Five Small Fitness Goals to Tone Your Body
You may look in the mirror every day, as many of us do and wish for flatter abs or a tighter butt or maybe you just want to be stronger. But taking that first step to achieve these goals seems daunting or maybe a day or two after putting forth the effort you get discouraged. Remember this old Chinese proverb, “The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” In other words it’s the modest daily efforts that lead to bigger rewards. Achieving small fitness goals can lead to the overall objective you seek!
A few years back we added triceps push-ups to our weekly weight routine. I found these harder than regular push-ups! To target the triceps the arms come in narrowly so the elbows graze the body as the push-up is executed. As the instructor I knew I couldn’t wimp out if I expected my clients to tackle this exercise. Each week I started the segment on my toes and shakily lowered to the ground one or two times before dropping to my knees to finish the set. Slowly but surely each week I could eek out one more until after 12 weeks I could do them all. Now I love doing them because it makes me feel strong and I remember how far I came.
You can too! Chose one of these five small fitness goals or get an idea for one of your own that will help you gain strength, balance and bring you closer to your own overall objective.
Goals to Do 15 perfect push-ups
Like my story about the triceps push-ups I already challenged myself to do regular push-ups many years earlier. Push-ups are a wonderful overall body workout. It’s great for the core and strengthens your arms, chest and legs at the same time. There are many forms of push-ups too. The triceps push-up is popular as it hits the arms so well. If you take a wider stance with your hands you will work the chest more. It doesn’t matter which one you choose, the point is that you want to keep a good strong plank position as you lower yourself close to the ground and push back up. You can start by doing them on the wall, leaning forward and pushing the wall away. Then progress to a bench where you will put more weight on the arms. When you want to try them on the floor I recommend starting on your toes and only dropping to the knees when you cannot continue. Once you drop to your knees you still want to keep your feet on the floor and make a strong straight plank from your knees to the top of your head.
Goals to Master the Crow or another yoga pose
This was another challenge for me and the triceps push-up helped me achieve the crow asana. This is the position where you balance on your hands by placing your knees on your triceps. Any good yoga instructor should be able to guide you into this pose and you can look it up on YouTube. This is another goodie for the core and upper body strength as well as increasing flexibility. Once you perform the exercise it will be a huge boost to your self-esteem and encourage you to move on to other yoga challenges.
Goals to Jump Rope for 5, 10, or more minutes
Jumping rope may seem easy until you get started. Sometimes I include a minute of jump rope in class as a cardio burst. It’s hard for many people to do a full minute especially without tripping. This is a great calorie burner and you can do it anywhere. Just step outside your front door or use your garage.
Start with 30-60 second sets two or three times a week. When a minute becomes easier add on 30-second increments until you can do 10 minutes straight. Besides working your heart you’ll tone your arms and legs and burn around 100 calories.
Goals to Increase Your Speed
Whatever your cardio of choice make a goal to go faster thus boosting your calorie burn. A great goal if you’re trying to lose weight. Whether you’re a biker, runner or swimmer adding intervals or challenges will help you increase your speed.
- The first week run, walk, bike or swim at your normal speed three times a week.
- The second week add intervals where you go at your normal pace for a minute and then sprint for 30 seconds or more.
- The third week go back to your normal pace.
- The fourth week add hills or use resistance paddles in the water for one of your workouts to build muscle.
- The fourth week go back to your normal pace and then repeat the following weeks the same as above.
- Don’t forget to set your stopwatch and gauge your performance.
Goals to Run a 5k or do 10-mile hike
Setting a date and making this goal gives you something to work toward every day. If you want to run you can burn more calories and melt fat as you train for race day.
- Start out by alternating two or three minutes of walking with running three or more times a week.
- Start with one mile and increase at least a half a mile each week until you can run the full 3.1 miles.
- If walking is more your speed, train for a daylong hike.
- Start by taking an hour-long walk and increasing until you’re walking four hours once a week.
- Start walking on uneven terrain or add an incline on your treadmill.
- Also doing lunges and squats with lightweights a few times a week will help build some strength so you’re ready for the unpredictability of the hiking trail.
These are some ways to gently push yourself out of your comfort zone and start working toward the better view of yourself in the mirror. Be sure to consult with your doctor when beginning new exercise activities.