Throughout my rugby playing years I went to the gym regularly, to enhance my strength, power and performance on the rugby field. Each week I would go into the gym, aiming to lift a little bit heavier or get a few more reps, with the end goal of being a superior player on the pitch.
Once I stopped playing rugby and decided I wanted to focus on my college studies (more like my alcohol consumption), I continued training but with no real purpose, other than to look and feel good. As a result, my training, diet and physique suffered.
It had always been a dream of mine to compete and when I spotted that the Natural Bodybuilding Federation of Ireland (NBFI) were holding their national finals, I felt this was the perfect opportunity to give purpose back to my training.
Once I sent off my membership forms, it was as if a switch flicked in my head. I became relentless, driven and determined to be in the best shape of my life. Having that goal in place completely altered my mind-frame and mentality. Which is why when I take on clients or want to take my own training to the next level, I always make sure there is a target to work towards.
– Set yourself a 5-6 week challenge. A time frame is essential because if you keep it broad and general, six months will have passed and nothing will have changed. Once you’ve completed the first 5-6 week challenge, put in place another 5-6 week program.
– Set a material objective. Whether you have a pair of jeans at home that you want to fit into comfortably or a t-shirt that you want a little tighter around the arms and shoulders. Put something in place that will allow to you actually feel and see the fruit of your labour.
– Make it a realistic target. Initially, make feeling good and more comfortable in your own skin the priority. Do not focus on the scales. If you’re feeling good and are enjoying the process, the results will come. If you set a target that is unreachable and you don’t achieve it at the end of the month, it will knock your confidence and inevitably de-motivate you to continue training.
– Make the goal you have in place your priority for the allocated time-frame. If you go on the beer every weekend, don’t expect to make your goal a reality. Give it your all for that period of time and then when you have achieved what you set out to do, your confidence and determination for the next stage will have increased dramatically.
– Write your goals down with clear points as to what you want to achieve. It’s all well and good having an idea of what you want to do in your head, but having it in writing means you can always look back and see whether you’re on track or have diverged slightly.
Without setting goals it can be very easy to lose direction and focus. You wouldn’t set off on a journey or trip without some sort of plan in place. And the journey to a healthier, happier you is no different.