Many of us are somewhere on our fitness journey, but are unfortunately headed nowhere fast. This often isn’t due to a lack of effort or even inconsistency but just a lack of planning. You need a plan because it’s the only way to ensure you get where you are trying to go.
For years I went to the gym every day with no plan at all or just a body part in mind. I would get there and start picking random exercises. Some days I would have an awesome workout, and others it was, “well at least I went, right?” And I made progress. I definitely got a little fitter and built some muscle. But I didn’t make nearly as much progress as I could have made with a plan. Now I write my programs weeks or months in advance.
When you go into the gym knowing what you’re going to do you will tend to get a lot more accomplished. You’ll spend less time debating what exercise you want to do next and more time getting the work done. Even on days you’re not feeling it, when you would normally do a couple exercises and leave, you get in there and check everything off your list. Planning ahead keeps you accountable every day.
Just as importantly, when you put a training plan in place everything within each workout is there for a specific reason, and each workout contributes to the bigger picture. When your workouts are strategically created to work together in a specific way, you will yield the best results. If you do not plan ahead, it is easy to leave important things out, or overuse certain muscle groups. Having a plan directs your adaptations to accomplish your specific goals.
Now let’s look at nutrition.
When you ask most people how their nutrition is they say it’s pretty good. But what does that mean? Do you think that you “eat pretty healthy,” but have no idea what you’re actually eating? This is the case for most people. And it could possibly work for some, but that based on lucky guessing. The issue is, if you have specific fitness goals nutrition plays a large role, and “eating pretty good” probably won’t cut it.
The main determinant of whether you’re gaining or losing weight is total calories consumed. If you have no idea how many calories you’re taking in, and it varies greatly from day to day, how do you expect to lose or gain the weight that you want? It becomes a game of luck. If instead, you track your food, and eat the same quantity each day, it becomes extremely simple to alter your plan to get the results you want.
Macronutrients also play a large role in both body composition and athletic performance. Not planning and tracking your macros can lead to undesired outcomes. Most often we tend to eat a lot more fat than we realize, and for most people, keeping fat pretty low is the optimal diet. If you want the best results you have to feed your body the proper way to get there.
If you take a road trip, you are going to reach your destination a lot faster if you have a route mapped out to get there, rather than driving around aimlessly. When we have no plan in place we are relying heavily on luck to achieve our goals. I think it is a better option to set a plan that will take you exactly where you want to be.
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