Beginning a journey with fitness goals has never been easy. Remember, this is not a crash diet or a shortcut; it is a lifestyle. Don’t worry about doing it all at once and going cold turkey at once. Doing that will only overwhelm you. You might also find yourself giving up because crash diets are anything but sustainable. The perfect approach is to make simple changes to your daily habits, and over time, you will start witnessing all your bad habits turn into good ones.
Did you know, as per health psychology research, on an average, it takes more than 2 months before a new hobby becomes a routine? Yes, that is how long you need to cultivate a routine. Start having an insulated water bottle by your side, sipping often from it and you will create a routine of drinking litres of water in 2 months time!
How long a new habit takes to form also varies depending on the person, behavior, and circumstances. Setting fitness goals can also hold you accountable, expand your definition of possible, and encourage you to push through temporary discomfort and fitness barriers. It helps you monitor your progress, giving you something to work towards. The feeling of achieving that goal, later on, is bliss in itself. Here are few fitness goals you need to set for yourself.
1. Start Stretching More Often
The benefits are many, and the consequences of failing or forgetting to stretch can be dramatic. Do yourself a favor and stretch before and after a workout unfailingly. This improves flexibility, promotes a healthy cooldown, and reduces next-day aches. Failure to stretch leads to injuries and muscle damage. You can also opt for some yoga poses, which are good for both stretching and relaxing.
2. Go for some High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
You might have heard about HIIT training as it is a big thing right now. It works great on the body and should be a part of your fitness goals. The perks include increased stamina, lower body fat, great hormonal benefits, and leaner muscles. HIIT is performing an intense exercise for a short time frame, say 30 seconds, followed by a slower exercise for around 90 seconds. Carrying out a HIIT routine 1-3 times a week can lead to excellent results.
3. Build More Lean Muscle
Everyone wants to have lean muscles. They look good and come with great health benefits, including improved joint health, improved stamina, improved metabolism, reduced body fat, improved posture, strong bones, etc. You can build lean muscles by lifting weights or through other particular exercises, including strength training.
4. Decreased Body Fat
This might seem like an obvious one, but it is one of the most significant steps to a healthier you. Decreasing your body fat has numerous benefits like lowered risk of diabetes, reduced inflammation, reduced risk of heart disease, better hormonal profiles in the body, improved appearance and confidence, improved tendons and joints, better performance and endurance. Please remember, it is not a race to see how quickly you can reduce your body fat. Healthy weight loss is around 0.5-1 Kg a week for your fitness goals. Pushing yourself too much in the gym or crash dieting could lead to achieving an unrealistic target. You might find yourself gaining all the weight you have lost after a while. Rather than rushing it, think of it as a lifestyle. Take it slow and steady.
It is very important for your body to stay hydrated while it goes through all the intensive training. Dehydration can lead to health issues you might want to avoid. Keep drinking water before, during, and after your workout. Get yourself a flask or a gym bottle specifically for your workout routine. A stainless steel water bottle that’s insulated can be perfect as it will store water at your desired temperature for a long time.
6. Eat More Greens
What you eat counts as the most vital factor in a healthier living plan in the long run. It is important to ensure getting as many nutrients and vitamins from the food you consume as possible. Focus on those dark, leafy greens, as they provide you with a wide array of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Your body requires all of these! Avoid processed and manufactured food as much as you can as they are high in fat and contain minimal vitamins. Remember, what you eat is what you become.
7. Start Eliminating Sugar
Another great goal you can immediately start on is decreasing the amount of sugar you consume. It will not cost you anything but can save you money, improving your health in the long run. Everyone consumes too much sugar in some way. Cutting out liquid calories, processed food, and sweets is one way to start. If you are looking for something sweet, turn to fruits or even dark chocolate. Remember to eliminate sugar slowly from your diet. Stopping all at once can lead to symptoms of sugar withdrawal, which could drive you back to sugary snacks.
8. Shoot for 10,000 Steps A Day
Other than hitting the gym and running, it is also recommended to add as much physical activity to your routine life as possible. A desirable target is to shoot for at least 5000-10,000 steps per day. Your body is not meant to sit down all day long. It is important to get to work and keep moving your body. Get a fitness tracker and begin keeping track of your daily step count. For the record, 10,000 steps per day are the equivalent of one hour’s worth of walking.
9. Get More Sleep
When you are running down on sleep, you make it almost impossible to achieve health and fitness goals. Lack of sleep induces stress hormones in your body and can lead to inflammation and chronic diseases over time. Make sleep a priority, allowing your body to heal and revive. A good approach is about 7 to 8 hours. Also, give yourself some wind-down time and stick to a pre-bed routine to get more consistent sleep every night.
10. Allow Yourself to Rest and Recover
Workout is the act of breaking down muscle tissue, and it builds back through proper rest, recovery, and nutrition. It might feel tempting to hit the gym for two hours every day to hit your goals, but it is not the most effective approach. If you do not give your body time to rest and recovery properly, it can pull you back a few steps. Your body will become more prone to injury and illness as you can deteriorate your immune system from all that progressive intensity the body is going through.
These fitness goals will become more achievable through the year if you’re consistent with them. Set a concrete timeline for yourself when you want to establish some or all of these to create meaningful and realistic goals in the short term. Why not start today itself? Meanwhile, don’t forget to take care of yourself and live stress-free!