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Friday, July 24, 2015

The #1 Secret to Stay on Course

What gets measured gets managed.
A recent Associated Press (AP) story, appropriately entitled “Like gym memberships, enthusiasm for fitness trackers drops,” noted momentum popular tracking devices provide eventually drops significantly.

Although sales of Fitbit and other fitness trackers are strong, many of their owners lose enthusiasm for them once the novelty of knowing how many steps they've taken wears off,” writes Anick Jesdanun.

I wrote about tracking devices about two years ago. Clients had long enquired about the latest technology to measure, track, improve, or otherwise monitor their workout, so I evaluated then-popular tracking devices.

“Today’s gadgets, I wrote, “monitor everything from sleep to recovery to hormones released when you work out… Do you really need these cool, sleek gadgets to measure, track, and record every rep, spoonful, and hour slumbering? Not really.” 

Today, we have Apple Watch and a zillion other fitness tracking devices. The question remains:
Do we need the latest tracking gadgets or are we wasting money on high-priced, distractive, eventually useless toys?

Again, probably not, but used intelligently, tracking devices can help meet your goals. (They might also backfire and expose your lies, as one woman recently learned.)

Again, probably not, but used intelligently, tracking devices can help meet your goals.

As my friend JJ Virgin regularly says, “What you track, you can improve.” Indeed, one study found those who wrote down everything they ate lost twice the amount of weight as those who didn’t, and countless others show people who measure get better results.

Therein lies the rub: Taking pen and paper to track your measurements isn’t fun or sexy. It doesn’t sell hundred-dollar gadgets. But it works.

That shiny just-released tracking device that monitors how many steps you take, how many hours you sleep, and how good your significant other is in bed (I’m kidding, I’m kidding) can be fun, entertaining, and potentially motivating, but it won’t guarantee you reach your goal.

During my two decades as a personal trainer, I’ve learned two key strategies help clients reach and maintain their goals.

First, they decide to simply do it, whether that means working with a trainer three times a week, burst training on their park hill, or join a Pilates or yoga class.

In other words, they define their goal, commit, perhaps find a trainer or group, and then establish concrete strategies to make that goal a reality.

Step two involves keeping that momentum no matter what obstacles come their way. Maybe early January they’re fired up to get in their best shape by summer, but come early March they become burned out and blah.

That’s when I come in and say, “What motivated you to come here in the first place? Tap into that strength and utilize it now.”

Everyone has those can’t-keep-up-momentum times. Cue the excuses: You’re feeling uninspired, you’ve blown off your workout for two weeks, you decide to devour Game of Thrones reruns and leftover Chinese instead, you’ll get started when the weather gets warmer. Even the best of us struggle sometimes.

That brings me back to fitness trackers. Even the newest, priciest, multitasking high-tech device can’t save you in those moments.

But you know what will? Your big “why.”

Why do you get up at 6 a.m. four days a week to do a grueling workout? Why did you forego your best friend’s birthday cake? Why skip out on girls’ night out to get eight hours’ sleep?

Take a few minutes and write down what really propels you to do those things. Post it everywhere and read it often.

Listen, I can critique the most cutting-edge tracking devices and provide 50 strategies to reach your goals, but ultimately, everything comes down to that one question.

Why are you doing what you’re doing?

Maybe you want to keep up with your kids or grand kids on the playground without getting fatigued, or you want better sex with your significant other, or you want to fit into those skinny jeans you once turned heads in, or you want to avoid heart disease or cancer that plagued your parents.

That reason becomes totally yours. Dive deep and determine that “why.” That’s what gets you off the couch for that 6 a.m. workout.

Tracking devices can be great when they help reach your goals, but ultimately they become just another tool – a potentially worthy tool, depending on how you use it – that propels you to your goals. They can help build and sustain momentum, but ultimately that drive comes from within.

And that begins by defining your big “why.”

If you’ve ever used a tracking device, did it help you reach your goal or become just a seldom-used toy? Share your thoughts below or on my Facebook page.

You have permission to do so, free of charge, as long as the byline and
the article is included in its entirety:

Fitness expert and strength coach Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!
© 2015 Jinifit, Inc.

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