Plan to Succeed

Experienced athletes know the value of setting goals, following a routine and tracking past performance. Weekend athletes can also benefit from following these steps. First, decide where you’re going. Establish a realistic long term goal that’s beyond your current abilities, but not so lofty that you grow discouraged.

Second, devise a plan. This would include a workout schedule and interim goals. Working backwards from your long term goal, set medium and short term milestones that lead to your final objective. If your long term goal is to get fit, your short term ambition might be as simple as getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise four to six days a week.

Third, begin a performance diary. There are a variety of tools available, from an inexpensive notebook purchased at the drug store, to a state-of-the-art, hand-held computer that does everything but load the weights onto the rack and tie your shoes.

Jack Dixon, a personal fitness trainer and weight management consultant, hears many objections from clients who think they’re too busy to follow an exercise system. “I am constantly reminding my clients and club members that if they take care of themselves first, they can better take care of their family, career and daily life.”

Jack, like most personal trainers, discourages his clients from using the bathroom scale to measure results. “The scale only tells us what’s standing on it,” he says. “It tells us nothing about a person’s body composition.”

A better way to gauge results is to compare today’s performance against yesterday’s. Jack advises his clients to use a blank notebook which they can customize to be sport- or task-specific.

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