I’m a firm believer in setting fitness goals. When I have a goal, I’m more likely to stick to a routine. I also appreciate goals because, without them, I wouldn’t know if I was succeeding or not! Although I’ve always been goal-oriented, my views on fitness goals have evolved a great deal over the last five years.
When I first decided to become healthier, I focused on one quantifiable thing: my weight. While I certainly wasn’t medically overweight, I had weight to lose, and as I cleaned up my eating habits and exercised more, the pounds slowly came off. As the number on the scale went down, I felt successful. But after six months or so, my weight hit a natural and healthy plateau, and I had to come up with another fitness goal.
For the next four years, I focused solely on race-driven fitness goals. I love to do road races and triathlons and would set my goals based on distance (“Next, I’ll do a marathon!”) or time (“I’m going to try to run an 8-minute mile!”). Most of my goals were about becoming better -- faster, stronger — but then… I got pregnant.
Pregnancy fitness goals are a tricky thing. I’ve found that it’s hard to balance goal-setting and achieving with the fact that you are inevitably getting bigger, slower, and more exhausted, especially if you’re used to focusing on speed, distance, or another number.
Each week, I set a fun little pregnancy fitness goal that focuses on maintaining strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness. I’ve found that setting a new goal every week (as opposed to every three months or so) is best because it allows me to truly listen to my body and make changes in accordance with how I feel. Additionally, I’m using a blank training plan to encourage me to do something — anything! — three days a week. I usually do something four days a week, but setting my bar low helps me feel more accomplished.
Here are some smaller fitness goals that I’ve tackled week-to-week while pregnant:
- Do ten push-ups every day (this is getting harder with the growing bump)!
- Go for two ten-minute walks twice a day.
- While watching television, stretch during the commercial breaks. I do lots of hip-openers.
- Work up to a swimming a mile (still plugging away at this goal – I’m up to 3/4 mile).
- Attend a prenatal yoga class or do a prenatal yoga video.
- Do squats while waiting for the stir-fry to cook.
- Regularly meditate before bed.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Although my fitness routine has changed a lot, I’m enjoying the challenge of staying active as my bump and baby grow!
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