If you have fitness goals but you’re not following a program, you’re basically wandering aimlessly, hoping to stumble upon greatness.
Here are 5 reasons being on a program matters, using the cheesiest inspirational quotes I could find.
1. GIVES YOU A PLAN OF ACTION
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Thanks poster in my 8th grade classroom.
Having a plan helps you establish a baseline and serves as a roadmap. Want to deadlift 2x your body weight? Sweet. What can you deadlift now? Knowing your beginning and end points are a great start.
If someone dropped you off in the middle of nowhere and told you to get to Las Vegas, it'd be pretty hard to get there without any frame of reference or tools to do so. But, if you knew you were starting in Detroit and were given a map, you could likely get there pretty easily.
Having a plan of action gives you clarity. It tells you the exact steps you need to take to get to where you want to be. There’s no guess work - just clear action.
“Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to results.” Can someone please cross stitch that for my bathroom?
Even if you’re not working with a coach, being accountable to your program and to yourself inspires confidence. We lose trust in ourselves when we say we are going to do something and then we don’t do it.
Mark Fisher once said, “keeping your word to yourself builds self esteem.” How many times have you said you were going to go to the gym, but when other things come up that’s the first thing to go? Or, how many times have you been in the gym, decided you were going to do some legs, arms, and cardio but left after 2 sets of 10 squats because that felt good enough? My guess is more than once.
If you don’t have anything to be accountable to, it’s way easier to let yourself down. Think about it. How do you feel at night when you said you were going to do something in the day and then didn’t do it. It feels shitty on the inside.
Having a program you’re accountable to sets you up to not only crush your goals, but build your self esteem as you keep doing the things you say you are going to do day after day.
3. SAVES TIME AND BRAINPOWER
“You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself any direction you choose.” This is not cheesy. This is fucking awesome.
Let’s be real - you are likely not steering yourself in any direction at all, and wasting precious time and brainpower if you're not following a program.
In Robert Pozen’s book, “Extreme Productivity”, there are two ideas that stick out to save time and brainpower in the gym:
1. It’s not the time you spend, but the results you produce.
How many days have you walked into the gym and wandered around aimlessly while you looked at the equipment? You might be there for the total of an hour, but spend only 20 minutes actually doing anything.
Making it to the gym is the hardest part. Being on a program helps you focus that time and make the most out of each minute - including the rest periods.
2. Keep things short and simple.
Not every day in the gym will be super short, but if you have a focused plan, you can get in, do the work, not think too hard, and bounce.
We are built for survival. If something isn’t easy, our brain doesn’t compute. Do you really want to walk around wasting precious brainpower thinking about what exercise to do next, with how much weight, for how many reps, for how many sets? No. Save your thinkers for the project you're working on, or your business, or family. There are more meaningful things in life to fill up your brain space.
4. MEASURABLE PROGRESS
“What gets measured gets managed.” Also, “Progress is not achieved by luck or accident but by working on yourself daily.” Oh shit, we’re getting deep.
Being on a program lets you track progress and recognize your accomplishments. How awesome is it to look at data and see that you have actually made progress? So awesome.
The trickiest part about not measuring progress in a way that shows specific data is that we tend to rely on the scale to measure progress. This usually leads to a swift kick in the feel-good organs. We’ve been conditioned to use the scale as the only form of measurable progress, but there are so many other ways that are more important and confidence-boosting.
If the scale isn’t moving how you’d like, but you look back and see that you can squat 20lbs more from the previous month, or that your mile splits got faster, it’s a whole lot easier to feel like you're moving in the right direction than if you hadn't collected that data.
Measuring progress also helps us review performance and identify challenges. If you haven’t seen changes over several weeks, you can look back and see where your progress has stalled. Press not improving? Mobility may be an issue. Times not getting faster? Maybe you aren’t recovering the way you should.
By identifying what is or isn’t working, you have a bigger frame of reference for what to focus on in order to keep moving forward - and you can only do that if you are collecting data.
5. YOU'LL DO THE STUFF YOU DON'T WANT TO DO THAT WILL ULTIMATELY MAKE YOU BETTER
“Successful people do what they have to do whether they want to or not.” Them’s fighting words, Brian Tracy.
If you’re on a good program, you’ll train more than one energy system and do the shit you might not do on your own that will make you better.
Walking into the gym and practicing what you’re already good at is easy. Trust, if I wasn’t on a program, I’d only lift as heavy as I could everyday and take a Segway between the squat rack and deadlifting platform because cardio is the devil.
Love lifting, but never want to do any kind of steady state cardio, like me? That left ventricle is working overtime to get the blood to your beloved muscles. Adding cardio to your training will make your heart way more efficient, and you’ll recover quicker because of increased blood flow.
Love running for miles on end, but scared of the gym? Adding in a strength training practice will make your running way easier, and improve your performance.
Love crushing as hard as you can on daily basis and never take time to chill your nervous system? Doing some neural charge days, or mobility circuits, could change your game, and you won't feel so beat up all the time.
It’s unlikely that you’ll consistently do the things you need to improve if you’re not following a program - and it's the stuff you don't want to do that will make you better overall.
Being on a program is the smartest, most efficient way to train. It leads to better, faster results, and leaves more time for doing the things you love.
If you're interested in being on a team of badass women who follow a comprehensive strength and conditioning program, drop your email here, and we will let you know when our 2018 Training Team is opening for registration.