A Guest post by Allan Misner:
Use your Wellness GP
Without a wellness GPS, you may be asking questions like:
- Should I go keto?
- Should I go vegan?
- Should I do cardio during the same workout I do strength exercises?
- Why is the scale going up when I’m doing everything right?
Since you are on Bob’s New Health Outlook site, I’m guessing you are here to answer some questions.
Before we go too far there is one thing we must do first. We must set our wellness GPS.
What is a wellness GPS?
Like the GPS in your car or on your phone, a wellness GPS is a tool that helps keep you moving forward on your health and fitness journey.
GPS is an acronym for Grounding, Personalised, and Self-Awareness.
In this article, I will describe how to apply each of these and practically guarantee you reach your health and fitness goals.
How to set your wellness GPS
I used to coach offensive line for a professional football team. One thing I spent a lot of time teaching proper blocking form was that all power comes from the ground. If you don’t have good footing, you won’t get where you want to go. How does that relate to health and fitness?
You get good footing, get grounded, by making a commitment. I mean this in the deepest meaning of the word. A true commitment is emotional and real. Just as someone would commit in marriage or religion.
It starts by having a deep and meaningful why. Why do you want to get healthy and fit? Is this why bigger than the other commitments and obligations you have in your life? Until it is, you won’t get it done. My why is my wife and children. I want to be there for them.
Next, we need to set a vision. What does healthy and fit look like for you? This is not just weighing less. What will you look like? How will you feel? What will you be able to do? I plan to be able to care for my wife and to be able to keep up with my children (my daughter and I have done two Tough Mudders together).
Once we have our why and our vision, we are ready to make a commitment. With my clients, we actually go through a process of setting a vow. I make them declare it out loud, just like we do with marriage or religion. I also encourage them to write this out and post it where they’ll see it on a daily basis.
Now that you’ve made the commitment, you’re grounded and you know what you want. You’ll have this to fall back on when things get difficult. You’ll always know you’re moving in the right direction.
We are all starting from and going to different places. As a result, we will have to personalise our directions. To understand our starting point, we will need to record a baseline. This baseline can include data such as weight, body measurements, blood test results, strength, speed, etc.
The baseline data gives us an idea that we are moving in the right direction during our health and fitness journey. For example, I was training for strength and endurance to do the Tough Mudder. As I was able to lift heavier weights, do more pull ups, and run further, I knew I was on target to complete the race.
Another tool to help you stay on target toward your vision is to set milestones. These milestones give us a series of mini-goals as we move toward our primary goal. Having these wins gives you positive reinforcement that what you’re doing is working. Even if you’re not seeing some of your data improve, being able to meet a helps you remain patient.
I ran a Warrior Dash (3 mile obstacle course race) in March toward my preparation for the Tough Mudder (12 mile obstacle course race). As you consider your vision, your mini-goals should be leading you there (aka milestones). Can you think of what your first milestone would be to show progress toward your vision?
You don’t have to have all your milestones set in the beginning. These can be set as you go. Just make sure the next one is in line with your vision and is attainable in a reasonable period of time.
Before you set off on your health and fitness journey, there is one last thing we need to do. We need to understand our capacity and limitations. Most people will struggle to drive much more than 500 miles in a day. Also, not everyone knows how to drive a manual transmission car. Taking time to explore ourselves and become self aware will ensure we have what we need to succeed.
When I was first starting my health and fitness journey, I bought the Insanity workout videos. I liked that they were bodyweight and I could do them anywhere. I did the benchmark exercises, pushing myself hard to get a good starting point. The next day, I couldn’t get out of bed. I called in sick to work.
I didn’t understand my physical capacity or limitations. Fortunately, I wasn’t injured, but it taught me that I did have to work within the limitations my body has. I was over 40, so I had to adapt my training to those limits.
It is just as important to know your mental capacity and limitations. If you know your willpower is low, then you must make changes to keep yourself away from temptations. That might include cleaning out or cupboard and refrigerator of all foods that don’t fit your new eating approach.
You may also need help to get where you’re going. I do that for my clients by providing accountability, encouragement and support. Do you need someone to hold you accountable? That can be a friend, someone you’ve met at the gym, or a personal trainer (like Bob or me). Self awareness helps you know what you need.
Putting it all together
Before you start your health and fitness journey, you’ll need to set your wellness GPS. Grounding with your why and vision and putting it all together in a meaningful, deep commitment. Personalising by establishing your benchmarks and setting milestones. Being self aware by acknowledging your capacity and limitations and working within them.
Putting all these together in the beginning will ensure you start the right way and know when you’re veering off course.
This post was written by Allan Misner.
Allan is a qualified personal trainer and the host of the 40+ Fitness podcast.
You can contact Allan over on his website at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/contact
Click here to listen to the 5 part Wellness Roadmap on the 40+ Fitness podcast.