Fitness goals for beginners
Everybody is a beginner when they start their fitness journey, and when you’re starting out, it can be hard to know what to do and when to do it. Goal setting is really great for helping you get on a path to improvement. So, what are some good fitness goals for beginners?
An excellent fitness goal for exercise newbies is the 5km non-stop run or jog. If you haven’t heard of the “Couch to 5k” program, Google it now. This plan helped nearly a million people during the Covid lockdowns. You don’t have to follow this specific program, however, having a goal of 5k and setting a timetable to achieving it is a sure winner for beginners. You’ll build cardiovascular endurance, mental and physical stamina, and you will start to strengthen your muscles. You should be aiming to reach you 5k target somewhere between the 9 to 12-week point.
Jogging really is a great form of exercise for beginners because nearly anyone can do it. You don’t need equipment or expensive gear. You just need a decent pair of trainers, a pair of leggings or shorts and a good sports bra for females. And you’re off. You can jog almost anywhere at any time, therefore it’s convenient, cost effective, and most importantly, it boosts your fitness from Day 1.
Upper body strength
Upper body strength can take a long time to build, particularly for women. We can get through much of our day to day lives without really needing a lot of upper body power, and therefore we tend to forget how important it is for our overall fitness. Having stronger arm, chest and back muscles can help prevent back injuries caused by the simplest of things such as picking up a bag of heavy shopping.
If, when you start your fitness journey, you can’t achieve 1 full push up on your toes, a good goal to work towards would be 10 push ups in 12 weeks. This will be easier for some than others, depending on your body type and age. It’s likely to take some hard work form you to achieve. You’ll need to plan a consistent training schedule with a focus on exercises such as the dumbbell chest press, dumbbell bent over row, and push ups with the support of a resistance band. You can also build up your strength for this goal by taking the lowering phase of the push-up in 5 seconds, and then lower your knees to the floor to push back up to your starting position. This is eccentric training and is great for strength building.
Lower body strength
Strengthening your leg muscles tends to be a slightly easier journey, as the muscles are bigger and worked more in everyday movements. For a complete beginner to exercise, you want to aim to be able to hold a wall sit for 1 minute within 4-6 weeks. What is a wall sit? You should have your back flat against the wall, bending your knees at right angles, like you are sitting on a chair. This position will work your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps muscles. It is an all-round leg burner!
There are countless exercises you can do throughout your workouts to work towards achieving this goal, and you can also end each workout with a wall sit test to see how you are progressing. Too easy for you? Hold some weights in your wall sit to up the challenge.
Now who doesn’t love a plank?! The plank is a fantastic fitness goal for beginners. We think you should aim to be able to hold your plank for 1 minute by the end of week 4 of training. And we mean a plank with no fidgeting! Your body should be in one straight line from the top of your head down to your heels. You should have your core braced and scooped ever so slightly, your shoulders pulling down to help engage your back muscles, and your leg and glute muscles should be tensed.
The really fabulous thing about fitness goals, including all of the starter ones that we’ve talked about, is that they can always be made more challenging. You don’t ever have to reach a point with fitness where you feel like you’ve come as far as you can and have learned as much as possible. There is always more to discover and more to reach for, and this is what makes fitness and working out such a truly enjoyable experience to have in your life.
Written by Becky Barrett