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Measuring progress and setting your fitness goals..

The topic I am talking about today is one that is very relevant to myself at the moment. Since starting my PT business and meeting clients I have come to the conclusion that having just one target which is solely weight-loss isn’t healthy. I personally think you need to have more goals to focus on rather than just one. Goals in the PT business are named SMART goals and then can be broken down into short, medium and long-term goals. We then look at if the goal is measurable, achievable and how long it will take. These goals then are filed along with the sessions I have written for my clients and brought out or looked at by me to check -up on their progress throughout the weeks and months.

Starting a fitness program for anyone is a pretty big deal and takes a certain amount of guts and discipline. To start exercising when you haven’t done anything as regimented as 3 sessions of 30-40 mins exercise a week is a shock to the system, and I think it softens the blow a little to have certain goals to aim for. Goals also make the whole fitness thing more of a challenge for some people, and keeps the fire a light for longer as you are focussed on reaching that target and even beating it! There are plenty are goals/targets to aim for, the most prevalent one out there is the weight-loss one and yes it’s important, but I don’t particularly think it’s THE most important one. The problem with trying to side-line the weight-loss goal is that when a person starts their fitness journey and their body-shape starts changing for the better, the first thing their workmates or family say is “wow, how much weight have you lost?” So there you have it, this is why weight is the top fitness goal of most people because yes, it feels really good saying to that person “ I have lost XX amount in 2 months!”

Also the media drums into people about weight-loss everyday, whether its in magazines or on the TV, weight-loss is everywhere and your fitness program is failing if you don’t lose X amount. This is where I totally disagree, I think each person should have at least 3 reasons for starting their fitness plan, whether its on their own at the gym or with the guidance and support of a qualified PT. The reasons could be to improve their confidence in their day-to-day life, boost their mental health as they are suffering from a mental health issue such as depression or anxiety, increase their general fitness as they would like to reach the top of the stairs without getting out of breath - all these issues, I think are way more important than just solely weight-loss.

On top of the goals you set yourself I think there should be challenges you have to reach or even milestones, these can be to lift a particular weight, score a quicker time on a timed distance run or row, complete as many push-ups you can in a particular time, all these challenges are useful for motivation and I think should make you, the client more determined to overcome them and this in-turn will help you achieve your goals quicker. There are many more challenges you can set yourself, I personally have all the skierg world and British records for my age group on a piece of paper in my diary, I am slowly picking my way through them one by one, it’s a great challenge for me and helps me focus on my training which is a long yearly process as my only indoor rowing competition I may enter is the British Indoor Rowing Championships and they are held yearly in December, for me to have other things to focus on during that year helps my training not become to intense on the rower and lets me cross-train on other equipment, this all varies what muscles and energy systems I use, helping me to become the best I can be for my race.

So when you have finally decided to make that first step towards a fitter you, think carefully about what you want to achieve and be honest with the person who will help guide and support you. If weight-loss is one of your goals that’s fine, but try and think of 2 others too, also think of a challenge that you would like to overcome, something that will make you feel more determined to reach your goals. It really is one of the best feelings to overcome something that you thought was out of the question but with sheer hard work and determination you did it anyway.

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