If you search online for “reasons to exercising”, or “why should I exercise”, you’ll find up to 100,000,000 results. Exercise, health, and fitness is a major industry, both in terms of buying and selling, as well as education and understanding.
Of course, I can direct you to our previous articles about the different types of workouts you can do, or how to do dumbbell exercises or calisthenics. But, when you’re starting out, you’re probably not thinking about all these technical terms and muscle isolations and the exact difference between a close grip and wide grip.
Instead, you’ve done a bit of research, investigated personal trainers, found your local gym, maybe visited a sports equipment store nearby. You’ve found this article.
In these 1300 words, we’re going to highlight how to make fitness goals, staying motivated, and curating workouts to meet your goals faster and more effectively.
We can start with the fitness goals themselves.
You have a goal. That is, after all, why you’re still reading.
Maybe it’s weight loss, or functional training. Maybe it’s muscle growth, injury rehab or even just a desire for better health and fitness. You will likely have more than one goal.
Indeed, choosing a goal is the hardest part. For me, my dumbbells would sit in the corner, waiting for me to pick ‘em up, but I lacked a compulsive reason to do it regularly. I’d think about how they’d help me lose weight or build muscle or even just live healthier, but the lack of a compelling reason or structure always stopped me in my tracks.
Rethink your goals and evaluate them. You want to be emotionally tied to your goals – you want to feel and experience the reward of it. The satisfaction of meeting your goals through hard work is what makes goals so important and necessary.
A good way to do this is to follow the SMART goal-setting framework. If you haven’t heard of it, then see below:
- Specific (precise and accurate)
- Measurable (meaningful and progressive)
- Achievable (attainable and motivating)
- Relevant (realistic and reasonable)
- Time-bound (timely and limited)
Turn, “I want to lose weight,” into “I want to lose X amount of weight in X time by focusing on X areas.” If not weight loss, then instead of, “I want to gain more mobility,” try, “I want to be able to lift X weight using X muscles by X time.”
Naturally, not all goals are so clear-cut, but having as cohesive an idea as possible will build a stronger connection between you and your goal. It will also allow you to break your goal down into smaller, short-term goals or milestones that will help you track your progress.
Put simply, “I want to build stamina,” can be tracked by distance ran:
Once you’ve set a SMART goal, and broken it down into milestones, now you need to find a strategy that will meet your goal. Workouts are accessible, in that there’s a lot of ways to engage in them.
In a previous article, we covered the 4 types of workouts you can do: endurance, strength, flexibility, and stability, but being able to create a workout for yourself is an entirely different story.
An easy solution is to engage a personal trainer (or even a physiotherapist), download a mobile app or join group training. Mobile apps are often free but will sometimes have a subscription service and requires discipline to keep it up. Meanwhile, a personal trainer can cost upwards of $50 per session but are tailored for you and your goals. Group training varies in quality and price, to which they will usually follow a specific program.
I would recommend putting in your own research into what suits you. For me, accessibility is key, to which I tend to work out from home (hello home-gym solutions), but for others in our team, mobile apps or group training is where it’s at.
Find a strategy that works for you.
The best way to start would be a brainstorm – a way to visualise your motivations, motivators, and best methods of staying motivated. An extroverted person might like workout out with others, whilst a highly disciplined, introverted person might want the privacy of working out from home.
Write out your goal, and then list what kinds of environments suit you. What limitations and restrictions do you face? Do you have, or want to invest time and money? What is your time limit and how much time do you have to focus on your goal?
If you’re super structured and need a step-by-step list, check out the below:
At a basic level, the Australian government recommends that all 18- to 64-year-olds should exercise for a total of 2.5 hours to 5 hours each week – usually spread over seven days. This is to keep basic fitness, reduce the risk of disease and promote healthy wellbeing.
However, if you’re reading this article, you likely want to go beyond that.
And that’s not to say that exercise is the only way to meet your fitness goals. This extends to your meals and intake, daily habits – are you an office-worker or a tradesperson – to your time and energy, and to what muscles you are likely to use in your daily life.
Workouts are simply sets of exercises performed at intervals meant to stress and train the body. It doesn’t need equipment or guidance. Exercises are just effective ways of moving specific parts of the body repetitively to stress and strengthen it. These exercises can be categorised from high-intensity to low-intensity (deadlifts to walking), and then into specific subcategories of sports (basketball – stretching your calves and shoulders, or boxing – shoulders and core), type of muscles trained (triceps extensions, which isolate the triceps), or even equipment used (barbell biceps curl compared to dumbbell biceps curl).
At a higher level, you simply put exercises into a sequence, perhaps using weights (if strength training), doing more sets or reps (endurance training), or even choosing Pilates or yoga exercises (for flexibility or stability training). It’s essentially repetition. And at the end of the day, you might add one or two new exercises just to mix it up, but exercises are ultimately quite straight-forward.
Once you have exercises that are effective for you and your goals, mix them up into a workout that is both challenging and just outside your ability. If you can do 3 sets comfortably, do 5 this time. If you can do 10 reps comfortably, do 15 this time. Constantly challenge yourself to go further.
For some exercises to start yourself off, check out this article.
When it comes to equipment, at Rug and Rig, our equipment is more oriented towards strength training –mostly through lifting, pushing, and pulling. This equipment is meant to enable you to do more types of exercises for faster growth and greater variation.
Deadlifts are great for your glutes and core – something that requires heavy weight. Presses are great for your shoulders and upper-back – but also requires something heavy to be pressed. You can also use resistance bands with yoga workouts, add dumbbells to your calisthenics, or step onto plyo boxes for stretches. All equipment is multi-use.
So, my advice when it comes to curating workouts, is to realise your goal first. Buying equipment or going to gym is just executing a plan. Know how you work. Know what you want. If you don’t need equipment, don’t buy it. Otherwise, it just sits unused and guilt trips you from the corner you stashed it in. Work to your strengths and keep up your fitness journey!