Friday, April 16, 2010

Setting Goals and Getting There

People often comment that, as a trainer, I must love working out for its own sake. While that may be true as far as riding my bike outside, it’s definitely not the case with running or working out inside the gym. Even trainers need a kick in the butt. To get myself back on track after brain surgery, I set a goal of running the More half-marathon on April 25. That looming date has helped motivate me to run longer and longer distances (even though I don’t enjoy running), and luckily I have some friends on Team MissFit who are making this journey with me. In addition to improving our fitness, we’re doing it to raise money for brain tumor research at Sloan-Kettering, which also adds plenty of inspiration. To make a donation (no amount is too small), go to

It’s not the workout, but what it can do for you, that provides incentive to get and keep you working. To insure this is happening, I recommend you set a personally-motivating goal and do what it takes to get there. It’s best that the goal is more than a number on the scale. There’s much more to fitness and health than weight. In fact, many higher-than-average-weight people are in better condition than their thin counterparts. Ultimately, as we age and live longer, health and physical fitness become even more important than a number.

What should your goal be? It’s different for everyone. One client who recently started training wants to look better and fit into her dress for her son’s bar mitzvah. She’s on her way. Another would like to play better tennis without getting injured, so she’s developing her flexibility and endurance to do so. Other players have told me they’re in awe of how powerfully she hits the ball.

I met one client while swimming in the pool who first hired me to give him swim technique instruction and eventually started core and body-weight training to improve his strength in and out of the water. I encouraged him to sign up for an open water swim in the Hudson, offering to swim with him since he was fearful of his first outside distance swim. We trained in the Hudson close to home and then went to NYC, where he proceeded to kick my butt in the water (which I knew he would).

There are, admittedly, scores of people whose goal is to lose weight. But a good trainer can help you find more than just that reason to work hard. One client lost then gained weight many times in his life without keeping it off, so this time it was my job to not let him self-sabotage. I tried to keep him off the Doritos, but as I wasn’t with him 24-7. Thus, his workouts needed to be challenging. I could tell he became more motivated the more difficult the exercise, and I often related movements to outdoor sports he enjoyed, such as kayaking and skiing. He mastered the “circus trick” and some Bode Miller-like balancing work. Once, after kayaking around lower Manhattan, he remarked that he could really feel that our core training had made a difference. If he’d miss a few weeks because of vacation or work, he’d feel the difference, and then work harder to get back up to speed.

The goals you set need not be gargantuan, as these examples from real life attest. Fitting into a bathing suit or having plenty of energy to keep up with the grandkids are goals exercising can help you achieve. A 5K run or a 10K walk are just as valid as running a marathon. Don’t just set it and forget it. Do what it takes to get it. And you will most likely lose weight and inches as you’re doing it. If you think you can, you can.

No comments:

Post a Comment