SMART Fitness Goals & New Year’s Resolutions
WRITTEN BY TJ Ferrara16 days ago
Every year, it is estimated that people will give up on their new year’s resolution to go to the gym more. But that doesn’t stop people from trying; gym memberships skyrocket every January, and countless people enroll in diet programs. While “working out more” and “going to the gym more” are great ideas, they are hard goals to meet. Why? They’re ambiguous. The best resolutions are specific, actionable goals that can be measured clearly (think SMART!). Wherever you are in your fitness journey, here are some gym resolutions to take into the new year.
Sign up for a class
Most gyms have a wide variety of classes that you are probably missing out on. If you don’t have a gym habit already, signing up for a class is a good way to get yourself in the gym and do something new. Working out with a group is also motivating and builds accountability. This could also be a good way to make up for what you don’t normally include in your workout routine. Spend a lot of time strength training? Take a spin class to get in some cardio. Do you forget to stretch? Consider yoga, pilates, or bar. Do you only work cardio? Take up a weights class to build confidence lifting weight.
Try mobility training
Mobility refers to your body’s ability to move freely and efficiently. It is where flexibility and strength intersect, and you have a wide range of motion. We need good mobility to maintain an excellent quality of life even into old age. Mobility training puts skills into practice: when you are highly mobile you are not just strong, you can bear weight for extended periods of time. You are more than just flexible: you can use your flexibility for more complex strength routines, staying agile, and movements in everyday life (like tying your shoes). This year, make it a goal to include one to two mobility exercises in every workout. A few good places to start include:
- •Lateral lunges
- •Half-kneeling arm rotations
- •Kettlebell armbars
- •Walking hip openers
- •Neck half circles
- •Standing roll downs
This will be the year you make and meet your lifting goals. If you want to get stronger and build muscle, you have to progressively overload your muscles–this means gradually increasing the stress you place on your muscles so that they can repair themselves…and get bigger and stronger. There are a few simple ways you can do that this year:
Set a specific weight goal: decide how much weight you want to be able to lift, bench, or squat
Reach a rep goal: in addition to how much you want to lift, decide how many reps you want to be able to achieve in a given session
Rest and reset: Another goal can be shorter rests between sets. Rest is important, but taking shorter periods for rest is another way to progressively overload your muscles.
Try three new stretches
If you want to continue building strength then you have to make stretching a priority. Some people love stretching and make it a big a part of their time in the gym, but it can be tempting to finish a workout and head home without taking the time to stretch. The problem is that when we don’t stretch we put ourselves at risk for injury and losing our progress. Stretching keeps our muscles flexible and at their full range of motion so that they can contract and lengthen to their full extent. When they are unable to fully extend and contract and you try to use them, you put yourself at risk for cramps and tears. One resolution for the gym this year is to incorporate three new stretches into your routine, whether that’s at the gym, when you wake up in the morning or before you go to bed.
Go in with a plan
Do you find that you go into the gym and just work on whatever machine is open that day? Or maybe you do the same exercises every time you go? It’s time to change that. Make it a goal to go to the gym with a plan, whether that’s a fitness plan you are following online or one that you have put together for yourself. Having a plan will:
- •Save time
- •Prevent injury as it prevents overuse
- •Keep your time in the gym interesting
- •Give you automatic goals
Meet Cardio milestones
Good cardio will strengthen your heart and blood vessels, increase lung capacity, lower blood pressure, and reduce your risk for many conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Doctors recommend cardio four to five days a week at different intensity levels:
- •One hour a week doing something fun and light like walking or biking or tossing a ball around
- •Two to three days a week enjoy 20 to 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio
- •One day of high-intensity cardio
You can measure the intensity of your exercise in two ways: by how you feel and how hard your heart is working. Moderate exercise feels hard, but you can carry a conversation, your breathing quickens, and after about 10 minutes you develop a light sweat. During intense exercise your breathing is deep and quick, it is harder to say more than a few words at a time, and you start sweating after just a few minutes. Most people set cardio goals based on time, but you could also shoot for a higher intensity or just make a resolution to try something new, whether that’s cycling, HIIT training, or swimming.
Target a new muscle group
Most people are familiar with working back and bis, chest and tris, and legs. But this means some muscle groups are neglected. Working on often neglected muscle groups can improve mobility, decrease risk for injury and improve quality of life. If you don’t know where to start, consider the following:
- •Ankles and feet
- •Pelvic floor
Give your muscles what they need
When you try something new in the gym, you may find that your muscles and joints hurt a little more than normal. That’s okay within reason, but you may want to give them a boost. Collagen peptides have been found to strengthen the ligaments that attach muscles to bones and encourage muscle health. Collagen has also been found to cut down on recovery time and prevent injury so that you can meet those goals faster. Make it a resolution to make BUBS a part of your daily routine–just one to two scoops of collagen peptides per day will provide lasting relief to your body.