Whether you're a complete beginner or you're looking for a way to restart your fitness journey after a plateau or break, it can be daunting to try and get back on track.
You need to start by setting goals that are progressive and achievable but that also challenge you due to the motivation they provide. For example, if you're just starting out in the fitness journey, your goal might be "run 5km without stopping". If you're further along, this may be "run a 5km personal best". Or if you're a gym goer or powerlifter, then it might be to "deadlift a personal best". It's all about progressive improvement – and this is specific to each and everyone of us.
The key to success is carving out these realistic goals that are progressive and achievable. And if before you have even started you are already thinking that this sounds really daunting, then don’t worry, you are not alone. We've been there and we've struggled with it time and time again and we've tried many different approaches until we found what worked for us.
As athletes for examples, the approach may be slightly different than what works for your average person—but the principles are exactly the same. And in this blog, we're going to teach you those principles. We're going to show you how to create healthy and most importantly, realistic goals that work for you and your lifestyle.
It's also important to remember that great performances can only come from great recoveries, which means proper nutrition and specific nutrition goals should be as much of a priority as your exercise schedule. Luckily, with U Perform's products, designed from the ground up to support all aspects of sports recovery, you'll have everything you need to succeed. But more on that later!
Why goal setting is important
It is important to give yourself measurable targets that are realistic but also challenging enough to keep you motivated over time. By setting incremental targets or goals, you will be able to track your progress easily which will give you a sense of achievement every time you reach one of those targets.
We all know what it feels like when we reach a target or complete a goal, it gives us a sense of accomplishment which will only add fuel to the fire of our motivation to complete more workouts, achieve more process goals and so on and so forth.
So fundamentally, this is the perfect place to start. By acknowledging that this is going to be a long and often times difficult journey, it’s a reality check that is incredibly motivating and productive. Who would have thought it!
Ok, so you're ready to take your fitness and nutrition game to the next level. Maybe you want to run a marathon, maybe you just want to be strong enough to carry all your shopping in at once—whatever you're looking for, we're here to help.
First things first, you need to:
1) Think about what would motivate you
What do you value most? Is it getting fitter for a particular sport? Or maybe it’s about losing weight or gaining lean muscle mass? Perhaps the main reason for you starting an exercise programme is because you want to live longer and be healthier. Whatever the case may be, use this as motivation for your goals.
2) Set targets and goals
If you’re just starting out, don’t set a goal that is too hard or impossible to achieve. Think of things that you can gradually work towards, instead of setting unrealistic expectations. For example: if you have never run before, then don’t start off by aiming to run a marathon in under 3 hours! Start with smaller goals like running 5k in under 30 minutes and gradually build up from there.
3) Write down your goals
Writing down your goals gives them power! And you too so whether you write them in a diary or journal or even on a digital training plan – the important thing is simply writing them down.
To reach any target or goal, you need to do two more things (I promise these are the last two) and that is to make sure it's:
- SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely)
- Start small
These are two concepts that we have spoken about time and time again: and for good reason! Even the very best athletes and performers in the world follow the exact same principles. So, if it is good enough for them, then it’s good enough for me, right?
Let's say your ultimate goal is to run a marathon. You know it's going to take a while, so there's no sense putting in a date that's too soon. But if you aim too far away, you won't have the motivation or momentum you need to really get going. The best bet? Put in a date that gives you lots of time but still feels like a real challenge—say, three months from now.
What you eat and drink before, during and after exercise can also have a profound impact on how well your body performs and recovers from exercise and can often make or break a training program. We know this as the effects of nutrition on athletic performance have been studied for many years now and the importance of optimising nutritional intake for sports performance is widely recognised by athletes and coaches alike.
If you are perhaps more experienced or progressed further on your journey; for example, if you're weight training and trying to build muscle. And maybe you've been working out three times a week and feeling good about it but not necessarily seeing the progression you were expecting.
A great first step is to look at the quantity and quality of protein in your diet is an essential first step. And protein shakes like our Active Whey & Collagen are a high quality, convenient and great tasting way to improve your daily protein intake in a targeted and cost effective way.
We chose whey protein powder to use in this sports supplement because:
- It is a highly bioavailable source of protein and amino acids – we use an 80% whey protein concentrate for example
- It is rich in all the essential and branched chain amino acids that your body needs to stimulate optimal muscle protein synthesis
If you're just getting started with a workout routine, however, consider this: Just like any great performance in sport or activity, it can only happen when the body is adequately recovered. So that means taking a 360 approach to recovery. There are so many simple things you can do here and of course our diet and nutrition (these are two different things) do come into this.
But so do things like the exercise we do in the first place! This needs to have an optimal balance of duration, intensity as well as recovery time too. Recovery also means we should look at our sleep. Not just the quantity of sleep i.e. how many hours we are in bed; but more on the quality of the sleep we do get, as again these are two very different things.
But back to nutrition…
We know already that optimising our protein intake is crucial for muscle protein synthesis but what about collagen? As the single most abundant type of protein in the human body, collagen is an essential. Unfortunately, our ability to make and use collagen deteriorates as we age, and an active lifestyle will only accelerate that.
Therefore, it becomes very clear that collagen supplements are the key to both maintain optimal collagen levels in the physical structures of the body. But also, with specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides® like the ones we use, we can stimulate natural collagen production keeping us one step ahead of the ageing process and our competitors too!
Here at U Perform we believe in helping people achieve their goals by providing them with the best nutritional products for recovery and training day-in-day-out. Our signature Active Collagen gels are the first of their kind in the sports nutrition world.
Our Active Collagen gel drink contains 2 unique Bioactive Collagen Peptides: TENDOFORTE and VERISOL and is formulated to provide maximum functionality for the maintenance of our connective tissues, muscles, joints, and bones; optimising your performance, optimising recovery, and most importantly optimising quality of life.
Active Collagen is clinically proven to maintain our ligaments, tendons, muscles, joints and bones as well as our hair, skin and nails too. And in a daily sachet, it’s easy to store and take, even when on the go.
But beyond protein and collagen, there are a whole host of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals that are essential for overall health & wellbeing and optimal sports performance too. Things like Vitamin D, antioxidants, and healthy gut bacteria such as probiotics.
And that’s why we also have products that cover these too! The stresses of a busy and active lifestyle both in and out of sport puts an enormous amount of strain on our body’s systems and processes so multivitamins and superfood blends like our Active Balance and Active Greens are a great safety net to ensure you are getting enough of key nutrients every single day. After all, consuming all the essentials from our regular diet and foods we eat can be quite difficult for some.
Thank you for reading! We hope you enjoyed this blog. Please comment below if you have any comments or suggestions – we are at our best we work together! Don’t forget to share this with someone who you know would benefit from reading this too. The U Perform family loves sharing ideas and encouraging each other.
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