Monday, March 17, 2014

BABY STEPS TO SUCCESSFULLY REACH YOUR GOALS

HOW MANY PULL-UPS CAN YOU DO?
Do you think you could knock out 10 pull-ups without any help?  Don't worry, a year ago neither could Olympic Gold Medalist Mikaela Shriffin.  The 18-year-old athlete couldn't even complete one pull-up last year.  But, by strategically taking small steps toward her goal, she is now able to complete 10 pull-ups!  She started by doing assisted pull-ups using a large band and worked her way up from 7 pull-ups to 30 pull-ups.  Then, she switched to a smaller band which allowed her to pull more of her body weight and then eventually completed the pull-ups without using a band at all.  Without using a band, she began with 3 unassisted pull-ups and eventually worked her way up to 10 pull-ups.  Let's all give a big high-five to Mikaela!

THE DOUBLE-PROGRESSIVE STRENGTH PROTOCOL
Many bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts take a similar approach to building strength.  It's called the double-progressive strength protocol and it goes like this: your first goal is to complete a certain number of repetitions and once that is accomplished, you add some resistance.  Let's say you really wanted to build strength in your biceps but you could only curl about 10lbs.  First you would try to complete 12 reps (with good form) using 10lb dumbbells.  Once you reached 12 reps, you would increase the resistance to 12lbs and try to complete as many reps as possible using the new weight.  Once you reached 12 reps with 12lbs, you would increase your resistance to 15lbs and so on and so forth.  Aside from achieving strength gains, an organized program that utilizes the double-progressive method can help you experience results that facilitate program adherence (in other words, you continue working toward your goal because you can see PROGRESS!).  Seeing results is a big motivator.  Each time you complete an additional rep or increase resistance, you know your hard work is paying off.

IT'S NOT JUST FOR LIFTING WEIGHTS
Okay, so you're not a body builder and you're not interested in showing off your "guns" in muscle-shirts.  That's fine.  This type of protocol carries over into almost all aspects of life.  If you're trying to clean up your diet, you wouldn't empty out your pantry of every sugar-laden food and vow to never consumer the drug-like substance ever again, would you?  I sure hope not!  Because if you did, you'd be setting impossibly-lofty goals, you'd get burned out from missing the sugar, and you'd give up entirely and vow instead to never diet ever again.  A better approach would be to start by removing one food item that you feel is a little "less healthy" than other aspects of your eating regimen.  Tackling one unhealthy item at a time (a.k.a. taking baby steps) is a proven method to reaching your ultimate dietary goals.  After you've successfully managed to remove one unhealthy item, you can pick another unhealthy item and begin the process again.  This progressive method would continue until you've successfully removed all unhealthy food items from your diet.  

HOW I USED BABY STEPS TO REACH A GOAL
I eat an insanely clean diet.  I don't remember the last time I consumed a refined carbohydrate.  I don't even do cheat meals.  I eat clean ALL THE TIME.  But, rewind a few years back and my fridge and pantry looked drastically different than how they do now.  I didn't always eat the way that I do today.  I took baby steps.  This progressive method was particularly important when I decided to cut back on my wine consumption (gasp!).  My husband and I used to split a bottle of wine every night so when I decided to cut down to 2 nights per week, I knew it was going to be tough.  Instead of going cold turkey, I started by cutting down to drinking wine 6 nights per week instead of 7 (baby steps!).  6 days per week became 5 days per week and so on.  Nowadays, I drink a glass (or two) on Friday and Saturday nights.  I don't even think about wine on the weekdays (a drastic difference from a couple of years ago when I used to convince myself that it was 5 o'clock somewhere).

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BABY STEPS
Baby steps folks!  Don't set yourself up for failure by going cold-turkey or making too many restrictive goals.  Simply tackle one thing at a time.  

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this great blog!!! This just goes to show you that you don't have to go cold turkey. This is how I started back to working out after a long haitus several years ago - baby steps. I started walking, then took Water Aerobics at the local gym, then worked up to 30 min + weights on elliptical, then started dabbling with cycle classes + weights, then bootcamp, then boxing + back to Cathe!!!!

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    1. Thanks for your comments Kathy! Your workout progression is the exact essence of my post! By taking baby steps and by making (reachable) short-term goals, you can build confidence...success simply follows. Bootcamp, boxing, Cathe...love it!! :)

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