Writing Powerful Fitness Goals

Writing Powerful Fitness Goals

What is possible for you in 2015?

Are you excited to set fitness goals for the New Year?

 


 

Remember to start a new fitness program and get results, you need to complete the 3 Steps to Fitness Success:

            I. Determine your fitness baseline (here)

           II. Write inspiring fitness goals

           III. Track your progress

 

Written goals before & not achieved them?  Check out the Goal Obstacles Analysis tool before continuing.

 

In this post we’ll explore:

II. Write inspiring fitness goals

 

Here are the formula & steps:

 

Smashing Fitness Goals = Vision + Goals + Power + Commitment + Support

 

1. Vision – Calibrate Your Compass

 

Start with the end in mind.

 

Every time I write goals, I start with a vision of where I want to be. I modify my vision timeframe depending on the goals I am setting. I recommend a 2-year vision for setting fitness goals. You can achieve anything you want to in fitness in 2 years or less. Good news right?

The importance of writing a vision before goal setting is to create a compass pointing you in the direction you want to go. Create your goals from your vision, to most to effectively achieve your vision. Goals are like milestones along the path to achieving your vision.

 

2-Year Visioning Exercise (10 mins):

Find a quiet space to take yourself through the visioning exercise. Exploring each one thoroughly.

Capture your fitness vision in detail. You can use the Fitness Goal Setting Tool on the Resources Page to record it.

I recommend using the visioning exercise audio so you can close your eyes and stay in your vision throughout the questions.

 

2. + Goals – Set Milestones

Set Milestones Along the Path to Your Vision.

 

Start putting together three to five 2-year fitness goals. Use these questions to guide you:

  1. What would you need to achieve in 2 years just before reaching your vision?
  2. What would be a milestone on the path to vision?
  3. How would you know if you reached your 2–year goal?

Work backwards from your 2-year goals to create 1-year, 6-month, 3-month, and 2-week goals. Keep asking yourself the questions above. For example, with your 1-year goals ask yourself:

  1. What would you need to achieve in 1 year, before reaching your 2-year goals?
  2. What would be a milestone on the path to your 2-year goal?
  3. How would you know if you reached your 1-year goal?

 

3. + Power – Create Through Language

 

Language is not only the way we describe the world, it is how we create it.

 

Language is a powerful tool in creating an inspiring vision and goals. Review your vision and goals, to align your language to these:

  • Present Tense:  Vision and goals are most powerful when they are written in present tense. You want to attract exactly what you want, so write it like it is happening now. How does it feel?
  • Full Commitment:  Use language that requires full commitment. I am ___, I do ___ rather than words like I could, I might, I should or I can ___.
  • Positive Language:  Describe what you want, rather than what you don’t want. You want to harness the law of attraction with every word in your vision and goals.
  • Specific Language:  Can you be more specific with your language? “Get fit” or “Improve Health” are too general to measure. How ‘fit’? How ‘healthy’? And how would you know if you achieved your goal?
  • Inspiring, Creative Language:  Do your vision and goals speed up your heart rate and make you feel like you have had too much coffee? If not, why not? Can you modify them or your language to excite and inspire you?

 

4. + Commitment – Rate Your Motivation

 

One who waivers, achieves little.

 

Rate your commitment level on this scale for each of your 2-year goals in the worksheet.   Include the reasons for your commitment rating.

Consider these questions:

  1. What would move your commitment level to 10? (i.e. make the goal more inspiring, get clear on your obstacles and tackle them, take action sooner, etc.)
  2. The higher your commitment level, the more likely you are to achieve your goal. Are you willing to do what it takes to get your commitment level to an 8 or higher? If not, perhaps you don’t need to include the goal.

 

5. + Support – Share Your Vision & Goals

 

 Others are there to support you to achieve your goals, if you let them.

 

It is time to build your support network. Be willing to share your goals and commit to yourself and others. Who in your life can support you in achieving your goals? What resources useful resources do they have? Who is willing to hold you accountable? Friends? Family? Enroll your network to help you along the way, and do it now!

Fill in worksheet to become clear on who to enroll, how to enroll them and when to start.

 


 

You are ready to start goal smashing! Start small – look at your 2 week goals and take your first action!

Tip: I recommend keeping your goals simple and focusing on these 3 goals until they are complete. Do not add any more in! You’ll end up diluting your time and energy and it will take longer to achieve your goals. By focusing on 1-3 goals, you may complete them quicker than you thought possible!

Let me know if you have questions or would like to set up some 1:1 goal setting time with me. Contact me here.

 

10 Questions of Reflection Before Goal Setting for the New Year

10 Questions of Reflection Before Goal Setting for the New Year

Didn’t achieve your goals for 2014?

Are you scared to commit to new goals for 2015?

 

2014 is winding down, and it is the perfect time for reflecting on the year before you start 2015 refreshed and renewed. It will help you accept exactly where you are right now! Then you can write goals for 2015 from a present, clear space.

In the process of reflection, I want you to answer these questions with absolute love for yourself and zero judgment. Reflecting is most useful when you look at the past as a neutral series of events that happened. Remember that everything happens for a reason and the past is unchangeable.   Grab a journal and pen and make yourself comfortable. Take your time and explore each question fully. Write down everything that comes to mind.

 


 

10 Questions for Reflecting on 2014:

 

  1. What are you most grateful for?
  2. What were your biggest lessons?
  3. What were the biggest surprises?
  4. What were your biggest obstacles?
  5. What are you most proud of?
  6. Think of any events you are still resisting or feeling resentful for. How can you let these go?
  7. What brought you closer to your goals?
  8. What took your further away from your goals?
  9. What do you want more of in 2015?
  10. What do you want less of in 2015?

To complete this reflection exercise, take note of anything you learned that you did not already know. Take actions to get complete on anything that happened in 2014 that is taking energy away from you being present right here, right now. Let it all go, and create for 2015 from nothing.

 

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” – Confucius

 

 Smashing Fitness Goals = Vision + Goals + Power + Commitment + Support

 

Determining Your Fitness Baseline

Determining Your Fitness Baseline

You are amped to get fit!

What is the first thing you need to do?

Determine your fitness baseline, then decide what you want to accomplish!


 

Starting a new fitness program is exciting!  You might want to jump straight in.  However, if you slow down and take time to do these 3 things, you will stay excited and committed to your fitness:

           I. Determine your fitness baseline

           II. Write inspiring fitness goals

           III. Track your progress

 

In this post we’ll explore:

I. Determining your fitness baseline (your current fitness level)

The more information you collect about your fitness baseline, the more powerful your fitness goals and progress tracking.  Use as many of these fitness baseline tests as possible!

Fitness Baseline Tests

 

For each fitness baseline test, I outline the reason, the measurements, the method, alternative methods, and resources for more information.

 

1. Body Composition – BI Analysis

 

Rationale: Body weight gives you an indication of how much weight your bones, joints and muscles are carrying around everyday.  It is easy and quick to track, and it is likely that you have a history of body weight measurements to compare your baseline to already.  Body composition is a more powerful measurement of fitness, since it takes into account that muscles are heavier than fat.  These measurements together are excellent to track because they tell you how your body is responding to your fitness program in small increments.

Measurements: Total Body Weight and Body Fat %

Method: Use a scale with biometrical impedance analysis, which uses electrical currents to determine your body fat percentage.  While these scales are not the most accurate way to measure body fat percentage, they are the simplest and easiest to replicate over time.  It is more important to measure weight and body fat percentage using the same method and conditions to compare results, than it is to get a more accurate reading once and not track your progress.  Use these 2 measurements together for goal setting as body weight alone does not directly correlate to fitness level.  See alternative methods, and chose this one or one that you can replicate monthly. 

Context: It can be helpful to have context about how your performance compares to others in your age group.  You can compare your results here, though remember progress over time is the main goal.  Do not judge yourself for where you are now, but think of where you want to be.  You may also want to use the charts and ratings to set your fitness goals.

Alternative Methods/ Tests: Skins calipers, anthropometric, hydrostatic weighing, DEXA (Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) Scan, Whole Body Plethysmography, and comparison photos.

Resources:

  • https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2012/07/02/body-fat-percentage/
  • https://www.topendsports.com/testing/bodycomp.htm
  • https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/5-ways-to-test-your-body-composition
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_composition

 

2. Muscular Endurance – Push Up Test (Upper Body)

 

Rationale:  This tests your upper body strength and endurance.  It is a great idea to test both your upper and lower body separately, because the results could be very different depending on your current activities.

Measurement: Maximum # push ups

Method: This test is really easy to do at home or in a gym.  Set yourself up on the floor with a mat and plenty of space.  For men, the correct push up technique is military style with only hand and toes on the floor. Complete as many push ups as possible, maintaining a flat back and touching chest to ground on each push up.  Your score is the total number of push ups you complete without stopping.  For women, you have the option to lower your knees to the ground and complete the push ups from this position.  Ensure that you maintain a flat back and complete as many push ups as possible.

Context: You can compare your scores here, taking into account whether you used the modified knee push up or the full push up.

Alternative Methods / Tests: 1 minute maximum push ups, cadence push up test, pull up test, arm hang test, 1 rep max bench press.

Resources:

  • https://www.topendsports.com/testing/tests/home-pushup.htm
  • https://www.brianmac.co.uk/pressuptst.htm

 

3. Muscular Endurance – Wall Sit Test (Lower Body)

 

Rationale:  This tests your lower body strength and endurance, especially in your quadriceps.  By testing your upper and lower body separately, you can measure your progress for both groups of muscles.  This test also allows you to compare your left and right leg strength to see if there are any imbalances.

Measurement: # of seconds hold for each leg

Method: You need a smooth wall, a stopwatch and a mirror if possible.  Stand with your feet hip width apart and your back on the wall. Slide down the wall until your hip and knees are at a 90 degree angle.  Lift one leg off the ground, start your stopwatch and time how many seconds you can keep your leg off the ground for.  Rest, then repeat for the other side.

Context:  Here is a chart to compare your results to norms for this test.

Alternative Methods / Tests: Squat test, 1 Leg Squat test, Box jumps.

Resources:

  • https://healthyliving.azcentral.com/muscular-endurance-test-legs-11349.html
  • https://www.fiteval.com/Site_1/Muscular_Endurance_Evaluation.html

 

4. Cardiovascular Fitness – Cooper 12 minute Run Test

 

Rationale:  Cardiovascular fitness measures the efficiency of your heart and lungs in supplying your muscles with oxygen and the effectiveness of your muscles converting the oxygen into energy.  It is a fundamental part of your health!  The Cooper 12 Minute Run Test is simple, scalable and widely used internationally.

Measurement: Distance (meters) run or walked in 12 minutes

Method: Head to your nearest outdoor track, or pre-measure distances for your run with markers.  Use a stopwatch to time 12 minutes and run (or walk) as far as you can in 12 minutes.  Record your distance in meters.

Context: Compare your results here, and remember that the aim is to improve over time regardless of your starting point.

Alternative Methods / Tests:  1km Run, 2.4km Run, Queen’s College Step Test, Beep Test.

Resources:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooper_test
  • https://www.topendsports.com/testing/tests/cooper.htm

 

5. Flexibility – V-Sit Reach Test

 

Rationale: Flexibility is an important part of fitness, since low flexibility can inhibit correct alignment and increase risk of injury in exercises. The V-Sit Reach Test is a variation of the widely used Sit and Reach Test, and only required a measuring tape and tape marker.  This test specifically measures hamstring and lower back flexibility, which is where most people are tight.  See Additional Methods / Tests for shoulder flexibility tests, if you want to measure your shoulder flexibility as well.

Measurement: Length in cm from the baseline to where your hands reach

Method: Use an existing straight line on the floor, or mark 1m of straight line to use as your baseline.  Then draw a line perpendicular to your baseline, marking every 1/2 cm to 20 cm’s on both sides of your baseline.  Take your shoes off and sit with both feet directly behind the baseline.  With one hand on top of the other, palms facing down, slow reach forward to see how far you can reach towards your feet.  Repeat this reach a couple of times to warm up.   Now, repeat the same action, and take record your measurement.  Your baseline represents a zero (0) score, and the measurements closest to you are negative measurement scores, while the measurements on the other side of the baseline are positive measurement scores.  Make sure you complete the test slowly and hold the reach for 3 seconds so you are not using momentum to gain length.

Context: Compare your own results over time for this test.  The test results  depend on arm and leg length, so comparing to other people’s results is not  useful.

Alternative Methods / Tests: Sit and Reach Test, Modified Sit and Reach Test, Back Scratch Test.

Resources:

  • https://www.bodytrainer.tv/en/page/2/35-37-V-Sit+Flexibiilty+Test
  • https://www.presidentschallenge.org/challenge/physical/activities/v-sit-reach.shtml

 

6. Core Strength – 7 Stage Sit Up Test

 

Rationale:  A strong core is fundamental to all exercises and protecting your lower back.  The 7 Stage Sit Up Test is widely used and simple to test.

Measurement: Level completed (1-7)

Method:  To complete this test you will need a mat to lay on, a 2.5kg plate, and a 5kg plate.  Place your back on your mat, knees bent, feet at hip width, and arms extended towards your knees.  For a stage to be complete, you need to keep your feet on the ground for the entire sit up.  You may attempt the stage a second time if you do not complete it on the first attempt.

Stage 1: Complete a sit up so your wrists slide up your legs and move past your knees.

Stage 2: Complete a sit up so your elbows move past your knees.

Stage 3: Place your arms across your abdominals, sit up and touch your chest to your thighs.

Stage 4: Place your hands on opposite shoulders with your arms across your chest, sit up and touch your forearms to thighs.

Stage 5: Place your hands behind your head, and sit up touching chest to thighs.

Stage 6: Hold a 2.5kg weight behind your head, complete a sit up, touch your chest to thighs.

Stage 7: Hold a 5kg weight behind you head, complete a sit up, touch your chest to thighs.

Context:  Your result is the stage that you completed.  Compare your results here.

Alternative Methods / Tests: 1 Minute Maximum Sit Ups, Eurofit Sit Up Test, Plank Test,

Resources:

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2QzOO4tUBU

 

Record all your results including the date and time completed.  The next time you test yourself, you will want to keep the conditions as similar as possible as the first test so that any changes to your results, is from your exercise program.  Use your fitness baseline results to create specific fitness goals for yourself.  I will take a detailed look into how to do this in an upcoming post.  Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Role of Mental Strength in Sport Performance

The Role of Mental Strength in Sport Performance

How important is personal mindset in sports performance relative to physical training and skill building?

 

1/3 of the total sport performance pie?  More?  Less?


 

What percentage of your performance preparation time do you spend on your mindset, attitudes,
and mental skills such as visualisation, resilience, perseverance, focus, confidence and managing pressure? Do you train your mind on how to most effectively handle coming in 2nd place, recovering from an injury, or failing at a fitness goal?

Most athletes spend very little time on mental skills for sports performance, even though most realise how important their mind is in succeeding in their sport. (Psychology Today)

Would you expect to perform at your best, if you trained inconsistently and lacked programming and sport specific skill training?  Probably not!  So, without mental training, how can we expect to use our minds effectively to help drive our performance?

 

 Why isn’t mental training a regular, consistent part of sports performance training?

 

Here are 3 possible reasons:

1. Mental training is not traditionally part of training in most sports, and its taking a long time to become ingrained. It is often still used inconsistently and sometimes ineffectively so the potential to drive performance is not well known or well documented.

2. There are athletes that are very successful without formal mental training. They have learned mental skills through experience, competing, and trial and error. As Jim Taylor, Ph.D, suggests in the Psychology Today article, “for every successful athlete who develops mental toughness on their own, there are one or more who are equally talented and motivated to become successful, but need help in developing their mental capabilities.” Unfortunately, while some athletes learn these skills on their own, many others fail and end up leaving a sport without reaching their potential.

3. Mental training done inconsistently without a professional, lacks the ability to demonstrate concrete results. Often there is no baseline established, no measurements recorded, and therefore no results shown. By engaging a professional coach or a sports psychologist, it is possible to demonstrate progress and results.

The biggest factor that I hear from coaching clients is that they do not know where to go for resources, information and advice. Here is  a starting point:


 

Components of Mental Strength:

 

 1. Confidence     2. Visualisation    3. Focus    4. Adaptability    5. Optimism

6. Resiliency    7. Ethics    8. Motivation    9. Goal Setting

3 steps to improve your mental strength:
  1. Assess your current mental strength level in each of the 9 components here.
  2. Use your results to determine which components need the most development.
  3. Decide what works best for you: partnering with a coach, working with a sports psychologist, or tackling it on your own!

 

Gracefully Unwell

Gracefully Unwell

I often speak to friends and family about being physically unwell or injured and how its a time for reflection, rest and self awareness.

Well, I’ve have a recent opportunity to try to take on my own words of wisdom!  I’ve been at home sick all week.

“Just a virus,” the doctor said, “Nothing you can do about it except rest.”

Instead of taking my own advice, I found myself fluctuating between feeling the need to do something productive, and being frustrated about what I could NOT do!

What I noticed about being sick, is that while my body wants to recuperate, my mind is running twice as fast.  So I ended up thinking about all the things I can do since I’m not at work, while  my body is saying – Hey, you trying to get over a virus. Take it easy!

So, why hasn’t it been easy to reflect and rest?

I usually use exercise regularly to de-stress and quiet my mind.  Without exercising this week, my mind is definitely louder than usual.  After a few days of this mind body conflict, I felt drained and stressed – neither of which is conducive to getting better quickly.  Letting my mind’s voice get louder and louder, was not giving me the space to reflect.  So what did I decide to do about it?

  • I choose to be gracefully unwell, instead of grumpy, stressed and unwell.  I realised that I have a choice about who I am when I’m sick as well as healthy.  Who do I want to be when I’m sick?  Relaxed, making choices that will optimise my health.  Who I don’t want to be? Unwell for weeks, stressed, feeling guilty for not being at work, frustrated that I can’t exercise, eating foods that won’t help me get better.  Making this distinction between who I want to be and who I don’t want to be makes it a lot easier to incorporate the rest of the steps!
  • Veggies    Eat for health optimisation.  This means, simply getting as much good stuff in me as possible, and forget the rest.  The  good stuff is minerals, vitamins, amino acids, alkalising foods, electrolytes, and water.  I’ve been juicing fresh fruits and vegetables everyday; taking supplements of iron, magnesium, echinenesia, calcium, and tons of other vitamins.  I ate an entire cantaloupe (or rock mellon for my Australia friends), added spirulina and chlorella (featured picture) to my shakes, and drinking my homemade garlic and ginger tincture in orange juice.  I’m trying to drink most of my meals so that my body doesn’t require too much energy to break down the food.  And downing at least 2 litres of water with an alkaline supplement per day.
  • Quiet my mind.   If I want to be truly relaxed, I need to stop my mind from running rampant in my head.  Some of the techniques I use are: a) Focus on listening to my breath – I find this clears my mind and reduces the tension I hold in my shoulders; b) Reading – By reading, I interrupt the continuous internal conversation in my head and my mind just reads instead of thinking; c) Listening – I play music or audio podcasts and let my mind focus on listening and my mind goes quiet; and d) Watching – By watching a movie or live surfing (Quiksilver Pro France), my stops chattering and just watches whatever is in front of me.

 

  • Getting plenty of sleep.  I am going to bed before 9pm and not setting an alarm, I’ve even kept my phone charging in another room so it doesn’t wake me up.  I take naps when Ifeel tired, which is sometimes twice a day and I let myself wake up naturally.

 

 

  • Fresh air.     I take at least one walk a day to breath in the fresh ocean air.  If I can’t surf in the salt water, at least I can breathe it in!  Walking is a good compromise between getting movements in my muscles and joints but not tiring myself out.

 

In finding time to reflect, I find it so interesting that all of these steps which will play a large part in getting me back to optimal health, and also steps that are going to help keep me there.

 

Are there any steps you use to get back to optimal health that I haven’t included?
Sublime Pie

Sublime Pie

A friend of mine and artist that I follow, Prina Shah, wrote in her blog about Sublime this week.  The first thing I thought of, was Sublime Pie (recipe by Raw Food Karen Bartz)! It’s a raw food version of Key Lime Pie that I often make for friends and family and have them guess what’s in it.  Of course, she wasn’t talking about food. 

In Search of Sublime   by: Prina Shah (blog)

This week I had brunch with a Canadian friend who told me about her trip back home. It was great to hear her stories! Driving through Tofino, in B.C, she said that she was struck by awe at the sight of the huge 250+ foot cedar trees towering over her along the roadside. She said it made her feel tiny and in wonder at such beauty. It got me questioning what it is about nature and the sublime that we seek so much in our lives…

For most of us our day is structured. A standard day for most would consist of the basic acts of; waking up, eating breakfast, working, eating lunch, finishing work, eating dinner and sleeping. Also not to mention the constant barrage of technological notifications whether it be emails, text messages or the time we spend faffing around on social media sites. This would generally be recipe for one’s week, give or take a few activities here and there.

When we imagine a ‘free’ life, free of the above listed daily grind and the drudgery of it all, free from the limitations of these time imposed activities, we dream of going away to somewhere tropical or to the countryside, a different scene, somewhere to relax and to soak in the entire world around us. We seek to watch a sunset, climb a mountain, go hiking – be at one with nature and to appreciate the sublime.

So what is the sublime? Alain de Botton says “The sublime is a feeling provoked by certain kinds of landscape that are very large, very impressive and dangerous. Places like the wide-open oceans, the high mountains, the polar caps. The Sinai Desert, the Grand Canyon. These places do all sorts of things to us. It’s interesting that around the end of the 18th century, people started to say that the feeling that these places provoke in us is a recognizable one and universal one — and a good one. This feeling was described as the feeling of the sublime. There are all sorts of theories about what exactly is needed to have the experience of the sublime. But gathering them all together, essentially what lies at the center of the experience is a feeling of smallness. You are very small and something else is very big… You are very vulnerable in the face of something else.”

These places are non threatening, they assert grandness over us and are breath taking.Viewing the sublime is a stark reminder of our fragility and morality and reminds us how little all that we think matters really does matter in the wider scheme of things.

I am lucky to be living in such a stunning place as Western Australia which is full of the sublime; being five minutes away from the Indian Ocean and having the most striking sunsets most evenings. Getting away from it all can be as simple as keeping my eyes open to all that is around me and  taking everything in. Some people find such a feeling from gardening, surfing, running.

Artist Andy Goldsworthy works with and within the natural environment. He uses natural materials and creates ephemeral sculptures to highlight the ever evolving facets of nature and the eco systems around us. His work is simple, yet detailed and contains elements of the sublime in every piece he works on. He aims for his ‘touch’ to look into the heart of nature; he says “I take the opportunity each day offers: if it is snowing, I work in snow, [in autumn] it will be leaves; a blown over tree becomes a source of twigs and branches.”

How do you get your fix of the sublime? Are you from Western Australia? Do you know of any such grand places to go visit? Do you feel that it is necessary to have a dose of the sublime in your life?

[link to original article to comment: click here ]

For me, I need it. It makes me a better person and informs my work – whether it be my artwork and whatever else I produce. It reminds me of a poem I am very fond of titled Leisure by William Henry Davies which discusses care as in the old meaning being worries and time as a limitation to our lives.

Here is Leisure by William Henry Davies:

Leisure by W.H. Davies

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.