Friday, 30 October 2009

The Success Quotient – stack the odds in your favour for reaching your fitness goals

Are you getting the results you deserve from your exercise time? Are your workouts effective, productive and enjoyable? Are you moving towards not just reaching your fitness goals but exceeding them? No? Well you aren’t alone. Many people put in their time in the gym and eat well but find themselves treading water rather than steaming ahead. Why? Exercise and eating well are only two parts of the equation - when it comes to getting into great shape, what you do during the rest of the 168 hours that make up the week is as important as what you do in the gym.

To improve your chances of success and reaching your fitness goals, answer the following 30 questions honestly, making note of any shortcomings or areas that need attention....
For each question use the following scoring system...

Always = 10
Mostly = 8
Frequently = 5
Rarely = 3
Never = 0
Look at each 10 question section individually to see how you are faring exercise, nutrition and recovery wise and then add up the score for all 3 sections, divide by 3, to give you your combined score...

Section 1 – Training
If you are taking the time to exercise, it makes sense to do it right. If you score badly in this section, make some changes so that unproductive workouts become a thing of the past!

1. Free weight/bodyweight exercises make up most of my training volume
2. Compound exercises make up 80%+ of my training volume
3. I use proper exercise techniques in all my training (minimal cheating)
4. My training programme reflects my goals and weakness
5. I change my programme at least every 6 weeks but stick with it long enough to give it chance to work
6. My programme is balanced to ensure all major muscles are exercised and I perform not just the exercises I’m good at but also the ones I’m not good at!
7. I refrain from performing low quality workouts e.g. junk miles, too much easy cardio etc.
8. My training is consistent and I seldom miss workout except when absolutely necessary
9. I perform adequate appropriate CV and flexibility work for my goals and my health
Section 2 – Nutrition
Without good nutrition not only your fitness but your health may suffer. Even if your training is perfect, without adequate nutrition your body is unlikely to benefit from exercise. Like putting the right fuel in a high-performance car, eating a well balanced diet will ensure the machine runs smoothly and optimally.

1. I only eat junk food one or fewer times per week
2. I consume adequate quality protein according to my requirements
3. I consume adequate carbohydrates according to my requirements
4. I avoid low quality/highly refined foods as much as possible
5. I try to minimise my consumption of processed foods, sugar and trans fats
6. I consume fruit and/or vegetables with every meal
7. I eat 4-6 quality meals a day (not just snacks)
8. I consume a post workout meal within 15 minutes of my training session
9. I keep my alcohol intake within healthy levels
10. I drink 2 or more litres of plain water a day plus 250ml per 15 minutes of exercise
Section 3 – Recovery
To benefit from exercise, the body must be allowed to recover. For recovery to occur we need to be in a neutral state called homeostasis which means all the systems of the body are in balance. If our body is out of balance e.g. because of too much stress or too little sleep, its recovery ability will be impaired and, as a result, progress is likely to be slow or possibly non-existent. Work with your body – not against it!

1. I try to keep my stress levels to a minimum
2. I sleep 8-10 hours a night
3. I go to bed no later than 11pm
4. I get a sports massage at least once a month
5. I am on time with work tasks and/or studies
6. I take time to relax during the week - not just at weekends
7. If I drink alcohol, I do so in moderation
8. If I am feeling over tired, injured or unwell, I will refrain from training until I feel better
9. When my stress levels are high, I reduce my training intensity/volume
10. I perform a light CV cool down post training
Add the scores for each section together and divide by 3 to give you your Success Quotient percentage...

90-100% - Excellent!
You are virtually bound to make good progress and, with continued determination and patience, should have little trouble reaching your health and fitness goals.

70-89% - Adequate
Some of your practices are maybe holding you back and whilst you may well reach your fitness goals, it’s likely that it’ll take you a lot less time if you address the highlighted shortfalls
40-69% - Poor
Your progress and ultimate success is being hampered by poor nutrition, training and recovery habits. It’s very unlikely you’ll make significant progress towards your fitness goals unless you make some radical changes to your lifestyle
0-39% - Danger!
Not only will you fail to make any significant progress, your performance is very likely to decline with possible negative effects on your health and well being. It’s time to make some radical changes for the better before it’s too late!
So, now you know what you need to do to increase your chances of success. If you need to make changes, avoid trying to make too many at the same time. Introduce a couple of changes at a time to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Lifestyle changes can take a while to “stick” so make it as easy as possible by making simple changes initially and working up to bigger changes once you have built up some momentum. Finally, make sure the changes you make fit as easlily as possible into your current lifestyle as if they don’t, it’s highly likely that you’ll soon revert back to your original behaviours.


  1. That's a really useful tool. It's easy to forget about the stuff you do outside of the gym and how it can make or break your success.

  2. I know a few people who could really benefit from this article (including myself)!