How to zone in on your fitness goals
We’ve all been at a point in our exercise routines when we feel zapped of motivation, and the sofa is looking way more appealing than that pre-planned run on your training program. Both personal trainers and fitness coaches will admit that with our fitness goals and goal setting, being smart about your workout routine and realising progress isn’t always linear, are two big factors in determining your long term success.
However, there are ways we can help ourselves achieve our fitness goals, regardless of whether you’re working out for weight loss, fat loss, or you just want to get better at weight training or yoga. Here, our team of experts have some top tips to help you streamline your fitness routine and help you smash your next fitness goal.
What are smart goals when it comes to fitness?
Find a fitness friend
There’s nothing quite like the accountability factor to get you up and moving when you feel least motivated. “Taking a friend to the gym or on a run will help keep you motivated, ” says personal trainer Matt Ford. “You’re more likely to stick to training and let it become a habit rather than a chore if you buddy up. Plus, get them to spot you and keep an eye on your technique; a gym partner is an essential part of your exercise arsenal!”
Running clubs and classes can be a great way to meet like-minded people with similar fitness goals to you, and are also a great way to make friends.
Stay positive about your goals
The power that positivity can have on your long term goal is not to be sniffed at. Fitness instructor Georgia Graham says: “The best way to keep focused when training is to be constantly challenging yourself. Feeling positive and confident about your progress is one of the best drivers for staying fit and healthy.” Just take it from pro athlete Rebecca Adlington.
Setting small goals within your overall long term goal can be a great way to help you make mini gains that will keep you motivated to stay in it for the long run. Maybe it’s trying a new route every two weeks if you’re a runner or making sure you incorporate more fruit into your diet to help you achieve your long term goal of having glowy, hydrated skin. Whatever your performance goal might be, setting smaller, mini goals can be a great way to help your fitness motivation and boost your overall body confidence. If you’re struggling to think positive things about your body at the moment, try keeping a gratitude journal and write down the simplest things that your body does for you each day, such as breathing, moving or even smiling at your pet.
Mix up your workouts
“Varying your training is important both physically and psychologically,” says personal trainer Carly Wheatley. In order for you to make progressive gains with each training session, your programme must not stay at the same intensity throughout, nor focus on the same muscle group each time. Avoiding changes will eventually lead to a plateau, and you’ll only improve up to a certain point.” Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone never seems that appealing to begin with, but you’ll feel better about your progress if you mix up your training.
“Psychologically, mixing things up is important to avoid getting bored,” says Carly. “If your training excites you then you are more likely to train more often and achieve better results. Incorporate kit such as medicine balls and unfamiliar weights into your workout, a combination of which creates a nice variety.”
Build a consistent training plan
While changing things up every now and again can be good for your fitness motivation, making sure that you stick to the fundamentals of your exercise plan will help your overall outcome goal when it comes to fitness. “Staying focused and working with consistency is important for achieving results,” explains fitness coach Hayley Morran, head of the curriculum at FiTT training. “Follow a workout plan that has a set of specific fitness tests at set periods throughout, as this will help you commit and also provide motivation through the results of the tests.”
Being consistent can not only help you see progress quicker, but it can also help you create habits that outlive even your long term goal. “A regular workout plan will increase fitness levels and create a greater sense of wellbeing, knowing you have something to follow instead of just bouncing from machine to machine,” says Hayley. Consistently getting up everyday to go on a morning run over the course of six months might be hard at first, but do it often enough and it will form into a habit. After that six months, your mornings won’t feel the same without lacing up your running shoes.
How can a PT help you?
While parting with your hard-earned cash might not be appealing, see getting a personal trainer as an investment in your future health. “Finding yourself a personal trainer is a sure-fire way of knowing you’ll always be kept on target to achieve your fitness goals,” says personal trainer Dominic Bowser. “A great personal trainer will be a qualified professional who is dedicated to helping you succeed and stay focused. PTs are a passionate and committed bunch who’ll certainly keep you motivated. You’ll be supported with professional advice, while their years of experience will ensure you are progressing well.”
Before you get a personal trainer, do some research about their training style and make it clear to them your goals and what you want to achieve. It’s a good idea to flag previous injuries and your fitness background as well, so they have an understanding of what your body is capable of.
Be clear about what you want
“It’s important you clearly map out a plan, ensuring it is written down in a simple, visual format,” personal trainer Carli Wheatley tells us. “Be sure in your mind of what you want to achieve, and how you want to go about accomplishing it. The next stage is to tell the people closest to you about your goal – this might be your training partner or simply a friend. When one or more people have your goal in mind, it straight away makes it that more powerful and real!”
How music can help you reach your fitness goals
“It’s strange how music can stir up different feelings within us,” Dominic Bowser tells us. “Music can help you concentrate during your session by blocking out distractions and getting you pumped up. You’ll notice a lot of professional sports people wear headphones before competing. Psychologists now use music and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) to get them in the right frame of mind to come first – try it to make every workout a winner. Choose music that lifts your spirits, whether it’s an upbeat choice to run to, slower music to do yoga to, or music that gets you really fired up to lift more weight.”
What is the key to achieve desired fitness?
Achieving a fitness goal can feel super rewarding and push us into boosting our self confidence. However, one of the most important things to remember is to seek help when you need it. There are many people in the industry; from running coaches to personal trainers to nutritionists and performance coaches, who can help you go after what you want, so don’t be afraid to seek guidance and support from the experts when you need it.
Also, try to think beyond your long term goal when it comes to fitness. Where would you like to be with your exercise routine in five or even 10 years? Would you like to be the person who consistently skips workouts or consistently smashes them? Try to think about the person you want to become rather than just the goal in front of you.