Setting Realistic Workout Expectations

If you work out regularly, you will know that exercise is not about punishment. Pushing yourself too hard will only make you less likely to want to return to the gym. Here are some tips for setting realistic workout expectations that you will want to stick to.

SMART Goals
If you have tried to do any kind of goal setting, you have probably heard of SMART goals. SMART is an acronym which stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. To find a goal that will work for you, ask yourself:

  1. What you want to accomplish? Do you want to lose weight? Build Muscle? Feel better?
  2. Is your goal realistic?
  3. Do you know how to reach your goal? Are you going to do a half an hour of exercise a day? Run three times a week?
  4. Do you have a time line for reaching my goal?
  5. How will you reward myself when you get there? (most important!)

For example, if you set out to lose 50 pounds in 6 months, it may be possible but it may require eating well and exercising every day, a commitment you may not be able to make. Weight loss usually takes longer and requires more effort than we think. Experts advise aiming to lose no more than 1 or 2 pounds a week, but it is more common for people to lose .5 to 1 lb on a productive week.

What You Need To Know About Losing Weight

  • The more you lose, the harder it will get. When your body has less weight to carry, it will burn less calories moving it around.
  • When you get closer to your goal, it will get harder to reach There are a variety of reasons why people have a hard time losing those last few pounds, but it is important to be aware that this may happen so that you can manage or avoid frustration.
  • The weight you maintain may not be your desired weight. We all have an exercise thresholds, or the amount of exercise that we can do comfortably each day. While it is possible to stretch that boundary, it is a good idea to have a realistic concept of where it is and how far we can push it.
  • The scale isn’t always the best measure of progress. When fat turns to muscle, it may result in an increase in the reading on your scale, as muscle weighs more than fat. Try and use other tools to track progress.
  • It can’t be all about weight loss. If weight loss is your sole motivation, you may be in danger of becoming unhealthily obsessed with decreasing your size rather than increasing your well-being.

Sticking With Goals
In order to ensure that you stay with the program, it is important to find out how to make it happen. Here are a few tips:

  • Schedule workouts
  • Set weekly goals and reward your successes
  • Prepare for times when you feel like ditching the gym
  • Always have your workout bag with you
  • Keep a journal of the food you eat and the time you spend working out
  • Keep track of your measurements
  • Workout with friends and family for more fun and extra incentive

Good luck with your workouts and let us know your secrets for reaching your goals this year. Keep it real and keep your expectations down to earth.