Getting back into eating right & exercising after some time off is never easy, and the thought of getting fit can seem like a daunting task, even if you’ve been there before. But fear not! It can be done, no matter where you are in life. But you’ve got to plan, and setting fitness goals should be your first step.
These goals need to be appropriate to your wants, needs and abilities and should be your starting point, before you go buying that expensive gym membership or, yes, sorry girls, even those gorgeous Lorna Jane tights.
Why do you want to get fit?
If we go into a life moment, whether it be starting exercise, a new diet, applying for a new job or the beginnings of a relationship with the wrong preparation & motivation, you will in all likelihood not achieve what you wanted.
At worst, you could completely fail and come out the other side significantly worse than how you went in.
So how to we figure out what our motivations for getting fit are so that our fitness goals are appropriate and we have a higher likelihood of achieving our fitness goals?
First things first; Think back to when the thought first popped into your head about getting fit:
- Was it because you were nervous about the thought of wearing a bikini?
- Did you have to run to catch the train and were worried by how puffed out it made you?
- Were you self-conscious about your body when you were in the buff in front of a new rompy-pompy partner?
- Was it because you were having trouble keeping up with the kids while playing?
- Are you wanting to get back to a previous level of fitness that your were happy with?
- Or has it been an un-achieved goal for so long now that you don’t remember your initial motivation?
What ever it is, hang on to that memory. If you don’t remember it, don’t stress! You can brainstorm what are your current reason/s are too.
What’s your motivators & reality?
Now we’re at the pointy end of the stick! Time to start working out the facts.
For the sake of the argument, and because this was a main motivator for me when I decided to get my ass into gear and get fit, I’m going to use the below motivation as my prime one for the personal fitness goal I use later:
“I don’t like how my body looks in a bikini”
I’ll use this motivator as an example from now on, but please mentally slot yours in instead wherever you see this written. I am just using this as an example to help you work our your own fitness goal.
My sub motivators are that I literally couldn’t run to save myself (if I was being chased by a murdered, I’d be screwed!), and that I really want to get fit before I hit 30. Simples!
Now that we have established that our prime motivator is a physically oriented one, and there is an age & event sub motivator, we can work with some facts:
- What is your current weight, height and BMI (Body Mass Index)? If you don’t know your BMI, you can google BMI Calculator in Google and it will come up with a heap of options, but I quite like the Heart Foundations’ calculator.
- Is your BMI in the healthy range, or is it high/low?
- If in the healthy range, then you can likely get stuck straight into some form or exercise, which we’ll go into in a later post.
- If it is high or low, you should see a doctor before performing any additional exercise. They will give you a check-up to make sure that your body will cope with the new physical stress that exercise can be, and to make sure you get the most out of.
- If you are overweight & unfit, then your plan will need to involve a change of mindset about your diet, which we will go into more in our diet post. But are you prepared to rethink your current eating habits?
- Are there any emotional barriers in the way of us achieving our fitness goal? Sometimes you will only find these out once you start the journey, but it’s best to sit down and think hard about this before you start. That way you can prepare yourself for any mental obstacles you might face early one.
- Any physical obstacles? For example I have a bit of a bung knee, so went to see a physio before I started jogging, and they got me into a pair of running shoes that would help to alleviate some of the pressure off my knee.
- What are our time constraints?
- What’s 5km races are in the next 3 or so months?
- Etc. etc. etc.
Every fitness goal & motivator will have different realities, so just make sure you do your best to realise them before you get stuck into achieving your goal, but make sure you don’t use them as an excuse!
Write your motivation(s) down
No matter what they are. Write. Them. Down. Capiche?
The reason that I will push for you to physically write them down, as opposed to typing them in to your computer or phone, is because when something is written on a piece of paper or in a diary it is a tangible asset, as opposed to something immaterial that can get lost into your phones growing memo notes about TV shows to watch or sneaker wish lists.
I have a thing (*drools*) for diaries and stationary (shout out to Moleskine, ma main diary hookup!), so when I come across something as important as a motivation for a life, health or fitness goal, I will put some effort and pride into actually presenting it. That may sound over the top, and for some it very well may be, but I want to wear that goal like a badge of honour, not hide it away like it’s something to be ashamed of! Just reading this outs you leaps and bounds in front of others who are happy being lazy, so congrats 🙂
Some ideas for presenting your motivations include:
- Neatly writing it on a Post-It and sticking it above your desk
- Finding and typing your motivation a font that appeals to you from a website like dafont.com. Then printing it out and framing it with a cheap frame from Ikea or your local Op-Shop and putting it on your bedside table
- If you’re the arty type, incorporating it into a sketch, painting or poem and displaying it on your desk at work or at home
The important thing is to be proud of your motivations, and never ashamed of them. You are working towards something beautiful here, and should be proud of yourself too! Seeing it every day is a healthy reminder on why you’re getting up at 6am for a run or why you’re going to slug away at that Body Pump class after work.
Last but not least: Time to work out your fitness goal!
And here we are! It may seem like a lot of work to just work out a fitness goal, let alone starting to achieve it, but by having the proper preparations behind you you’re SO much more likely to succeed.
Using the bikini bod motivator, as well as wanting to run a 5k’er and only being (eek!) 2 years off 30 (FINE, 1.5 years), on top of the facts of having a healthy BMI, having already seen a physio (thanks SSPC!) & being more than happy to change my diet, we can form a goal.
I’m a bit of a fan (as annoying as they are to make) of SMART goals. And by the way, I’m not capitalising that because I’m excited; it’s actually an acronym. A SMART goal has to be:
S – specific
M – measurable
A – achievable
R – realistic
T – time-based
SMART goal, especially SMART fitness goals, make sure that we’re being realistic, and are aiming for something that is realistic whilst not aiming too low.
Instead of trying to lump it all into one fitness goal, I’m actually going to make 2 here, and you should make as many or as few as feel right to you and your situation.
Fitness Goal 1# – I want to be fit enough to comfortably run in the City2Sea 5km race on November 20th.
Let check this off as a SMART goal:
- Is it specific? Yes, it covers all bases.
- Is it measurable? Yes, because I will either finish the race comfortably, finish the race uncomfortably (does than mean chaffing?!), or not run at all.
- Is it achievable? Yes, because I have calculated that by using the C25K app, once I reach being able to run a full 5km, I will actually have a week up my sleeve of being able to practice running a full 5km before the race (if that makes any sense!).
- Is it realistic? Yes. I will be pushing myself, but it is totally doable.
- Is it time-based? Yes, November 20th is the set date.
Fitness Goal #2 – I want to have lost 8kgs (0.8kg per week) and have significantly increased my muscle tone by January 1st by following my exercise program.
- Is it specific? Yes, it covers all bases.
- Is it measurable? Yes, because I know how much weight I have to lose per week, and at what date I have to be a certain weight.
- Is it achievable? It’ll be challenging, but is achievable.
- Is it realistic? Yup!
- Is it time-based? Yes, I have weekly dates/targets to meet and an overall deadline.
So there we have it! Two reasonable, achievable & trackable fitness goals.
I hope that you can use these hints to formulate your own fitness goals, and remember, coming this far is amazing! You have the drive, all you need now to do now is believe in yourself, get off ya bum, and get going!