Need A New Fitness Goal?

Fitness and weight training

Having fitness goals is important for staying motivated. Without these goals, it’s easy to look at exercise as a chore. Even if you love exercise, you may get frustrated without a goal to work towards. Here are just a few goals to consider that could help to challenge you.

Get slim

The most common fitness goal is to lose weight. Most people set this as a vague objective, which is why they don’t stay motivated. You need to have a clear end goal in sight when slimming down. This could be a target weight or a clothing size that you want to fit into. On top of having an end goal, you should set yourself micro-goals from month to month. Your end goal may seem too far away and unachievable – micro-goals can give you that sense of ongoing achievement you need to spur you on. It’s worth keeping a record of your progress so that you can see how far you’ve come. There are apps that can do this if you want to lose weight solo. Alternatively, you might be able to join a group in order to help you lose weight.

Go the distance

Another goal could be to improve the distance you’re able to run. If you jog a lot or use the treadmill at the gym, such a goal can help you to give running a purpose which could help to motivate you to get off the sofa on a day where you’re feeling lazy. By slowly adding on kilometres, you can eventually build up to 10k runs and maybe even half-marathons and marathons. Long-distance running can be done almost anywhere – you don’t have to pay for a gym membership. It can also help with the dual goal of losing weight. Running apps can help to record your progress and set new goals for you.

Build your strength

Another goal to help spur you on could be to improve your strength. Just like being able to run a certain distance, being able to lift a certain weight can give you a more tangible idea of how your body is improving. Strength-training can help you to bulk up, but it can also help those wanting to slim down. Weight machines at gyms can give you a clear idea of just how much you’re lifting, although you don’t have to join a gym. You might be able to buy home weights or rely on exercises like push-ups and sit-ups.

Fitness and take up a new sport

Try a new sport

Taking up a new sport could give you something new to learn and master, whilst keeping you fit at the same time. This could be anything from swimming to tennis to kickboxing – whatever takes your interest. Certain sports may have grades and qualifications that you can help aspire to. Others may teach techniques which help you to develop muscles and keep off fat in the process. Not all sports can be self-taught and some may require you to take up lessons with a coach.

Consider a career in fitness

If you’re already dedicated to staying fit, but feel you need a new goal to give you direction, you could consider making fitness a career and passing on your knowledge to others. Certain careers such as personal training are ideal for taking your training to the next level. To become a trainer, you’ll need to be licensed, which involves taking a course. There are lots of sites out there that describe what goes on in this course if you want the course difficulty explained. After getting your qualification, you can then start to build up clients. On top of trying to achieve your own fitness goals, you’ll be helping others to reach theirs.

Train for a competition

Training for a competition might also help motivate you to stay fit. This could be a run or a bodybuilding competition or weight lifting competition or a sports competition. Not only do competitions pressure you to do better than others, they also give you a set deadline to train towards that can stop you procrastinating. You don’t have to compete with professionals – there are many competitions out there for amateurs such as local competitions and friendly club competitions.

Feel The Burn: Easy Ways You Could Burn More Calories

Have you ever thought about how many calories you burn on an average day? If you’re into fitness, you may wear a monitor that shows how many calories you burn when you work out, but you might be surprised at how your body expends energy when you’re resting, working or getting ready for the day ahead.

It’s easy to assume that you need to be on the go to work towards your daily calorie burn, but your body can use around 382 calories during a 7-hour sleep. If you sleep for longer, the figure will be even higher. As you’re getting ready in the morning, you can boost your burn by drying your hair (39 calories for 15 minutes), showering (62 calories per 15 minutes) and cleaning your teeth (2 calories per minute). If you walk to work, this will add another 149 calories for 30 minutes at a steady speed of 3.5 mph. Even driving for 30 minutes can help you burn more than 60 calories.

If you have a desk job, you may assume that you don’t burn many calories at work, but as you’ll see from the infographic, spending an hour at your desk can actually burn around 100 calories. More physical jobs, such as painting and papering and carpentry can burn more than 160 calories per half hour.

You can also increase your burn by doing a food shop and pushing a trolley for 30 minutes, which burns 130 calories, putting shopping away, which will add another 26 calories and mowing the lawn, which burns around 205 calories per half hour.

If you’re sporty, you can take massive leaps towards your daily target by doing an hour of cycling (1,220 calories), boxing (670 calories), skipping (900 calories) or swimming (520 calories). Even a light 15-minute yoga session before bed could burn around 75 calories.


Infographic design by calories you burn in a day

Top Fitness Tips For The Winter From Personal Fitness Trainer Toby Garbett

“As a personal trainer and coach, I often find people let their fitness levels slip over the winter months, and regular exercisers become more sporadic. Even as an Olympic and World champion rower myself, the thought of winter training when icy water splashes around in and around the boat on wet, windy cold days is not inspiring. This can lead to an increased risk of injury as people forget that they are not in their peak summer fitness and often challenge themselves with similar intensity workouts, without the baseline fitness or warming up correctly. This can lead to poor motivation due to feeling despondent that they are not as fit as they thought they were, or even worse, injury. Such injuries can subsequently have a negative impact in further training and create a vicious cycle of recurrent injury and reduced fitness.”

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Here are some of the most common barriers to exercising in winter, along with Toby’s top tips for addressing them:

1) “It’s dark. We all feel the need to hibernate a little over the winter months. Going for a run in the dark can feel less interesting and even less safe than doing so in the warm evening sun. I suggest teaming up with a buddy to do any form of outdoor evening fitness. If you have committed to meet up with someone you are less likely to back out. You will be safer in a group of two or more, and it also adds interest as a weekly (or more!) meet up, to what might otherwise be a boring work-out.”

2) “Mood. Many people suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) to some degree. This is when the nights draw in and we are exposed to less sunlight, which can adversely affect our mood. This lowering of our mood can lead to lower self-esteem and motivation and makes us naturally less inclined to get out and exercise more. Interestingly, what we should be doing is the exact opposite, and exercising MORE! Exercise releases endorphins, which can have a positive effect on our mood, even after we’ve stopped exercising. I find when I explain to my clients that exercise can have a positive impact on not just their body but also their mind over the winter, they feel more able to engage with any programme we develop.”

3) “It’s cold. We are naturally less inclined to get out and do our fitness when it is chilly outside, and it takes willpower not to curl up with a hot chocolate instead! One remedy to this would be to find an indoor fitness space, such as a gym, but it is also entirely possible to do a good workout at home without a lot of space, for example by doing a high intensity programme. If you much prefer the outdoors, you could motivate yourself to get out there by treating yourself to some new winter fitness kit to wear. This isn’t entirely for vanity though. When our muscles are cold, we are more likely to suffer injury.”

4) “Lack of a goal. Over the summer, there are many sporting events to sign up to and challenge yourself with. These tail off significantly in the winter. I would advise signing yourself up for a challenge in the spring, and write yourself a basic training programme which will help keep you motivated over the winter. Of course, this doesn’t have to be of the same high intensity as you would do in the immediate build up to an event, but it is important to maintain a baseline level of fitness on which to build as you get closer to the event.”

5) “Eat up. Eating well is key to fuelling your body and sustaining fitness levels. Studies indicate that eating beetroot can have a positive effect on sports performance due to its high nitrate levels. It can help increase oxygen uptake for improved cardiorespiratory fitness so make this a regular part of your winter diet to optimise what training you do. They can be bought ready to eat and flavoured so are a quick and easy way to add to post work-out meals.”

6) “Illness. As an Olympic rower, I spent a lot of time out on the cold water, both at home in winter and overseas at altitude camps where the climate is colder. Cold weather inhibits your immune system which leaves us more prone to the illnesses which are naturally more prevalent in winter. I found a good way to attempt to address this problem and boost my own immunity was to eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins and other micronutrients. Beetroot provides a good source of these, such as folate, potassium, vitamin C, phosphorous, iron, magnesium and zinc. It is easy to add to your daily diet as it comes in many forms such as pickled, flavoured, roasted or raw, meaning you can keep up the interest and variety.”