|These guys have to fit into my goal planning.|
So, specifically, lets talk about exercise and weight loss goals. Most of us start off our new year one or more of the following:
- I want to get in better shape.
- I want to lose my love handles - gut -jiggly arms - cankles - etc. and/or all of the above.
- I want to exercise regularly.
- I want to lose X lbs.
These are admirable goals indeed, but if you're going to stick to them you need an actual plan, and although it should primarily consist of "show up at the gym" and "eat less", this is not a plan. Its a starting point. So, first things first, figure out what your actual problems are. They will include one or more of the following:
- I am too fat.
- I am out of shape and can't walk up the stairs, play with my kids, walk more than a mile, etc. without getting out of breath or being in pain.
- I want to play a sport or participate in a competition.
- I am in pain, I've lost my ability to do a lot of things I used to do, and I am becoming more sedentary as a result.
|I like sitting and probably do it way too much.|
- I only sleep six hours a night.
- I sit for more than six hours a day.
- I only go for a walk twice a week.
- I eat the majority of my calories in the form of bread.
- Most of my diet is processed foods.
- I am really hungry before bed.
- I don't eat many fruits or vegetables.
So, now you have a general goal and an idea as to what your challenges are going to be in achieving them. But, let me give you a bit of advice as far as prioritizing things:
- If you spent a lot of time sitting and get no aerobic exercise, you need to change this. Go out and walk for 30 minutes a day. This is good for your heart and will mitigate most of the major health risks associated with inactivity. You will have more energy, it will assist your weight loss efforts, and it may improve your sleep habits.
- If you want to lose bodyfat, your diet needs to be the primary focus of your behavior changes. Exercise helps, but weight loss is primarily driven by dietary changes. Get an online calorie tracker, keep a food diary, or join weight watchers. You need to be accountable for everything you eat. Don't try and make a large number of changes at once. Pick one and once it sticks, choose another.
- If you don't like the way your body looks naked (no matter how much you weigh) and/or are experiencing daily aches, pains, or weaknesses, you need to add some strength training to your regimen. The truth is, everyone pretty much needs a strength training program, especially as we get older and start to lose our muscle mass. Strength helps support our joints, resist injury, and keeps us mobile. Improved muscle mass improves our metabolism and quite frankly, makes our bodies more attractive.
|Woods are nice, but you can walk anywhere.|
All of the above should be included in some degree in a plan to improve one's overall fitness level. If you want to take things a step further and start playing a sport or participate in a competition, find a coach, a training group, or at the very least, a source of credible information on how to get started. I'm a big fan of making my goals center on something aside from myself. In other words, I like to train for a specific physical challenge or competition because it clarifies what I need to do in the gym. My goals this year are to compete in a deadlift competition, compete in the Highland Games at least twice, and run an 8k. In the meantime, I'll be watching my waistline, but I've got a plan for each and every one of these goals.