Knowing Your Limits

Although you might see ads or creative marketing campaigns that want you to believe that you have no limits, I’m here to tell you that you do.

We all need to know what our limits are when it comes to fitness. I’m not trying to say that you can’t accomplish anything you set your mind to. You really are limitless in some ways. But when you begin training or exercising, you should set realistic goals that will lead you in the right direction, but also allow you to accomplish goals while preventing and avoiding injury.

The first step is determining what your goals are. Do you want to completely change your lifestyle and begin to focus on your overall health on a daily basis? Or, do you just want to make minor changes to an already-healthy lifestyle that will slowly improve your quality of life?

When you decide what your goals are and what you want to work toward, write it down. This strategy is a common theme that you’ll find in almost everything I believe. By writing things down, you are essentially making it official. I write everything down, including what I eat, my exercise goals and my long-term life goals. There is something wonderful about going through old notes and witnessing how much I have evolved and changed as a person, and as an athlete, from years gone by.

When I set a goal I make a list of smaller goals that go along with it. I’ll show you an example of what my goals are for my next event, and how it corresponds with my allotted time for training:

Goal: Compete in the Train To Hunt Competition in May

  • Train five days a week for individual categories (running/shooting)
  • Shoot minimum of 30 arrows per day from alternating distances
  • Work on specific endurance with weighted pack
  • Combination training of shooting/endurance (three days/week)

I look at this list a few times a week to be sure that I’m staying on track. I also have a specific training program that was prepared for me by my friends at traintohunt.com, to prepare me for the competition.

All of this training and preparation will ensure that I can compete in the event with a low risk of injury. I know my limits. I know that if I show up to that event without any training beforehand I might easily twist an ankle or tear a muscle. I might even fail completely because of a lack of mental toughness.

Setting your goals
You might not be interested in competing in any event, or even lifting weights. But if you have a fitness goal I challenge you to write it down. Be very specific about what you want. What is your reason? What is your ultimate goal for your end result? How can you hold yourself accountable?

I also challenge you to focus on the positive energy around your goals. Think about yourself and what you want to accomplish in a positive way, and your challenges will seem much more achievable. A negative mindset is poison to our bodies. We have to believe in ourselves and know our own strength in order to keep going.

If you struggle with this part of it, find support groups that will help build you up. Many online fitness communities are free and offer a great amount of support if you want (or need) a little extra motivation or inspiration to achieve your goals.

There are limits
Finally, know your limits. Don’t push yourself to the point of injury. That will only set you back from achieving anything. Take baby steps if you need to. Work diligently, but be smart about it. Listen to your body and rest when you need to.