What’s the perfect fitness program?
It’s a question I’ve been asked countless of times. And in all honesty – I don’t have the answer. That’s because there is no perfect fitness program to suit everyone. No two people are exactly the same. Not only are our lifestyle’s different, but our bodies operate in different ways, our results are driven by different factors, our setbacks are triggered by different things, and our goals are driven by very different motivators. The perfect fitness program for one person can be the completely wrong program for someone else.
But just because there’s no ‘one size fits all solution’, doesn’t mean you can’t find the perfect program that is right for YOU.
Rather than focus on ‘fitness’ goals specifically, I encourage you to concentrate on ‘wellness’. Why – because it encompasses everything you need to consider in achieving your fitness goals – and more.
Here’s my step-by-step guide to building YOUR perfect wellness program in 2018, so you can discover a regime that you can not only stick to, but that supports you to achieve your goals, once and for all.
Reflection = knowledge
Without self-reflection, we’re programed to make the same mistakes we always have. Take the time to truly pinpoint what it is that you want to change and why you’re endeavouring on a new wellness program in the first place. You’ve probably thought about it – loosely – but define the details. Why do you want to make a change? (do you want to feel more self-confident? be more active with your family? reduce the stress in your day to day life?)
Now think about what’s stopped you making this change up until now (work? social commitments? motivation?) Reflect on where you’ve come from and visualise where you want to be.
Self-reflection is a crucial step for any enhancement program – and it’s a prerequisite for all of the steps I mention in this guide.
Self-evaluate – against these core elements
Achieving your fitness goals is dependent on many factors, so even if you’re smashing it in some areas, failing in others can equate to a less than average outcome overall. You might be consistent in your training but are you on-point with all of the other key components of a well-rounded wellness regime? Evaluate yourself against these key elements. What was your performance against each of these elements last year and what practices can you introduce this year to make sure you’re hitting all of your wellness targets?
Exercise: 3-6 sessions per week
You should be aiming for at least 3-6 session per week and not just any exercise. If you’re serious about meeting your goals, you need to adopt a training style that will help you get there. One of the biggest issues I see is people exercising regularly but doing the same basic routine that 1. isn’t designed to give them the results they’re aiming for and 2. their body has become accustomed to, leaving them faced by the dreaded plateau. Check out our National Fitness Manager’s series on program design and head on over to the Anytime Workouts app for a whole range of programs to help you meet your specific fitness targets.
Nutrition: finding the right balance
You can’t out train a bad diet. It’s as simple as that. But even if your diet isn’t ‘bad’, a ‘suboptimal’ diet can still be a major roadblock to achieving your goals. In order to achieve weight maintenance or fat loss, it’s important to consider inputs versus outputs. If we are eating more calories than we are using daily, then we need to be aware of this and unless you’re keeping track of your calories – it can be easy to misjudge! Using calorie and step wearables is a great way to keep track of your calories and ensure you’re hitting the right balance to achieve the change you’re aiming for.
Sleep: 7-9 hours
I can’t stress this enough. Getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night is absolutely vital for any wellness program. Sleep deprivation leads to higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which increases your natural appetite and puts your body into a state of stress. Not only will your appetite increase, but your metabolism will slow down, your hormones can go a little crazy and your body may struggle to process certain foods. We only have one body – treat it well and give it the rest and recharge time that it needs!
Water: 2-3 litres
Similar to getting a good night’s shut eye, keeping hydrated is so important for keeping your body working at its optimal level. Dehydration can result in exhaustion and fatigue. It can negatively affect your mood, your attention and your physical performance. You should be aiming for 2-3 litres of water per day. If you’re not actively monitoring your water intake, it’s easy to strike out on this element and your results can suffer overall.
Set your goals wisely
Consider this, how can you – realistically – overcome the roadblocks to achieving your goals you’ve experienced in the past?
Be realistic – if you’re working 14 hour days then trying to commit to a 1-hour gym session 6 x per week is going to be a stretch. The PERFECT wellness program is one that you can stick to, so don’t guilt yourself into thinking that you need to commit to more than you can. Consistency in your wellness regimes is key. If you’re consistent with your actions, small changes can lead to big results.
Go back to your self-reflection and cement your purpose – what is your goal and why is it important. Now create a plan of attack for how you’re going to meet each of the four elements we discussed above, and determine how you’re going to track your progress (with a journal, a score sheet, keeping notes on your phone, etc.).
Now go back again and see if your plan is subject to any of the things that have stopped you from achieving change before. If yes, then what are you going to do differently this time? How are you going to prevent yourself from making the same mistakes you’ve made before? Go back to your plan and look at what you can alter to find a happy medium, where your goals are still achievable, but the steps to get there are more flexible, with habits you can maintain long-term.
NOW– this is a wellness program that is guaranteed to give you results!
Wellness Director, Collective Wellness Group – Dan Conn
Dan Conn is a former NRL player and one of Australia’s most recognised health and fitness professionals. In 2017, Dan joined Collective Wellness Group (CWG) in the role of Wellness Director. This newly created position was designed to educate Australians around CWG’s ethos, prioritising mental health and recovery alongside a physical fitness routine. Dan’s role as Wellness Director sees him developing healthy body and mind initiatives across each of the CWG brands and visiting clubs to educate, train and support franchisees, coaches and members at a community level.