inb-logo8 ibg2 icon-appleicon-androidicon-facebookicon-twitter
Download the IBG App
Call us at (757) 229-5874

The Importance of Setting Realistic Fitness Goals

So you've finally decided to get off the couch and drag your out-of-shape body into a local gym. That's a great first step, and undoubtedly the hardest part of many journeys is the beginning and actually getting it started.

There is a danger involved in the gung-ho attitudes of many virgin fitness buffs or those newly awakened from a bout of fitness hibernation though, and that is that their goals are often too lofty and they expect to achieve them too soon.

It's not a surprise really; people are usually bursting at the seams with motivation when they make that decision to engage in fitness, and that is often fuelled by a very specific desire or because they've finally reached the breaking point and said "enough is enough".

While in general it's probably preferable to be overly ambitious rather than the alternative, having unrealistic goals and expectations in fitness is often extremely detrimental. When people don't immediately reach their goals or see the changes they expected, they inevitably get discouraged, and that can lead to them giving up on fitness.

Avoiding the fitness shortcut

Read more: The Importance of Setting Realistic Fitness Goals

Balanced breakfast? Check

Mid-morning snack? Check

Healthy lunch with your co-workers? Check

Passing up your friend's homemade cookies? Check

Coming home in the evening and going on a feeding frenzy? CHECK!!

Does this sound like the bulk of your days? You're in control, everything is going fine - until you come home starving at night and eat a large dinner, say yes to dessert (and seconds) and finish off a bag of chips before bed. What gives?


Most people begin a new fitness program with great intentions and lots of motivation--only to find both waning within a few weeks. The realities of work, school, social and family demands overwhelm the desire to get fit, and exercise gets puts on the back burner. Before you start your next fitness kick, use these 6 strategies to make sure you don't use "being busy" as an excuse to not get moving.

Excuse #1: I'm too tired to exercise when I get home from work or school.

If you typically crash on the couch after a long day (and can't seem to get back up again), there are several potential solutions. First, try bringing exercise clothes with you to change into right before you leave for the day. That way, you can either head straight to the gym or out for a walk immediately when you get home—without ever letting yourself succumb the siren song of your comfy couch. If you typically have more energy in the morning than in the afternoon, try an a.m. workout. Many gyms offer early-morning classes and provide showers so you can get ready for work without going all the way back home. You can also just roll out of bed, throw on a ball cap and a pair gym shoes and go for a walk in your PJs if that's what it takes! Hit the shower when you get home and you'll be good to go.

Read more: How to Overcome Any Excuse Not to Exercise

No, this isn't an excuse to put down your running shoes. Unless, of course, you're already running more than 20 miles a week.

Research presented this week at the annual American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions in Washington shows runners who average more than 20 miles a week don't live as long as those who run less than 20 miles a week. In fact, they live, on average, about as long as people who don't run much at all.

In other words, like most things in life, moderation may be key.

Read more: Running More May Not Help You Live Longer

So, you're going to start eating healthy. Congratulations are in order—and so is a trip to the grocery store. Stocking up on some new items is a must. If your pantry is full of healthy fare, you'll stress less about meals, and you'll be less likely to snack on nutritionally-empty junk.

But should you buy 12-grain or whole wheat bread? Low-fat milk or soy milk? Butter or margarine? Grocery shopping isn't rocket science, but it can be confusing, even for those with the best of intentions. So to help, here's SparkPeople's list of shopping cart essentials—an aisle-by-aisle guide to supplies you'll need to stock your kitchen for your healthy eating resolution. Continued ›


Our Latest Tweets

This user has reached the maximum allowable queries against Twitter's API for the hour.