One of the hardest things to do is setting your fitness goals, especially setting ones that are realistic and achievable. With all the infomercials and “miracle programs” it’s understandable why anyone getting started on their journey to becoming fit would have unrealistic or unachievable goals.
In It For the Long Haul
As the old cliche goes, it’s a marathon and not a sprint. When setting your fitness goals you need to remember that you will see fast results when you first get started but you will eventually start to plateau. This is when most people start to get discouraged and give up. Don’t! That’s the best advice I can give you. Stick with it and I can guarantee you will start to see progress again over time.
Any changes you are going to make need to be a life style change, choose something you can stick with and be consistent. If your goal is weight loss then the best thing you can do is get your diet on track, I’m not suggesting you go on a “diet” either. The only thing a diet is good for is quick weight loss and then you will put most if not all the weight back on when you go back to your old eating habits. Make a few small changes at first and when you start to see changes and start feeling better you will be motivated to make more changes.
Consistency is key but you don’t have to be 100%, you may and probably will slip up a bit and you can’t throw it all away because of this. Get back on track and just try your best and I promise you will be happy you did.
If your goal is being more fit or even building muscle then you have to find a workout program that works for you and your schedule. Something you enjoy doing so that you look forward to getting in the gym and giving it your best. We don’t have much choice but to be working out at home right now and that is one of the hardest places to get motivated to exercise. You already have a routine and distractions at home so it is going to take some effort to break that so finding a program you enjoy will make it a little easier.
Whether your goal is weight loss, building muscle or just being more fit in general you need to write down your goals, this is the first step to setting your fitness goals. Be realistic and set a time line and what your exact goal is and always remember if you don’t get there then keep at it and don’t give up.
If you write down your goals and keep track of your progress then you can always go back to see where you started and how far you have come. I have a friend that always keeps a very unflattering picture of himself from when he started his journey and whenever he starts to get discouraged he looks at that picture and remembers why he started. Find something that works to motivate you!
Focus On the Right Goals
Too often I see people that say they want to lose 20 pounds and start stepping on the scale every morning expecting to see results day after day. Change how you think about it and weigh yourself once per week, pick a day and first thing when you wake up step on the scale and write down the results. But don’t put all your trust in the number you see. Don’t forget if you’ve just started exercising then you aren’t just burning fat but your body is also building new muscle which weighs more than fat and can give you false information on a scale. The best way to track your progress is by taking pictures or yourself every week. You look at yourself every day in the mirror so you may not notice the small changes day to day.
Understand that not everyone has the genetics to be an underwear model and even if you do it won’t happen overnight, so when setting your fitness goals pick small things. Eat healthy 95% of the time, add 5 pounds to an exercise each week, do 2 more reps than you could the previous week. If this is what you put your focus on and you achieve it each week then eventually you are going to see better results than you ever did with the fad diet or the 5-minute workout that promised a 6 pack in a month.
Drink More Water
This is one of the most important things to remember no matter what your goals are. Drinking water promotes over-all health, these are just some benefits:
- Helps your organs to function better
- Assists with muscle repair and growth
- Curbs your appetite so you don’t ever eat
- Lowers blood pressure
- Lubricates joints providing better joint health
- Delivers oxygen throughout the body
- Flushes bodily waste
- Boosts performance during exercise and daily life
The easiest way to achieve this is by finding a water bottle that you like and can take with you and set a goal, drink three bottles per day, or drink it twice before lunch. The very first thing you should be doing when you get out of bed is drinking at least 2 cups of water. Your body loses water while you are sleeping just through breathing and muscle repair and since you weren’t re hydrating you need to kick start the hydration in the morning.
If you are having trouble drinking enough water try finding healthy ways to add some flavour. Throw in a mint leaf, or some lemon slices. Avoid the high in sugar water flavouring you get from the store, you can get better taste and health benefits from adding a slice of fruit or some herbs.
Some of my favourites are mint leaves, lemon slices, cucumber, rosemary or assorted berries. Find what works for you and change it up sometimes.
Get a Fitness Partner
This isn’t always possible but if you can, get someone who can help you stay motivated. Your fitness partner doesn’t have to be someone that you are working out with or sharing meals with either, find other ways to utilize a partner to stay motivated. It can be someone you connect with through social media, or a friend you talk to on the phone. When setting your fitness goals do it together and then share healthy recipes or make daily workout challenges.
Lots of cities have fitness groups or find one online where they set up challenges or help each other stay motivated. Just having a like-minded person to talk to when you start to get discouraged can make a world of difference. Also, seeing other people achieve their goals will help you stick to your plan and achieve your goals as well.
Get More Sleep
Your body repairs muscles and burns fat while you sleep, it also takes next to no effort and who doesn’t enjoy laying in a nice cozy bed and ignoring lifes problems! I’m a shift worker so I know it isn’t always easy getting as much sleep as you should but this goes back to focusing on your goals, try to get as much sleep as you can whenever possible. If you have a night where you don’t get as much sleep as you know you should, don’t let it discourage you. It doesn’t mean the day before was a complete waste, if you don’t have the energy for your regular workout then try to do a modified version or take a rest day. You’ve probably earned it anyway!
Remember Why You Started
There’s going to be some hiccups and bumps along the way where you lose motivation and start to get down on yourself, it happens to all of us. Just always refer back to your goals and remember why you got started in the first place. Focus on developing healthy habits and put less focus on the results, strive for your goals and most importantly get out of your comfort zone and be consistent!
Don’t stop until you’re proud. Now get out there and find the better you!