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.

What Purchase Will Help You Achieve Your Resolution?

Last year I had a tiny resolution of cutting back plastic waste- specifically, get really good at not using plastic bags. Conveniently, Chicago implemented a 7 cent bag tax as soon as a chose this resolution, so I could really justify my investment in Baggus. I bought 3 small bags, gifted one, and bought a large bag. If I forgot my bag, I bought a new one and planted it in my car or by the door. And we probably used plastic bags a hundred times less than we did in 2016.

I have been taking group physical training lately, and feeling stronger with every week. I was having trouble holding my feet still while holding planks, and I was finally sick of slipping and struggling. If my feet slip every 10 seconds, how can I hold a two minute plank? Enter: Adidas Crazy Trainers. I am so stable and can feel my strength. I was worried that once my excuse of slippery feet went away, I would discover that I couldn’t hold these poses, but was surprised to discover that I feel stronger and feel like I could hold these moves all day.

What purchases help you accomplish your goals? Is it a new cookbook? Leggings that don’t pull or tear during your workout? A nice laptop case or new backpack to make it easier to get to the coffee shop and work?

Game Changing Workout Gear

In the spirit of resiliency, I am trying many new hobbies and trying to stay extremely active. Here are some workout accessories for an active lifestyle.

Biking

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Wall Mount
Easy access, wall art, and home security for your bicycle.

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Phone Bracket
From here you can operate maps and track your speed and distance.

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Stationary Adaptor
So that you can bike and watch tv at the same time!!! Very good for winter exercise.

Running/ Walking/ Hiking

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I love my Allbirds and I love their versatility. They make me feel lighter and bouncier!

gokey-bracelet
The Gokey is a really convenient way to hold your key while running. I have lost my keys out of my shorts key pocket or off my shoelace before. This would have been very handy!
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Everest Fanny Pack
Affordable and in like 20 different colors! I am sold on the classic Everest fanny pack, and I order one in a new color whenever the need arises. (I actually wear one while I teach, to keep my emergency radio and student rewards accessible!)

 

Accessories

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Foam Roller
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Resistance Band Rainbow Set
Life Hack!!!! If you can’t do a full pull-up, you can attach a resistance band to the bar, place one foot inside of the resistance band, and go! It is amazing. I am using this trick to try and achieve one pull-up by the end of my four week rock climbing training session!

Workout Leggings

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Stirrup Leggings
Perfect for protecting ankles from the cold while biking, running, or keeping pants in place during yoga.

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Oxblood Mesh Leggings
Now that I am doing all sorts of new exercises like biking and rock climbing, I feel I need some variety in my workout clothes. I also feel like quality and durability is increasingly important, as these activities involve more friction.

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Hunter Leggings
A perfect shade of green. I could live in these on a camping/ hiking trip, for sure.

Resiliency

Wow, the last day of August. I know officially we have 22 days of summer left, but unofficially today feels like the last day. It is time to go back to school and back to work. It is time to think about money and how much money you can justify spending on warm sweaters and apple cider and how much money you should just put in your retirement account. Maybe I’m the only one who stopped thinking about money by July? Anyway. It is time to get life back in order.

We have had loose themes the last few months, including Nature Week and our Professionals Series. For the month of September, we will feature 1-2 pieces each week about resiliency (I promise, we’ll lighten up in October). This comes as I readjust to my workdays and suck it up and do something I am not at all excited to be doing. Additionally, in my last week of freedom summer break, I was exercising for over an hour every day. Since my first day of full time meetings, I have not exercised on purpose one single time. I am so busy!!! I am going to correct this. Maintaining personal health and happiness requires determination and resiliency.

If you are interested in writing a piece for September, I am accepting pitches on the topic of resiliency. Email your ideas to ofthewonder@gmail.com

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Balancing Tranquility and Strength in Your Workout

Or “enjoying nature while doing what you love.” My sister is at it again at Red River Gorge, in Kentucky. And, markedly, today is the end of my “beginner to badass” climbing program at Brooklyn Boulders, Chicago location. In a few months I hope to be able to climb with her outside (but first I need to master the 60 foot indoor wall)! Climb on, Kendra!

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Beginner to Badass

As I shared before, I am partaking in the “Beginner to Badass” program at Brooklyn Boulders Chicago. I am a novice climber, falling off the easiest routes and burning my muscles out after 15 minutes. However clumsy my movements may be, I am gaining strength and technical skill. This week I “leveled up” a couple of times (I know, this isn’t how a real climber would describe it!) and I will soon be belay certified at the wall, meaning I will be engaging with other climbers, and won’t be limited to using the auto-belays alone.

If beginner to badass (in anything) is a sort of sliding scale, right now I am marginally closer to badass than I was a week ago.

This week, I am stronger.
This week, I am present.
This week, I am confident.

But I’m still a beginner!

I am still afraid (of falling, my arms getting out, injuring myself.)
I am still unsure.
I am still nervous (but nervous with some confidence)!

I have been running for years, but when I go through these qualifiers, I realize that I feel like I am still on the beginner side. Oh well! These are hobbies that I enjoy and bring positive value to my life, they are not skills that necessitate mastery.

How are you more of a badass today than you were a week (or month or decade) ago?

#MondayMotivation

My health is my Monday Motivation!

1. I woke up at 5 a.m. and ran a mile!

2. I have said no to junk food and had wholesome meals like overnight oatmeal and whole-wheat spaghetti with a fresh salad.

3. I am going to take the financial plunge and try the “beginner to badass” program at Brooklyn Boulders Chicago! I am so excited! I have never done regular strength training, and this seems like a fun way to do it.

What is your Monday Motivaton?