What fitness goals should I set?
This is a quick discussion for beginners on what kind of goals to pick for exercising. You can always get more complicated, but if you are already confused it is best to keep it simple and go back to the basics.
Who are you
The fitness world can get quite confusing with conflicting information about what to eat, how to train and where to go to get your daily beast mode done. In essence, this is all about marketing an where you are going to spend your hard earned cash to get the body you want. Maybe even the body you are being influenced to want is only a sham so that companies can sell their beauty products. Only people who feel inadequate have a need for fancy stuff. Stop and think about that for a second if you are after looks.
A few years back I suffered from high blood pressure and sudden nosebleeds. The trigger was stress at work combined with being overweight. I lost 15kg in half a year when I prepared for the Dublin marathon and never had any nosebleeds since. Just as an example of how goals can become meaningful for you. With my clients, there are usually three different types of people
The ones interested in looks
The ones interested in performance
The ones interested in health
Whatever group you belong to, pick a goal that makes you better and is noticeable to others. Otherwise, it is quite pointless. I told one of my coworkers that I did a 150kg deadlift for 10 repetitions before I went to work. That got a bit of a reaction. Do not expect that for one push up unless you weigh 200kg or more.
Diet goals would be the first ones to tackle. These have the most impact on your fitness if it is weight loss you are after or if you want to gain mass. Pick one food you want to eat less or drink of and cut out it out of your diet. Ban it. For me, this particular food group was alcohol. For half a year I did not touch a drop and it helped a lot. I did not make any other dietary changes, started running daily and lost 15kg.
If you want to gain mass, you have to eat. Eating a lot of healthy food can also become a chore. Here preparation is key. Set yourself the goal to prep your meals on the weekend for the rest of the week. Especially the snacks you need to keep going towards your calorie goal for the day.
So, for diet it is important that you set a calorie goal, track it and ban some of the bad habits like white bread toast with jam and alcohol to get ahead. It is the simple stuff really.
Once you have your diet down it is time to set some exercising goals. Again, as a beginner, the most important thing is to start doing something, rather than staying put and doing nothing. Get into a habit of exercising once a week. When that is established move on to two times a week, three times a week and maybe even a daily schedule.
The important bit is that it happens regularly and becomes a habit in a designated time slot which you protect from other activities. I found this time slot to be before 6 am as nobody really wants to get up that early to go to the gym or do a run, except the people who are serious about it.
A good goal to strive for in terms of running also depends on the level that you are currently at. If you can not run, start walking longer distances until you can. If you can run, try to sprint the distance instead by doing intervals. Interval runs are done by setting a timer. At first, you run for a minute as hard as you can, followed by three minutes of rest to repeat the process all over again. Once you become more experienced you can start to cut the rest periods shorter and shorter. At the time you can run at the same pace for the entire distance it is time to start the whole process all over again. Interval runs are a very powerful tool to boost speed for long distance runners.
If you can not run long distance, run short distances, until they add up. Same principle as with Intervals applies, just less extreme.
For more experienced runners you can start to challenge your time at a certain distance. My current goal is to run a marathon in 3:30. So far I only managed to get slightly below four hours. Whatever it is, try to challenge yourself to get better at it. This will keep things interesting. Always keep the goal within reach and break it down into chunks which you can conquer one step at a time. An overwhelming goal is demotivating.
In strength, it also depends on where you start. Again, make the goals practical and real rather than setting a specific repetition or weight loss goal. If you can not do a push-up, make it a goal to do one. If you can do a push-up, but no pull up, that is the next step on the ladder. If you want to go beast mode take it up a notch by turning your pull up into a muscle up.
The principle is simple and applies to all in strength. Try to do more of the same. Once you can do a lot of the same move on to the next thing which is harder to you. Then do a lot of that. Rinse and repeat. Of course, there are different rep schemes, details about when to supplement, eat, sleep and say your granny good night. All well and nice. At the heart of fitness, though, is action. The ones who do something get something in return. So get going. Once your ass is in gear come back to this blog for more specific information.
There are many fitness goals and they are highly custom to the individual person. At the heart, you should do more of something which gets you nearer to your goals of being healthier, more attractive or being able to perform better in your given sport. Once you have achieved that goal set the bar a little higher. The best fitness goal to have is a consistent improvement at what you like doing. The rest will take care of itself. If you don't like fitness your first goal is to get to like it more. There is a reason why the happiest people on earth are usually also very active or mindful of their bodies.
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