Nearly on a daily basis, people young and old confide in me with their fitness goals. Too many of these goals are extremely broad and lack focus and some are too narrow in scope and require more elements to succeed. For example, broad goals are “getting healthy again” or “losing weight”. These can require some to stop over-eating, smoking, drinking soda or other sugary products, as well as start exercising ALL at the same time. Anytime someone tries to do all of the above in the same week, they are statistically destined to not be successful. Sometimes for the first month of two all you need to do is add walking and drinking MORE water to you daily plan and you will see 2-3 lbs of weight loss a week.

The opposite problem occurs when someone selects a narrow goal such as “want to do pull-ups”. Depending on their current fitness level, this could require that person to start using weights to strengthen grip, biceps, and back muscles as well as lose weight. Too many people cannot do pull-ups mainly because they carry an extra 20-25 lbs of weight they could stand to lose. And, the common denominator between men and women who can perform pull-ups is “they practice pull-ups 2-3 times a week as part of their weekly workout routine.” So a narrowly focused goal can actually require just as much or MORE work than the broad goal.

There is a standard method of achieving your fitness and health goals. Quite simply, it requires baby steps if you are a beginner and a foundation of several elements if you are currently active and seeking more advanced goals. These elements are the following:

Moving = EXERCISE. If you add exercise to your world, this will be a cause your body to adapt until you build habits and create that foundation of fitness needed for a lifestyle change. This can be as simple as walking or biking for 10-15:00 everyday or an hour long workout in the gym with a combination of weights and cardio equipment. To do more pull-ups, pushups, or run faster, you have to be already very active, otherwise you need to create the foundation on which to build these follow-on goals. This is why military members who do not exercise but only 1-2 weeks prior to their bi-annual fitness test continually score worse than the year before. To beat last years scores, you need to make your fitness part of your schedule.

Eating – Eating to lose weight or eating a healthful diet with balanced nutrition is a lifestyle that should be adopted over time. When you add exercise to your schedule 4-5 times a week, it is important to increase your water consumption to 2-4 quarts a day. Just add exercise and more water to your world the first month of your exercise schedule. If you see weight loss within the first week or two, you may not need to alter your food intake that much. Your body will also start to drive you toward eating more fruits, vegetables, and protein sources if you have a steady exercise program too.

Flexibility – Stretching is highly important to increasing scores on fitness tests as well as overall conditioning. Prevention of injuries through a steady flexibility routine before and after each fitness session will enable you to continue exercise and not have to stop your program due to pulled muscles or stiff joints. See the Stretching Plan that I recommend people to do for a solid week prior to beginners adding fitness to their schedule. Check out the FREE Stretching Plan

Schedule – The final element of successful goal achievement is pacing fitness into your schedule. “If it is not in the schedule – IT does not exist.” An early AM workout is three times easier to accomplish versus a post work fitness session, due to daily conflicts that can easily occur to make you delay or cancel your workout. But as the days get longer during these Spring and Summer months, making that after work workout is a bit easier. Whatever you do, a little daily exercise is a requirement. It can be defined as simply as taking a walk or going to the gym and lifting weights.

Here is a great starting plan if you are interested in pacing yourself as you take on a fitness habit: (free download)www.stewsmith.com/45dayplan.pdf

Email me if you have any questions...stew@stewsmith.com

Author's Bio: 

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL officer who now writes fitness books, ebooks, and articles for a living. He is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (www.nsca.com
)as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). Visit him at StewSmith.com or HeroesofTomorrowFitness.com