Guest Post by Personal Trainer – Mark Fisher


Are you participating in a training programme and not achieving the desired results? Many of us exercise regularly and eat right, but still get no closer towards our target no matter how hard we try.
Let’s look at the main reasons why we fail to reach our goals:

1. Not having a plan

Most exercise programmes fail to achieve the desired results because people fail to devise a solid plan. You have absolutely no idea of what you want to accomplish; you just want to be in shape, but you have no master plan on how to get there! A plan is the ‘what’ i.e. what do I wish to accomplish by performing exercise and changing my nutrition. Once you can answer ‘What?’ then you can really focus on how you are going to get there.
What is your ultimate goal? Do you want to lose weight, gain greater flexibility, and improve your cardio conditioning? All of the above? Determine the answers to ‘what’ and you will soon hit the ground running!

2. Not setting goals

If your exercise programme failed even after setting a plan, it is probably due to an absence of goals. If a plan is the answer to ‘what’, goals are the answer the questions ‘how’, and ‘by when’? For instance, how many pounds do you want to lose and by when? Having a plan with no goals is like the skipper of a cruise liner taking his hand off the wheel and hoping to drift to his destination.

What do I have to do to set goals? Be smart… By using S.M.A.R.T. GOALS:

Each goal should be specific, it other words clearly stated, so that you can see exactly what it is you want to achieve. For example, if you want to bench press 100kg 4 times, then that is what you state. “my goal is to bench press 100kg 4 times, in 4 weeks”. by saying I want to improve my bench press is too broad a statement, when using smart goals we want a specific statement. You want to ask yourself the 6 w’s: Who is involved? What do I want to achieve? Where will I be doing this? What is the the deadline? What are the constraints/ requirements of the goal? and What is the purpose of the goal and the consequence of not achieving it?
Is your goal measurable? Can we measure a bench press of 100kg 4 times? Indeed we can! If the goal you set is not measurable then it is not a Smart Goal. Make sure you can easily measure the progress of you goals as the programme progresses. Another example of a measurable goal would be to lose 5% body fat in X amount of time, we can easily measure your body fat percentage so we will be able to evaluate your progress.
Is this goal attainable? If your goal is to beat Usain Bolt in a foot race then this is quite clearly unattainable. You should set goals that are not too easy, they should be challenging but not impossible. For example, to lose a stone in weight in 6 weeks, will be challenging and will require a great deal of effort but is attainable for some people.
Our goal has to be relevant to what we want to achieve, so if you wanting to lose weight, you wouldn’t set a goal to run 100m under 15 seconds. A more relevant goal would be to lose 8 pounds in 4 weeks or to not eat any processed food for 5 days.

Is the timeline you set appropriate for the goal. is there to little or too much time? When do you want to achieve this? Without a clear and concrete timeline there is no focus and no urgency in achieving the goal.

3. Not understanding what you’re doing when exercising

You don’t have to go to medical school, but it is helpful to know the basic body parts and muscles. Learning basic anatomy and the different muscles of the body can be helpful when exercise. If you can picture what the muscle looks like in your head, you can isolate it better and concentrate on the contraction. This way you can target areas that you want to tone the most (e.g. back of arms – triceps).
Also, knowing the various muscles can help you keep the exercise program balanced and decrease the risk of injury.

4. Putting more effort into exercise than nutrition.

Most people don’t understand how to get the best out of their body. In order to get rid of the body fat, cellulite, unwanted bumps and improve your body tone you need to exercise and eat right. About 70% to 80% of the battle in improving your body is in the diet. You can exercise and achieve some gains but unless you have the right fuel going into your body, you will not reach your full potential. Therefore, it is important to get the right mix of protein, carbohydrates and fats into your daily eating. Remember that NO fad diets work in the long term, you may get results in the short term, but once you go back to your old ways you will put all the weight back on and more. You need to have a healthy eating plan that becomes a fundamental part of your lifestyle!

5. Thinking of workouts as a chore

Often you see people in the gym who workout as a punishment for being out of shape, they see workouts to be endured rather than something to look forward to. They pound away for hours a week on the treadmill, putting up with the monotony of exercise in desperation to gain results. Workouts should be fun!
Yes, they should be challenging, but you should also enjoy doing them. To keep things fun you should be varying you work out constantly, instead of doing 30 minutes on the treadmill running at a constant speed why don’t you try circuit training?

So there you have it, the 5 reasons most people fail to achieve their goals, when starting an exercise programme this year, make sure you take these into account to make sure that you suceeed.

Best Wishes,

Mark Fisher –Bsc in Advanced Personal Training