Have you decided you’re on a mission to make 2022 your healthiest year yet? Amazing! We’re so ready to help you hit your goals. But as a beginner, even defining those goals can be a challenge. So today, we’ll walk you through some of the best fitness goals for beginners to get you started.
What Makes a Great Goal?
You may have heard of SMART goals before. These are goals that are:
These are all excellent points to hit when you’re creating goals, and they’ll make it easier to assess when you’ve made it across the finish line too. When it comes to fitness goals, we want you to ensure they’re all of the above, but more than anything, we want you to focus on consistency in three key areas.
- Frequency: Decide upfront how many days per week are you going to work out? In our opinion, the best cadence is to try and work out more days than not. Whether that’s measured by a week, month, quarter, or year, that’s up to you. For beginners, you may start by creating a goal to do a strength workout two days a week and take a long walk two days a week.
- Intensity: Workouts can be super intense, where you’re dripping sweat in your wake, or they can be more relaxed, like a calming yoga session that focuses on breathwork. Not every workout needs to leave you panting and feeling drained. In fact, you should choose a workout intensity that matches where you are in your journey. If you’re brand new to fitness, you don’t need to jump into a workout that will leave you feeling defeated. Instead, commit to working out at an easy pace and focus on boosting your confidence first.
- Duration: Beginners probably shouldn’t dive in with a goal to work out for 90 minutes a day. It’s just not realistic, and you’re setting yourself up for failure. Instead, work out for 15 or 20 minutes which will be long enough to get the mental and heart-healthy benefits.
What matters more than anything when setting fitness goals as a beginner is that you focus on consistency.
How Can You Measure Fitness Goals?
We all love to see progress, right? We want to see it on the scale, in the way our clothes fit, or by how much more we can lift this week. And there’s only one way to see progress when it comes to fitness goals: you’ve got to measure.
Think about how you can measure progress for strength and cardio goals. For strength, you might start with a baseline test of how many push-ups, sit-ups, or air squats you can do in 60 seconds. Then, record those numbers, and make a point to re-test every 4-6 weeks.
For cardio goals, measure how long it takes you to walk, jog, or run a half-mile or mile loop. Then, re-test in 4-6 weeks to see if you’re moving faster or taking fewer breaks.
How Can You Stay Motivated to Keep Fitness Goals?
Beginners can have a hard time getting into the groove and staying motivated to keep their fitness goals. But having an accountability partner can keep you on track. That may be a friend, a neighbor, or a personal trainer. Whoever it is, make that person someone you can text when you’re having a rough day and make sure they’ll keep you consistent.
Another rule we like to use is the 10-minute rule. On days when you’re really not feeling your workout, give it 10 minutes. That might be 10 minutes walking, 10 minutes of a workout circuit, or 10 minutes of a warm-up. If after that 10 minutes you say, “nope, I’m good,” then, by all means, go ahead and hit the couch. But in our experience, 99% of the time, you’ll feel so good you’ll want to keep going.
What are Examples of Good Fitness Goals for Beginners?
Often, the best fitness goals for beginners are focused on process over performance.
For example, instead of setting a goal to increase your squat by 45lbs, a better goal would be to commit to a squat program 2 days a week for the next 6 weeks. That way, you’re focused on the process of hitting the gym twice a week for squats and not on the numerical outcome, which has more tendency to fluctuate and is much harder to control.
Below are some SMART fitness goals for beginners that anyone can adapt and make their own.
- Work on push-ups for 5 minutes every morning to improve my strength.
- Walk with a co-worker during lunch on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
- Drink half my body weight in ounces of water each day.
- Stand up for a quick stretch every hour during work.
The Final Word About Setting Fitness Goals as a Beginner
Start slow and be realistic. Goals are great, but they’re not all that matters. As a beginner, your ultimate fitness goal should be to develop great habits that make fitness part of your identity. Once the habits are ingrained, you can create increasingly challenging goals to push yourself and achieve things you only dreamed were possible.