How to Take Your Fitness Goals to the Next Level

Okay so I want to climb more. But what does that mean?

While I was climbing this week, I realized that I needed to make my goal of climbing more even more specific in order to make that goal attainable. I realized, once I specified my goal, that I needed a little planning in order to make it happen.

Chapter One

Here is how to meet your 2018 fitness goals:

  1. Get specific!
    “I want to get more into running,” leaves a lot of room to… not actually get into running. Try making your goal measurable, like “I want to run 3 times a week,” or “I want to run a marathon in August,” instead. My climbing goal: I want to learn to lead climb (and then do it outside with my sister!)
  2. Break it down.
    I can’t learn to lead climb until I am can climb harder levels. In order to learn to lead, I need to climb 5.10s without needing to rest every 2 seconds. If you want to run a marathon, maybe you need smaller time goals. “By March I will run a 5k,” or “I will run 3 hours a week.”
  3. Set Goals
    Setting small goals along the way allows you to feed off of the positive energy that comes from reaching a new milestone. This is also a crucial step in maintaining and continuing your practice. If you want to continue your exercise longterm, set yourself small forward-reaching goals every few months. My current climbing goals include completing a set of full pull-ups (I met my goal of doing one whole pull-up!!!) and climbing my first V3.
  4. Get Creative
    It is easy to stagnate in any practice. In order to develop alternative muscles and keep it interesting, alternate your training. If you are doing something that is primarily cardio, add strength training. If you are doing something strength based, through in running days, or a dance cardio class to keep it interesting!
  5. Gear Up
    Sometimes you can’t take it to the next level until you get proper equipment. These leggings and this pair of shoes changed the game and took my training to the next level by increasing my flexibility and stability. Not having to adjust my clothing all the time allows me to focus on my workout without interruption or excuse.
  6. Commit time
    I feel like one of the most important steps for me to accomplish my fitness goals is for me to block out every day of the week that I need to exercise, and what I need to do on those days. It is equally important to find a rhythm that works for you. If you need consistency above all in order to meet your goal, then go all out and don’t make compromises. If you are worried about burnout, plan for 3 days a week with a fun alternative workout thrown in there. Commit that time and don’t cancel plans with yourself.
  7. Plan out every second!
    Once you have committed to the days you will workout, plan out every tiny detail of those sessions. Have an overarching plan, and a step-by-step or goal-based process for the actual sessions. Recently, I had a session planned that started with a strength based warm-up and was followed by a strict endurance builder. If something didn’t work right one day, sit down and adjust your plan for next time. Thoughtful planning and reflection will keep you committed to your goals, and help keep your goals attainable.
  8. Leave room for fun
    Enjoy your workouts! Invite friends on your run or to your class, add party music one day, and have some fun day instead of zero days- go to the gym anyway, but try new things. All of these little celebrations will prevent burnout.
  9. Be accountable
    SET THE DATE. Your running a marathon? Finally doing 10 pull-ups! You are going to try competitive figure skating??! Invite your friends! “Hello everybody. On August 22nd, I will complete 10 pull-ups at the gym. You are all invited to view the pull-ups and celebrate with drinks after!” Make it into a silly/fun/cool event. A group of women I climb with recently got together to make posters and cheer on a friend running the marathon. What a cool way to support each other and spend time together.
  10. Keep setting goals
    After you meet your BIG goal, it is hard to keep going. As you approach your big goal, plan your next moves. The week before the marathon, maybe you know you need a full 2 weeks of rest. Fine, plan that, but plan your first day back. What will you do to get back into it and continue to enjoy it? Be ready to keep the momentum! And plan your NEXT goal. If the marathon felt like a lot, scale it back and do a fun run somewhere. If you’re hooked, try to best your time and qualify for a different city. Maybe you like the variety of a triathlon! Keep pushing yourself to get out and get moving.
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Resting Bitch Face is a Defense Mechanism

I was just talking with my sister on the phone, and we were comparing times we were scared shitless while traveling and escaped it. You know, the kind of scary thing you didn’t tell your family about at the time it happened, because they would be really worried about you? We discussed how men literally do not ever have these concerns. Most men never walk down the street with a constant inner monologue of “Will I be assaulted today? Is that old man going to tell me to smile more?” We had an epiphany: Resting Bitch Face is a Self-Defense Mechanism.

And we’ve both used it as one! My sister and I each had multiples accounts of times that a mad straight face and deaf ear might have saved our lives. I checked your previous content, and their are references of RBF sprinkled throughout many conversations about feminism and the general life of being a woman, but this perspective is unique. Of course there are opportunities to link related MR content Do You Have a Resting Bitch Face? and Feminism and RBF, but this perspective is not “what do you do about RBF” or “RBF is an issue with the way men perceive women” but about the fact that sometimes, when you are on the subway alone, you put on your biggest, baddest bitch face because you don’t want to talk, and you don’t want to hear it. Sometimes that angry frown while to stare blankly in the distance is the only way to get a little fucking security and peace and quiet while going about your day to day life. Bitch face is the ultimate Man Repeller.

On Female Friendship

Image from Glossier

When I was in high school, I boasted about the fact that I had no girlfriends.

It was trés cool to roll with the boys. And that’s what I did! Forever the friend, I drove my buddies in my mom’s minivan to heavy metal concerts and we pulled off the most ridiculous stunts at band practice. Sometimes we would break into an abandoned “haunted” house just to have the shit scared out of us and other times we would watch bad movies and recreate the gross signature meal. I’m looking at you, Troll 2 Nilbog Pie. I have grown distant from these friends, but I love and miss those guys, and they shaped who I am today.

I remember the first time I made a real, reliable girlfriend. The kind that you click with instantly and remember forever. I was away, traveling, and when I met these girls from bigger and faster cities, for the first time I felt like I was listened to completely, and more than that: I felt heard.

I was not the butt of the jokes with this crew, and intelligence and argumentativeness were validating qualities. They were funny and danced with ease and comfort. They felt like all of the good parts of femininity that I had been stuffing away so that I felt cool and accepted with the boys.

Flash forward:

In college, I was back to my old ways of worrying about whether or not I was accepted as one of the guys. When I wasn’t concerned about my friendships with some, I was pursuing romantic interest with others. I keep in touch with a number of them, but the people that I will always love are the women that spent time with. What I miss most are late night debates about the politics of colonial America (?) or playing tunes on the porch a lazy Sunday morning with all the girls. I will never forget the minutes that felt like hours during which we considered all of our pizza options and everyone’s personal tastes before inevitably settling on Hawaiian. I not one single women entered my life as a friend and abandoned me as a friend. Every female friendship I have made in the last 5 years has lasted and developed and has been deeply meaningful.

I am so excited that now, in my formative years of adulthood, I am learning how to seek out these independent women to have in my life as supporters and friends. I made my first new friend in my new city 6 months after moving! I realize now that you can’t meet new people when you sit on your couch and watch Netflix. By learning how to rock climb, I have made one new friend, who shared her friends with me (even bringing me to a B.Y.O.F. party… Bring Your Own Friend!). I have recently joined a group of women training to be better and stronger climbers, I am amazed at the ease of new friends who want to put themselves out of their comfort zone and learn something new. When my friend joined a rowing course, she noted how few men were on the beginner team, and said “of course it’s all women signing up and trying new things!” Of course there are adventurous men signing up and trying new things, but one of the amazing qualities about women who seek personal independence is that they aren’t afraid of something new and different.

This new group of women I have been climbing with is already very special to me because we can all share a sense of camaraderie formed from being awkward and uncomfortable together, laughing at these struggles, and drawing power from them.

So here is to long and lasting friendships with great women.

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Image from Glossier