Sentinel Performance LLC

It’s about this time in January (3 weeks into the new year), that people usually start having a lot of different emotions about their exercise habits; the most popular being frustration. This can come about for a number of different reasons. People will get frustrated that the gym they joined on January 1 is too crowded for them to be able to be productive at achieving their goals. Also, it’s not uncommon for people to hurt themselves in this first month of the year (either through overuse, or over extending themselves). But the most ubiquitous reason that people will have frustration with the gym is that they feel they are not seeing the results they desire as quickly as they want. It’s this issue that is our focus for this week’s blog.

Especially in today’s culture of “I want what I want when I want it,” the seemingly slow-moving process that is the body’s adaptation to exercise can sometimes be a major motivation killer. After all, nobody loves the idea that they have to go into the gym, work super hard, struggle all the way through the workout, feeling uncomfortable the whole time and not see rippling abs and bulging biceps in the mirror an hour later! So, if we know that results don’t happen overnight, but also know that as humans we are impatient and want to quit at the first sign of dissatisfaction, what are we supposed to do? 

The answer lies in making sure you set your bar (ie your expectations) appropriately LOW. What we mean by that, is you are self-sabotaging your workout lifestyle if you expect too much too soon from yourself! In the fitness industry we call this idea “setting process goals,” but basically it’s the same thing as taking baby steps. For example, if losing 25 pounds is what you want to achieve, focus on doing what you need to do to lose 2 pounds. Then when you achieve that, you can focus on losing the next 2 pounds; and then the next, and next until you eventually get to your total goal weight loss! Similarly, if you want to squat 400 pounds, focus on squatting 100lbs, then 150lbs, then 200lbs then 300lbs until you get to 400! 

You see, it’s all about feeding the reward system in your brain by achieving many small milestones along the way to achieving your overall goal. This way, you can allow the feel-good emotions that you get when you achieve a mile marker, motivate you into achieving the next one! Instead of feeling defeated when you don’t reach your ultimate goal in the first week of trying. Just like the old adage goes: “What’s the best way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” 

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