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Realistic fitness goals

Credit: ISTOCK (UDRA)

Having realistic and measurable fitness goals is key to building a healthy lifestyle.


Jocelyn Wong | Interrobang | Lifestyles | January 11th, 2019




Many New Year’s resolutions involve setting a fitness goal. General fitness goals such as “getting fitter”, “losing weight,” or toning and sculpting are arbitrary and immeasurable. This makes the goal less attainable and less likely to be met by the end of the year.

Josh Mullan, Fitness and Wellness Co-ordinator from the Student Wellness Centre said “it’s great that people set goals at the start of the year, but it comes down to the follow through.”

He suggested creating SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based to maximize the likelihood of success. An example is to set a set number of days to work out (divvied up between cardio and strength training) during a week to gain two pounds of muscle within a month.

Accountability is a major factor to success in implementing lifestyle changes. For that, Mullan said that “having a partner or friend that is in a similar situation helps stay you stay on track”, as well as “having someone to motivate and challenge you will help you want to make changes”.

A large part of a healthy lifestyle is also learning when to “relax and loosen a grip on fitness goals” during exam season or other stressful periods of time because the added responsibility of maintaining a diet and working out might add strain and hinder the success of healthy lifestyle changes.

Eating healthy, whole foods is a major component of a healthy lifestyle. Instead of looking up crash diets online or cutting calories, he suggests seeing a professional (such as a nutritionist or dietitian) to develop healthy eating habits. Mullan said to “start small… so instead of having pop, have carbonated water instead… these are just examples of areas where we can cut calories [without sacrificing too much and curbing cravings].”

Maintaining a healthy diet does not mean always crunching on carrots, or consuming copious amounts of whey protein. Mullan said he believes that being “100 per cent strict on your diet is very difficult and not very enjoyable”. Instead, he suggested eating healthy, whole foods 80 to 90 per cent of the time and “giving yourself 10 per cent wiggle room” so that the diet is sustainable in the long run. “People who constantly count calories are usually the first ones to drop off,” he warned.

To check eating habits, Mullan suggested “printing off a sheet of paper that labels all the meals in the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks and putting a checkmark or cross every time you eat so that you can figure out what you’re putting in your body”.

Fanshawe College students can start the changes at any point during the year because the ancillary fees in Fanshawe College students’ tuition covers access to the Student Wellness Centre, which allows students to get active with little or no cost. The group exercise classes, access to swimming pool, and climbing walls give individuals a variety of ways to work towards an active lifestyle. There are also programs such as “The Biggest Winner” and “Fit in 30” that offer incentives to get fitter throughout the year.

The Student Wellness Centre also offers personal training at a discounted rate: students are offered competitive rates, with packages starting from $27 per hour with a CSEP-certified personal trainer. For Fanshawe employees, package start from $30 per hour. Other ways to get access to personal training is to train in a small group of up to four.

Personal training consultations are free for assessing current habits and helping set attainable fitness goals.

There is also nutrition coaching offered by the Student Wellness Centre, which educates individuals on healthy eating habits and meal planning.
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