Setting a new fitness goal can be exciting and add a new spark to a dying fitness flame, but sometimes we get too exuberant and overestimate our abilities. We want to challenge ourselves with a new and loftier goal, but sometimes we expect more out of ourselves that we can deliver. When that happens, it is time to re-evaluate our goal and make it more realistic.
So how do you know if your fitness goal is unrealistic? Usually if any of these three things happen, it is time to scale back and re-adjust:
- You are not making progress toward your goal.
- You are sore beyond expectations.
- Your desire to workout is waning or you have stopped exercising altogether.
Let’s look at each one of these in more detail.
Not making progress
If you have been sticking to your workout and eating schedule, but still not making acceptable progress toward your goal, it is time to look at your program to see what changes need to be made.
What you do depends on your goal. For example, if you want to lose weight, then the calories you eat must be less than the number of calories you burn. Aim for a 500-calorie per day deficit. Doing so should result in about a 1-pound weight loss per week. But first, you must know how many calories you are eating and how many you’re burning.
Read nutritional labels or search online for calorie-per-serving numbers. Calculate your AMR or Active Metabolic Rate to figure out how many calories you are burning per day based on your metabolism and workout schedule. This give you an idea of where you need to make changes.
Sore beyond expectations
When first starting a new workout, expect some soreness to set in around 24 to 48 hours after first exercising. The soreness should be mildly irritating. However, if you are too sore to get up off the couch or must walk down a flight of stairs sideways, it is a good indication you need to change your routine to something less demanding for now and gradually work up to the level of exercise you first set as your goal. Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor should you expect to reach a lofty fitness goal the first time out of the chute. Set up a progressive schedule and slowly work your way up to where you want to be.
If you no longer have the excitement you first had when you started working out, it could be you need a change in your end goal or the road to get you there.
Perhaps your goal now seems too far away and unreachable. Or maybe you need some variety in your workout. Look at your goal.
If it is still measurable, attainable and realistic, then set up milestones or “mini-goals” along the way that once reached, can be celebrated. Each smaller goal accomplished gets you closer to your end goal.
If you suffer from any of the three unrealistic goal indicators, look to change whatever it is that is holding you back. Success can be right around the corner, if you want it bad enough.