Life Wellbeing Five tips to help you set – and reach – realistic fitness goals

Five tips to help you set – and reach – realistic fitness goals

setting realistic fitness goals
If you're running for fitness, start with distance goals, not time. Photo: Getty
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Running a marathon this year might have seemed like a good idea on January 1, but if it’s going to lead to injury, stress and frustration, it’s simply not worth it, experts say.

In fact, some studies show setting goals that are too ambitious can deliver nothing but disappointment.

Marcus Bondi, bodyweight trainer and strength and fitness Guinness World Record holder, says: “Fixating on unrealistic goals merely ensures unnecessary personal failure, soul-wrenching heartache, self-defeating lies and pointless recriminations!

“Instead, remind yourself that realistic fitness goals are not a static concept, but a perpetually evolving paradigm that you should manage at your own pace and ability,” he tells The New Daily.

When you set a fitness goal you are ready for change – you might have been thinking about a goal for a while or you’ve been pushed to make a change for health reasons.

Sport and exercise psychologist at Olympic Park Sport Medicine Centre Jacqui Louder notes: “Humans are fragile when it comes to our ego and we need to feel like we are achieving, especially if it is something important to us.”

So, to help you set – and achieve – your 2018 fitness goals, here are five expert tips for reaching your results.

Time it right

To set yourself on the right course for success you must consider how much time you realistically need to dedicate to training to achieve your goal.

“Consider what else is going on in your life and if you actually have the time available to dedicate to your fitness goal,” Louder says.

“If you are setting a goal that you know takes even the most dedicated person a long time, then you need to be flexible and patient and allow plenty of time.”

Set weight-loss targets

If you’re setting out to lose weight this year, breaking your fitness goal down into smaller targets will help keep you motivated, plus allow for better management of any setbacks.

“A weight-loss goal is a lot more rigid and therefore can bring with it more stress and pressure,” Louder says. “Instead, try to be open to the idea of a more balanced approach and not getting fixated on one number.”

Go back to basics if motivation wanes

If your motivation begins to wavier remember re-setting a goal is not failing – it is about you staying on course to change.

“Listen to your body,” says Bondi, who attempted to break the Official World Record for Heaviest Weighted Chin Up at this year’s Sydney Sydney Fitness Show.

“Understand that positive physical change is incremental and have a plan suited to your abilities and need for change.”

Photo: Getty

Run for distance not time

If training for a fun run, then focus on the fun part first! Then, set out to achieve gradually increasing the distance you can cover in your long runs.

“It is quite difficult to run for time unless you have built up the fitness and know you can keep going for 30 or 45 minutes – but that will come,” Louder says.

Track your progress right

Using apps and devices to track your progress can help propel you towards achieving your fitness goal. After all, you can’t beat the satisfaction you feel when you see an increase in the distance you run, calories you burn or steps you take.

But, remember, while technology and resultant data can help you live a healthy, fit lifestyle, Bondi says: “Everything is still up to you and your determination and discipline as an individual.”

Try not to obsess over the numbers and push beyond your means, which can risk injury or burn out. “Part of record keeping should include recovery processes and sleep records to ensure complete care is taken as you work towards your goal,” Louder concludes.

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