Workout 101: Define Your Goals and Fitness Level

You don’t need to be a member of a gym or have tons of exercise equipment in your home to get in shape. The secret to success with health and fitness, comes down to your personal motivation to reach your goals. If you are ready and willing to put in the work, you will meet and exceed your expectations.

Before you jump into any fitness routine, take a minute to identify your goals. Are you seeking a specific weight, level of energy, specific date or lifelong health? If you are not planning to run a marathon there is no reason for you to spend two to three hours a day running. It would also not make sense to spend all of your workout time doing intense weight training if you don’t intend to compete in a competition.

It’s suggested that you have both short term and long term SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) goals so that you have milestones when you embark on the journey towards your long term goals.

Examples of these goals are:

  • Long Term: Complete an Iron Man olympic distance triathlon by 2020.
  • Short Term A: Participate in the Morgan Hill Duathlon March 2015
  • Short Term B: Finish a century cycle in 8 hours or less by Dec 2017
  • Short Term C: Finish one triathlon each year beginning with a sprint distance, then olympic distance once able to finish in 3 hours.

For this example, it would be important to focus on activities that will help condition the body to have the strength and endurance to swim, bike and run for countless miles. Although cross training is great to incorporate, you would probably want to avoid a daily yoga practice and rather focus on swimming techniques and transitioning between the cycling and running portions of the triathlon. In the same way, you want to ensure that you not only identify where you are going, but the best way to get there.

The current trends in fitness attempt to address one of the biggest hurdles individuals have in achieving physical success – time! Companies like TRX (Suspension Training) and Total Gym (Functional Training) pride themselves on being able to provide full body workouts in short periods of time that challenge both the aerobic (cardiovascular) and anaerobic (muscle) systems. There are also workout styles like H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training) and Tabata that use intensity and pace to capitalize on short periods of time. You can combine exercise fundamentals, styles and techniques to make your workouts both challenging and efficient!

Below is a simple workout for all levels that can be modified and repeated to meet your individual goals.

workout 101 tableAlways be sure to warm up and cool down to help your body prepare for the work you will be doing and reduce the risk of injury. The warm up and cool down are only to be complete one time each at the very start and very end of your workout respectively. Using a timer, do each of the exercises for 50 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat the entire series 3-5 times.

In addition to engaging in an appropriate workout regimen, it is critical that you fuel your body to achieve optimum results. Current research explains that nutrition is 80% and exercise is 20%. That means that what you are putting in your body greatly influences the external physical appearance. For more information on proper nutrition, take a look at Choose My Plate, a site dedicated to nutrition provided by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Always check with your physician to ensure that you are ready to participate in a fitness program.

Yvette Birner is a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor in the Bay Area who specialized in weight loss, strength and flexibility training. Please visit infinitewellnesscoach.com for more information.

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