How Setting Goals Can Improve Your Fitness

Posted by on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

fitness goal

Fitness Goals

So, you’re at the gym, looking around at the mountain of machines, mats, weights, sweating bodies, super focused minds and someone on the treadmill registering they are reaching their 60th minute of constant running, albeit on the same spot.

Time to start your work out. Kick start with cardio – run an undefined amount of time, until you get bored. You only need to get yourself going – right? Head off to the mats, do some planking, do what that man is doing, maybe a lunge, get some free weights – start the bicep curls – until you get bored.

Now, the weights machines, they look effective! Sit down, chose an arbitrary mass and start going – pushing, pulling, reaching, twisting. It’s probably been an hour – time to head home? Two days later, back at the gym, same again – well, sort of – what did you do last time? Continue for weeks after week. Somehow all of this work isn’t paying off, and you’re not seeing any improvement where you want it.

Sound familiar? Many people work out in this way – endless routines that don’t seem to go anywhere and boredom sets in. Getting fit and going to the gym can easily become tiresome if you feel like you’re not getting results, which is one of the main ways that setting goals can improve your fitness.

Why Set Goals?

There are may reasons why setting a goal means a greater chance of success. Numerous studies conducted in the field of success psychology indicate that setting goals means succeeding at goals. Stephen Kraus has outlined three main factors in his book Psychological Foundations of Success.

1. Setting goals allows you to give Direction to your work outs. By having a goal to achieve you will direct your concentration and effort onto one thing, instead of sporadically spreading your efforts across many different things.

2. Once you know where to focus your efforts you acquire more motivation to reach the goal you have set. By increasing the awareness of your current state of fitness, in comparison to the state that you desire means that you are motivated to close the gap between the two.

3. And finally, it has been shown that people who set themselves challenging goals spend more of their time refining strategy needed to reach that goal.

What Goals Should I Set?

Once you have decided that you are going to set your own fitness goals the next hurdle to overcome is what goal you need to set for yourself. Some of the most common goals are losing weight, getting toned, increasing strength or increasing performance.

In order to work out the best goals for you, you have to first realise your current fitness levels, and broadly what your goal is concerning. Generally speaking fitness goals will be concerned with one of two areas: improving performance or modifying your look.

Are you going to the gym to tone that tummy and get that bikini body, or are you going to the gym so that one day you can complete a marathon? Of course, working out with either of these mindsets will see results from both.

If you start running to train for a marathon then you are likely to look more toned and lose some weight; equally if you are working out to look better you are likely to be stronger and have improved cardiac health. Nevertheless it is still important to establish which is important to you to help you understand how to set your goals.

You need to consider the level of fitness you are at, and the general lifestyle you lead. If you are just starting out at the gym and you have not exercised much before then setting your goal as ‘going to the gym everyday’ is more likely to end in failure. Instead if you set your goal as ‘going to the gym twice a week and keeping active on rest days’, then you are more likely to meet that goal and improve on it.

Once you have recognised your level and your reasons for improving your fitness then you should set a goal that can be split into smaller goals that are time specific and measurable. So if your overall goal is to run 10K, then you could start running by 3K, then each week for 7 weeks run another kilometre on the running machine until you are able to run the full 10K without stopping.

Setting goals is about motivation and focus, but almost as importantly don’t forget to reward yourself when you achieve your goals to ensure that you keep making new ones and consistently reaching them.

If you need help or advice in what fitness goals you should be setting, speak to a member of our team, then go forth and measure that workout for even greater fitness results!