If there is one common trait I’ve come to discover among all the people within my social circle, it is that we all seem to agree that we could all be fitter than we presently are. This is not to say that all my friends are overweight or anything like that. To the contrary. There are quite a few of them who happen to be slim or borderline skinny. But the fact remains that none of us are completely happy with our current physiques.
Some of us would like to lose some weight. Others in fact want to gain weight, or more specifically, add weight in certain areas of our body. And yes, I’m as guilty of this as the next man or woman. But no matter what our desires may be, we could never attain that ideal body without first setting some appropriate fitness goals.
What constitutes an appropriate fitness goal? Well, for starters, the goal needs to be attainable. For example, there is no point trying to get cut when you don’t have enough body mass to begin with. Conversely, it doesn’t make sense bulking up when most of your existing muscle mass is hidden behind layers of fat. So it helps to understand your current body type, and setting your goals accordingly.
So let’s say you’ve decided you want to lose weight. The only scientific way for this to happen is by maintaining a caloric deficit over a significant period of time. That is, your daily calorie intake for the period in question needs to be less than what your body needs to maintain your current weight. There are two ways to achieve this: either you cut back on the calories you’re currently getting, through dieting, or you ensure you burn more calories than you need, through exercise. Ideally, you should be doing both, but either approach would force your body to dip into its fat reserves to maintain enough energy to get you through the day.
For those looking to gain muscle, you’ll need to ensure that the particular muscle groups you are targeting are getting enough exercise over a sustained period of time in order to stimulate muscle growth. This entails training those muscles by performing specific movements, typically to exhaustion, then allowing enough time between training sessions for those muscles to heal and grow. Because this is how muscles grow in the human body, by creating tiny tears during the exercise process, and allowing those tears to heal during your rest days.
There is no shortcut or quick and easy way to achieve either of the two goals. That is the biggest mistake we make, expecting to see results as soon as we start a new fitness regimen. Such expectations can only lead to disappointment, which in turn could lead to being discouraged and giving up when we don’t see immediate results. Because let’s face it, your body didn’t get the way it is currently overnight. It has taken weeks, months and even years of sticking with your current habits. So obviously it goes without saying that it would equally take weeks, months and years of corrective behavior before you reach your body goals.
The good news is once you accept that it would take time to reach your goals, then it is just a simple case of integrating whatever regimen you might have chosen for yourself into your daily routine. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a gym membership or a fitness instructor in order to start making some headway. There are a vast number of exercises that can be performed at home that require little to no equipment at all. But no matter how you choose to attack the problem, the most important thing you can do is stick with it. Consistency is the key ingredient that can get you closer to your goals.
Have you set your fitness goals for 2020? How far along are you on your overall fitness journey? Let us know in the comments section below.