I have seen enough success and failure both from personal training clients and myself to know what makes for a successful endeavor, and what sets you up for failure. Below are the four things I consider the most essential for accomplishing the serious fitness goals you have today, tomorrow, and years into the future!

  1. Food Journal

    No matter how many times you have logged an entire day of eating, unless you eat the EXACT same foods day in and day out you will NEVER be able to estimate how many calories and nutrients you have consumed as accurately as you need to without the help of a food journal. MyFitnessPal™ is my preferred tool to use, but anything that shows and stores how many calories, carbs, fats, proteins, sodium, fiber and other nutrients you have consumed day in and day out is going to not only ensure that you are fueling your fitness goals appropriately, but it is also going to offer you invaluable feedback on where potential adjustments can be made to enhance results down the road!

    MyFitnessPal App

    MyFitnessPal App

  2. Activity Tracker

    I don’t have a working Fitbit™ but I did use one for a few weeks and I learned quite a few things about my daily activity fluctuations. I was more active on average than I had estimated which was good at the time because it meant I was in more of a calorie deficit than I thought so I dropped more body fat each day. I was also much less active on rest days than I predicted, so I was overeating on days where I stayed more sedentary, which was setting my progress back more than I realized. Using an activity tracker will most likely teach you more than you realize as well. Hopefully, like it did for me, it will make you feel proud of the activity you do perform, encourage you to progress the activity each week, and help you adjust your daily diet to coincide with your activity and whether your are trying to lose, maintain or gain weight.

    Various activity trackers

    Activity Trackers

  3. External Accountability

    No matter how intrinsically motivated you are, you will never be as accountable as you are when someone else is expecting you to get something done. Whether it’s a workout partner, a group exercise class, or a trainer or friend you have to report to, find someone who can hold you accountable for the exercises, activity level, and dietary restrictions you need to accomplish your goals. Even better, agree on some form of penalty for missing workouts, skipping exercises, or cheating on your diet. Sometimes ‘x’ amount of sprints, burpees or situps does the job, but most of the time people get more motivated by money, so placing a friendly wager on your adherence would be my recommendation, even if it’s just buying lunch.

    A guy and girl working out together

    Workout Partners

  4. Exercise Program

    An Exercise Program maps out which days of the week you will be active, which days you will rest, and what you will do on each of those days. I have started writing exercise programs using The Fitbot™, an online personal training software, but they can also be written on a digital spreadsheet or even paper. Depending on the desired outcome of the training cycle, exercise variables as specific as the length of rest between sets, tempo speed of movement, and percentage of maximal effort all need to be indicated and logged to accurately chart progress and adjust training as needed. Having a specific plan of attack keeps you from wasting time, and ensures that everything you are doing is working progressively towards your desired outcome.

    Fit mommy workout planFit Mommy Sample Workout Plan

There you have it! If you can make these 4 components a part of your lifestyle, you are sure to succeed in at every fitness goal you set for yourself!