When it comes to setting fitness goals, your approach significantly determines whether or not you’ll hit the mark. There should be a careful tradeoff between the size of your target and the reality of you being able to achieve it. Big targets may be hugely inspiring. However, it is important to take a more calculated approach as far as setting fitness goals is concerned.
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By nature, humans are encouraged by success. You need a sense of achievement to be able to get the impetus to continue working toward a goal. Setting a lofty goal that’s unattainable may only put you on the course of depression. You’ll stretch your limits, and if you don’t hit the mark, you may get frustrated. There is also the risk of trying to do the impossible as daily targets, which may result in injury and frustration. Fitness is a delicate matter, and failure, however small can significantly send your confidence tumbling to the ground.
So, whatever your fitness goal may be, there are best practices that will maximize your chances of success and prevent you from unnecessary burnout and disappointment. Have your end game in mind for purposes of motivation, but remain keen as to:
Make your goals specific
What is it that you want to do? This is based on the reason why you are into fitness in the first place. Why are you working out? Is it to shed off some weight? To tone your body’s muscles? To build some muscle? To put on some weight? Or are you working out to strengthen your heart?
Whatever your fitness objective is, be sure to make it as specific as possible. To lose belly fat would be a specific fitness goal, so is to lose weight. However, to “improve your health” would not be a specific fitness objective. Specificity makes it easier to achieve a goal because it introduces thresholds upon which you can measure success, which brings us to the next point.
Have a way to measure your goal
How will you determine when you have reached your goal? A measurable goal has an assessment mechanism by which you can track your progress. This shouldn’t be complicated. If you are aiming to shed off some pounds, you’ll need to use the weighing machine perhaps on a weekly basis. If you are working out to put on some weight, you can still measure your progress by periodically weighing yourself to see how much you’ve gained. Alternatively, you might be exercising to lose fat, all you’d need to do in that case is to test your body fat content at the expiry of the set timeline to see how much has gone.
Make your goals realistic and achievable
What is the possibility of losing half an inch of belly fat in two weeks? If you make this as your target, how will you feel if you don’t lose that amount of belly fat at the click of the two-week time limit?
“I want to lose 10 pounds by end of the week” would be unattainable and as such, an unrealistic fitness objective. You’ll be trying too hard to achieve it, and the all too expected inability to attain it will only brew frustration and unnecessary burnout.
There’s no promising that it’s going to be easy, but be sure to keep a record of everything you’re doing to attain your goal from day to day. If you spend some time in the gym, put it down. If you use a rowing machine or treadmill from home, note it down. If you cut back on something in your diet, record it. Because you should be constantly aware of what you’re doing towards achieving your goals.
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Keep it timed
When do you want to achieve your goal? “I want to add half an inch on my biceps by end of the month” would be a time bound goal. So is “I want to lose three pounds in the next four weeks. The rule is simple: have a deadline and work with it in mind.