Working out has enormous health benefits, it helps in losing weight, managing blood sugar, and improving sleep and sexual health. It also contributes to mental health by reducing stress, and anxiety, and the production of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin, thereby improving mood. Working out itself has so many benefits, so why should you have goals? Why can’t you casually work out and keep your body the way it is? While, there’s nothing wrong with being happy with where you are, it is crucial to know that keeping your body the way it is, is also a goal.
- With a body goal in mind, what you need to eat and what exercises you need to perform become structured,
- Working out contributes to your mental health through the reduction of stress and anxiety,
- To maintain your current weight or get to a future one, goal setting can help.
Importance of having Body and Workout Goals
Your body goes through so many physiological changes over time that it slows down. Your body now processes food slowly, exercises that once gave results don’t anymore; because your body has hit plateaus and above all, lost its fitness. To maintain your current weight or get to a future one, goal setting can help.
Reasons for goal setting
1. Right training: If you don’t have a goal and a plan, you are putting together pieces of various workouts. You may end up training the same muscle groups or not training them at all. You may do too much cardio or too little, which may result in losing all the progress and heading in the wrong direction.
2. Organising your time: Have you ever felt like you wasted a lot of time at the end of the workout? A plan structures your workout, so that you aren’t pondering what to do next. A plan also helps in spacing the muscle groups that you are working on. It gives purpose to your time. Who doesn’t love saving extra minutes to use them to do other things in your life, such as hanging out with your friends and family or spending quality time with your kids?
3. Manifesting your goals: In the late 1960s, Edwin Locke’s pioneering research into goal setting and motivation gave us our modern understanding of goal setting. In his 1968 article “Toward a Theory of Task Motivation and Incentives,” he showed that clear goals and appropriate feedback motivated employees. He highlighted that working towards a goal is also a major source of motivation – which, in turn, improves performance. Much like working a job, even working out in the gym with a goal gives the necessary motivation to go hard each day. With a goal in mind, you can work backwards and create a plan around it.
Each form of exercise comes with tremendous benefits and has distinct advantages. But the real question is –…
How to plan your goals
With a body goal in mind, what you need to eat and what exercises you need to perform become structured. You can look at your macros, calculate how many calories you want to consume and create a diet plan. You can also define exercises that help you strengthen your weaker muscles or increase mobility, depending on what you want to improve on and set reps accordingly. You can then work towards maintaining, bulking/cutting based on what you want your body to look like or identifying what you need to do to increase your mobility.
Body goals don’t have to mean just aesthetics, they can also be about increasing your flexibility or strengthening a weaker part of your body. The best thing about working out with a goal is that you can track all the nitty-gritty through a plan and maximise your workouts. The most important thing is to not only work out hard but also work out SMART.
S.M.A.R.T is an effective tool that provides the clarity, focus and motivation you need to achieve your goals. It can also improve your ability to reach them by encouraging you to define your objectives and set a completion date. SMART goals are also easy to use by anyone, anywhere, without the need for specialist tools or training.
S – Specific
Rather than saying, “I’m going to exercise harder,” you’ve decided the exact number of calories you’ll burn.
M – Measurable
Your smartwatch or even your phone can track the calories you burn, so you’ll be able to clearly know when you are succeeding or when you have to put in that extra effort. You can also track what you eat to know how you’re progressing towards the result.
A – Attainable
Make your goal reasonable. You can’t expect to put on 10 kgs of muscle in 15 days or lose 15 kilos in 10 days. These are not healthy goals to have and are not realistic. Instead, look at consistent improvements over a reasonable period of time.
R – Relevant
Is your specific goal relevant to the bigger picture of what you are trying to accomplish? For instance, having a caloric deficit as a goal may not be relevant if you want to gain weight.
T – Time
Having a timeline for the goal with a clear end makes it easier to hold yourself accountable. You can set a goal for a period of time such as “I want to increase the range of motion of my hip by my birthday”.
It is important to look at a structured goal rather than working out off the cuff as a goal gives you a vision and makes you work hard every day. Keep your workout burning by setting a goal and reviewing it, in the end, to learn what worked and what didn’t. By identifying what worked, you will get rewarded through the reward centres of your brain by reaffirming targets that you are accomplishing through your workout goals. This will enable your fitness journey to be insightful and also an opportunity to appreciate your body!
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for general information and educational purposes only. It neither provides any medical advice nor intends to substitute professional medical opinion on the treatment, diagnosis, prevention or alleviation of any disease, disorder or disability. Always consult with your doctor or qualified healthcare professional about your health condition and/or concerns and before undertaking a new health care regimen including making any dietary or lifestyle changes.