SETTING FITNESS GOALS By Cord Prettyman, MPT
Whew! The Christmas party circuit insanity is finally over and now only New Year’s Day lies between you and the moment of truth as you step on the scale.
Shocked by what you see, you’re likely to be promising yourself, you’re never going do this again and brain storming how you’re going to lose those holiday pounds and get yourself in shape. Let me help.
First, I’d suggest you focus on getting a regular exercise routine under control before you worry about your weight. It’s much easier to execute a fitness routine, than to rein in your eating. Calorie control and weight loss can come later. Just get moving.
Secondly, you need to assess your level of fitness. If you’ve been sedentary or are on medication, you need to check with your primary care physician prior to undertaking any exercise regime. If you’re a seasoned exerciser starting over, be careful not to do “too much, too soon.”
Thirdly, I suggest you set some realistic goals. Know that you’re not going to get into your high school cheerleader outfit or the R.O.T.C. uniform you wore in college. Let’s get real.
The fitness industry uses the mnemonic S.M.A.R.T.E.R. to help people define their health and fitness goals. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-limited and they should be Evaluated and Re-evaluated at a later date.
Specific objectives are more easily achieved than general ones. A common goal to “get healthy” is too general. Choose specific goals and write them down to ensure success. Do you want to lose 20 pounds, run a 5 K or do you want to lower your blood pressure?
Measureable results can be tracked. Your fitness goals should be able to be measured in a quantified way. Do you want to be able to walk for 30 minutes, instead of 15, do you want your total cholesterol to be below 200 or is there a favorite outfit hanging in your closet that you want to be able to wear, again?
Attainable objectives are dependent on proper preparation and planning. Do you have the skill level for the exercise routine that you’ve chosen, do you have the resources to purchase the required equipment or gym membership and do you have support from family, friends or a personal trainer? Climbing Mount Everest may not be a reasonable objective.
Realistic goals ensure success. Let’s face it – if you’ve never run a step in your life, selecting the Pike’s Peak Marathon as your first race would be unwise. Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic goals. Likewise, if a goal is too easy, it’s not very motivating.
Time limits should be established and adhered to. “Some time in the future” is not an effective time limit. Pick a specific date to achieve your goals by and be realistic.
Evaluate your progress by assessing the measureable component of your health and fitness goals. If the goal has been achieved, it’s important to have a reward such as a massage, new exercise clothes or a new piece of fitness equipment – not a piece of cheese cake.
And finally, Reevaluate and set future goals. To ensure that further progress is made, it’s important to revisit your original goals and see if they need to be readjusted or if you need to set new ones.
Getting yourself back in shape is a little like eating an elephant – you can only do it one bite at a time. Exercise S.M.A.R.T.E.R.
Cord Prettyman is a certified Master Personal Trainer and owner of Absolute Workout Fitness and Post-Re-hab Studio in Woodland Park. He can be reached at 687-7437, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org through his website at www.cordprettyman.com.