Episode highlights

00:37 – The importance of timelines and deadlines in fitness and nutrition

03:37 – When you have nothing to measure against, it’s hard to evaluate progress 

06:05 – Don’t set big goals because you’ll get overwhelmed

10:03 – What to do if you find you’re off track 


Fitness Guide


Welcome to the Fitter Healthier Dad podcast where you can learn how to improve your diet, lose fat, and get fitter in a sustainable and fun way without spending hours in the gym. Here is your host Darren Kirby.

Darren: This is Episode 19 of the Fitter Healthier Dad podcast. Today’s show is in a slightly different format to normal. It’s a solo show with just yours truly. In today’s show, I want to talk about the importance of setting timelines and deadlines to actually achieve the results you desire. So let’s dive in.

First of all, I’d like to start with talking about the parallels between the corporate environment and how that relates to fitness and nutrition. What do I mean by that? Well, when you, or for those of you that listen that are in the corporate world… When you are dealing with teams, when you’re dealing with products or services or solutions that you provide to clients, the majority of time, you are working to either a project plan, a weekly schedule. And all of these have milestones, they have timelines and deadlines on these plans. 

In the main, they work quite efficiently. And what I mean by that is as a team, you would generally follow these project plans and the milestones within them. And as you go along that plan, the progress is not necessarily linear but you have something in which you can gauge the progress and the effectiveness of the plan that you’re working to. So how does that then relate to fitness and nutrition? 

Well, it’s the same essentially, in so much as if you are just randomly working out or if you’re randomly eating a diet without having necessarily tracking what you’re doing, without having a goal of what you want to achieve, or without having a workout plan when you go to the gym, you will still go through the process but you’ve got nothing with which to gauge whether or not you’re actually making progress. And you’ve got nothing to gauge whether or not you’re actually moving towards a goal or maybe an event that you want to take part in, because you’ve got no line in the sand, so to speak. You’ve got no date as to when you’re going to enter into a particular event or you’ve got no weight goal as to what you want to achieve by a certain date. 

And so that’s why I draw the parallels from when I was in the corporate world to fitness and nutrition. So if we talk about fitness, for example, it could well be that at the moment, you’re going to the gym and you’re doing your traditional kind of routine of going in to do a bit of cardio or you’re going in to do cardio and a bit of weights. And sometimes you’ll call it legs day or sometimes you do a cardio day, but you just kind of do it habitually–you don’t necessarily do it to any kind of plan.

The other thing for those of you who just go out running, you might just go out running on a Saturday morning or you might just go out for a long bike ride, but none of that’s working towards a specific goal. So, you know, in a few weeks’ time, you might look and think, well, I’m doing all of this and I’m not really making any progress. But how do you know if you’re not making any progress, because you’ve got nothing to track and measure it against? That’s why I think it’s really important that we set deadlines and timelines. 

To give you an example. At the moment, I’m working towards my 2020 season, and I’m in the base phase of my 2020 season, although it’s 2019. So at the moment, I’m just trying to raise my aerobic fitness. I’m working on a 90-day schedule and that’s how I work with all of my plans that are obviously on the Fitter Healthier Dad website, and all of our one-to-one coaching clients that I work with. We always work in a 90-day window. Why a 90 day window? Because within 90 days, you can make some significant changes and improvements so that whether that be in weight, whether that be in fitness, whether that be in diet, 90 days is a good window. 90 days is 12 weeks or a quarter in a year.

So if you map that out and you set yourself an end date, you can then break it down and work back as to what you need to be doing each week and then what you need to be doing on a daily basis. Now, as I say this, a lot of you might be thinking, well that seems like a lot of work and initially, yes, it is. But none of this is achieved or nothing in life is achieved without a bit of effort. So you need to put a bit of effort in is number one. 

But once you’ve done it the first time, when you go then to do your next 90 days, it becomes that much easier for the simple reason that you have already got a plan, a base plan, which you’ve created, and you can just amend and adapt that based on what your goals are. If we look at it, not just from a fitness perspective, but if we look at it from a weight perspective… So I have a client at the moment that we are working towards, I think it’s like the 22nd of December, and we are working towards him hitting a certain weight target. Why? Because that’s what he wants to do. He wants to lose five kilos overall and we set the first kind of segment of his programme to get halfway there. 

And that’s the other thing. When you’re setting these timelines and deadlines, don’t set them too big because you’ll get overwhelmed. And if you get overwhelmed, then that’s when you’re less likely to actually want to put this stuff in place. And ultimately, you either give up or you stop or you go back to your old habits of just doing (it) unconsciously. 

As we go back to the kind of 12 week window, look at where you want to start, and then work your way forward 90 days, 12 weeks, to the end date. Put yourself in: so if it’s a race, make sure you book your race, make sure you actually pay for your race. There’s a lot of psychology around actually once you’ve paid out the money, you’re then committed, there’s no turning back, and you’re more inclined to put more effort in.

If it’s a weight goal, make sure that it’s a realistic weight goal. What is a realistic weight goal? It really depends on where you are at the moment in terms of the ideal weight for your current height. For example, if you are 10 kilos overweight and you want to drop all those 10 kilos, break that down in half. So within 90 days, you want to drop five kilos–that’s a very, very easy, doable target. So then you break that down, the five kilos, down into the half of the 90 days. So 45 days, you want to have lost two and a half kilos, okay, so that can be your milestone within the 90 days. 

Then you need to just work out what you’re going to do from a nutrition perspective. So how are you going to change your diet? How are you then going to track your diet? So my suggestion is using My Fitness Pal. With my one-to-one clients, I use my PT hub because that gives me more functionality and I can see exactly what they’re doing.

And then either on a nightly basis or a morning basis, track what you’re eating so you can understand what you’re consuming from a macro nutrient perspective, because 80% of your results will come from the diet and then 20% will come from your fitness. And then once you’ve broken that all down, you can map that out either on a piece of paper or on a spreadsheet. I actually recommend the first time you do this, is you actually do it on a piece of paper because there’s something psychological again about as you’re writing this out–you’re more inclined to retain that information once you’ve written it out.

Take a picture of it so you’ve got it on your phone, so you can have a look at it and then you just go through it week by week, just carrying out the activities you need to carry out. And then halfway through the 45 day mark, you have a quick check in with yourself, maybe a quick weigh in to see whether or not you’re actually meeting your weight target. 

Or if it’s from a fitness perspective, for example, you want to run a 5K in 25 minutes, so you need to be hitting 5-minute K’s in order to meet that 25 minute target. You could be just testing yourself as to how fast you can run for a kilometre, for a sustained period of time for five minutes per K. You can just note that down in your plan and then you just execute the next 45 days, and at the end of it, you’ve then got a goal which you set in the beginning, either for the weight goal or for the fitness goal, that you can then measure against. 

Now, one thing that I do want to emphasize on this, and that is, if you get to your 90 days and you’ve not met your targets, whether that’s from a weight perspective or from a speed perspective if it’s running… It could be cycling, it could be swimming, it could be CrossFit, whatever that is. The point about this and the point about this episode today is I want to kind of emphasize the fact that you then have something to measure against and then you can go back and analyse that and have a look at why perhaps you didn’t meet that target.

It could well be you had a life event. It could have been some issues with the family, which meant you couldn’t train for a couple of weeks. Or it meant that you were going on holiday and therefore you weren’t so restrictive on your diet when you went on holiday. But the point about it is once you have your target and once you know why you necessarily didn’t reach that target, then for the next 90 days, you know exactly what you need to do in order to change. So that’s really, really key. 

Whereas, perhaps at the moment, if you have no timelines or you have no deadlines, you’ve got nothing to measure against and you don’t know whether you’re making progress, you don’t know whether you’re going backwards, sideways, and things like that. The key about this is the data is the key in all of this. By tracking and having that, you at least then are able to determine whether or not you’re actually going to get to these goals that you want to reach. 

This is a really short episode today but I hope that kind of raises awareness around why it’s important to have your timelines and your deadlines in order to achieve your fitness and nutrition. If you have any comments or questions, please, you can either reach me on Facebook, you can reach me on LinkedIn, you can reach me on Instagram. Go to our website, FitterHealthierDad.com, send us a message and I’ll be more than happy to respond to you. All the emails that you send, I’ll respond to you personally. 

My email is [email protected] And if you email me on that, I’ll be more than happy to come back to you with some tips and helps and responses to your challenges or queries. I really hope that helps, guys. I really hope you take it on board, and I’ll look forward to speaking to you in the next episode. 

Thanks for listening to the Fitter Healthier Dad podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please hit subscribe and I would really appreciate it if you could leave a review on iTunes. All the links mentioned in the episode will be in the show notes and a full transcription is over at FitterHealthierDad.com.