Setting fitness goals gives you measurable benchmarks to strive for during your workouts. It also helps provide a path for you to follow and the motivation to get there.
Especially if you create goals using the SMART strategy:
Specific Measurable Achievable Reasonable Time-bound
Experts in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal say crafting your goals using SMART criteria will help you stay committed to them.
Motivation for setting fitness goals
To help identify your ultimate fitness goals and begin to create your plan, the first question our experts ask is why you want to exercise. According to the ACSM, there are two types of possible answers:
Self- or other-imposed
- “I don’t know.”
- “Because I should.”
- “Because others want me to.”
- “To not feel bad about myself.”
- “Because it’s important to me.”
- “Because it fits who I am.”
- “Because I enjoy it.”
ACSM experts say the quality of your motivation greatly affects the outcome of your effort. People who respond with self- or other-imposed answers are less likely to reach their goals or make long-term fitness lifestyle changes than those who respond with self-chosen answers.
If your answer falls into the first category, discuss it with a Gold’s Gym Personal Trainer. We can help you find a self-chosen SMART goal that is important to you.
SMART fitness goals
Let’s say you set an ultimate goal to increase and maintain mobility because it’s important to you to be active with your family. A SMART road map will help you get there.
Specific: Decide exactly what you want to be mobile enough to do without difficulty, such as hiking a 5-mile trail during your family’s summer camping trip.
Measurable: Short-term goals will help you reach the desired outcome and gauge whether your plan needs to be adjusted. In a study published by the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, exercisers who set weekly goals stuck to their long-term plans and enjoyed themselves more than those who didn’t set any goals. Our experts will help you plan those weekly goals, such as gradually increasing the treadmill incline to help you prepare for your hike.
Achievable: Your ultimate goal and process goals should be challenging, but not impossible to reach. Your fitness plan will be designed the same way. If you haven’t worked out in a long time, your plan will start as a progression. It may also require you do less familiar workouts (focused on strength training or flexibility) to put you in the best overall condition to achieve your goal.
Reasonable: Our experts take your lifestyle and potential barriers into consideration when creating your plan. If you can’t go to the gym on weekends, or have an off-hours work schedule, we can find solutions to make sure you still get your workouts done. The most successful plan is the one you can stick to.
Time-bound: Your short- and long-term goals should live on a timeline. An open-ended goal is more difficult to reach. If the camping trip is in five months, your plan will include a progression of smaller goals scheduled along the way.
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