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By Columnist Michael Meredith – Athletic Coach:


Photo credit: 2011 Alberta Provincial Racewalking Championships via photopin (license)

Over my many years as a personal trainer or preferably ‘coach’, I have come across all types of people. Those that want to lose weight, or wish feel better, some want to get stronger, improve their athletic performance, or run an obstacle course race, while others simply just want to train with me because they know they won’t have to do it alone. When I first meet any prospective client, we do a pre-exercise health screen. This involves asking a series of questions about the individual’s health and fitness and cover any illness, injury, previous and current exercise and what they wish to achieve. This first step is vital to the designing of your training program, and if any personal trainer offers to ‘train you’ without knowing your health history and background, then they are not professional personal trainer and they are risking your safety.

Covering all aspects of your health is vital to sound training. It is also important that you learn to goal-set and develop your level of commitment as these are the keys to your success, and they are also the greatest hurdles that you’ll need to overcome. This is due to the fact that a number of circumstances, both uncontrollable and sometimes controllable, such as family, work, and extracurricular commitments, will always be a part of our busy schedules. This is where your commitment to your goals will be the defining factor in how you manage your time.

So let’s talk about goal setting first.

Goal Setting

Goal setting is the ‘reason’ why you are choosing to train. It invokes you to make a change in your lifestyle, and your goal or goals need to come from the heart. The reason for this is that if it doesn’t come from your heart, then your commitment will be about as strong as a water balloon; ready to ‘pop’ whenever it comes under pressure. For your goal or goals to drive you to achieve these must be emotional, and bigger than just looking good. Your goal or goals need be about how you feel. Feeling good, improving your health and increasing your physical ability as a human being are all good goals.

To define your goal or goals, think about how you feel in your current state and what will make you feel better. Once you understand those limits, then you can start to think about the specifics, such as being stronger, your cardiovascular fitness and overall functionality. When setting goals there is a great acronym that sits well for creating structure, we call it setting ‘SMART’ goals.
These goals being Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based.

Specific: Define your goals. Saying you want to lose weight is not a goal. But, saying I want to lose weight so that I can compete in a marathon is a goal. Be specific and know what you want. Think performance, about yourself, and how you want to balance your lifestyle. Whatever your goal is, you need to know exactly what you want. If you don’t know how to define your goal, then talk to a coach and discuss your options. This is a great way to work it out.

Measurable: In order to meet your goal you need to have a starting and finishing point. This will allow you to measure your progress and to keep you accountable for your actions. A good coach will keep you accountable and measure both your goals and your progress.

Achievable: Your goals must be achievable. This not implying that you can’t dream big, but it’s important for you to also breakdown the bigger picture. If you have never run before, then wanting to run a marathon in 12-weeks is not achievable. Therefore, by setting yourself this goal could put you up against-the-odds. So start with something smaller and achievable, such as a 2 km fun-run, which will lead on to longer distance events, and finally the marathon.

Realistic: Set realistic goals for yourself. If you can only commit to 3-days per week to training, then set goals that are achievable based on your level of commitment. Performance training requires commitment and consistency, otherwise you won’t reach your goal or goals.

Time-based: Give yourself time-based boundaries. These boundaries can be generous, but they also need to make you accountable. For instance, I always make sure my athletes commit to events that have time boundaries. This creates a sense of urgency, which ensures they train. Without a time-base, it’s easy to skip training.

SMART goals will give you direction and purpose. When you decide to begin a program to better your health and performance, be ready to commit from your heart. Give your all, 110 percent, and know that change takes time but there is no other option to achieve success. When you become this determined, then results are only a matter of consistency. Do the small aspects right from the start, work consistently to better yourself, and this will lead to long-term success.

I will leave you with a quote, you can think about this until next month when we’ll discuss nutrition.  Over the next few weeks remember that every day is a new day to start over, so think about what you truly want, then commit your heart to change so you can kick some goals.

“Change is the essence of life, be willing to sacrifice who you are for what you could become.”

About Our Athletic News and Review Columnist – Michael Meredith

Michael MeredithMichael Meredith, Master Personal Trainer, Elite Obstacle Racer, Former Sydney A-grade rugby league player, Runner, and all-round health enthusiast, is the Founder of Aussie Athletes Health and Performance. As a coach, Michael’s philosophy is to focus on health and performance. His 12-week training programs for men and women, include strength and fitness, OCR (or obstacle course racing) and recreational running. Micheal aims to narrow the gap between strength training and aerobic endurance so that his clients’ can balance the two effectively to create the fittest, healthiest version of themselves.

“After more than 5-years as a Personal Trainer, I have helped celebrities, recreational athletes make it all the way to an élite level of fitness. In addition, I have annually sponsored two ‘everyday athletes’ as a mentor. This give one male and one female the opportunity to take on certain events throughout the year under the guidance of the #teamaussieathletes community.”

“My major focus as a trainer is to complete an exercise science degree and turn my Aussie Athletes business into a community based-group that operates out of its own head-quarters. Aussie Athletes Health and Performance is now operated via two of Australia’s premier Fitness First Platinum Clubs in Sydney Australia, these being in Park Street Platinum and Bondi Platinum.

Disclaimer: The information published in this column are based on the author’s own professional and personal knowledge, and opinion. This information and opinion is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.

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