Building a Successful Fitness Future with Short Term Targets

Feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew with your latest fitness ambition? According to the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, breaking down your objective into bite-sized goals, like achieving a distance, a time or a frequency, can provide the instant gratification you need to achieve your ultimate goal.

Here are suggestions from the expert trainers at the Y for designing short-term targets that match the three most common fitness ambitions: Health Goals or feeling better, Fitness Goals or looking better and Performance Goals.

  • If your aim is better Health: Celebrate each baby step, even if your goals don’t involve a scale. Set action-oriented aspirations that keep you accountable day-to-day and week-to-week, such as sticking to your healthy eating plan, going to the Y a certain number of times a week or catching enough Z’s. Whether it’s better heart heath, reducing aches and pains, or fighting aging: exercise has a major role to play. Speak with your doctor first about your fitness plans. If you’re new to exercise, ask how a YMCA personal trainer to get on the right path.
  • If your goal is fitness related, maybe just to trim down: Whether your number is big or small, find short-term achievements to aid your path to success. Fat Loss occurs when you burn more calories than you take in. If you burn an extra 500 calories per day, you would lose about a pound a week. Set a safe and realistic goal for the number of calories you want to burn during your workouts for the week, giving yourself a pat on the back whenever you reach an even number on the scale, or head to the dressing room for a celebratory dance in a smaller dress size. The SMART ASSESSMENT at the Y is a great way to set some realistic fitness goals.
  • If you’re developing peak performance: If competition is your motivation, take a cue from your passion when it comes to your training program by sprinting, jumping, swimming and playing your way into better form. Creating a specific, measurable goal is best for long term success, but the same philosophy can be used for mapping some smaller milestones. So give yourself permission to delight in the little things you’re achieving through fitness. Cutting seconds off a run, adding a rep to your weight routine or setting a new personal record for pull-ups are the building blocks. Stop in at a Hot Topic at any Y on Tuesday nights at 6 PM to learn more about increasing your performance.

Setting a realistic fitness goal and having a legit plan to reach it are your best weapons in the fight to stick with a workout plan.

If you are not sure of your motivation, take our SMART Quiz to find out what motivates you.

What Motivates You?

Do you know what you want from a workout? Personal trainers say most people don’t. The most effective workouts take planning. Train with a purpose by understanding what your fitness goals are. Take our quiz to find out what you really want.

1) My health is my top priority. Yes or No

2) For me, looking good is more important than feeling good. Yes or No

3) Being in top condition to play my favorite sports is my main goal. Yes or No

4) I am willing to do what it takes to achieve my goals,
not what is easiest. Yes or No

5) I think that being active will have a positive impact on my life. Yes or No

If you answered yes to:

1, 4, and 5 your motivation for working out is probably Health related.

2, 4 and 5 your motivation for working out is probably Fitness related.

3, 4 and 5 your motivation for working out is probably Performance related.

Health
Lowering stress and increasing stamina are high on your priority list. So make your doctor proud. You should explore exercises that focus on core, balance, tone and flexibility.

Fitness
Workouts can help you fit into your skinny jeans. Wow them at the reunion and turn heads by exploring exercises that focus on toning, cardio conditioning, functional fitness, group exercise and weight training.

Performance
To win the championship, cross the finish line and reach the summit, focus on stamina/endurance, strength, agility, functional fitness, speed and quickness.