Setting a SMART goal is more than just something you think is manageable, a SMART goal has defined parameters. Goal setting is a major piece to the fitness puzzle, It provides you with direction, motivation, and a vision of what you want to achieve.
SPECIFIC – Set a specific goal, for example instead of saying you want to “run better”, focus on a specific piece of the puzzle. For example, running for a longer amount of time (45 minutes instead of 30), or running at a quicker pace (move from 5.0 to 6.5 on the treadmill).
MEASURABLE – by setting a specific goal, you have unknowingly set a goal that is measureable. Staying with the running example, running faster, longer or at an incline are all things that you can track and watch your progress.
ATTAINABLE – Choose a goal that is something you can physically achieve. I have severe arthritis in my knee, I’d love to be able to do higher box jumps, however I know that this isn’t the goal for me. Keeping my quads as strong as possible without high impact is something that is attainable for me.
REALISTIC – Realistic and attainable sound like the same thing, I like to look at “attainable” as big picture. Realistic can be a breakdown of mini goals within that large goal. Small realistic goals are stepping stones to reach that finish line. For example, adding five minutes to your run every two weeks.
TIMELY – give yourself a realistic timeline to accomplish your goal; setting too quick of a time line can set you up for failure.
Remember that the pieces to this puzzle can be adjusted at any time. You can add to your goal, adjust your timeline. Making sure that whatever you adjust is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and can be completed in a timely manner will ultimately lead you to success.
Inspiration comes in many forms, for me music is a huge motivator. I’ve always been a musically inclined person, even if I didn’t know it. I started in elementary school playing the recorder, graduated to the clarinet for junior and senior high school, and I still play the clarinet today, mind you not nearly as well anymore. I have always been able to feel and move to the beat of the song but don’t be mistaken, I dance like Elaine from “Seinfeld”. There I go dating myself again.
Music is an expression of feeling or mood, even an expression of identity for some. I have several playlists that I listen to when working out, and they’re all based what my program of the day consists of as well as the mood I am in walking into my workout. I edit my playlists about once a month to update my motivation and keep from overplaying these delightful gems.
When I want to hit the cardio hard, I focus on pop music, whether it’s current top 40 or from another generation all together, if it makes me smile and want to dance, it makes the cut. This week’s current cardio-killer favorites include Justin Timberlake’s “Cant Stop The Feeling”, Will.I.Am and Britney Spears “Scream & Shout”, Nicki Manaj “Super Bass”, and Men Without Hats “Safety Dance”. Love them or hate them my friends, but they make me smile and move a little bit faster.
Weight lifting/resistance training is a completely different beast for me. My focus and mindset changes, as I suddenly have to pay close attention to my posture and form as well as breathing and core engagement. With so many more factors to be considered, I need something rock to focus.. My favorite lifting anthems right now include Rise Against “Prayer Of The Refugee”, Metallica “Better Than You”, and Social Distortion “Story Of My Life”.
Cool down and stretching are important components of fitness that are forgotten or skipped quite frequently. I have made my self an amazing chill playlist to enjoy at the end of my workout to inspire me to stay those five minutes longer and work on my balance, range of motion, and relaxation. Current favorites include The Gaslight Anthem’s “Bring It On”, Pearl Jam’s “Release”, and Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You”.
I’m pretty passionate about both wellness and music, so I’m elated that the two can go hand in hand for me. I feel like my musical tastes are a part of me and I’m happy to share a snippet of myself in the form of musical identity with you. Take the time to build a stellar playlist. Keep a list in your “notes” app on your phone of songs you hear and decide you love so you can download and add it later. Something that makes you want to dance, sing and have a great time. It’ll brighten up your day, kick up the intensity in your workout, and leave you feeling refreshed and in a better mood walking out of the gym.
Shake it Off!
Eating During the Holidays
This time of year is busy with activities, events, social engagements and an abundance of “extras”. It presents a challenge for the fit individual and can lead to some overindulging even for the most diligent.
When you go into any situation already knowing what to expect you can be forewarned and able to navigate some tricky social situations. Here are a few of the many that may come up between now and New Year’s Eve:
The Christmas party – these are always a lot of fun and always offer a lot of food that you may not ordinarily consume. Ensure you don’t head to the party with an empty stomach or you will surely overeat. If, instead, you eat a healthy snack beforehand you can choose wisely and pick the foods you really enjoy instead of overdoing it altogether.
The Buffet – this one is difficult, even for the most careful individual. Just as in the situation of the party, it is a good idea to start off with a bit of food in your belly. Walk around the buffet and get an idea of what is on there and what is truly appealing to you. Then start, use one plate, and choose the food that will fill both your stomach and your joy!
The Food at Work Challenge – everyone faces the fact that customers, friends, associates, etc. love to give thanks and appreciation with food. Our offices are full of chocolates, cookies, baked goods, fudge and so on. Again, being forewarned is very helpful. Bring a great lunch and a few healthy snacks to have so you aren’t as tempted. If you would like to indulge in something go ahead; pick one or two items and then leave the area where all the goodies are! Be aware and eat what you plan instead of just scarfing down whatever looks interesting.
The holidays do present situations that are out of the norm but they are still a real time of joy and celebration. You can enjoy every event and remain healthy with a little ingenuity and planning.
Check out our latest video, Muscle of the Month: Pec Major
Watch Dennis Kaufman from Crowfoot YMCA demonstrate how to do some pec major progressions:
Eau Claire YMCA is located in downtown Calgary beside beautiful pathways, parks and the Bow River. This branch has strong links to families, schools, agencies and businesses in the downtown core and nearby communities. Eau Claire YMCA has been part of the downtown Calgary community for more than 22 years.
Congratulations to Eau Claire YMCA!
“When people start to exercise, there may be some muscle aches and pains, which are normal. But there are other aches and pains, such as joint pain, bone pain, muscle strains, and ligament or tendon strains, which are bad, and you should back off of because they’ll get worse if you ignore them.”
So start slow.
Always ease into an exercise plan to avoid injury. The recommendation is if you’re healthy, you can start exercising. Remember to start slow to avoid injury.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends starting an exercise program slowly and listening to your body and to your doctor.
So with resolutions this year, set realistic goals, have fun, but above all else, listen to your body rather than ignoring it and pushing through the pain.
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