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How to reach your fitness goals

So you train regularly, watch your food and don’t drink too much but you still aren’t achieving the fitness results you want? We hear you. Setting a fitness goal is easy but actually achieving it can feel like an incredibly hard task. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. “I see so many people who work really hard at the gym, day in and day out, who should be getting good results,” says Edwina Pettiford, personal trainer and online coach. “But months go by and their bodies don’t change at all.”

Although there can be many individual reasons for this, luckily there are some things you can do to change this cycle. So we asked Edwina for some advice on why we haven’t reached our fitness goals yet, because if anyone knows how to reach a goal it’s her. After the birth of her three kids she decided to hit the gym, and didn’t stop until became a professional fitness model, winning first place in the open figure short division and tying for first place in the overall figure division title at Fitness America Weekend. Pretty inspirational stuff, eh? And apart from being the fittest person we know, she also runs free fitness and healthy eating challenges via her website (Get into them!). So accordingly to Edwina, this is why you haven’t reached your fitness goals yet…

1) You’re not building your metabolism
“Training and working out in the gym can only go so far, but without proper nutrition, there is no way that you’ll achieve the results that you are capable of, in the shortest amount of time. I speak to many people about their diets and they say ‘Yeah, I eat really healthy’, but when we get into it, they’re either not getting the right amount of macronutrients needed to build muscle whilst losing fat, or more often than not, they’re actually not eating enough. Building your metabolism over time is the best way to be able to build muscle and stay lean, by actually doing less, having a balanced lifestyle and enjoying a treat every now and then.”

2) You’re not planning your training
“Most people I see training in the gym, without a personal trainer or coach, go to the gym every day without a plan and keep doing the same thing over and over. When I ask them ‘What are you training today’ the reply is usually ‘I’m not sure, I think I’ll do arms’. In order to progress over time, you need a plan, but probably more importantly, not just one plan that you do from now until forever. You need a plan that is designed to build strength and condition your body; a plan that changes when your strength changes, and keeps mixing things up, so that you don’t relive Groundhog Day every day at the gym!”

3) You’re over doing it
“You either love exercising and want to do it every day, sometimes twice a day, or you hate exercising, but you flog yourself to do something, anything, every day. You’re burning yourself out and you’re most likely doing yourself more damage than good by training to the point of exhaustion. When it comes to weight training and cardio, less can definitely be more – by giving your body enough time to rest and recover, you’ll have more time to repair and grow.”

4) You’re not pushing yourself
“You train hard. Ok, those 15 reps weren’t easy, but you still had more in the tank. Sometimes you’d be much better off decreasing how many sessions you do in the gym, and really give 100% effort to the sessions when you are there. Most people don’t train to fail, and they end up stopping when they feel the slightest discomfort. Dig deep and be totally focused during your sessions and you’ll get them done more effectively and in a fraction of the time.”

5) You don’t actually believe you can change
“So many people skip from one program to the next, or one diet plan to the next. They’re paleo, then they’re low carb high fat, then they’re sugar free, and next thing you know they’re bingeing and the wheels have fallen off. Trusting in the process (and it is a process) is one of the hardest things to do if you’ve tried other things before to improve how you look, but haven’t succeeded as well as you’d liked. When your mindset is right, you don’t need to be skipping from one thing to the next, trying every fad diet and gimmicky product that comes onto the market. You’ll know that fitness isn’t about a quick fix, it’s part of a healthy lifestyle that you should be enjoying, not stressing about!”


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