For many people, the onset of summer means the start of grandiose fitness goals to get in shape for swimsuit season. It’s a lot easier and more productive to set reasonable goals though—here’s how.
Lots of us set new fitness goals every year in preparation for the summer. The problem is we tend to set rigorous goals with the expectation of seeing results within a very short amount of time. By the time we realize our bodies can’t keep up with our ambitions, disappointment sets in. However, goals can be much more attainable and inspiring than that.
The good news is that all it takes to have a more positive personal experience over the summer is a small change in mindset. The moment we realize instant gratification shouldn’t be applied to fitness goals, and that good things take time, we’ll be more receptive towards the achievement of smaller objectives, and our success rate will inevitably increase.
Whether it’s giving jogging a try, becoming more flexible or getting stronger, there are a variety of objectives you could easily work on over the summer to keep your spirits high and your self-confidence strong and healthy. If you’re looking for inspiration for reasonable summer fitness goals for this year, read on to find out about four options you can easily adopt into the lifestyle you’re ready to embark on.
Become More Flexible
If you’re not particularly active, deciding to increase your level of flexibility is a good way to ease into a more active lifestyle. For as simplistic as this activity may seem, the benefits are significant and involve both body and mind.
Post-workout dynamic stretching and yoga, for instance, can help improve range of motion and muscle elasticity and even lower the chances of muscle injury. Furthermore, they help in stress and tension release, making you feel re-energized and more agile at the end of every session.
Whether you decide to work on being able to touch your toes or do a specific yoga pose, all you need to do is practice for a few minutes every day. That’s part of the beauty of stretching: it doesn’t take up much time of your day, it doesn’t require a lot of space, and it comes with a variety of benefits.
Consistency and determination are key. The more often you practice, the faster you’ll notice a change. This mindset is at the core of any fitness goal, which is why starting easy with something as simple as improving your flexibility can be the driving force behind greater goals.
Hold a Plank For A Certain Number of Minutes
Planks are another easy way to test your fitness level. Holding a plank, whether it’s by standing on your elbows or your hands, requires a fair amount of core strength to last for longer than a few seconds. Holding one for longer than one minute is already a clear indicator of a strong core, the set of muscles located around your abdomen that can help with good posture and prevention of lower back pain.
Start by measuring the number of seconds you last on your first try, and then work out several minor goals you believe you can achieve in a short amount of time. If you can hold a plank for 10 seconds to begin with, set 20 seconds as the objective for the end of your second week, and 30 seconds by the end of the month, and so on. While practice can definitely help, it’s good to focus on abs and obliques exercises, as well as running or even jumping to strengthen your core. You can choose to do whatever activity you’re more fond of just as long as it’ll contribute to strength development. Every little bit helps.
For many of us, a typical summer goal is the ability to show off the result of hard work in the form of a slim figure and pumped muscles. After all, it’s summertime, and the amount of layers required to feel comfortable outdoors is minimal. However, all that requires time and unfortunately, if you don’t start working on it months in advance, you can’t expect to reap the results before the summer ends.
A smart way to turn those ideas into attainable goals is by aiming to increase your strength. While it’s true that building muscle takes time, the whole process of strength training can be much more rewarding than merely deciding to shed a certain amount of pounds or lose a few inches off your waist.
This long-term project can easily be divided into smaller short-term goals that can help you stay engaged and eager to continue working hard. Want to be able to do 20 consecutive full pushups by the end of the summer? Start by exercising your arm muscles regularly and decide on a couple of smaller goals, like ten knee pushups by week one and 20 by week 3. The smaller the goal, the more likely you will be to achieve them, and the more excited you’ll be to accomplish your ultimate objective.
The key is to customize your goals and develop a structured plan — establish your current fitness level, identify your limits, and be mindful of your lifestyle. Having a specific and measurable plan of action is going to make it easier to keep track of your progress and improve your confidence in the process. Start slow with easy exercises and few repetitions. Once you notice some improvement, increase the number of repetitions and sets until you’re ready to move on to heavier weights and more advanced workouts. Just remember that form is crucial and that you shouldn’t force yourself to do more than what your body can withstand. If things get overwhelming, you can always hire a coach to guide you towards success.
Consider Running a Marathon
If strength training doesn’t sound particularly thrilling or enticing, you could give jogging a try. Summer is the perfect time to get into it as the weather and the long hours provide you with plenty of opportunities to fit a quick jog into your daily routine. On top of that, exercising outdoors has been shown to boost mood and reduce anxiety through the release of endorphins and the absorption of vitamin D. When all it takes is just a pair of running shoes and comfortable clothes, it’s hard to say no to an activity that brings about a variety of health benefits.
If you’re feeling brave, a big jogging-related goal could be to run a marathon or a half marathon by the following summer. Participating in one takes great preparation, discipline, and serious commitment, things you need to start working on with months in advance. By starting to work on it this summer, you give yourself enough time to get into the habit, commit to it, and work on making significant progress.
While it may seem like the best way to develop a training plan is by focusing primarily on practicing increasingly longer runs, there’s more to it than you might think. Running requires endurance and strength, which calls for a varied training plan that includes distance runs, cross-training, and rest days. Cross-training entails any activity that can help increase body strength, particularly core muscles, like yoga and pilates, which should be done one a regular basis.
Because you’ve got months of preparation ahead of you, it’s easy to set short-term goals to keep you motivated and make time go by seemingly faster than if you were only to work towards an end goal. Think of entering shorter distance races or running specific tracks after a certain amount of weeks and enjoy the sense of accomplishment once you complete them. Just wait until you finish the marathon next summer!
No matter the fitness goal you decide to set for yourself this summer, remember to keep it reasonable and inspiring. Aim to have smaller goals too, to stay engaged and committed to your ultimate objective and make the climb to it a little easier. Patience and determination should never leave your side.