For many of us, losing weight, gaining muscle and eating healthy doesn't come easy. Someone could be very successful outside of the fitness world, be it with work, parenting or school. However, they still struggle with the health and fitness aspect. In my opinion the reason people fail is because they fail to make a plan and set a goal. They don't think anything through and jump right into it. They don't test anything and when they don't get the results they want they have no idea why. Here's the thing, everything in life is relatable, especially goal setting. If you know how to be successful at your job or in the classroom then you know how to be successful in the gym. The reason people are successful at their job, or at school is due to discipline. They take the time to plan out their week because that is their main priority, but they won't do the same for their health. Most people think they can just bullshit their way to six pack abs and glutes that turn heads. This couldn't be further from the truth and just like everything else in life you need to set rules and plan accordingly. Once you have a set of rules and guidelines to follow then you will see much more success. 

   Here's the thing, humans are fickle minded and tend to rely on momentum and motivation, however, motivation is finite and won't be there everyday. This is why you must rely on discipline instead of willpower. And this is why having a solid plan is so critical to one's success. I think we have all been in a situation where we know we shouldn't do something, like eat a whole pie of pizza, but we do it anyway because we have nothing to hold us accountable. Most people fail once they lose the motivation to hold themselves accountable. They rely on willpower instead of discipline. But if you have a plan to follow then you don't need to rely on your willpower because you already know what you need to do. You aren't having the conversation in your head if you should eat the food or not. Once you see a food that you know is unhealthy you don't allow the conversation to pop up in your head because you already decided that you won't eat it. This makes life much more enjoyable and relaxing. By having discipline it gives you more freedom because you don't become a slave to your emotions. As I stated above, we have all been in that situation where we go back in forth in our head asking ourselves if we should eat the slice of pizza or not. 

Personally speaking, the more options I have , the greater the stress I have. I like to know what I am doing before I get into something. I think it is imperative that we plan accordingly. After we develop the plan, we must test the plan and reevaluate the plan. I think it is best to follow the same plan for at least three to four weeks, so make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T.  This acronym stands for specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and time bound. Put simply, you want to develop a plan that is specific to your goals and one that is realistic and doable.  Remember, if you constantly fail to plan then you have no way to figure out why you aren't achieving your goals. For example, most people drastically overestimate how many calories they burn during exercise and underestimate how many calories they eat. By developing a plan before starting something it gives you a clear picture of what works and what doesn't work. 

As a coach or personal trainer the assessment session is essential for a client's success. At Equinox our assessment is specific to the clients and is focused on developing a plan that will help the client achieve their goals. And I am not saying you have to be a member to an Equinox gym to achieve this (even though their gyms are pretty awesome). All I am saying is that if you want to achieve your goals then you need to do your own assessment on yourself, and I will show you how.

 Before beginning any program I will go over a medical history of the member, including blood pressure and a par-q i.e medical questionnaire to see if a member is cleared for exercise. After I cover the basics I dive into the assessment. Whenever I talk to a member I always go over my qualifications and certifications to prove to the member that I am creditable. If the member doesn't know any of your accomplishments then they have no reason to waste their time with you. It would be like applying for a job without a resume, you need to demonstrate your value from the beginning. If you don't, then there is nothing you can say that will change their mind, so make sure you introduce yourself.Once the introduction is over we get into the meat and potatoes of the assessment, the following are some of the questions that I ask members to help me develop a program for them. (If you are doing an assessment on yourself, then answer the questions below. Taking the time to write out your goals is crucial to achieving your goals).

1) Is there anything specific you would like to learn throughout this assessment? 

2) What is your current lifestyle? (Example: Diet, Sleep, Work, Daily Schedule, Stress Levels)

3) In order of importance, what are the three most important goals to you ( Examples: Improve Strength, Gain Muscle, Lose Body Fat, Reduce Pain, Etc.)

4) How long have you wanted to achieve these goals and how long do you think it will take to achieve them?

5) How committed are you to achieving these goals and what previous strategies have you tried to accomplish it? 

6) What is your current exercise program and would you be interested in a more efficient program? 

The last question (#6) is where I bring up their goals again and go over a program that they will fit their needs. In the past I would forget to reiterate their goals and I believe this was a huge mistake by me. You must sum up their goals because it shows the member that you are actually listening and paying attention to them. Furthermore, if you do reiterate their goals back to them and are wrong then it allows you to demonstrate your versatility and ability to adapt as a trainer.  Ultimately, a personal will become your client if they trust you and the only way to establish this trust is through active listening and questioning. 

To sum up, when starting any health related goal you must take the time to do an assessment to figure out where you stand. Once you know where you stand then you can create a plan (a map) to get you to your goals i.e your destination. Just like you need Google Maps to get to the grocery store, you need a map to get you to your goals. Trust me, take the extra time to sit down and develop a plan. In the long run you will save yourself more time and achieve your goals quicker, or you could just hire me to do it for you.

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