When it comes to sticking to a workout routine, one thing is clear no matter your age, ability, fitness level, or exercise of choice: understanding your “why” is the secret to long term success. Why did you show up to work out today? What keeps you showing up again and again? What motivates you?
While some are driven to exercise by an external goal—like hitting a specific number on the scale or fitting into a certain clothing size—there are so many more fitness goals to focus on that can make you feel motivated, confident, and fall in love with exercise. Oftentimes, what initially drove you to leave the comfort of your bed to put on spandex will evolve over time.
Changing your perspective on why you decide to make fitness a part of your life can have lasting positive effects on not just your physical health, but your self-love and mental wellbeing, too.
While there are lots of reasons that weight loss may be an element of your motivation to get fit, there’s often much more beneath it, says Peloton instructor Joslyn Thompson Rule. “Weight loss can be a fairly vague goal, often weighted in a "when, then" idea — ’When I have lost 5lbs, then I will be happy’,” says Joslyn. But the process of training gives you insight beyond weight loss, and offers true connection to your body, which so many people struggle with, she adds.
What’s more, weight alone is not an indicator of your overall health, and it fails to take mental health in account. “Your health is not limited to the number on a scale or a clothing size,” says Joslyn. “We’ve been conditioned [to believe] what fitness looks like, rather than how good it can feel to move and appreciate your body where it is at now and at every stage of the journey.”
So, if you’re looking to go deeper in your relationship with exercise and self-love, finding a fitness goal that speaks to you and goes beyond weight loss is a great way to start.
How to Set Any Fitness Goal
Before you tackle the logistics, Joslyn says there are three types of work that need to happen to reach any goal:
Outer work: the action
Inner work: eliminating mental blocks and negative self-talk
Rework: routinely reviewing how it’s going and making adjustments
From there, whether you choose a performance-based goal (i.e. run a 5K), or a health-based goal (i.e. move through your day pain-free), Joslyn says asking the following questions about your goal will ensure you are more likely to stick to it once you get started.
Is it realistic? Be honest about your timeframe, lifestyle, schedule, and training experience.
Is it enjoyable? This is key. Learning new skills comes easier when you enjoy the work.
Is it flexible? When life gets in the way, you want to be able to adjust your goal to fit your new needs.
10 Fitness Goals to Try
Need some inspiration for your next fitness quest? These ideas will make working out fun again.
1. Master a New Move
Maybe you’ve always wanted to do an unassisted pull-up, one-handed push-up, or tuck jumps, but they’ve felt out of reach. Targeting one exercise can help you focus on the strategic and specific steps to achieve it. After you choose your exercise, you’ll want to go slow and steady by following a program that will safely guide you to complete it, says Peloton instructor Camila Ramon.
2. Adhere to a Movement Streak
As Peloton instructor Jess Sims says, when you show up for a class, “the hardest part of the workout is, check, done.” And she’s right. The motivation to not just show up on day one, but day 40, and day 100 takes effort. That’s why making a goal to get into a “workout streak,” meaning showing up multiple days in a row or a certain number of days every week, is a great way to build consistency. “Find a workout buddy or group to hold you accountable,” suggests Camila. Over time, this consistency will help make activity and movement something you look forward to rather than something you have to force yourself to make time for.
3. Learn a New Skill
Similar to challenging yourself to tackle a new-to-you exercise, learning a new skill challenges you physically, but it also ups the ante mentally. Skills such as crow pose or headstands in yoga are technical in that certain positioning (not to mention flexibility and strength) is required, but they can also be daunting because there’s fear involved. Fear of “messing up” or “falling” can keep you from trying certain skills, which is why it’s so rewarding to drop your guard and prove just how strong you are. “Learning something new means you will suck at first, but keep going,” says Camila. Failing is necessary for progress.
4. Be More Present During Your Workout
It’s so easy to let your mind wander to your to-do list during a workout—especially when you’re grinding through that third set of push-ups. But you didn’t have the time to exercise, you made the time—enjoy it. Think of this time as your sacred “you” time for self-care, reflection, and gratitude, says Camila.
5. Try a New Class
It’s natural to go toward what you know. If you spend most of your time on your Peloton Bike, for instance, perhaps try a Hike class, go for an outdoor guided run, or test your endurance during a power yoga class—all on the Peloton App. “Being a beginner is fun!” says Camila. “Remember you are always in control, and you can always modify.”
6. Improve Your Mobility
Mobility, which is different from flexibility, refers to a joint’s ability to move through its full range of motion. “Improving mobility will help you move through life (and your workouts) pain-free,” explains Camila. “Think about your future self and what you want your physicality to look like as you age.” Tack on a mobility workout from the Peloton collection of classes at the end of a cardio or strength workout as a way to build this type of training into your routine.
7. Lift Heavier
If you’ve been sticking to the same “safe” weights for a while, you’re holding yourself back from progress, mentally and physically. What’s more, “increased muscle mass means a more comfortable aging process,” says Camila. Strength training can enhance your quality of life, improve your ability to do everyday activities, protect joints from injury, improve balance, and help you maintain an active lifestyle as you age, according to the Mayo Clinic.
8. Do What Brings You Joy
If you spend hours each week running, but actually don’t enjoy running, just stop. We said it! Not only will doing the type of activities that you enjoy help you to stick to exercise long term, but who wants to spend time doing things they don’t like? Try focusing only on movement that makes you feel better when you’re finished than when you started, says Camila. Simply put, “if you don’t like it, change it,” she says.
9. Sign Up for a Challenge
Peloton Members can find new programs in the “Challenges” section of the app every month. Whether it’s aiming to complete a certain number of workouts within the month or a challenge that focuses on a specific type of training, these time-bound programs can help hold you accountable. Plus, earning a badge to show you did it is a fun thing to come back to later if you need a dose of motivation.
10. Take a Live Class
If you’re someone who typically chooses from the endless array of on-demand classes on the Peloton App, switching things up with a live class can make you feel that much more connected to your Peloton community. Bonus points if you’re also celebrating a milestone—fingers crossed for a shout-out!
Start working towards your fitness goals today.Try the Peloton App
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