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Setting Yourself Up for Success

Nowadays, many people have heard about SMART goals. An acronym telling us that our goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound. Although I completely agree with this, there is more that needs to be considered when setting a goal.  This is not only to increase the likelihood of achieving it, but also to increase the enjoyment during the process of doing so.

 

Categorising Goals:

Goals can be split into 2 categories: process goals and outcome goals. To define each in my own words, an outcome goal is the desired end result and process goals are targets you will need to meet during the process of achieving the outcome goal. In my opinion, both are critical for success.

 

When someone embarks on a journey to achieve better health and fitness, they will often set themselves an outcome goal. For example, ‘I want to lose 10lbs in 3 months’ or ‘I want to run 5k in under 25 minutes in 6 months’. However, they rarely set processes for their goals along the way which will help them get there.

 

Which is better?

I believe neither outcome or process goals are better than the other. Setting process goals is expected to increase one’s motivation for a task. (Zimmerman and Kitsantas, 1997).  On the other hand, setting process goals, such as ‘set time aside for 3 runs per week’ without an overall outcome goal which you really want to achieve, may also leave you unmotivated. Therefore, setting both, effectively, is crucial.

 

Setting goals effectively:

Knowing how to do this, effectively, however, can be easier said than done. Referring back to the first paragraph, this is where SMART becomes very effective. This should be applied to all of your goals, both outcome and process, to increase the chance of success.

 

The issue with this for many people though is that they may not have the required amount of knowledge on a topic to fulfil the ‘realistic’ part of SMART. For instance, I know nothing about cars. Therefore, if someone approached me and said set a realistic goal for yourself for how long it would take for you to fix this cars engine, I wouldn’t know where to start. Therefore, I would have two options, either devote a lot of time to learning about car engines, or hire a professional to do this for me. I believe this is the same approach people should take to their own bodies. Don’t second guess when it comes to your training and nutrition, either devote the time to learn how to eat and train effectively or hire a professional to guide you the right way.

 

Reference List:

  • Zimmerman, B. J., & Kitsantas, A. (1997). Developmental phases in self-regulation: Shifting from process goals to outcome goals. Journal of educational psychology89(1), 29.

Resistance Training Benefits for Females

What is Resistance Training?

Resistance Training can be defined as a form of exercise, whereby external weights provide progressive overload to skeletal muscles in order to make them stronger and often result in hypertrophy (growth in overall size of muscle cells) (Alix-Fages et. al, 2022; Phillips and Winett, 2010), which can lead to several benefits.

Mental Health:

Firstly, Ramirez and Kravitz (2012) looked into the benefits of regular resistance training and found that it has been shown to improve numerous aspects of mental health including: lessened anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, self-esteem, memory and cognition. The way in which resistance training helps achieve this is not yet clear, but the benefits to mental health could well be consequences of the physical benefits that resistance training provides. For example, when we start training regularly, our sleep may improve. In turn, we see a reduction in stress hormones (Maggio et. al, 2013), which then can have a positive effect on our level of anxiety.

Fat Loss:

When wanting to lose weight, we need to be in a calorie deficit. When in this calorie deficit, weight can be lost via losing body fat, water, and muscle tissue. Regular resistance training helps preserve muscle mass when in a calorie deficit (Miller et. al, 2018). This, in turn, results in more of the weight lost being from body fat tissue, as opposed to muscle tissue. It is important to note that protein intake and sleep must also be sufficient to maximise muscle preservation, and therefore fat loss, in a calorie deficit. (Nedeltcheva et. al, 2010; Stokes et. al, 2018)

Frailty and Functionality:

As we age past the age of 35, we experience a gradual loss of muscle mass of around 1-2% per year, this is known as sarcopenia (Cruz-Jentoft and Sayer, 2019). Once we reach our 60’s and older, sarcopenia may contribute to a loss of functionality in daily tasks such as climbing stairs with ease, or playing with grandchildren.

Resistance training in elderly populations has been shown to increase their ability to go from sitting to standing with less postural sway and more proprioception, which is linked to more functional ability and lower risk of falls. (Faigenbaum and Myer, 2010)

‘I Don’t Want to Look Bulky’:

This is a common worry with female clients. Fortunately, there is about as much chance as accidentally adding significant amounts of muscle mass accidentally as there is as taking driving lessons and accidentally ending up in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Putting on significant amounts of muscle mass requires consistent training on a hypertrophy focussed plan, being in a calorie surplus, and consumption of adequate protein for a number of months before noticeable increases are seen. Overall, resistance training can be used as an excellent tool to improve one’s quality of life, regardless of age or goals.

Reference List:

  • Alix-Fages, C., Del Vecchio, A., Baz-Valle, E., Santos-Concejero, J., & Balsalobre-Fernández, C. (2022). The role of the neural stimulus in regulating skeletal muscle hypertrophy. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 1-18.
  • Cruz-Jentoft, A. J., & Sayer, A. A. (2019). Sarcopenia. The Lancet393(10191), 2636-2646.
  • Faigenbaum, A. D., & Myer, G. D. (2010). Pediatric resistance training: benefits, concerns, and program design considerations. Current sports medicine reports9(3), 161-168.
  • Maggio, M., Colizzi, E., Fisichella, A., Valenti, G., Ceresini, G., Dall’Aglio, E., … & Ceda, G. P. (2013). Stress hormones, sleep deprivation and cognition in older adults. Maturitas76(1), 22-44.
  • Miller, T., Mull, S., Aragon, A. A., Krieger, J., & Schoenfeld, B. J. (2018). Resistance training combined with diet decreases body fat while preserving lean mass independent of resting metabolic rate: a randomized trial. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism28(1), 46-54.
  • Nedeltcheva, A. V., Kilkus, J. M., Imperial, J., Schoeller, D. A., & Penev, P. D. (2010). Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity. Annals of internal medicine153(7), 435–441. https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-153-7-201010050-00006
  • Phillips, S. M., & Winett, R. A. (2010). Uncomplicated resistance training and health-related outcomes: evidence for a public health mandate. Current sports medicine reports9(4), 208.
  • Ramirez, A., & Kravitz, L. (2012). Resistance training improves mental health. IDEA Fitness Journal9(1), 20-22.
  • Stokes, T., Hector, A. J., Morton, R. W., McGlory, C., & Phillips, S. M. (2018). Recent perspectives regarding the role of dietary protein for the promotion of muscle hypertrophy with resistance exercise training. Nutrients10(2), 180.

 

 

CLIENT SUCCESS STORY – RYAN COOPER

Ryan spent years feeling intimidated to join a gym believing that people would place judgement on him.

He reached out to us at Soma for our personal training services to help him with his body composition goals and with the focus on building some lean muscle mass and improving his posture.

To his own disbelief he never thought that he would actually enjoy his training sessions, due to our coaches professional approach to programming to all of our clients requirements to succeed.

Upper Body Workout

Our personal trainers present your free upper body workout, please try it out. If you have any questions fire away!!!

LINK TO VIDEO:

https://youtube.com/shorts/Byg0w2gWT3s?feature=share

A1) Cable External Roatations @ 90 degrees

10 reps x 3 sets

B1) Half Kneeling Ipsilateral Pull Downs

8 reps x 3 sets

C1) Cable Chest Press

8-10 reps x 3 sets

D1) Single Arm Dumbell Row

6-8 reps x 3 sets

E1)Pronated Grip Upper Back Row

10 reps x 3 sets

F1) Lengthened Position Bicep Curl mechanical drop set into Mid Range Bicep Curl

8-12 reps x 8-12 reps x 3 sets

G1) Shortened Position Tricep Extension mechanical drop set into Mid Range Tricep Extension

8-12 reps x 8-12 reps x 3 sets

Client Success Story – The Process

Matt came into Soma with the goal of putting on some muscle purely for aesthetic purposes. He began his personal training program for just twice per week along with following his nutritional protocol in which was tailored bespoke to him and his social life on the weekends with focus on making the correct nutritional choices when eating out on the weekend.

 

As you can see he has developed a good amount of muscle mass in the 8 week period however this is just the beginning of his journey. We have now increased training frequency to 3 times per week and made adjustments to his nutritional protocol to help drive further adaptations towards his hypertrophy goals.

From a functional perspective following his functional assessment we found limitations in his movement and function of his shoulder and hips which have also improved over the 8 weeks (shoulder external rotation, getting in the overhead position and hip internal rotation). Thank you Matt for trusting our coaches in the process and for your consistent work ethic.

Stay tuned to see Matt further progress his physique with the coaching and guidance of his personal trainer.

How You Can Finally Build Lasting Motivation For The Gym

 

 

 

‘You don’t need motivation, you need discipline!’ Scroll through the fitness pages of social media and quickly you will come across this misguided comment. In reality, when trying to build long term habits, there’s only one significant factor that will influence whether this habit will stick in the long run. This factor is called intrinsic motivation. (Texira, 2012)

Intrinsic motivation can be defined as the innate, natural propensity to engage one’s interests and exercise one’s capacity, and in doing so, seek and conquer optimal challenges (Deci and Ryan, 1985). In other words, intrinsic motivation is enjoyment derived the process of doing an activity, as opposed to partaking in something solely for the outcome goals. In terms of the gym, this would mean the process of attending the gym would have to be enjoyable, as opposed to only attending for the outcome goals of a more muscular body or heavier squat PR (these being examples of extrinsic motivation). There’s

absolutely nothing wrong with setting these outcome goals, in fact it’s openly encouraged as they can help a great deal but having this extrinsic motivation without a plan on how to build intrinsic motivation for the process of achieving these goals often leads to abandonment of these goals for the vast majority of people.

 

So how can you build intrinsic motivation if you don’t actually enjoy going to the gym? Well, in there’s 3 psychological needs that need to be fulfilled in order to achieve intrinsic motivation for an activity: competence, autonomy and relatedness (Deci and Ryan, 1985). As a personal trainer, I strive to achieve all three of these needs with my clients. Firstly, I help them feel competent by teaching correct technique and forming exercise plans bespoke to their anatomy and ability, so that they are challenged but not out of their depth. Autonomy is given, as the client is always in control of what the goal of the programme is, as well as what foods they eat, in order to achieve their nutritional targets. Lastly, myself and everyone at Soma help clients build relatedness by creating a welcoming and supportive atmosphere that clients look forward to being part of.

With extrinsic motivation towards New Year’s resolutions often tailing off at this time of year, I hope this article can provide you with the guidance you need to get back on track!

 

References:

  • Teixeira, P. J., Carraça, E. V., Markland, D., Silva, M. N., & Ryan, R. M. (2012). Exercise, physical activity, and self-determination theory: a systematic review. International journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, 9(1), 1-30.

 

  • Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Cognitive evaluation theory. In Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior(pp. 43-85). Springer, Boston, MA.

Written By

Coach Shay Ward

The most important FREE muscle building component that everyone should be prioritising.


SLEEP
When consulting with individuals within their fitness and physique goals, A few questions we get asked very often are the following:
What are the best supplements I take to help me build muscle?
What is the best macro split?
What is the best training split I should follow?
How many reps should I aim for?

A lot of times people deprioritise the most important element that if neglected, the best training program from the best coach, with the best supplement protocol will not outperform the importance of a good quality night of sleep.
I will always answer their questions but with the phrase but if you do not prioritise sleep hygiene then the last thing you will do is build muscle.
What are the best supplements I take to help me build muscle?
(in my humble opinion) “Creatine, it has the most research completed on it than any other supplement. What ever can make you relax and place you in a parasympathetic state for the time that you are not training so you can optimise protein synthesis, after we have looked at certain lifestyle factors like SLEEP, stress and digestion then we can know what will be important for you as an individual.”

What is the best macro split?
“The one you can keep most consistent over a long period of time.”

What is the best training split I should follow?
“The one that you can recover from and have more frequency on each muscle group through the course of the week”.

The truth is and I know people hate hearing this is that there is no best of anything when it comes to human physiology, biochemistry, anatomical variance, and genetics. What is best for one individual will not be optimal for another. One thing I have learnt through over a decade of practice is that what is the best for one individual may not be what is best for another. Our linage and genetics all play a factor in many ways.

Why do we need to sleep?

– Improved Cognitive Function (adherence & will power)
– Optimal performance and recovery
– Impaired metabolic function due to lack of sleep
– Managing blood sugar levels
– Immune health
-Reduce inflammation
– Endocrine system function (optimal hormone production and homestasis)
– Increase adrenal function

Tips to improve sleep quality?

– Sleep in a pitch-dark room (blackout blinds/eye mask)
– Manage noise in the room (ear plugs)
– Manage stimulant intake (no coffee after 1 pm)
– Do not eat a heavy meal too close to bed
– Practise Nasal Breathing before bed (10 mins box breathing exercise inhale 4 secs: hold 4 secs: Exhale 4 secs: hold 4 secs)
– Create sleep habits
– Have your bedtime at the same time every night including weekends (Or within a 1-hour window)
– Post prandial walks after your evening meal
– Maintain health blood sugar balance (balanced meals throughout the day)
– Manage your screen time, try and cut out 2 hours before bed
– Limit exposure to blue light. Blue light glasses in the evenings our recommendation: www.blublox.com
– Maintain a room temperature of around 20-22 degrees Celsius
– Do not make the bedroom a centre for entertainment.
– Do not watch scary movies or highly stimulating programmes right before bed.
– Workout hard
– Take power naps or use a meditation app for 10-20 mins of relaxation during your day
– minimise stressors
– Read a book before bed