Jan 5, 2011

Four mens fitness goals for 2011

Four mens fitness goals for 2011

Four mens fitness goals for 2011It's often said that men are goal-centred. We like to have something to work towards, a marker that we can say we have met.
That's why saying, "I'm going to start running" or "I'm going to tone up" rarely works for us. There's nothing concrete to aim for. If we want to be fitter, slimmer or healthier in 2011, we have to set targets.
With that in mind, here are some realistic fitness goals for men for the coming year, with expert advice on how to achieve them. It's not good enough, of course, to reach a goal and then stop. Once you've achieved one target, set another for a few months down the line, even if it's just to repeat the feat (be it a 10k race or a charity bike ride).
And remember, if you want to invent your own fitness goals, many of the same principles apply. But make 2011 the year you really do get fitter, rather than just another year of talking about it.

I want to run 10k by July
A 10k run is perfect. It will test you, you'll need to train for it, but it's eminently do-able in six months or so, even if you've never run for exercise before (oh, and as with all these goals, have a word with the GP before you start, just to be on the safe side).
"10k is a perfect goal," says personal trainer Graeme Hilditch, author of The Marathon and Half Marathon: A Training Guide. "It's far enough for you to have to put the training in, but not so far that your whole life is dominated by pounding the pavements."
The other good thing is that there are lots of 10k runs in the summer, so sign up for one as soon as you can to give an extra incentive to your training. Also, get decent shoes from a good running shop that can measure your 'running gait'.
As far as training goes, start slowly - just a 10-minute jog three times a week if that's all you can manage - and build gradually. "It's so important to take your time and increase your running mileage slowly," says Hilditch. "Increasing your mileage too quickly more often than not results in injury."
Sometimes less is more. If you don't feel you can add extra time or distance to your run for a week or two, don't see it as a failure. Your body is simply adjusting to a brand new exercise routine.
Take it steadily and keep going, and it won't be long before your fitness improves, your muscles adjust to the new regime and 10k no longer seems such a daunting distance.

I want to cycle 30 miles for charity in September
As Graeme Hilditch says, "if the thought of running makes you cringe or you don't think your knees are up to it, then a cycling challenge is a perfect alternative."
In many ways, cycling is ideal. Most of us cycled as kids, and most of us remember it as a lot of fun. While running can seem like a slog when you haven't done it before, getting on a bike is an easier sell.
So - first off - always wear a helmet and make sure your bike is in good condition.
And then remember that, on the flat, unless you're cycling very quickly, it won't be as labour intensive as running, so you may have to do more of it.
"Try and stick to a regular training schedule of two to three rides a week in the early stages as you build your fitness levels, eventually upping it to four or even five rides," says Hilditch. Try to make sure you've almost covered the distance at least once or twice before the event.
"Feel free to alternate between the road bike and the gym bike - variety is the spice of life after all! Try and include plenty of hills on your rides too - they are great to build leg strength and will do wonders for your fitness levels."

I want to swim a mile by March
Swimming is excellent exercise, and swimming a mile is a challenging but achievable goal for the first quarter of 2011.
One factor to note is that, unlike running or cycling, you can't set off from your front door. Going swimming takes a bit more planning, and you might not be able to do it as regularly. But if you can swim two or three times a week, you can certainly reach your goal by the summer.
One problem with swimming lengths is that it can become a bit boring. "For the best results and to keep training interesting, you don't want every session to be the same so try to do something a little different every time you swim," says Hilditch.
"For example, make one swim an 'endurance' swim and aim to swim non-stop for a certain number of lengths or specific time. For another session, you can do intervals, so aim to swim two lengths quickly, then rest for two minutes and do another two lengths."
Do this 10 times, he adds, and your swimming fitness will grow beyond recognition. For the third session, you could combine the two sessions together and aim to swim for 20 minutes non-stop, but swimming a fast length every now and again.

I want to lose weight for the beach!
You may well want to look good on the beach, but just saying it won't be enough. According to Michael Betts, Education Director of fitness fx Limited, to achieve any fitness goal you have to work "SMART".
And by SMART he means that your goals have to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
"It's no good saying you want to lose weight," he says. "You want to know exactly how much weight you want to lose."
 And not only that, you have to set a time to lose the weight by and make sure it's realistic.
After that, says Betts, break your specific main goal (to lose two stone by the time you fly off in August, say) into a series of smaller goals, for each week and each work out. "Setting goals in this way not only keeps you focused on your final goal, it gives you the feeling of success, one of the greatest motivators of all."
A weekly goal might be to go to the gym four times. A daily goal might be to work out for an hour. And an immediate goal might be to spend 15 minutes on the treadmill without a break. As you complete each goal, you get a sense of progress. As you get fitter, you can make immediate goals more challenging, or add 10 minutes to a workout.
That way, you motivate yourself to keep going. And if you keep going from now until August, you're pretty much guaranteed to look good on the beach.



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