At the start of 2019, we asked you to shift your mindset away from the age-old practice of setting fitness resolutions. Instead, we asked you to establish intentions for how you can practice healthier behaviors over the course of the new year. Now that we are halfway through 2019, it is time to check in to see how you are doing.
You may have set specific goals like losing a certain amount of weight or completing a challenge like an obstacle-course race and, yes, you may have reached them. However, experience suggests that somewhere along the way, a couple of life’s real obstacles popped up that kept you from hitting the goals you established at the start of the year.
Process vs. outcome
Here’s a little bit of advice: Don’t beat yourself up for not reaching those goals. Life happens. It really does not matter whether it was a work project, a lingering injury or illness, or the duties of family life that got in the way of your fitness goals. One important component for long-term success is having the ability to forgive yourself when you get off track. Another, more important, factor for getting back into your fitness routine is having a mindset in which you learn how to focus on the process of movement as opposed to the outcome of movement.
There are two types of goals: outcome and process-oriented. Outcome goals, as the name suggests, are specific objectives that can be easily quantified to determine the result. Process goals differ in that the focus is on mastering the steps that lead to an outcome instead of the outcome itself. Here’s a little secret that many long-term fitness professionals know: Those who establish process goals, like learning how to enjoy movement, are almost guaranteed long-term success. Instead of using movement as a means of trying to achieve some popular culture definition of what a body should look like, why not shift your mindset to learning how to enjoy the process of movement itself?
Creating a process-oriented goal can help provide a midyear jump-start to your fitness plan. One option could be learning a new mode of movement, specifically body-weight training. The human body craves variability; repeatedly performing the same routine with the same movements will eventually lead to a plateau. Yes, you may love your routine and really enjoy using specific equipment, but if it isn’t leading to the goals that you’re seeking, it may be time to re-evaluate what you are doing.
Switch things up with body-weight training
Many aspects of modern technology can make life easier, but the downside is that technology reduces your opportunities to learn how to control the most important piece of equipment in the world—your own body. Taking the time to learn how to move using only your body weight can provide two specific benefits: 1) It introduces a new stimulus to your body, which can be one way to break through a plateau, and 2) it creates a process goal of learning how to master a new form of movement. Finally, there are almost a limitless number of movements, so you’ll have a variety of new ways to challenge your body. If you need some help identifying the best types of body-weight workouts for your needs, we’ve provided the following five options below.
- Yoga. The practice of yoga is thousands of years old. One foundational principle is that a strong mind and strong body must coexist together. Learning how to control your body via specific movement patterns can provide benefits for both the inside and outside of your body.
- Dancing. Dance may be one of the only forms of physical activity older than yoga. Dance-based workout classes can teach you how to control your body while moving in multiple directions. Being able to move to the beat of the music helps, but in all honesty, it is not 100 percent necessary as long as you are moving in the same general direction as everyone else while having fun.
- TRX Suspension Trainer. The TRX was created by a Navy SEAL who needed a way to stay fit with no equipment while on deployment in remote regions of the earth. Proper use of the TRX keeps either your hands or feet in contact with the ground at all times. If your feet are anchored on the ground while your hands are holding the straps, you will definitely feel most of your muscles engage right away.
- Plyometric training. Plyometric training was developed by sport scientists of the former Soviet Union who wanted to help track athletes become as explosive as possible for sprinting, jumping and throwing events. One important benefit of plyometric training is that it can engage the larger Type II muscle fibers responsible for helping develop muscle definition. True plyometric training focuses on 100 percent effort for only a few repetitions at a time. The plyometric jump boxes in the functional-training space can help you add some explosive training to your workouts.
- Agility drills. Agility is the ability to control your body’s center of mass over a changing base of support while making rapid changes of direction. There’s a reason why soccer players are often admired for having great legs: It’s because their sport requires the ability to make rapid changes of direction in reaction to movement of an opponent. Learning how to perform agility drills can help you master control of your body as well as developing leg muscles that will get you noticed.
Change does not occur without a preceding stimulus. The body is a very complex and adaptable organism that can adjust to almost any physical stimulus imposed on it. For the best results, the movement that you do should be hard enough to make you uncomfortable. This doesn’t mean movement needs to be painful to be effective—it only needs to be just a little bit harder than you might be used to working, and yes, that can definitely be achieved with body-weight training
Many people who achieve long-term success with their fitness programs often establish specific metrics for measuring progress. However, more often than not, they focus on the journey instead of the actual destination. This can lead to long-term satisfaction when compared to focusing only on the outcome of a workout program. Working out with your own body weight can give you the physical ability and strength to do what you want to do when you want to do it. Remember, form follows function. If you learn how to function better by controlling your own body weight, then your form will most likely improve in ways that you never expected.
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