We have all probably put in a little “sweat equity” in home or business improvement projects occasionally throughout our lives. And often a new coat of paint provides us with a positive perspective regarding our dwelling, creating a sense of accomplishment and comfort. This same approach may be applied to our fitness programs. We occasionally need to slap on a new coat of paint to our program and put in some additional “sweat equity” to continue achieving the results we seek. This week consider the following tips for applying the “sweat equity” approach to your program and begin to feel that sense of renewed accomplishment and comfort within your mind, body and soul. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Determine the area of greatest need within your current program. Asking yourself what seems to be missing? Is your stamina what it needs to be to fuel your lifestyle? Is your strength level adequate to allow you to perform your daily round of activities and still have energy to enjoy your life?
Once you have determined the area of greatest need, prioritize those needs. For example, what does your lifestyle require? If possessing a considerable level of stamina is required, then concentrating on cardiovascular endurance activities should be an integral part of your fitness program. Your program would include a combination of steady state and high intensity interval training activities to globally boost your body’s stamina. *Everyone requires stamina to lead a healthy/fitness lifestyle; however, some lifestyles require a greater degree of stamina and some require a greater degree of muscular strength and mobility—your lifestyle is unique to you; therefore, your program should reflect that individual element.
Now that you have prioritized your area of greatest need, create a daily/weekly/monthly schedule that will ensure you achieve the results necessary. This requires a little bit of “mental” sweat equity to organize the specific program into days/weeks/months. If this seems daunting, begin with one week increments initially and then eventually create the micro (i.e., daily), meso (i.e., weekly) and macro (i.e., in this case—monthly) schedule.
Stick with it! Give it some time to work! A good rule of thumb is to anticipate 12 weeks to really begin experiencing significant results. You may see improvements within four-six weeks, however, anticipate the greater results from the sweat you have invested in approximately 12 weeks assuming you have a professionally designed program that you have adhered to throughout.
Tweak it where necessary! All programs, regardless how well designed, need to periodically be modified and certainly progressed (i.e., periodization). However, you do need time to allow the equity to work. Too many changes too soon may lead to poor outcomes and certainly frustration. Fitness is a process. Keep your expectations realistic knowing that with continued sweat (yes, hard work and that is very individual), your body may begin to adapt and improve. *Think of this as a marathon, not sprint!
Embrace the small changes. Every positive change, no matter how small it may seem, is significant as those small changes accumulate and lead to the global change in the body, which in turn may lead to outstanding results.