What Fitness Goals Should You Be Setting?

What Fitness Goals Should You Be Setting?

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?

Pushups | Setting Fitness Goals | Bombay Bellyrina

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.

On the left, I’m about 8 years younger (give or take), and maybe 10 kilos lighter. But on the right, I’m healthier. Literally. Stronger, balanced hormones, clear skin, everything — Healthier.

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 is in any way bound to a clothing size, or a certain external image of what a body ought to look like. They’re about improving strength, stamina, and quality of life. Because that’s what being healthy is truly about.

Fitness Goals | Improving Flexibility | Bombay Bellyrina
One of my personal fitness goals was to reclaim my flexibility

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! 

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