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Worthwhile Fitness Goals

Sometimes it is difficult to set goals for your fitness.

For example setting a goal of losing a specific amount of weight is trickier than it sounds because your weight fluctuates up and down up several pounds every day. It is much more likely you will under or overshoot your target weight.

In addition you can also gain bone density weight - possible as the result of weightlifting, but you can also gain bone density in your legs as the result of jogging or running.

Thus measuring your weight and aiming to lose weight can sometimes be difficult to determine success. You might lose 20 lbs of fat but gain 4 lbs od muscle and 3 lbs of bone density - making you both stronger and tougher and more healthy, but because you only lost 13 lbs overall you may think you failed in your goal and feel discouraged.

If your goal is to shed fat a more realistic measurement is to use a regular tape measure - and aim to track your calorie loss instead of weight loss. Using a tape measure can still be knocked off a bit if you are gaining extra muscle in that area, but you are more likely to see the results with a tape measure. Just remember to record and track your measurements!

Or alternatively, if you track calories then you will see the mathematical difference between what you are eating and what number of calories you are burning. Counting your calories in and out is trickier and will require more effort on your part (although there are apps for that), you are far more likely to succeed if you track your calories in and out.

Setting a goal of losing 500 calories per day for example is doable. Cut out the fatty/sugary foods, eat 1700 to 1900 calories of healthy food per day... and increase your daily exercise levels so you are burning at least 2200 to 2400 calories per day. At that rate you should be losing approx. 1 lb of fat per week.

Other goals I recommend people set are:

#1. More flexibility by engaging in stretching exercises and yoga.

#2. More youthful appearance - with proper exercise and diet you can lose years off your appearance. (Most people think I am 24.)

#3. Live longer. Longevity goes hand in hand with a more youthful appearance. You could end up being 90+ and having the body of a 60 year old. (Did you know Arnold Schwarzenegger is 65 years old? He will be 66 on July 30th 2013.)

#4. Build muscle... Okay? But how much? And what do you actually use it for? If you had a favourite sport (eg. Shot Put) that calls for muscles then yes, that will help motivate you and you can use those newfound muscles in your chosen sport. (I myself did a weightlifting regime over the winter so I could pull a heavier bow for archery and hold it steady.)

#5. Build confidence / feel better about yourself.

#6. Become more fit / feel better physically.

#7. Reduce your chances of injury or illness. Again with the bone density - elderly people who do weightlifting are less likely to fall and break their hip.

#8. Reduce the symptoms of a health problem you already have. Being overweight causes many health problems, everything from heart problems to joint pain to erectile dysfunction. Losing the weight and embracing a healthier lifestyle to shed oneself of those symptoms is a worthwhile goal.

#9. Get six pack abs. True, it is a purely aesthetic goal, but it is still a goal worth having if you want to feel better and more confident about your appearance. To do this you first need to lose the weight by doing lots of cardio, and then do a combination of abs and obliques exercises.

#10. Firmer breasts that look younger and perkier. Yes, even that can be accomplished with exercise. They're called "Bust Firming Exercises" and even Marilyn Monroe did them.

MYTH BUSTING TIPS!

You can't do "spot treatment" for weight loss. If you want to lose fat in specific areas of your body then you need to exercise the WHOLE body through cardio exercises to shed the extra fat everywhere. Spot treatment works for weightlifting and building muscles in specific areas, but it doesn't do anything for shedding fat in specific areas.

Weightlifting doesn't actually cause you to lose weight that easily. There are some weightlifting trainers who like to claim that you can accomplish all your fitness goals with weightlifting alone. This is a myth that they are perpetuating. The more effective route to lose weight is old fashioned cardio exercises like jogging, swimming, etc (which won't cost you a penny). Even simple exercises like jogging up the stairs burns more calories than weightlifting - because you are lifting your body weight up the stairs while doing cardio.

Exercising doesn't have to be expensive. I have numerous Frugal Exercises posts on this website which are completely free. You don't need fancy equipment or clothes or a gym membership or a personal trainer (although if you live in Toronto I fully endorse hiring me if your have difficulty with motivating yourself).

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