CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Are you going to reach your destination?
I think we could agree that knowing how to get where you want to go makes the journey easier and faster. The same principle applies to fitness. Once you establish a goal, you have in essence pinpointed your destination. The next step, of course, is to clearly define the direction you plan to take to get there. Mapping this out and following it will help you avoid unnecessary detours, traffic jams or the dreaded U-turn.
How long will it take?
When we begin a trip, we definitely factor in the time it takes to get there. We don't look at a drive to the beach that normally takes eight hours and try to make it in four just because we are eager to sink our toes in the sand. This type of expectation is unrealistic at best and unsafe at worst. It is in our best interest, though, to gather information so we can choose the most efficient route.
Shall I take the expressway?
We all want a lean and fit body in the shortest amount of time. But like the trip to the beach, it would be unreasonable justify shortcuts toward better health or a higher fitness level. Fad or starvation diets, weight-loss supplements, diuretics and other unhealthy strategies would be like keeping the gas pedal smashed to the floor in hopes of arriving early. This type of reckless and irresponsible decision making will likely lead to undesirable consequences such as injury, leaving you stranded or ending the trip altogether.
Is that SMART?