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  • Mitchell Rothbardt

What Now? A Starter’s Guide

So, what now? You’ve decided you need to get in shape. What now? Where do you go? What do you do? Thousands of wide-eyed folks join gyms every day with sugar-plum thoughts of fitness in their heads only to stop going six weeks later seeing no discernible difference in their bodies or, more importantly, the way they feel and move. They still have the bad knee. They still have the belly. Why? Well, there’s probably a few reasons. What I’ll try to do here is outline a couple of things you can do to get started in a way that will actually help you achieve your goals and not be one of the disillusioned souls wondering why nothing is happening.

1. Set your goals.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

How does this awesome quote from Alice in Wonderland relate to the gym? Easy. Goals. The Cat is merely pointing out that if Alice isn’t clear on where she’d like to go then he really can’t help her. In other words you need goals to know what you need to do. The goal will tell us everything. It will tell you what to eat, what to lift, how often, etc.

When I ask people their goals, I often hear, “I want to get in shape.” What does that mean? The fact is, it’s much too general a term to mean much of anything. To different people it can mean losing weight, gaining weight, getting stronger, getting faster, reducing pain, increasing endurance and probably a hundred other things I can’t even think of.

What I’m trying to say, is that saying, “I want to get in shape”, isn’t a particularly useful goal. You need to be much more specific. “OK”, you say, “how’s this? I want to lose 15 pounds.”

That’s better, but you need one more thing. A realistic time frame. Otherwise you could just keep looking to lose those 15 pounds for years! And many people do.

“Fine. I want to lose 15 pounds in three months.” That’s a goal. The next step is the planning.

2. Plan it out.

Coming up with your goal is obviously a huge step, but you can have any goal you want. If you don’t take the time to figure out how to achieve it, then you are once again like Alice talking to the Cat. You need to break it down and figure it out.

For instance, if you’re going to lose weight you need to be in a caloric deficit. A pound is about 3750 calories. 15 pounds in three months is a little over a pound a week so you need to be in a deficit of maybe 4000 calories a week, etc. You now have a blueprint on what you need to do with your diet and training that will get you toward your goal.

I know this stuff can be very difficult and overwhelming and, not coincidentally, this is the part where many people fall off the wagon. Don’t be that person! If you can’t figure out a plan to get you where you’d like to go, find someone who can. If I had a goal to build an addition on my house, I certainly wouldn’t try to come up with a plan to build one because I don’t want the roof to fall on my head. I don’t know the first thing about doing that, so the first part of my plan would be to find someone who knows what they’re doing to help with my goal.

These two steps are crucially important whatever your goal may be unless, of course, your goal is to wander around the gym aimlessly. It’s really just like anything else. You wouldn’t cook dinner without having an idea what you were trying to cook, would you? That’s no different than this. Too many people’s gym routines are like someone just blindly throwing stuff in a pot and then wondering why dinner doesn’t taste very good.

Don’t shortchange yourself. You are worth the extra effort to give yourself a better chance at success! Wouldn’t you rather spend a little extra time at the beginning so you don’t wind up wasting weeks or longer? I believe so, and I believe that when you give yourself the best chance at success it will payoff later and, in this case, will continue to pay off for you for the rest of your life.

If you need any help defining your goals or setting up your plan please drop me a line or give me a call. I’ll be glad to help.

Mitch Rothbardt Fitness Now in Two Locations!! 510-754-7113 Discover Your Strength!

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