Fitness February is here: Let’s kick it off with setting our fitness goals

Fitness February - Setting GoalsHappy Fitness February! It’s our first week of the month dedicated to getting in shape and taking charge of the new year. Even though we are a month into 2021, it is never too late to do things that are good for you. We don’t have to wait for a new year, a new month, a new week, or a new day; start now! Whenever you are reading this post, even if it is not in February, take this as an opportunity to do something that you have been pushing off until “Monday” or “someday”.

This is the first week in February and we are beginning it with kicking off on our fitness goals!!!But wait…What are my fitness goals? How do I start? What do I do to achieve my goals? These are common questions to have when it comes to establishing where you want to spend your time and energy fitness wise. Now, this week we are going to help you develop your answers in a way that you can begin working on what’s best for you.

Last week, we talked about the three pillars to fitness; the mental, the diet, and the physical aspect. This week we are going to take those properties and apply them to what you wish to achieve during the next few weeks.

First step into establishing your fitness goals is to ask yourself, “what do I want to achieve?” Do you want to lose weight, do you want to gain muscle, or maybe you just want to get your body moving? Here are a few things you may want to consider depending on your end goal.

Goal #1:  Losing Weight

If your goal is to lose weight, the first aspect that you have to address is your diet. You need to be sure that the foods you are consuming are unprocessed real foods. Look for anti-inflammatory organic foods and whole grains along with wild seafood or grass-fed proteins. When it comes to carbohydrates, they are not all bad. Carbohydrates are fuel to the cells, however, you can run into health issues when you eat the wrong kind. Examples of bad carbohydrates (among others) are the following: white bread, potatoes, pasta, fruit juices, cereal, pastries, potato chips, and beer. Good carbohydrates are from whole grains like quinoa, barley and brown rice; green leafy vegetables, and some legumes. If you do not address your diet initially, then all the work that you put into exercise will mean nothing. To lose weight, avoid the bad carbohydrates, and limit your good carbohydrates to 100g/day.

Now when it comes to exercise, cardio is a great place to start. The treadmill, elliptical, stationary bikes, and stair master are all perfect ways to burn calories fast. If you do not have access to a gym, or do not feel comfortable due to COVID-19, then consider taking a daily walk, run, or try a HIIT workout. HIIT (high intensity interval training) is a fast and easy way to get your heart beat up and burn calories. The goal when it comes to losing any kind of weight is to consume less calories than you are burning. By doing this your body will begin to eat away at your stored fat. That is why it is extremely important to consume the right foods at the right amount and burn the correct amount of calories. Apply that rule and consistency and you have the perfect method for healthy weight loss.

Goal #2: Gain Muscle

If your goal is to gain muscle, again we first must look into the kitchen. You want to be sure that the foods you are consuming are high in protein and moderately low in fat. Protein is an essential macro for building and repairing muscle. When it comes to exercising your muscles will go through a lot of stress and that protein will be necessarily be its repair source. Without the correct amount of protein your body will be in a recovery process for longer and without the proper rest you can injure yourself.

In order to achieve muscle gain, weight training is the best way to go. You can build a little bit of muscle with body weight and resistance bands, however your results will plateau when your muscles get used to the resistance weight. If you have access to the gym you can focus on weighted compound and isolation exercises. A compound exercise is one that targets multiple muscles, while an isolation exercise focuses on an individual muscle. A staple when it comes to building muscle is the high protein diet and consistent weight training. When you commit to following that your results will appear before you know it.

Goal #3: Lose Weight + Gain Muscle

If your goal is to lose weight and gain muscle then you pretty much are going to combine the two goals above. When it comes to diet you want to focus on a high protein, low fat diet, consuming less calories than you are burning. This will allow for the fat loss in addition to the muscle repair through the protein surplus. A good rule of thumb when it comes to consuming a surplus of protein, is to eat 1 gram of protein for 1 pound of body weight (ex. a 140 pound person would strive to consume 140 grams of protein).  When it comes to exercising you want to focus on the muscle building routine; weighted compound and isolation exercises, occasionally increasing the weight when it begins to feel easier. By consistently eating clean and upping the weight in your exercises, your muscles will begin to tear and repair faster, ultimately fueling your body for muscle growth.

Goal #4: Get Your Body Moving

Lastly, if your goal is to just get your body moving then your preference plays a major role. There are so many ways to get your body moving: running, walking, swimming, pilates, yoga, jumping rope, tennis, basketball and more. Your exercise method is solely up to how you want to spend your time and the best part is, most of these activities can be done at no cost. Due to COVID-19, you can find thousands of yoga flows and pilates courses online that you can do right in your living room. Or found some courts at your local park. Or create your own home workout by doing sit-ups, push-ups, planks, burpees, lunges, and squats. There are so many possibilities and variations you can do! Just by moving your body daily you will instantly feel a difference in your mood, energy, and overall health. The only other aspect that you have to consider would be your diet. If you want to see and feel the affects of daily movement than we advised you to eat a clean, anti-inflammatory diet.

Now that we have covered a few possible fitness goals, over the next week write down your fitness goals and stock your kitchen with healthy foods. Stay tuned for next week where we talk about how to establish and what to include in your workout routine based on the goals that you have developed. (HINT: this is not only about the exercises themselves, there are more pieces to this fitness puzzle)

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is solely for informational purposes. Always consult with your doctor before making any major dietary or fitness decisions.

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