Tips to set healthy fitness goals
To reach your fitness goals it is important to break down each goal into more specific goals. Start by asking yourself, “How am I going to get there?” For example, if your workout goal is to lose 20 lbs how are you going to do that in a HEALTHY way? I emphasize healthy because there are a lot of unhealthy methods to lose weight. To lose weight, it is a "marathon not a sprint", so focus on the lifestyle change, not a quick fix.
Take a few minutes now to write down your specific fitness goals.
Here is a list of healthy fitness goals:
I want to get on an exercise plan to lower my cholesterol numbers
I want to lower my A1C, if you are diabetic, on my next lab work
I want to exercise more, so that I may be more active with my children
I want to run 4 miles every other day for my upcoming marathon
I will lift weights three times a week to improve my strength and bone health
Here is a list of unhealthy fitness goals:
I want to lose weight so that I can rub it in my ex’s face and let them know what they are missing out on. That may give you some pleasure in the short term but it will leave you at a dead end on your destination to improve your health and fitness goals.
I am only going to have water and soup all day to decrease my total calories and lose weight.
I will take a variety of weight loss supplements and other stimulants to lose weight.
How do your goals measure up- were your goals healthy or unhealthy?
If you struggled to create healthy fitness goals. There is an easier way to determine a healthy goal. First, think of your goal as something that will show improvement in your health. Next, further divide your goals into short term and long term goals. Short term goals are very important because they instill confidence and create that “snowball effect” that you want to keep going to reach your long-term goal.
Here are a few examples: I want to get off my cholesterol medication as a long term goal. You want to break that down into smaller short term goals. I will prepare my lunches at home to avoid eating out at fast food restaurants that are high in fats. Another example of a short term goal to lower cholesterol could be, I will increase my exercise by walking on my lunch break for 30 minutes, 5 days a week. This is a very successful way of meeting your long term goal of getting off your cholesterol medication because it creates that “snowball effect” and you keep building off of each short term goal. You should see an improvement in your cholesterol and overall health as you meet each of your short term goals.
Another example of breaking down short term to long term goals is if you want to gain strength. Your short term goal could be that you will go to the gym and get with a personal trainer to come up with a designed plan to increase strength. Once you meet that goal set another short term goal to increase the weight of each exercise 10 lbs every 2 weeks. It does take time, but remember to track your gains each week. After about 6 months to one year, you can check back to your starting date and compare your strength gains to see if you met your long term goal. Always remember what your main goal is and create goals that are specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, and timely. This will ensure that you create goals for Yourself and goals that can be measured to track your progress.
For a clear and easy way to keep track of your short and long term goals, list your goals in a journal or planner. Consider listing your goals as shown below:
LTG: I want to get on an exercise plan to lower my cholesterol numbers.
STG: Every Monday and Friday I will ride my bike or walk at my local park for 30 minutes
STG: I will use my exercise bands to do a total body strength routine Tuesday and Thursday or at least two days a week
You can repeat this for 4-6 weeks or change more frequently as desired. It is important, however, to modify your exercise routine to get the most benefit and caloric burn on your workouts. Your body is very adaptable and will adapt to the stress of exercise, thus lowering your total caloric burn and/or strength gains when doing the exact same routine. Only small adjustments are needed though. Example from above would be the option of walking instead of riding bike or increasing the duration, speed, frequency of bike riding or walking. Remember this is your workout and your limitations and resources will come into play.
Now take some time to brainstorm, identify, and list your short term and long term goals.
Side note: Please complete as many goals as needed. Try not to overwhelm yourself as this is a process. I encourage you to take your time and be kind to yourself as you are working on your goals. You will not always see success right away; however, it is possible to complete your goals and obtain success. You can do this!
Kenny McClendon is the owner of Fit Therapy of Texas, where he helps individuals reach their fitness goals. He knows that it can be difficult to create short and long term attainable goals and is here to help you create a lasting, lifestyle change. He helps individuals reach their fitness goals whether that includes weightloss, muscle building, toning, learning the basics, and more. For more information, check out the website at www.fittherapyoftexas.com