How To Meet Your Fitness Goals In 2017

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The New Year is a time when many of us re-dedicate ourselves to, overhaul or ramp up a fitness/nutrition routine. The gym parking lots are packed (I literally drove around, vulturing for a spot at 24 Hour Fitness this week for what seemed like an hour!) and mamas all over the country are buying dumbbell sets and resolving to complete their home workouts during nap time. Have you ever told yourself you were going to “get in shape” on January 1st but  found yourself in the same place you were then by the end of the year? If getting in shape is a goal for you this new year, how will you make sure you make that happen for yourself?

This where strategic goal setting comes in – being realistic and specific about what exactly you are hoping to achieve and setting a goal that you can actually measure progress toward and accomplishment of.

A specific goal has a MUCH better chance of being accomplished that a general goal.

Nothing motivates me more than seeing measurable progress toward a fitness goal. I’ve dabbled in lots of different forms of fitness over the years (swimming, running, CrossFit, bodybuilding, cycling, etc.) but the part that keeps me coming back for more is setting, meeting and even surpassing goals I set for myself. From college until age 27 I was a runner, and although I was not winning any awards for speed, I was continually motivated by seeing my times on the track or at a race decrease as a result of my training plans.

The cardio years.

At age 28 I found CrossFit and quickly became absolutely addicted to making measurable progress in strength, endurance and gymnastic skills. In CrossFit you keep track of basically everything, from the time it takes you to complete a particular workout, the maximum weight you can dead lift from the floor, the amount of strict pull ups you can complete, etc.

Scary lifting face but, hey, that’s a lot of weight!

Two things I’ve found helpful when it comes to setting and achieving my fitness goals over the years are:

1) Putting goals out there to a friend/s or family (or even on social media!). There is something about others knowing what you are trying to accomplish that creates instant accountability and motivation to stick to what you said you wanted to do.

2) Using strategic goal setting, such as a SMART goal format to develop and track progress toward goals.

SMART stands for:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Realistic

T – Time-based or Tangible

For example, although certainly realistic and achievable, “I will get in really good shape in 2017”  is not specific, measurable or time-based:

  • What does “really good shape” mean exactly? What components does this person consider as part of being in shape?
  • What is the baseline for for each of those components?
  • What would be the indicators of progress toward getting into really good shape?
  • How would someone actually know if they met that 2017 goal?

If I had that goal (“I will get in really good shape in 2017” ) for myself (which I do in fact!) I would want to:

a) specifically define the components I personally consider part of being in shape or that I cared to focus on for the year (body fat %, strength,skill, speed, etc.)

b) find my baseline times/weights/numbers for those components

c) set a realistic goal based on my current baseline and what I know to be possible within a year given any physical or time/schedule limitations,

d)  make sure that the components I choose to focus on can be tangibly tracked so that I can monitor my progress along the way.

Following this formula, a potential SMART goal for “getting into really good shape” could be:

“By January 1st, 2018 I will be able to run an 8:00 mile on a treadmill, do 10 consecutive push ups, hold a plank for 2 minutes,  and have a body fat percentage of 20% or less(the numbers would of course vary based on a current baseline for mile time, push-ups, planks and body fat).

Or even simpler, “I will join a gym and work out 3 days per week” would be a much more specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based goal than ” I will get into shape.”

My Fitness SMART Goal for 2017:

I thought I would increase my chances of achieving my own SMART strength and fitness goal for 2017 by sharing it with you:

1. I want to regain some of the strength and fitness capacity I lost during pregnancy and the past 9 postpartum months during which I have not been able to physically lift or exert myself like I used to. In order to set a realistic, achievable goal, I need to consider my baseline times/weights/numbers and also that I have less time than I used to to workout (read about how I still stay motivated as a busy, working mama HERE!). I chose 6 elements to create my strength and fitness goal, so that I can tailor my workouts toward making progress in those areas. My 2017 Fitness SMART Goal is:

““By January 1st, 2018 I will be able to run a 7:30 mile on a treadmill, do 15 consecutive push ups, hold a plank for 3+ minutes, add 50 pounds to my current deadlift and back squat max lifts, and complete 5 consecutive strict pull ups, and workout 3 times per week.”

So, What’s Next?

Once you have your SMART fitness goal/s established, you can create a plan to help you get there.

What are your fitness goals for 2017? I would love to read your goals in the comments! Could you make your goal a SMART one? 

Try out my  Busy Mama’s Home workout program!

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Making Fitness Fit – Postpartum

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It’s important for us ladies to find ways to get in  “me time” – incorporating whatever elements keep us happy and balanced. For me, one of those elements has always been exercise. Over the years I’ve been a swimmer, a runner, a Crossfitter and a gym regular/wannabe bodybuilder – no matter the forum, I thrive from the mental and physical strengthening a hard workout brings. However, I’ve found that my expectations of myself and what my workouts would look like postpartum needed a little re-adjusting. I’m sure even more adjustment will be necessary once I head back to work!

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Shameless gym selfie – 2 months postpartum.

I truly thought I would be [superwoman/mom] able to jump quickly back into everything I loved to do before being pregnant/giving birth when it came to workouts. I dreamt of sprints, high intensity interval workouts in many iterations, heavy squats, etc. while the baby would have “daddy time” with AJ…I worked out 4 times a week throughout my entire pregnancy, even when I really didn’t feel like it, with the assumption that I could pick up where I left off after delivery.

I’ve since discovered that plan o’ mine is just not going to pan out due to unexpected, lingering pain resulting from a delivery complication – pelvic disruption. Frustrating? You bet. But rather than feeling discouraged and giving up altogether, I’m doing what I personally can to continue to stay consistent with working out [as well as making regular trips to my chiropractor!]. I can still rebuild strength & fitness around this issue.

The way I see it is that this pain [and my new, softer belly] is a reminder that I was Taylor’s home for 9+ months, and that she is now safely here with me – blessings worth ANY amount of discomfort.

How and when we get back into a shape we feel good about after pregnancy is a challenging, individual journey with no time limit. We mamas have to remember to be gracious with ourselves in this and all things – after all, our priority is loving our babes and keeping them healthy and happy every day. I’ll continue to share with you as I figure out ways to make fitness fit [oh, that’s catchy!] into my new, baby-centered reality, especially as I head back to work. 

In addition to getting in workouts in our garage gym [thanks, Hubby!], and the occasional jaunt over to 24 Hour Fitness, I’ve been coming up with a lot of quick, bodyweight workouts that you can complete in about 15-20 minutes in your home.

I came up with the workout shown below the other day and it took about 13 minutes with :45 second planks each round. Next time I may even tack on a few extra rounds!

Try it out, let me know your time and how it goes in the comments:

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P.S. If you’re interested in more of my postpartum workouts, subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss future posts on that topic : )