X marks the results

Posted on March 18, 2011. Filed under: Exercise | Tags: , , , , , , , |

One of the main differences between being a fitness coach and just a trainer is planning.

A coach must plan.

Just like any professional in their chosen industry.  You must know where you are, where you are going, and then how you are going to get there.

In almost anything else it seems people understand the need for planning, except in fitness.

I think this is why some are so susceptible to fad diets and infomercial workout routines, they don’t understand the need for planning.

For example say a potential client comes to me or one of my colleagues today.

They say the want to lose 20 lbs and be in tip-top shape for a family trip to Hawaii this Christmas.  That’s 9 months, most trainers or coaches would say ok.  But here is the hitch.

Over the next 9 months our potential client has 2 separate week-long business trips in 2 different countries (I work in corp fitness so this happens often for me).  They also be gone a week for a Class reunion trip, they have a shoulder surgery scheduled, 2 family vacations planned, prior to their son getting married, and a trip out-of-town for Thanksgiving.

Also, before they sign up for the 9 months, they expect to see a definitive outline for our plan for the next 9 months based on the information and potential schedule issues they just told you.

At this point, many of the would-be trainers I know would be left with their mouths hanging open.  The coaches I know however, would ask to schedule an assessment, once that was completed they would tell the client to come back tomorrow and they will have the outline ready.

Coaches understand the importance of planning.  And if you want to see results, you must understand it’s importance as well.  Like the saying goes ‘Rome was not built in a day.’

So why can’t we just show up in the gym, workout hard, eat some thing healthy, and get whatever results we want.  Simply put GAS.

GAS stands for General Adaption Syndrome, it was a term coined by Dr Hans Selye.  And it was originally used to describe how organisms responded to infectious disease in an endocrinology experiment.  He observed a set of three common responses that occurred whenever any organism was injected with a toxic substance: (1) the adrenal glands enlarged, (2) the lymph nodes and other white blood cell producing organs swelled at first then shrank, and (3) bleeding appeared in the stomach and intestines.

He called it General Adaption Syndrome  because broken down general meant it was produced only by agents which have a general effect upon large portions of the body. Adaptive because it stimulates defense, and Syndrome because its individual manifestations are coordinated and even partly dependent upon each other.

It was found that Selye’s theory also applied to the response in the body to exercise, and thus the need for planned periods of exercise and recovery or periodization, was needed to see the best results.

Now does this mean to see results you need to plan your workouts a year in advance?

No.  I mean it would probably help if you did, but unless you’re an athlete it’s not a requirement just yet.

Of course if you’re an athlete you already have a coach who hopefully is planning this out for you.  But for now you just need to have a general outline and a semblance of a plan, and keep good records.

OK, so lets say for example.  You want to lean up for summer.  You want to be in great shape for the up and coming 4th of July pool party.  You weigh 150, and want to lose 10 lbs of body fat

It is currently March 18th,  and we have until July 4th, so 15 weeks.

Because you have a wonderful, knowledgeable fitness nerd of a coach for a friend.  You know you can reasonably lose anywhere from 1/2 lb to 2 lb of body fat per week on average.  You make a goal of a lb of fat per week.

Now to do this we must create a caloric deficit.  We do a general calculation and determine your metabolic rate with activity is about 1800.  Since we plan to exercise we make a goal of 1500 calories a day.

Personally, I dislike calorie counting, but for the sake of this blog it serves as an easier visual.

Now we look at our schedule.  We know to assure results we need to workout at least 3x a week.  This does not have to be at the same time of day, every day.  But it needs to be consistent, and you need to be able to stick with it.  We’ll go over what the workouts should consist of later.

We go with Sunday afternoon,Wednesday evening, and Thursday afternoon.

We schedule a re-evaluation time for ourselves every two weeks to gauge our progress.  And see if we need to make adjustments.

See how our plan is coming together?

So riddle me this what do a competitive bodybuilding and a race-loving marathoner have in common?
A plan.
Diet plan, training plan. The plan you adopt to compete in an athletic event. Your supplement plan.  Having a plan is  powerful.

It keeps you on target. Without a plan, you’re more likely to stray and let your goals fall to the wayside.

Without a plan, it’s easier to have that unscheduled cheat meal. Without a plan, it’s easier to skip that workout.  Morning cardio? If you don’t have a plan, a goal, prearranged steps and guidelines, it’s easier to hit the snooze.

Left to our own devices, we have a tendency.  Then wonder why we are not accomplishing our goals.  But a plan pushes us. Helps us keep our goals in mind. It gives us boundaries and sets rules. A plan, in short, makes us better.

Now if you are sure how to make a plan, or just do not have the time to research and create one for your self.  Then this is where a professional comes in.

Just like you would do if you were unsure how to invest in your retirement you would hire someone to guide you through.  The same must be done for your health.  For many reasons, but 2 come to mind as being most applicable across the board.

One, a professional will help assure you that you have right plan for your goals.   If you are planning to retire in 15 years, and you have a portfolio set-up to retire in 20.  that may be a problem.  You want to make sure you have the right strategy for your goals.

Second, no matter how perfect the plan is at the time.  Things change, and you need to be able to adapt to those changes.

It is crucial to have a plan, one must also know how to adjust a plan to react to the unexpected. For example, so we  normally train on Sunday and on Wednesdays.  This week an opportunity arises for you to make some extra money or get a promotion.  But it changes your schedule Tuesday and Wednesday and once a week you are expected to do an out-of-town commute via train for the next three months.

What do you do?

If your response was, throw out the plan, don’t be so hasty.  The plan is still good, we just now have to take a step back, reevaluate our schedule, and then move ahead with our new plan.

The best part of having a plan written out, is if you get results you know why.  And if you don’t get results, you can figure out why.

So make an exercise plan, keep a food journal, and make your way toward your results.

If your unsure how to make a plan, hire a professional to coach you.

I think I may know at least one who could help you 😉

Best Health,

Coach W

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