Setting fitness goals is easy. Sticking to them is the challenge.
Fitness is a state of well-being where you feel healthy, well-rested and can move through daily activities with relative ease. Whether you prefer working out at a gym or fitness center, at home with digital workout classes, in the great outdoors or are new to a regular exercise plan, there are a variety of methods and tools you can utilize to get there.
If you have plans to improve your overall wellness, check out these tips for setting, tracking and ultimately reaching your goals.
Setting Your Goals
The first step you should make when planning your fitness goals is to set yourself up for success. This means setting realistic goals. You know your routine, strengths and limits better than anyone, so plan workouts that fit your schedule and match your athletic ability.
If you are still spending a lot of time at home due to remote working and homeschooling, look for indoor workouts and try incorporating equipment you already own into your routine, like kettlebells, a jump rope or treadmill. Digital workouts are another great option. The Active&Fit Direct™ Program has thousands of digital workout videos to choose from.
If you’ve been largely sedentary the past year, start slow. Rather than planning daily workouts, aim for something more approachable, like exercising two to three times a week. You can always increase your goals as your stamina improves.
Remember Fitness Is Holistic
Going into a workout with the right mindset will help you stick to your goals. Be patient with yourself and remember that results won’t be immediate. Some days, you won’t feel like working out at all – and that’s okay.
When you’re feeling reluctant, start with something fun or easy, do a longer warmup and don’t worry so much about reaching a specific, numeric goal. The all-or-nothing mindset can increase the risk of quitting. Something is better than nothing when it comes to working out, so celebrate small wins, like your longest wall sit or plank or reducing your mile time by a minute.
Make sure you’re also prepping your body for workouts. While stretching is a bit of a no-brainer, remember to also put effort into eating right, drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep to support your goals. Giving your body the fuel and rest it needs is vital to fitness.
Choosing Your Method(s)
It can be hard to stick with any task that becomes boring, and this is especially true for workouts. Keep things interesting by mixing up your exercises. Focus on strengthening various parts of your body, like your arms, legs or abs with different methods on different days. Try weight training one day, and then go for cardio workouts the next.
If you exercise at a gym or fitness center, use a variety of equipment. Or, change up your environment by heading outside to exercise. Walking, biking and hiking are all great options. If you don’t have a lot of spare time for exercising, consider high-intensity interval training. This strategy requires alternating short burst of intense exercise with recovery periods.
It’s infinitely easier to stick to your fitness goals when you actually enjoy working out. To avoid making fitness feel like a chore, incorporate plenty of fun workouts, like dancing, pilates, spinning, kickboxing or yoga.
Tools for Tracking Your Goals
From wearable activity trackers to fitness apps and the classic workout journal, there are tons of tools you can use to track your fitness and meet your goals.
Wearable Fitness Trackers
A smartwatch or activity/fitness tracker can be a useful tool when it comes to sticking to your fitness goals. There are many different fitness trackers on the market, and they do everything from monitoring your heart rate and counting your steps, to tracking your sleep and stress levels.
The Active&Fit Direct Connected!™ tool aggregates activity data from all your wearable trackers and apps to sync and track activity online. Compatible devices include Fitbit®, MapMyFitness™, Garmin™, Strava™, Runkeeper™ and Withings™.
Fitness Tracking Apps
If you have a smart device, you also have access to a plethora of fitness apps, many of which are free. Covering everything from walking and running, to yoga and no-equipment workouts, some apps even allow you to customize your routine.
Pedometer apps will track your steps and map your walks while digital fitness planners will help you organize your workout routine and goals. To improve your fitness inside and out, find some great meditation and mindfulness apps here.
Some people prefer writing things down, and the sensation of manually checking things off a list can feel very rewarding. The best part is your handwritten workout journal is completely customizable.
Start with recording what you did during your workout – what kinds of stretches, how many reps, how much weight lifted – and for how long. Or, use a blood pressure monitor to track your heart health. You can also use a fitness tracker or app to count your steps/miles walked, calories burned, etc. Later, record any noticeable changes in your mood or energy level.
If you’re looking to track your progress, consider measuring your hips, thighs or biceps weekly, every other week or monthly. Muscle is denser than fat, so a scale isn’t always the best way to measure your fitness. Consider taking before and after photos and/or using clothing – like a pair of jeans or that dress you’ve been trying to fit into – to see your results.
Stay on top of your fitness goals with the Active&Fit Direct Program.
Any new exercise routines should be approached with caution. Consider your physical limitations and always consult with your doctor first.
The Active&Fit Direct program is provided by American Specialty Health Fitness, Inc., a subsidiary of American Specialty Health Incorporated (ASH). Active&Fit Direct, Active&Fit Direct logo(s) and Active&Fit Connected! are trademarks of ASH and used with permission herein. Not all services may be available in all areas and the program may be changed (including monthly and enrollment fees and/or the introductory period) or discontinued at anytime. Other names or logos may be trademarks of their respective owners.