You’ve likely read a lot about how exercise can greatly boost your mental health. But what if you just can’t bring yourself to exercise?
The first step in any health or fitness journey should be setting a goal. For some, it’s fitting into clothes from 5 years ago. For others, it’s often medically-driven — usually lowering their cholesterol or managing their blood sugar. But are these the right fitness goals you should be setting for yourself?
Let me start by saying that medically-driven fitness goals are by no means “wrong”. As heartless as this might make me sound, they’re among the few goals that keep people from losing steam a few weeks into their attempts to get healthier. When a doctor starts throwing words like “heart attack” and “diabetes” at you, it tends to be the wake-up call you needed to start taking your health more seriously. On the other hand, though, it’s often the same group that tosses their running shoes in storage the moment they get a normal blood test.
What about “I want to fit into my clothes from high school”? Does that work as a goal? Sure, it could work. But here’s the downside to that — your body is constantly evolving. Back in high school, your body wasn’t even fully developed! To aspire to look like that might not just be a tall order, it might even be a rather unhealthy one.
Let me elaborate — Back in high school and college, I had a 24-inch waist. That’s right, 24 inches! And I weighed in at 48 kilos for my 5-ft 5-inch frame, which is a damn travesty. I was tiny! But well, my tummy was flat and nothing jiggled, so my stupid adult brain looks back at that as a good thing. But the truth is, no amount of working out or eating right will get me back to that size and weight — and that’s a good thing! Today I’m stronger and healthier than my 17-yr old self ever was, and that is mostly because I’m not the size I was when I was 17.
So what kind of fitness goals should you be setting for yourself? In my opinion, and from what I’ve noticed has worked for my TwitterGetsFitter tribe, performance-based goals are the way to go. So rather than saying “I want to lose 2 inches off my waist”, or even just a vague “I want to strengthen my core”, saying “I want to be able to hold a plank for an uninterrupted 60 sec” gives you something solid and quantifiable to work towards. Plus, it’s a goal that directly signifies improved strength and stamina, so yay!
Here are some of the fitness goals the TwitterGetsFitter tribe set for themselves (and achieved, mind you!)
– “Being able to hold a plank for 60 seconds.”
– “Being able to climb 5 flights of stairs without panting.”
– “Being able to carry my baby as much as I need to without feeling tired.”
– “Being able to eat out without stressing, because I know what my body needs.”
– “Being able to do a full split.”
– “Being able to run a half marathon.”
You’ll notice a pattern here — none of these goals
By setting fitness goals that aren’t based on media trends, you set yourself on a path to actually valuing the health and strength of your body, rather than just how it looks. And you’re far more likely to actually assess what’s good for you in the long-term, rather than simply chasing a short-term image in the mirror. So you’re less likely to crash-diet because you know that it’s not a healthy route to take.
My personal goal is a rather long-term one. I want to be able to walk around, climb stairs, and go to the bathroom without requiring help when I’m 70 (presuming I live that long). That’s it. I work every day to keep my muscles and joints healthy and mobile, so that I can live a dignified and normal old age. Sure, being able to deadlift my weight at that age would be pretty cool too, but in my opinion, not essential.
So what are your personal fitness goals? And how long-term or short-term do you set them? Tell me in the comments!
Working to get fitter means always looking for something new to try, or to help boost your workout. In this era of smartphones and limited free time, that often means hunting for a good app that will guide you through workouts. Lucky for me, I discovered Aaptiv, a fitness app that features audio guides for everything from running to yoga and HIIT routines.
Aaptiv calls their offering “trainer-led, music-driven audio workouts”. Frankly, that very accurately and concisely describes their product. With dozens of workout and training programs in multiple categories, the app works by tailoring a routine to your needs, goals, and current fitness levels. At the time of writing this, Aaptiv offered 12 different categories of workouts, including but not limited to, outdoor running, yoga, meditation, and stretching.
The Aaptiv app is available on the Google Play Store as well as the App Store, and can be downloaded for free. While training programs are paid features, they offer a free 30-day trial upon sign-up.
Once you’ve signed up, the fitness app takes you through a short questionnaire to ascertain your current fitness levels, your goals, workout preferences, and the amount of time you can commit to workouts. Based on your responses, it assigns you a training program that it recommends.
Now, most fitness app workouts and tutorials you find online are visual-based — meaning, the tutorials are in the form of videos. This can be tricky, because well, you can’t exactly keep your eyes on a screen AND maintain proper form throughout. Not to mention, it’s not exactly practical to try and watch a running tutorial while you’re running!
That’s where Aaptiv offers something a little better. By designing workouts that are purely audio, the fitness app allows you to follow along to a guided routine, without having to worry about keeping your eye on a TV or laptop screen.
I’ve got to admit, I was a little sceptical when I first started out. While the whole “don’t have to stare at a screen” angle was definitely appealing, I did wonder whether that would make proper form difficult. I mean, if I have no visual cue to follow, how can I ensure I’m doing it right?
Well clearly, Aaptiv thought of that. Every routine’s vocal cues were clear and precise, detailing every movement from limb position to spine extension, and even breath regulation. I must say, their coaches do it brilliantly!
Speaking of coaches, they have a whole army of them. To make picking your coach(es) easier, they’ve very thoughtfully categorised them not only by workout, but also by coaching style.
My workout routines were mainly a mix of bodyweight HIIT, yoga, and flexibility training. The app also sends you little reminders when it’s time to workout, and cheers you on as you progress along your recommended training plan.
Would I recommend Aaptiv to those looking for a fitness app? Absolutely! I will mention, however, that audio-only training can take some getting used to, and some users may not enjoy it as much as video-based tutorials. But my unbiased opinion is that Aaptiv can be a great source of workouts, as well as coaching to help you improve and progress in your training.