Fitness 101 – SMART goals

Posted: March 8, 2010 in Fitness

It seems to me that there are some very confusing messages about fitness floating around in the world.  What is it about fitness that scares people?  Are there too many options?   One very powerful message I see about fitness in the media is that people are either fit or not fit.  Ripped or flabby.  Yet the truth is, most people fall into that middle ground where some people may show  great cardio endurance, but lack coordination, others have terrific power but lack flexibility, and others are flexible but lack endurance.

Also, the goal for everyone seems to be the same:  thin for women, muscular and athletic looking for men.  The media defines fitness levels based on appearances.  No surprise there, but how do we navigate this and make it real for ourselves?  What is realistic?  What do we really want for ourselves?

In terms of meeting our clients goals, we as trainers need to know a few things:  1. what are the person’s goals?  2. where is he/she now relative to those goals?  3. what stands in his/her way? (injuries, busy lives, poor self-image?)

It can be very difficult for people to state their goals, given the confusing messaging that’s going on out there.  Everyone knows they need exercise in their life, but navigating that is becoming increasingly difficult.  Goal setting is an art in and of itself and we subscribe to SMART goal setting.

Instead of setting the general goal of “I want to get in shape”,  you might say instead: by December 31, I will have lost 15 pounds, attend circuit training classes 3X/week, be able to run 10K without stopping, and eliminate processed sugar from my diet 5 days during the week.

This is a specific goal.  It is also measurable as you can weigh yourself, test the 10K goal and keep a simple food calendar.  It is achievable (unless you set this goal December 1st).  Again depending on the timing, it is realistic, and setting an end date makes it timely.   That said, it is CRITICAL, especially with fitness goals, that you have a plan for after you’ve acheived your stated goal.  Short term goal setting will get the ball rolling, but you don’t want to put in three months of hard work, reach your goal and then undue it all through negligence.  Once one goal is met, you will need to set another, even if it’s just maintenance.

Ask yourself:

Who is involved?
A gym, a running partner?

What do I want to accomplish?
Lose fat, gain endurance, eat healthier foods, gain confidence

Identify a location.
Hit to Fit, Elk Lake

Establish a time frame.
Hit to Fit on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturday mornings – Elk Lake Friday mornings

Identify requirements and constraints.
Need new shoes, childcare on Saturday mornings, a shopping plan, an iPod

What are my reasons for doing this?

Looking better is a great reason, but on it’s own, it likely won’t suffice.  Think of reasons that makes you feel passionate.  If you are a parent, maybe you want to model healthy choices to your children, or simply keep up with them.  If diabetes runs in your family, you can reduce the risks.  If you are an athlete already – maybe you want to better your performance.   Maybe you just want to realize your potential and feel what it’s like to live in a strong, fit and healthy body.  Maybe you want to take more enjoyment out of your weekend warrior activities .  Maybe you want to show off your six pack.  Or you want to battle depression with exercise.  My view is the more reasons the better, but try to find ones that are really important to you.

When you identify specific goals that are important to you, you will begin to develop the resources needed to attain them.  You will begin to expand your view of your situation to incorporate a new way of doing things.  Working with a trainer or a coach will help ensure that you stay on track and will hold your accountable to your own vision.

Remember:  success doesn’t happen by accident.  Setting realistic (but ambitious) goals is the first step.  And we can help you on the way!

Your ‘prof’,

  1. smartgoalsme says:

    A simple and free tool that is available to set goals is http://www.SMARTGoals.Me its a facebook app that allows you to get your friends to be your goal buddy like a gym buddy. Just like in a gym when you have someone watching you, you tend to work out harder. The same concept with someone watching your goals, hopefully you achieve them.

  2. hitgirl says:

    Hey this is a very cool app. Nicely done. Sandy

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