Staying on Track for your Fitness & Nutritional Goals this Year

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set goals

If you set some fitness and nutritional goals at the start of this year, as January comes to a close in this New Year and February begins, this is a good time to evaluate whether you are on track for these goals.

If you initially set goals at the beginning of this year and you feel like you have fallen short or perhaps not even started to work towards them, don’t fret it’s never to late. Just because January 1 has passed doesn’t mean you can’t start to work towards these goals.

Here are some questions to think about as you evaluate your progress towards these goals:

  • Are you happy with your progress thus far?
  • Are there any changes that you need to make to your plan?
  • Are there any additional tracking tools that you need to use?
  • Are there any additional resources that you need to tap into in order to ensure that you stay in line with your goals?

I believe that no matter what level of fitness you are at or even if you are relatively happy with your diet, that you should always have a fitness goal, AND every once in a while re-evaluate your diet choices and perhaps make adjustments if necessary. Goals keep us focused on a routine and even the smallest diet changes can make a difference.

For example, last August 2012 I made two small changes to my diet that resulted in an unexpected weight loss. My goal was not to lose weight, but rather to make these diet changes to see if it helped me to have more energy and to feel less bloated. I eliminated processed grains from my diet (at the time the processed grains that I was eating were sprouted grain bread/wraps, and the occasional sprouted grain cereal – e.g. Ezekiel Bread & Cereal… oh and I had an insane addiction to Stacy’s Pita Chips. Those things are so good I am convinced that they are laced with some illegal substance. If we had them in the house and I was hungry and about to make dinner, I would surely be eating them). I also decreased my dairy intake. I cut back on Greek yogurt and cheese. As a result I have completely eliminated processed grains and Greek yogurt from my diet and cut back on cheese. I no longer crave processed grains or Greek yogurt at all. (My father, the son of Greek immigrant parents is slightly offended about the Greek yogurt, but he’ll get over it ;)). I have also incorporated more coconut products and plant based protein into my diet. For example, instead of having a piece of Ezekiel bread with almond butter at breakfast, I will have raw spinach, eggs, fruit and sometimes tomato. I feel less bloated, have more energy, and I am stronger and leaner than ever with an average weight of 112 – 115lbs rather than 116 – 118lbs.

My current fitness and strength goal of this year is to pass the Iron Maiden Challenge. The Iron Maiden Challenge is a pull-up with a 24kg (52.8lbs) kettlebell, a pistol with a 24kg (52.8lbs) kettlebell and a press with a 24kg (52.8lbs) kettlebell. You can watch Senior SFG Karen Smith pass the Iron Maiden Challenge HERE. If I am ready, I plan to attempt this challenge at the StrongFirst Certification in Boston, MA on April of this year. Both my business partner (and boyfriend) Eric Gahan and I will be assisting at the StrongFirst Boston certification, therefore I figured it was a good goal to set to be ready by that date.

Based upon this fitness and strength goal, I have tailored my current personal training program to become stronger at these three lifts. I have determined the areas that I need to work on and researched different programs that will help me to achieve this goal. Thus far I am able to pull-up the 20kg, press the 20kg and pistol the 24kg:

I still need to work on my pull up and press, but I know that I am getting stronger little by little. For example, in August 2012 I was able to complete a Turkish Get Up with the 24kg (52.8lbs) with only my right side and it was not quite “pretty” enough to post. Now I can complete a Turkish Get Up with the 24kg (52.8lbs) with both right and left sides and I am comfortable enough with my form to post:

I will only attempt the Iron Maiden Challenge in April if I am positive that I can rise to the occasion. If I am not ready at that time, then I will continue to train. We shall see…

Here are some tools that can help you to stay on track for your fitness and nutritional goals for this year:

  • Keep a food diary. Write absolutely every little thing down that you eat even if it’s embarrassing like a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream or a jumbo/Halloween size bag of M&M’s (yes I once had a client confess to eating this size bag of M&M’s at work because she was stressed). Also write down how you FEEL after eating certain foods. If you eat yogurt and feel bloated and lethargic, then write that down. If you eat steak and broccoli and feel satiated and NOT bloated then write that down. Which leads me to my next point…
  • Find a diet that works for YOU. Just because your best friend is vegan does not mean that going vegan is right for your body type. You may be fueled best by a more animal protein and healthy fat (e.g. avocadoes, coconut oil) based diet. The only way you can determine what works best for you is by trial and error and by keeping track of what you eat and how you feel when you eat these foods. (See previous point, keep a food journal.)
  • Go grocery shopping and prepare all of your own meals. YES, have control over what you are eating! This is the only way.
  • Prepare meals in advance. Whatever works for you, e.g. some people prepare meals at the beginning of the week for the whole week. Others take extra time daily in the morning or the evening in order to prepare their foods for that day or the next day. You need to find what works for you.
  • Keep a training journal. Keep track of your workouts and your progress. Even write down how you felt that day especially if you felt tired and weak. It will help you to evaluate if you are overtraining, not eating properly, stressed or not getting enough sleep. I always write down how I feel especially if I had a particularly strong or weak and tired training day.
  • Schedule your workouts in like it’s an appointment that you cannot cancel. If you don’t schedule it in then you will never get to it and you are not likely to stay consistent. This is what I do and how I ensure that I am able to make time to train on a daily basis.
  • Hire a Personal Trainer. At a loss for where to start? Then HIRE A PERSONAL TRAINER. Good personal training and guidance is invaluable. I will discuss in more detail why a good personal trainer and investing in personal training services is invaluable in my post The Value of Personal Training. A good personal trainer should be able to not only implement an effective training program for you but should also be able to help you with your nutritional goals. Investing in regular personal training is investing in your short AND long-term health. Think you can’t afford it? Well, you may need make some financial sacrifices in order to do this, like cut back on Starbucks or eating out so frequently, or less weekend ski trips or less happy hour/weekend drinking binges BUT it is worth preserving the ONE and ONLY body that you were born with. If it’s that important to you, you will find a way, if it’s not, then you will find an excuse.

Stay on task and good luck!

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