Failure to plan is a plan for failure

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center. 

By Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach

In our home at the moment, schedules seem to be dictated by March Madness. Half of my family spent Thursday night watching SLU’s triumphant overtime win, and the following day they sat for 10 or 11 hours at the stadium, watching even more college basketball. While we anxiously await SLU’s next game, I am actually taking a break from all the college hoops discussions and am thinking instead about college football.

Paul “Bear” Bryant is one of the most admired college football coaches in history. During his 25-year tenure as Alabama’s Head Coach, he amassed six national championships and thirteen conference championships. Upon his retirement in 1982, Bryant held the record for most wins as Head Coach in collegiate football history, with 323 wins to his credit.

This sort of achievement doesn’t come easily, and certainly doesn’t get handed to any of us on a silver platter. One of Bryant’s most impactful quotes has touched more lives than merely those of the players he had the privilege of coaching, as it has applications in so many arenas of life:

“Everybody has the will to win, but few have the will to prepare to win.”

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Whether your goal is to achieve a new level of fitness, shed some unwanted pounds, or improve your flexibility, success comes in the preparation. Eating the same foods as you have always eaten, in the same quantities, prepared the same way, will not propel you toward a weight-loss goal. Planning ahead, doing some research / consulting with a professional, and taking the initiative to prepare for this next phase in your journey toward a healthier self will be an important first step toward success.

This same paradigm applies to your exercise goals as well. Before driving to the gym, prepare for your workout. Decide in advance which classes will be the most helpful in propelling you toward your desired change. Plan strength-training exercises that are both achievable and safe, build in a step-by-step way to progress as your strength increases, and have a clear vision of where you are heading.

It has been said, and accurately at that, how nobody trains to come in second place. True, we can’t always take first place; but if we apply that same passionate drive to the preparation it will take to succeed, we will always come out a winner.