The Importance of Setting The Right Fitness Goals

by Daniel on August 3, 2011

While every endeavor is best met with confidence, setting the right fitness goals also involves a realistic approach. If a new fitness regimen is too aggressive, especially in the early stages, resolve will suffer and inevitably deter any serious progress. The best way to map out a successful workout regimen, then, is to first assess your ability, set specific goals, establish a workout program and allow room for self-forgiveness.

Assess Your Ability

Even if you feel intimated with your limits, designate a day to officially record your results in whatever areas you are looking to improve. If you want to achieve a certain mile time, for example, run a mile and record your time as day one of your exercise log. Make sure to note any relevant circumstances in doing this that may affect your trial, such as weather, amount of sleep, and so on. Once every relevant time, amount of weight, or maximum amount of repetitions is recorded, it’s time to establish a specific set of fitness goals.

Plateaus and Diminishing Returns

There are two major principles that every motivated person should apply when setting fitness goals. First is the concept of diminishing returns. If you can already run a mile in less than seven minutes, make sure to set expected progress levels at small increments. Expecting to drop a minute in a week, for example, is unrealistic for that mile time. On the other side of the spectrum, those with mile times of 9 minutes or more should expect to improve more rapidly, although every second shaved only comes with hard work. Both groups of people are capable of reaching the same goal, but less fit individuals will initially improve at a faster rate.

Next is the infamous plateau effect. Whether it is bench press weight or a mile time, athletes often talk of “the wall” that prevents them from meeting their goals. To anticipate plateaus when setting fitness goals, give yourself more time to achieve landmarks as you increase in fitness. This will incorporate both principles and give you the time to diversify your workout with muscle confusion and cross training to break through the wall.

Realism and Self-Forgiveness

As it concerns the numbers themselves, there is no equation relating a starting point to a final goal because of the variable of motivated effort. Even the most determined, however, need to allow self-forgiveness in setting realistic fitness goals. Telling yourself that it’s okay to miss one workout or have a burger once or twice a month, for example, will prevent the psyche from forcing the body into regression mode. After an aggressive, realistic program is established, the only thing left is to put in the hard work.

This guest article was contributed by Jennifer Bell from Health Training Guide. Check out her site to learn more about medical transcription training and other exciting health careers.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: