This week we'll be exploring this fascinating area of training; Goals & Goal Setting. The various ways to create them; how to track your progress, and what to do when you get there.
It all started last year when my best friend, Tara and I were looking for a way to really motivate us to lose weight and feel great in our bikinis. We had always tried to create games and challenges against each other, but nothing ever really stuck (we have the worst discipline), so we came up with a genius idea that we knew we'd never back down on... what was this genius idea you ask? It's pretty simple actually.
In February 2010, we created a Facebook event (we called it Bikini Challenge 2010) and invited several of our friends who we knew wanted to lose weight as well. The challenge didn't consist of much. Participants had until June 21st (the first day of Summer) to get fit, lose weight, etc. Then at midnight on D-Day (June 21st) each participant had to post a full length shot of them in their bikini and use it as their default pic on their Facebook profile for 24 hours. We also had the participants post the shots on the wall of our fan page. Anyone who didn't post the bikini pic by 12:15 would have to pay $100 which would go into a pot and be split up evenly between all the participants who did post their pic. Since no one wanted to pay the $100 and no one wanted to post a "fat" bikini pic, the motivation was, well, pretty intense!
I find that weight training does many things for me from the physical, right through to the mental and emotional.
First of all, I love a challenge, especially a physical one. I'm a very Type-A personality and if I can't do something 100% I really don't want to do it at all, so when I weight train, I go as hard as I can. I find a lot of internal personal satisfaction from going hard, being good at it and having the body to back that up.
While I am doing the actual training, I don't think anyone can argue with what endorphins do for you mentally, but I also get some truly great physical sensations that I've become addicted to as well. That tight feeling my skin gets when experiencing the 'pump' is a major rush for me. Nothing is better than feeling like your muscles are going to rip out of your skin! There's also the "burn" I feel while I'm doing my reps, as lactic acid builds up in my muscles from the heavy workload. I LOVE IT! Also, when I train, I try to hit failure as much as possible (the kind of failure where your muscle actually gives out on you, not the kind where you stop because it burns). When I do hit failure it is immediately frustration-inducing if I haven't gotten all my reps in. I'm a pretty competitive girl so if I feel like my body is giving out on what my brain wants to do, I find I'm immediately competing with myself and pushing to get those weights up regardless of failure. So, at that point failure sucks. But after I get over my little internal hissy-fit having hit failure is awesome and I feel great that I pumped until I reached it!
All the regulars seemed to agree that the worst time of year was January. That's when the gym was flooded with new people. The treadmills and ellipticals were packed and the squat rack turned into the curl rack. Oddly enough, there was rarely any increased traffic at the pull-up bars, the dumbbells, the bench, and the power rack (must take too long to adjust the pins for curls).
Reflecting back on it, I didn't resent the increased traffic because it was more crowded. I certainly did not mind the people getting on the treadmills and attempting to lose weight either. The thing that bothered me the most was the lack of commitment of the new crowd.
You could almost tell by their gym mannerisms that they were going to quit at any time. Someone would be walking on the treadmill for a few minutes, get a cell phone call, answer it and leave. Someone else would come with a couple of friends, talk while sitting at some machines then take off. You could almost predict when they would stop coming.
Now I don't want to over generalize and say everyone that comes in with a New Year's resolution quits, but it is the majority. There was a new gentleman that came in with the New Year's crowd that must have weighed around 350 lbs at 5 foot 6 inches tall. This man stuck with it for my last two years at that gym, and I bet he is probably still working hard. Five days a week he would be chugging away on the treadmill and sweating profusely (or as my brother who sweats a lot would say, he made a lot of "hard work puddles.") There were few people that I respected more at that gym than this gentleman. He made a commitment and stuck with it.
I had not been to this gym in awhile, but I went back to talk to the owner about the New Year's crowd. He told me that their membership enrollment in January is greater than all the other months combined. Gyms like to advertise lower yearly rates (as opposed to lower monthly rates) during January to get people to pay for the full year, knowing that most of them will drop out in the first month. At that particular gym, between 65-80% of the new January members do not swipe their membership cards in after February.
According to Jeff Barge, Welch Media contributor, only 45% of Americans even bothered setting goals in 2004, down from 88% in previous years. Jeff adds that, "According to our study, only 8% of Americans say they always achieve their New Year's resolutions. The way it seems to work now, setting a New Year's Resolution is a recipe for defeat. It has come to be one of the nation's most masochistic traditions -- almost rivaling Halloween in that respect."
It's that time of year again. Before setting my health and fitness goals for 2006, I decided to check the status of a few things first. One of these is my current level of bodyfat - last estimated back in April this year.
Once again I used the same technique as used by the US Department of Defense, the formula being :
% body fat = 86.010 x log10(abdomen - neck) - 70.041 x log10(height) + 36.76
Note that the formula is a little different for females :
% body fat = 163.205 x log10(waist + hip - neck) - 97.684 x log10(height) - 78.387
It seems to be the appropriate time of year for goal-setting (usually thinly veiled as New Years' Resolutions). A few of the things I'd like to improve over the next few months :
Other than those, the simple and obvious one :
Continue to get stronger!