Whether you’re training for a summer holiday in Europe, or fitness has been an integral part of your daily routine for the past five years, the three pillars of your journey to the body, mindset and health that you want doesn’t waver.
What are these three essential pillars?
Each pillar plays its own important role in ensuring that you are progressing to your goals as effectively as possible. None take priority of the other, they have to work together!
The most fundamental and primary focus for the majority of fitness enthusiasts is the training. When deciding the type(s) of training that you will undertake to reach your fitness goals, it is important to reverse engineer from the outcome that you are seeking.
HIIT, hypertrophy-based training, CrossFit or calisthenics, unless you have a super-specific goal (e.g. competing at a bodybuilding contest), don’t pigeonhole yourself! Variety is the spice of life, and each type of training has its merits. More often than not, you’re able to integrate different types of training into your personal routine to maximise the results that you want.
When looking at your training, three main variables to consider:
How often do you train each day or week? Are you allowing your body adequate time to recover, or are you taking too many breaks and not giving yourself enough time throughout a time period to get to your goals in a timely manner?
Intensity is a subjective term (although can be measured with formulas such as RPE - Rate of Perceived Exertion), but ultimately how challenging do you believe your workouts and exercise routine to be. Does this mean you have to be training to vomit every session? Of course not, however intensity is a variable that holds a lot of trainers back. Put in work to get your reward!
This is your total workload for a training session. Think of repetitions, sets, duration. If you up the intensity and frequency you might want to dial down the volume to prevent injury and burn out and vice versa.
Always talked about, but still underrated, if you’re eating enough or not eating right, you won’t see consistent progress!
What are you eating and how often are you eating it? We’re not only talking about your macros in terms of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, but just as important for your ability to absorb food is making sure your micronutrients are a staple in your diet. It’s no good eating all the right macros but then neglecting how the body is able to process them and allow your body to recover and fuel itself!
Supplements can play its role, but they are exactly that, a supplement to your diet and won’t work if the rest of your fitness lifestyle isn’t in check!
Mindset is more often than not overcomplicated. A lot of people out there on social media providing vague forms of short-term motivation in the shape of aesthetically pleasing images, or quotes that are meant to lift your day.
Ultimately, the greatest form of motivation to get into a healthy state of mind to continue your fitness pursuit is knowledge, improvement and setting/reaching goals! LIke most things in life, fitness is cause-and-effect, if you do this, then that will happen. Empowering yourself with the knowledge of understanding how and why things work (e.g. why should I be squatting with my heels down?) will drive you to stay consistent and on top of your game.
At the end of the day, if you’re still unmotivated and lacking the drive to take action, maybe you need to find another activity, type of training or method of cooking your food that suits YOUR personality and lifestyle!
Fitness isn’t rocket science, it’s a carefully constructed formula built upon the above three pillars. What you need to do is decide for yourself what you want out of fitness, and how you can manipulate your Training, Nutrition and Mindset to not only match your goals, but your lifestyle and circumstances to reap the rewards and enjoyment long-term.