In today’s society we all lead very busy lives and that’s why I believe goal setting is as important as exercise itself.
You don’t have to be a professional athlete to set goals when it comes to health and fitness. I believe setting goals keeps me motivated and gives me a structured plan to work towards each and every day helping me to stay focused towards my well-being.
The benefit of setting short term health and fitness goals will enable you to build a platform to reach your long term goals. When it comes to physical activity, goal setting is vitally important to keep yourself disciplined and consistent with your training.
Over my years of being a health a fitness professional, I have seen far too many people start an exercise program only to give up on themselves before they really get started. Owning a gym has given me great insight into people’s training patterns and behaviours. Most people who don’t personal train will ask me for a fitness program to follow and I always ask what’s their plan and what goals have they set for themselves that they will be working towards. The answer is normally the same: “What plan? I have no goals. I just want to lose some weight and get fit” (which actually IS their goal). Now for me, this is really when I earn my money by sitting down with the client and helping them to work out their own plan and goals that will aid them in losing weight and getting fit. When goal setting, start by planning your week and break the week down into:
After work commitments (family or social)
Training convenience – eg. do you have access to a gym at work? Do you live close to a gym, park or beach? Are you a person that really does need a 24hr gym? Do you own any gym or training equipment at home?
A tool I use with my clients to great effect is to take the gym’s group class timetable and make it your own. For example, many gyms will have classes spread over the day from am to pm including weekends.
Step 1: insert your own working week times onto the timetable
Step 2: insert your family time over the week eg. date nights, kids after school activities/ other commitments
Step 3: insert your chores including time spent paying bills, shopping, housekeeping and cooking
This will give you a great overview of how your week is shaped Monday to Sunday.
Step 4: Highlight where you could potentially participate in group classes or exercise in general. Most common things we do for exercise are:
go for a walk/run/ride/swim
use cardio equipment (gym/home)
group gym classes
When dissecting your week I normally find most of us have ample time to exercise. Whether it’s shorter or longer periods of time we have to train, it normally comes down to how organised we are in our weekly schedule.
So when setting goals, be well organised, set short to medium goals that will lead to long term benefits. Be extremely realistic and honest with yourself as to what’s achievable. Do not make exercise a chore by placing too much pressure on yourself in time restraints. Schedule your training routines as an important part of your own weekly routine. Make it varied but keep it consistent and after a while your exercise routines will become a habit of which you will enjoy and your body will love you for.
Written by Matt Fuller and first published on HIF website.