Goal setting is a huge motivation for many people in their fitness journey. Setting goals gives people something concrete to reach towards, a milestone by which they can measure success in the face of more murky and difficult-to-discern health benefits. Goals can backfire, however, when they are unrealistic.
Shooting for an impossible goal is not only demoralizing, it can also be downright dangerous, encouraging people to go to unhealthy lengths to reach their objective. But how do you know whether a goal is attainable, but still challenging? Here are some helpful guidelines.
Just starting out? Pick habits over destinations.
If you’re new to fitness and don’t have a habit of regular exercise, this is the most important goal of all. Committing to regular exercise and making it a normal part of your routine is more important than the type of exercise itself. Strength training, cardiovascular exercise, even just regular walking and stretching is miles ahead of a sedentary lifestyle.
Some people recommend habit stacking, or adding a new habit to a routine that’s already in place. (I get out of bed, I brush my teeth, I do 20 minutes of bodyweight exercises.) After exercise has an automatic place in your life, you can change up what kinds of exercise you do in order to meet more specific fitness goals.
Got health issues? Consult with your doctor.
If you’re looking to get more fit due to a health or medical issue, your doctor is the perfect person to ask about realistic goals. Lowering your blood pressure, strengthening the muscles around a weak joint, losing weight, or reducing the needed dosage of a certain medication are all good examples of these kinds of goals.
A physician can help you with both measurements and time frames that are healthy. A larger person might be able to safely lose weight more quickly than a smaller one, while someone with a history of eating disorders might need to go more slowly still.
Advancing athleticism? Check in with a trainer.
If you’re looking to increase your fitness in very specific ways, getting a personal trainer is one of the smartest decisions you can make. Trainers are professionals who have worked with a wide number of people who have different strengths and limitations as well as different fitness goals.
They know how long it takes to help a lanky teenager deadlift twice his/her bodyweight, a sedentary desk jockey trim 5 inches of waistline, or an octogenarian carry two bags of groceries up a flight of stairs. What’s more, they know what kind of work it takes to achieve those results, and how to do so safely and without injury.
At Elite Training San Diego, we know that the right goal is critical for a lifetime of fitness.
That’s why our personal trainers focus on your goals from the very start, with a free 60 minute session customized based on what you want to achieve. Are you ready to get started? Get in touch to schedule your first session today.