These are the five fundamental fitness goals Wen Miller Fitness focuses on during your personal training sessions.
Goal #1: Lower your body fat percentage
Clients often tell me as their fitness goals that they just want to lose 5 or 10 pounds to “lean out.” (Sound familiar?) But you’ve probably heard the old “muscle weighs more than fat” line. While that’s not technically true (a pound is a pound), it is true that a pound of muscle is denser and takes up less space than a pound of fat. So if one of your fitness goals is to shed pounds, you really should be aiming to lose body fat and gain (or retain) muscle. Essentially, you’re hoping to shift your body composition and lower your body fat percentage. You can measure your fitness goals in a number of ways: You can ask a trainer at your gym to test it using skinfold calipers, you can try a body-comp scale or monitor that uses bioimpedance (where you stand on or hold metal pads and a current determines your body composition), or you can go to a special lab for a more accurate (though pricier) air- or water-displacement test. Keep in mind that the first two options aren’t 100-percent accurate, but as long as the measurements are done under the same general conditions, you’ll be able to get a pretty good look at your progress.
Goal #2: Get stronger
I get that you don’t want to look like Joe Manganiello, but you shouldn’t be afraid to make strength one of your goals. In fact, unless you put some crazy concerted effort into it, the typical woman will never “bulk up.” (Newsflash: You CAN be strong and skinny!) What I like about strength as a goal is that it’s much more quantifiable than “toning up,” which is what women often say when they’re describing the desire to build muscle. Strength can be measured by the number of pushups you can do, the amount of weight you lift on the cable machine, or the increase in reps you can handle. It’s also noticeable in daily life: The ease with which you lug your groceries or lift your suitcase into the overhead bin. And if you want to check your progress of your fitness goals in the mirror, find out how long it takes to see muscle definition.
Goal #3: Master a skill
Write down your fitness goals if you’re one of those people who just doesn’t get particularly amped about running/lifting/sweating just for the sake of it. Hey, I hear ya. Sometimes you need a specific skill to hone in on. My gateway drug into fitness was a weekly adult gymnastics class that hooked me in. But if tumbling isn’t your thing (no way, really!?), just pick another sport or skill that you want to learn to excel in—like Pilates, lifting weights, or boxing. Already found your fitness muse but need an extra boost? Make specific achievement goals, such as targeting a number of chin-ups (can’t do a single one? Try our chin-up challenge to learn how in six weeks!) or conquering a forearm stand in yoga.
Goal #4: Make fitness a part of your routine
I meet people daily who want to shape up for a specific event—a wedding, a school reunion, bikini season… While I would never begrudge anyone wanting to look and feel her best for any reason, I try to encourage a more long-term approach. Sure, you’re motivated to work hard for the grand occasion, but do really you want to put in all that effort only to let it fall by the wayside later? Consider how you can keep those gym dates, favorite classes or regular runs in your schedule for the long haul. A lot of things can motivate you: finding a workout buddy, blocking off your calendar with hard-and-fast “fitness appointments,” and prioritizing personal training or those pricey-but-awesome indoor cycling classes in your budget. What’s important is that you find your mojo and hold onto it. But if you really need an end goal, just make a point to try something for a month or two (like our newest 6 weeks to bootcamp fit plan). By the time you’re finished, chances are you’ll be hooked.
Goal #5: Train for an event
There’s one exception where shaping up with a deadline can actually come in handy, and that’s training for a fitness event (Here is a local example). Some of us are just more deadline-driven than others, and by giving yourself a specific point at which you’ll have to prove your stuff (beyond looking fit in the photos), you’ll be that much more motivated to keep up with your training. So sign up for a triathlon, a 5k, or an endurance event like an obstacle course. Then, train like hell. Who knows? After the rush of completing your first one, you may decide to make it a habit.