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Cardinals Fitness Tip of the Week: Preparation = Success

Cardinal’s Fitness Tip of the Week:

Preparation = Success

We can all feel the holidays coming. After thanksgiving pants waists got tighter, wallets began to feel strained, and New Year’s resolutions are already being thought up. Health isn’t a seasonal endevour, and learning from past mistakes to prepare for future holidays is a key part of staying fit year round and not ever having to fight your way back to a healthy weight. Cardinal’s Fitness is here to help you! With affordable, no contract monthly memberships, nutrition counseling and a variety of classes led by professional trainers who have your goals in mind you can enjoy a stress free workout regimen year round! This weeks’ blog will cover learning from past failures, planning for future success, and executing your plans to plow through the holidays without a hitch!


Don’t let the Gains of Christmas Past get you down

Learning from past mistakes is an essential part of preparing for the future. Think back on all the times that weight has fluctuated during the holidays and left you scrambling to shed a few pounds before summer. Think specifically about the habits you developed during the holidays that contributed to that weight gain. Snacking, leaving bowls of candy around the house for guests when you yourself are the person that usually eats them. There are things that you can do to improve your chances of having a successful holiday season. Not knowing what you have done in the past to gain weight will leave you grasping for straws when January rolls around.


Set Holiday Goals and Attack Them

Some people don’t enjoy getting on the scale often, and some find that it creates an unhealthy outlook or obsession with weight for them. If that is your case then by all means, stay away from the scale. But, if you don’t have that issue with the scale then it can be a great way to track progress and help you to better maintain your weight during the holidays. Personally, I weigh myself each day around the same time and under the same conditions (9 AM, have had breakfast and coffee). Doing this has shown me how much weight can fluctuate each day, and I can now see how weighing yourself arbitrarily once a month can be damaging as there is nothing to compare it to. My weight can fluctuate by around 5 lbs depending on the day, and usually has to do most with my total calorie intake for the day before. If you can determine that you want to keep your weight within a 10 lb window during the holidays and track your weight daily you will know when and if you need to restrict calories a little to stay within the goal weight range. Do yourself a favor and keep snack trays healthy, especially when you are home by yourself. When you are out socializing be aware if and when you are eating because you are uncomfortable in a social situation or if you are already satisfied but are continuing to eat. This will help you recognize where the problem stems from and address it. Another good way to avoid over eating at a social gathering is to fill yourself with good things in the beginning of the party or before you go. If I am feeling like I will be tempted at a party I usually eat a lot of lean meats and veggies that will sit in my stomach and make me feel satisfied for a few hours.


Make Goals Specific, Attainable, & with a Deadline

You will have more success with maintaining a healthy weight during the holiday season if you set specific, attainable, and time-oriented goals. Let me break down how to do this. First, set specific goals by using specific numbers or measurement tools to determine success. For instance, instead of saying “I want to lose some weight” say “I want to lose 10 lbs by this date” and make sure that your goal is realistic and the timeframe is attainable. A good goal for the holidays is saying “between Dec. 1st and January 15th I want to stay between 200 and 215 lbs.” This goal has a specific date range and gives room for your weight to fluctuate without making you feel bad that you missed your goal. 

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Cardinal's Fitness Tip of the Week: Setting Goals


 Many people today have made their health a priority. They come to classes for good reason- to get in or stay in shape- but many lack a clear direction for a specific goal that they are trying to accomplish. There are several steps involved in accomplishing a goal, the first of which is choosing one. 


Be Specific


"If you aim at nothing you'll hit it every time" - Zig Ziglar

Goals need to be specific. If your goal was to "lose some weight" how would you ever know when you had lost enough, or the quality of your weight loss? You could just decide to "lose weight" and starve yourself while staring at the scale until the number gets smaller, but a large portion of your weight loss would be muscle lost, which doesn't help you in the long term. A better goal to set would be to "lose 10 lbs of fat by July 2015." This goal is better in that it is specific. Not only are you clarifying the type of weight you want to lose, but you are also setting a deadline that is both reasonable and motivating. 


Set Smaller Goals Along the Way


How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. 

If your long-term goal is to lose 100 lbs it is better to focus on 10 lb increments than always thinking about the daunting triple-digit weight loss goal. These smaller goals help you keep your eye on the big prize, while letting yourself enjoy the small rewards that accumulate during the journey. Instead of being discouraged that you have 90lbs left, be encouraged that you lost 10! That is a milestone that is worth celebrating. This will also encourage you to slow down, you're just trying to lose 10 for now, best to take it slow and make sure its quality fat loss. According to research, slower is better. If you drop 10 lbs in a week you're much more likely to put it right back on the next week than if you lost it over the course of a month. 


Focus on Learning


Those who forget the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them

There are so many who do whatever it takes to lose weight, and in their tenacity they forget that weight loss isn't the goal, fat loss initially and then weight maintenance are the two things that will matter in the long run. If you lose musle mass, your weight loss wont be as aesthetically pleasing, and will be harder to maintain. Plus, regaining that muscle after will make your process even more difficult! Fat loss is what you are after, not just weight loss.

Then there's what comes after the fat loss, weight maintenance. So many people know how to lose weight, but so few people are able to keep it off. Don't jump onto another fad diet or crazy exercise regimen! Before you decide to kill yourself with hours on the treadmill or multiple workouts a day or extremely low calories for quick weight loss, look at whether or not those actions will be maintainable. Learn from what you already know about yourself, if you know that you will be able to go hard for 2 months, but have a history of burning out, don't do that! Decide instead to set a reasonable and maintainable exercise level, say two or three times a week. That way you can create a habit and maintain it once you have reached your goal. Similarly,don't go and drastically cut down your calories! There are many diets today that advocate this for quick weight loss, and guess what, it works! For a month or so. Your body cannot operate on extremely low calories, and often times it will actually do the opposite of what you want. You will lower your calories so much and for so long that your body thinks you are starving it! So, as a survival mechanism, it will begin to store fat so that it wont starve. Set dietary goals that are maintainable, otherwise you will likely bounce back when you are reintroduced to your normal eating habits. 


A HUGE part of reaching your goals is nutrition. If you want your results to last you must have some idea of what you should eat, and why. There is so much confusion on the internet and in print about what you should and shouldn't eat. One day milk is good, the next day it is bad, one day you should eat whole grains, the next you shouldn't ever eat wheat products. It is impossible to keep up, and very difficult even to begin to find trustworthy information. At Cardinal's we care about our clients, we want the goals you reach here to stick with you throughout your life. We now have a Registered Dietitian on staff, who is eager to help you not only reach your goals, but increase your understanding of what proper nutrition looks like, which will increase your possibilities of maintaining your success long-term. 

monica-garrett Interested in Nutrition Counseling?
Click here to contact our Registered Dietitian
Monica Garrett, M.S, R.D., L.D.
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