It’s always a good idea to have goals in life – it’s a way of achieving the things that are important to us and it gives us purpose. This couldn’t be more true when it comes to fitness. Setting achievable fitness goals is how we build up not only our physical strength but also our mental strength too. And it is this journey of small steps and mini achievements that takes us forwards to reach our ultimate goal and show off our true potential.
But of course no journey is easy, there will be hurdles along the way that may make you feel as if you want to give up or that you aren’t reaching your destination as quickly as you would like, and that’s precisely why it’s so important to keep track while staying on track of your fitness goals.
Read on to discover 5 ways to help you stay on track and make your fitness dreams a reality.
There is so much tech available these days to help track your fitness that it can make finding the perfect sports watch for women a bit of a daunting prospect. First and foremost you need to have a good think about what it is you actually want to keep track of. For example, are you keen to increase your speed when you run? Or perhaps you’d like to increase your distance? Do you want to keep tabs on your heart beat to make sure you’re working out in optimum fat burning mode? Or maybe you simply want to keep a record of how many steps you’re doing each day?
There is a piece of wearable fitness tech out there to suit pretty much all requirements so be sure to do your research online as well as asking your fellow fitness bods for recommendations. They may even let you try theirs out before you commit to buying one for yourself.
Apps such as Strava, Couch to 5k, My Fitness Pal to name but a very small few are a fantastic way to keep you accountable, remind you of your workout days, record your progress and to give you encouragement along the way. Simply download the app to your phone, input your details, and you’re good to go.
Most apps allow you to connect with friends who use the same app and this is particularly good if you’re a competitive so and so and you can’t bear seeing that your dad’s done more steps than you that day!
The good thing about a lot of apps these days is that they offer free versions, which to be honest are more than good enough if you’re just starting out and won’t yet benefit from some of the more advanced features. If you then find you need more, you can always upgrade to a paid version which usually involves an annual subscription to unlock the extras.
If tech really isn’t for you, then take it old school and equip yourself with a good old notepad and pen and jot down your fitness goals instead. Not only can you list times, measurements, reps and other stats, but you can also use your journal to record how you’re feeling that day as this too will impact your performance.
It will also provide you with good reference points to look back on and show you exactly how far you’ve come, which does wonders for confidence and motivation levels. You could really go to town on it and allow your creative side to come out, by doodling, colour coding and jotting down positive inspirational messages to yourself. Let your imagination run wild and find what works for you.
If you’re more of a visual person, one way to keep yourself motivated is by tracking your progress with photos. It will seem like a daunting prospect taking those first photos, but try to get over any insecurities you might have and think of the longer term benefits. Remember to wear the same outfit each time you take a photo (underwear or swimwear is best as it will show off your body the most) as you will then be able to notice any changes to your body shape more easily.
The scales won’t always show you the number you want to see and you may feel as though your workouts haven’t been great and that your performance is going downhill. Hormones, sleep, stress and other external factors can all play a part in how you’re feeling and how your body is responding and of course don’t forget that muscle weighs more than fat.
Photos however, don’t lie. Seeing the visual proof that all your training and hard work is making a difference is exactly the motivation you need to carry on with your plans and achieve those fitness goals. Take photos from different angles so that you capture a complete picture of your body and then repeat this every month. Those first pictures will act as a reminder of why you’re doing this, as we can sometimes lose track of the reasons we started this journey in the first place.
It is up to you where you keep your photos: perhaps tucked in a notebook, saved on your phone, or if you’re feeling super brave stuck to the fridge door. Now if that’s not motivation I’m not sure what is!
If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to keep you on track to reach your target it’s reward based training. Well, if it works for dogs! Using your fitness journal (see above) do a bit of forward planning and pencil in some key points on your fitness journey.
By breaking the bigger goals into smaller goals you not only make long term success more likely, but you also open up more opportunities to reward yourself when you reach these milestones. The biggest factor will be working out what makes you tick, what’s that thing you’ll do anything for? If you’re driven by experiences for example, then book in a manicure, a shopping trip, or even a spa day for when you reach a certain point. If you’re a foodie, promise yourself some cake or a meal to help drive you forwards – remember one slice of cake isn’t going to ruin your diet, if anything it will help banish cravings, after all life shouldn’t be about denying you the things you love. Or perhaps you’re as equally motivated by the promise of a night off from chores and having some me time in the bath with a glass of wine and a good book instead. Find your thing and watch as the promise of a reward helps give you that little bit more oomph!
Everyone falls off the wagon from time to time, jeez we are only human after all, but hopefully these 5 ways to help keep you on track with your fitness will get you jumping right back on it again and see you reaching the goals you have your heart set on.