You’ve worked out that for your health and well-being, you need to start working out. Your success at this may be determined by defining the results you want prior to the start.
Firstly, define both your short-term and long-term personal fitness goals. A short-term goal could be to lose 10 kg in six months; a long-term goal could be running a half-marathon at the end of the year. Make sure that the goals you set are possible to achieve within the timeframe you set for yourself.
Defined goals help you monitor your progress; tracking your accomplishments on a regular basis improves motivation and can leave you with a sense of accomplishment. You’ll also be able to assess whether you are obtaining the necessary results. If you’re not, you can modify your fitness programme to get back on track to meeting your target.
First step – determine your current fitness level
To avoid setting unrealistic goal and then being discouraged enough to abandon the workout plan altogether, you need to know how fit you are before you start exercising.
For starters, run through your health history and determine whether there are any medical conditions that may impact your workout plan. Then, you need an assessment of what your body type requires. For example, how would you describe your figure? And where do you gain most of your weight – upper or lower body?
You’d also need to conduct a basic strength and flexibility review. This can be done professionally with a fitness instructor at Healthifyme or on your own. If you opt for the latter, check your endurance by how much time it takes you to walk a certain distance; your upper and lower body strength by determining how many arm curls and chair stands you can do in 2 minutes, your balance by how long you can stand on one foot and your flexibility by stretching to touch your toes – see how far you can go before you feel a stretch.
Second – Set flexible, short-term goals
Identifying sub-goals, or milestones, will help you monitor your progress in relation to your primary goal and motivate you to believe attaining your target is achievable.
The milestones could range from making it to the gym on time and completing your workout in your first week to dropping 2 kilos in the first month.
There is the possibility you may find your original goal was too simple or that several changes in your personal life don’t allow for the time you initially set aside for a fitness programme. In that case, you may have to adjust your goals. If you discover your original goal was insufficiently challenging, you can modify them now.
Third – add variety to make it more challenging
Once you are comfortable and consistent with your fitness programme, you can try challenging yourself by introducing different types of fitness routines.
For instance, if your plan includes riding a stationary bike, running on a treadmill and circuit training on weight training machines three times a week, you can add a swimming or jogging routine on day four. You could also try exercising with a workout partner who is slightly ahead of you in terms of fitness. His or her pace will inspire you to increase the intensity of your workouts.
Unsure about how to set your targets? Healthifyme’s experts can help!