5 Fitness Goals You Should Be Making If You Want To See Progress

One thing we fitness pros are always babbling on about is the importance of having goals. In fact, the first thing I ask prospective clients is what they want to achieve, so I can help ’em get there. And while there’s no such thing as a bad goal, having more specific intentions can be even more powerful — especially when you can measure that progress along the way. Consider adding these five fitness goals to your list.

Meet The Expert: Amy Roberts is a certified personal trainer

Fitness Goal #1: Lower Your Body-Fat Percentage

Clients often tell me they just want to lose two to four kilos to “lean out.” (Sound familiar?) But you’ve probably heard the old “muscle weighs more than fat” line. While that’s not technically true (a kilogram is a kilogram), it is true that a kilogram of muscle is denser and takes up less space than a kilogram of fat. So if your goal is to shed kilograms, you really should be aiming to lose body fat and gain (or retain) muscle. Essentially, you’re hoping to shift your body composition and lower your body-fat percentage.

You can measure this in a number of ways…

  • You can ask a trainer at your gym to test it using skin-fold callipers.
  • You can try a body-comp scale or monitor that uses bioimpedance (where you stand on or hold metal pads and a current determines your body composition). Or, you can go to a special lab for a more accurate (though pricier) air- or water-displacement test.

Keep in mind that the first two options aren’t 100 percent accurate. But as long as the measurements are done under the same general conditions, you’ll be able to get a pretty good look at your progress.

Goal #2: Get Stronger

Of course, you don’t want to look like Joe Manganiello, but you shouldn’t be afraid to make strength one of your goals. In fact, unless you put some crazy concerted effort into it, the typical woman will never “bulk up.” (Newsflash: You CAN be strong and skinny!) What I like about strength as a goal is that it’s much more quantifiable than “toning up,” which is what women often say when they’re describing the desire to build muscle.

Strength can be measured by a number of ways. The number of push-ups you can do, the amount of weight you lift, or the increase in reps you can handle. It’s also noticeable in daily life: The ease with which you lug your groceries or lift your suitcase into the overhead bin. And if you want to check your progress in the mirror, find out how long it takes to see muscle definition.

Goal #3: Master A Skill

Write down this goal if you’re one of those people who just doesn’t get particularly amped about running/lifting/sweating just for the sake of it. Sometimes you need a specific skill to hone in on. My gateway drug into fitness was a weekly adult gymnastics class that hooked me. But if tumbling isn’t your thing, just pick another sport or skill that you want to learn to excel in, like Pilates or boxing.

Already found your fitness muse but need an extra boost? Make specific achievement goals, such as targeting a number of chin-ups (can’t do a single one? Try our chin-up challenge to learn how in six weeks!) or conquering a forearm stand in yoga.

Goal #4: Make Fitness A Part Of Your Routine

I meet people daily who want to shape up for a specific event — a wedding, a school reunion, bikini season… I would never begrudge anyone wanting to look and feel her best for any reason. But I try to encourage a more long-term approach. Sure, you’re motivated to work hard for the grand occasion. But do really you want to put in all that effort only to let it fall by the wayside later? Consider how you can keep those gym dates, favourite classes or regular runs in your schedule for the long haul.

A lot of things can motivate you: finding a workout buddy, blocking off your calendar with “fitness appointments,” and prioritizing personal training or those pricey-but-awesome indoor cycling classes in your budget. What’s important is that you find your mojo and hold onto it. But if you really need an end goal, just make a point to try something for a month or two. By the time you’re finished, chances are you’ll be hooked.

Goal #5: Train For An Event

There’s one exception where shaping up with a deadline can actually come in handy, and that’s training for a fitness event. Some of us are just more deadline-driven than others. By giving yourself a specific point at which you’ll have to prove your stuff, you’ll be more motivated to keep up with your training. So sign up for a triathlon, a 5-Kay, or an endurance event like an obstacle course. Then, train like hell. Who knows? After the rush of completing your first one, you may decide to make it a habit.

The article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com

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