New year – new you. As my good friend said “we are going to f**k this year”. When entering a new year, you need to have a goal. It would be unwise to jump in it without one. To have a goal, it needs to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-framed to make it work. Would be also smart to make a short-term and long-term goals as that is how it is done best.
In this post, we will elaborate concrete example of my goals and its challenges and introduce following tactics on successful implementation as well as elaborate on your workout for its effective operation towards acquiring progress on desired areas of improvements. This post is about to help you set your own goals and find which parts of your body to focus on in order to meet the progress in a way of having a balanced workout/strength/physique and prepare you on becoming a complete athlete or just stay fit in all areas of your workout.
When motivation is dead you turn to discipline. When discipline is hard to maintain, you get yourself in positions where you have either no other options or else understand what you are getting out of it. Also, if there is proper understanding of the matter, there is also a drive to carry out the task no matter how unpleasant. That is what I learnt over the years and brought results, therefore want to elaborate on it. Consistency is must.
After obtaining health and maintainable fitness which was initial motivation to me, the overall motivation and fire got put up and was hard to rely on discipline but that discipline got you going in the first place, otherwise you would quit (if it is a gym day, you hit it no matter how progressive workout it was). Not quitting and focusing on as little progress as possible will bring you little satisfaction which lead me to different approaches brought more progress but also created some imbalances in my workout which we will touch on in the last part of the post where you can also profit from my situation as we are going to touch on fitness tests in hand to assess your workout results and seek areas of improvements.
To be a complete athlete is the goal which is relatively a long-term goal up to 3 years. I intend to measure it based on the results of different competitions where strength, conditioning and agility play a big role not mentioning mental aspect. As the short- term goals within a year or so, plan to introduce myself to more diverse activities that will prepare me for the long-term goal.
Effective fitness gave me strength, conditioning and great deal of flexibility, however it is not enough to profit from when taking on competitions. There is a need to be mentally better prepared, conditioning on a whole different level and acquire new set of skills that is only available to me through implementing diverse form of training, new routines and activities. The regeneration and focus must go the same way – what has been done so far will not be enough.
The great asset is definitely the time. Thanks to effective fitness it takes only two trainings a day to build endurance, maximal and explosive strength and that by lifting more on big five exercises with same intensity. However, there is a little time for flexibility and different skills development in these two workouts.
One of the best decisions was to decrease the tension by training the whole body not twice a week but once a week divided in two workouts in other words, big five exercises not twice a week but once a week.
This decision, left more space for more focused workout with emphasize on details which are definitely needed in competing where you set the bar higher than before. That can help compensate for imbalances in strength caused by lack of motivation and consistency to carry out particular tasks. It was enough stress to embrace so training once a week whole body leaves more focus on big five exercises where weights also went up but not all 5, therefore the current short-term goal within this year is to set the right exercises (complimentary) that will raise your lifts on all big five exercises.
This goals is simply measurable as you expect to lift more on big five even though it can take some time which means your short-term goal should be raising weights and reps on complementary exercises. There is a common bodybuilder´s rule every two weeks should be a progress which is time-framed. It is also realistic and attainable if you are consistent plus you got more space on these details which means more strength and energy to improve. As to specific, you decide how many kilos and reps you start with and whereabouts to strive to.
Raising the weights and tension also means better regeneration and knowledge would come in hand. To be competitive enough it also takes more experience. Therefore, will continue taking part in competing which is more fun but want better results with every appearance as it is also part of training and each training should be a progress. It is also more exciting to do something completely out of workout routine that is challenging enough.
This year should spend in 3 different countries on two different continents that affects all the above but there are two spartan races in my home country where going to appear plus some distance runs along the way. Spartan race is my favorit competition even though I hate running but it takes place mostly in the nature (fresh air), challenging enough and it tests your conditioning, mind, agility, strength and explosiveness which you attain from effective fitness.
As to running, it is a light form of training often active recovery if not big distances plus if there was no competition, you would hardly see me training something extra. This is a fun and sometimes no other option situation for staying progressive – once you there you do your best and test your fitness competences.
There are more types of different competitions and activities that would like to indulge in but little by little you take things as they come and get most out of your situation. There are though opportunities in my school facilities for example, swimming and sport studies where you deal with different physical activities that challenge you to some extent. One of the great decisions that got already carried out was swimming once a week right after gym to get rid of lactate to ease pain in muscles and regenerate faster, better.
Even though, not fan of swimming, you need to understand the benefits and when you have a free pool as a student you have no other option left than go for it. Recently, lifeguard course got absolved and spent almost 24h just swimming where my wrist got completely cured so decided to do it routinely (understand the benefits).
Plus, finished half-marathon but finishing 300m swim test seemed like struggle so each pool appearance do at least 25m extra or increase the intensity but that would not be advised after intense gym training. Swimming is optimal for you do not use the weights moreover, you train whole body and intensity and tension is not the same as it is in gym. We have a look on swimming and other activities in later posts but now you see clearly the pros.
Being more active leaves more space for increasing flexibility when already warmed up – take advantage of it and do some extra stretch. As to flexibility, do not have any specific goals due to lack of knowledge but try to prolong the angles of the movements.
Aside that, travel brings lots of inspiration and peace of mind when also meeting interesting people or attending good friends. When doing physical activities you need also relax mentally where a good book helps as well. Travel also brings challenges as you need to take care of the food and get wholly out of comfort which can affect your training and results but it is not like you need to be everyday 100% and you decide how far you want to go with your fitness.
Other challenges are definitely resources and mindset. To strive for complete athlete or just attend competitions or like to travel, you need to have a better time management, more resources and tougher mindset to get distracted and get back to grinding. You start slow but with time it is going to consume more energy and motivation is not always enough. Above all, you constantly leave the zone of comfort but you got one life so you rather risk it if you think it is the right thing. Do it smart and make it your lifestyle, then it gets easier.
To overcome the challenges and meet the goals above you could monitor and document each training no exception and make each exercise a little more progressive, gather more knowledge on your behavior and habits, apply it and get instant feedback. Do everyday more but more productive.
The main challenge is implementation of third workout (must be effective enough) with focus on functional strength. Two workouts a week are enough for anyone trying to get fit efficiently and build up enough strength to compete but there is not much space for using the strength creatively and functionally to be like an all around athlete. Functional training will come handy for what is being performed right now and what is to come, although not so happy about 3 workouts a week but understanding the benefits of it and getting in position where no other option left will make it work.
So basically, there is a need to gather more knowledge and experience to regenerate and perform more competitive within 3 years while improve on big five exercises through first complementary exercises and enjoy the whole process by becoming more active.
Lastly, whether you are new to fitness or progress does not go the way you wanted try these tests to assess your workout. if you are new to it, you find out which part of your body to focus on – you can either start your workout with squats when you have most strength if it is what you need to improve or add complementary exercises based on which part needs more attention.
if you are already training you surely know which part of your body is problematic based on how much you lift and how many reps you performed. When I got started it was the core, lower back and legs now it is the opposite due to lack of consistency and comfort zone. In the tests below you can see that my upper body is definitely not a match for lower part of the body. Performing these exercises will assess how good you perform on big five exercises and where to focus on. I did it more challenging as using two arms or legs would be too easy with my current fitness level.
Basically, by push ups and handstand pushups you monitor your upper body strength and squats for lower part of your body. You could also perform a plank (1 minute needed) for the core that is also extremely needed in this progression as you constantly need to flex it when doing big five exercises. Instead of plank, there was weighted V-sit carried out to make it more challenging. To me it is not to demonstrate the strength but the imbalance that was created which is not good for the overall balance where agility is of utmost importance in all physical activities. The scales are following:
As to push ups if you can do minimum of 24 consecutive push ups with perfect form you are excellent just to mention competitions, in spartan race when you are not able to do certain obstacle you need to perform 30 burpees which is way more than that considering also squats and jumps needed to make it right. As to handstands, you could also perform pull-ups where measurement is very similar and also targets the same parts 9-12 for handstands and 16 for pull-ups. There is at least 31 air squats needed to be considered an excellent lower part strength. Everything under these scales is considered average and below average.
There are more tests depending which part of your body you want to assess, however do not have any English version but there are loads of tests online.
To assess your health, you can simply look in the mirror or count doctor visits a year but being active is one of the main assessments so you should have at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity (fast walk counts as well). 75 minutes of high intensity and for additional health benefits twice as much of each where I can clearly state that, moderate intensity is not matched at all which put need on more active lifestyle plus third workout implementation which should be less strenuous than two main workouts a week. Check the recommendations from WHO (world health organization) in attachment for more. We cannot forget at least 10,000 steps everyday where more means losing weight with deficit of calories.
To be more active, you can also motivate yourself doing unpleasant things by helping others or focusing on the benefits of the process. Completing tasks that are prosperous for the household and combining more activities in it or part of training is also great. Chopping wood for example often shirtless sometimes in underwear or jeans on (compression more strength) brings more productivity plus exposing to cold forces you to breath properly, thus more strength again and above all, the following benefits you obtain from cold and being active on top of doing things that needs to be done and more people appreciate it as they profit from it too.
There you go. We will elaborate mostly on each paragraph more profoundly in later posts but before that, try to get fired up and have a look at some of the free ebooks that motivated me and sets grinding mindset.
Neuman J., 2013. Cvičení a testy obratnosti, vytrvalosti a síly. Portál, s.r.o., Praha.