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Are you achieving your fitness goals? 3 keys to making progress in and outside the gym

Sarah Cremen’s latest fitness column is here.

Image: Shutterstock/wavebreakmedia

ARE YOU ACHIEVING your health and fitness goals?

Are you getting stronger, fitter, faster, leaner and more mobile?

Or, are you frustrated, unmotivated or stagnating?

If you’ve read one or two health and fitness blogs in your lifetime, you won’t be surprised to hear that the key to long-term health and wellness is not some snake oil or magic pill, but good old hard work.

In an ideal world, moving consistently, eating well, actively resting and generally being healthy would be a lifestyle that just comes naturally, but getting to that level can be a long and nonlinear process.

There are many components to achieving progress and success (inside and outside the gym), but below are three elements to address first:

Consistency

Arguably the most important element of any health and fitness goal, but one that is often overlooked because it’s not a quick fix.

Consistency takes time and persistence to develop, but constant exposure to healthy practices gives your body and brain a chance to adapt and learn these new behaviours.

How do you know if your body composition is changing? How do you know how much you’re eating or if you’re getting stronger?

Understand the value and importance of consistently following a plan that allows you to find and stay on the right path.

Tracking your progress keeps you accountable and mindful of your health and thus allows you to consistently make healthier choices.

shutterstock_296915534 Source: Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images

You need to constantly challenge your body in order to improve and progress, so whatever it is that you want to accomplish, in the gym or otherwise, you must do it. Every damn day.

Sustainability

If becoming a healthier person is going to be a lifelong process, it might as well be an enjoyable one. You don’t become good or consistent at things you hate, so give yourself options, find things that you like and do them.

The key to sustainability is to develop an approach to your training and nutrition that is realistic, one that will fit your lifestyle and that you actually derive pleasure from.

Keep changing it up; learn a new skill, improve on weaknesses, get a little stronger, embrace variety and constantly challenge yourself, physically and mentally.

Your body isn’t the enemy, it’s an amazing machine that is physically capable of so much more than we give it credit for, so make it fun and enjoy the process.

Quality over quantity

Consistency and sustainability are all well and good but without sound technical execution, adequate instruction and quality practice; potential injury and a lack of progress will stop you in your tracks.

stretch Source: Shutterstock/ESB Professional

When it comes to training, dialing in your technique is critical — no matter your goal.

Slow down. Take the time to learn the basics; squat, hinge, lunge, push, pull, carry.

Seek out a competent, educated coach that can help you achieve your goals, it will save you plenty of wasted time and effort.

Training should be smart, progressive and effective and that requires it to be safe and technically sound.

There are an awful lot of bad coaches out there, but there’s a lot of good ones too. Find one that has solid training principles and can help you foster consistency and sustainability.

Ask them questions, learn, develop and watch yourself progress at a faster rate.

Sarah Cremen is a personal trainer and physiotherapist based in David Lloyd Riverview in Dublin. For more health and fitness advice and tips, you can follow her on FacebookInstagram or Twitter

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