As some of you may know from reading my previous articles, I love competing in obstacle course races, such as Spartan Races. I love the competitive edge. I love the challenge. I love how my body is pushed to the extreme. At times I am pushed past what I thought my body is even capable of. It is equally a mental and physical challenge.
One thing that I struggled with after my college soccer career ended was finding something I was equally passionate about and that brought me the same joy. Even playing in a coed soccer league wasn’t the same. The level of competition was different and I wasn’t training like I used to. I realized that the lifts I was doing in the gym were great in terms of staying in shape, but I wasn’t pushing myself like I once had and I definitely wasn’t being pushed by anyone else. I needed a goal to work towards in order to find that motivation and passion that I once had playing D1 soccer.
After a couple Spartan races, I knew this was something I needed to make a priority. I signed up for 9 races this year and decided that I needed to start specifically training for them if I wanted to improve and complete all the obstacles. Although I am a personal trainer myself, I signed up for an Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) gym, called Fitness on Fire, and started to get the type of Spartan training that I needed. Best decision I ever made.
Having set goals on the calendar kept me motivated and driven. I wanted to eat healthy, get more sleep, drink less, and train harder because I wanted to do my absolute best in these races. I also was putting in a lot of time and money so that alone held me accountable and pushed me further. My focus was also no longer on aesthetics, but rather my athletic performance. I wanted to improve and get stronger for myself and no one else. With all my training however, I ended up losing 8lbs and feeling the best I’ve felt in a long time.
Goal setting is crucial to your success in all aspects of life, not just fitness. Without a measureable and tangible goal, it is often difficult to stay focused. It is also easier to get discouraged because you have no way to track your progress.
I challenge you to find what works for you. Grab a friend too if you don’t want to do it alone! Spartan races may not be for everybody, this is just something that worked for me. There are other types of races, such as a local mud run, 5 or 10K, half marathon, or even triathlon. Running not your thing? Sign up for a powerlifting or kettlebell competition or a cycling race. Just pick something that interests you, even if it seems small. You can always increase the difficulty of your goals as time goes on but just starting with a goal and marking your calendar is the first step. And once your goal is completed, I will tell you there is no better feeling!
Happy goal setting!