“Goals are good for planning your progress, systems are good for actually making progress”
– James Clear
January is the unofficial “It’s time to get back in shape” month every year. Law Enforcement work is a physically demanding job, and the New Year is a great time for any Police Officer to reevaluate their physical preparedness. In order to help Officers working to get back in shape, Premeditated Fitness is featuring a series of articles on Goals this month. Last week we talked about why Goals trump Resolutions and How to Set Goals like a Pro. Today we will look at how to make steady progress towards your goal with Systems.
Continuing with the GPS analogy we used last week, your goal is your destination and your current fitness level is your starting location. Once that info is entered into a GPS, it spits out a list of turn-by-turn directions at you that tell you how to get from your location to your destination. Systems are your turn-by-turn directions that get you to your goal. When it comes to reaching fitness goals, your System will most likely be the “diet” and/or training program you follow.
Systems for Fat Loss
Almost everyone gains weight between Thanksgiving and New Years. The fitness industry counts on it, and it’s why you are currently being bombarded with commercials for gym memberships, at-home cardio devices, and questionable supplements that make outrageous claims (*cough* nubiotix/somabiotix *cough*). You don’t need any of those products to achieve fat loss goals. The only system you need to achieve healthy sustainable fat loss is a healthy “diet”. A healthy “diet” is not some temporary quick fix, its a healthy eating plan, and if you want to sustain long term fat loss, I suggest you adopt a long term healthy eating plan. Healthy eating plans that get fat loss results will usually adjust one (or more) of three variables – improving the quality of food you eat, reducing the quantity of food that you eat, or adjusting the macronutrient profile of the food that you eat. Here are some examples of each below:
- Improve the Quality of the food you eat with: The Primal Diet; The Paleo Diet; The Wild Diet; The Whole 30;
- Reduce the Quantity of food you eat by tracking calories with a website like: MyFitnessPal or FitDay and consider Intermittent Fasting
- Adjust your Macronutrient Profile with: If It Fits Your Macros, a Ketogenic Diet (more keto info at Ketogains)
- Comprehensive Systems that mix elements of each of the above: Fat Loss Happens on Monday and the Lean & Fierce Diet (fair warning- I wrote this one, it is my product)
Browse the options above, pick one (and only one), test it out for at least 8 weeks, and re-evaluate if you are still on course to reach your goal (by hitting your pit stop goals).
Systems for Gaining Strength
If your goal is to get stronger, there are plenty of strength training programs that will help you achieve your goals no matter what your experience level. I suggest most people start with a beginner program.
- Beginner Programs: StrongLifts, Starting Strength, Lean & Fierce (fair warning, this is my product)
- Intermediate Programs: Jim Wendler’s 531, Easy Strength, Texas Method
Pick one and stick it. Strength is a fantastic goal for any Police Officer to chase, just keep in mind that it takes time to get stronger. If strength gains happened quickly everyone would be strong.
Systems for Building Muscle
If your goal is to build muscle there are tons of body builder programs available to help you do just that. However I recommend that Police Officers stick to “Power Building” programs as they focus on muscle and strength.
Chose the system that aligns with your goal and the system will guide you to your destination effortlessly.
Now when someone starts looking at physical fitness goals, especially if they are out of shape, a topic you hear discussed often is Motivation. For example, how hard it is to stay motivated on a day-to-day basis, or what to do on a day when motivation is lacking. Motivation gets A LOT of attention. The next article in this series on goals will take a deep dive into motivation and reveal the #1 Motivation Secret.
This article was influenced by James Clear’s article on Systems.