.
Life got in the way, as it does for us all, so he needed to take a break from steady exercise but was able to continue on his diet, which helped him to maintain his current weight.
After his hiatus, he got back on track and succeeded by coming really close to his overall target goal.
This was all done at his own pace. However, it could have been adjusted along the way by simply changing directions (faster or slower pace), which would have produced different results.
Avoid Gambling on Your Fitness Goals
What if you get stuck? You have a clear goal, but reaching it seems to be an obstacle. What should you do then?
There might come a point where you just don’t know how to proceed any further. This could ruin your motivation or even make you gamble on what to do next.
Not only would this result in an undesirable ending, but, it could also snowball into further random decisions.
We need to avoid rolling the dice when it comes to our bodies.
Instead, we should take a step back and analyze our current course.
Could it be that we have plateaued and continue to take paths of endless loops? Maybe we need to add more drastic changes to our diet. Or, could it be that we have to increase our intensity? There are many variables to consider.
By taking a step back and not simply pursuing any path, we will be able to find a better course of action to take.
There and Back Again
So you reached your goal, now what? Well, it’s time to pick up a new book (goal) and start a whole new adventure.
Unlike our childhood, the Adventure does not have to come to an end. In fact, the ending is only the beginning.
The worst thing you could possibly do is lose control of your body. Instead, pick a new goal and start the Adventure all over, this time with completely different results.
For example, maybe you have an urge to become the next American Ninja Warrior. Why not begin a program that will help you improve strength, endurance, balance, and stability.
Or it can be that your next adventure is so epic that it requires a fitness mentor. If that’s the case, then our Premium Online Coaching program can be a great starting place for you.
There are so many new and exciting goals that can be set which should keep you going for years to come.
Remember, only you can control your body, so choose an Adventure that will help you become a better version of yourself.
Now its your turn.
Have you followed a system to help you reach your fitness goals? What were your results? Please share in the comments below.
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Tan WJ, Wong TK. Singapore Med J. 2014 “Demographic profile, clinical characteristics, motivations and weight loss outcomes of patients in a nonsurgical weight management programme”
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