How to Set Realistic Fitness Goals

In life, we’re told to dream big. Reach for the stars. Go for the gold. While I think everyone would agree that having big aspirations is admirable not to mention inspiring, you should take a more calculated approach when setting fitness goals. It may seem counter-intuitive to start small, but remember that you want to set yourself up for success not burnout or injury.

Think about it. How many times have you or someone you know set a huge goal to lose 50 or more pounds, or exercise for an hour six days a week, only to fall off the wagon a few weeks or days later? The truth is that even when people have the best of intentions and the willpower to set out and do something grand, without a plan and a smart goal, they stumble and are more likely to fail.


When you first set a goal, you’re full of energy and completely motivated, but over time those feelings can wane and your overzealousness can push you to do too much too soon. The fix is to define a progressive set of fitness goals that build on one another to help propel you toward that big dream or aspiration. Breaking a big goal into smaller, realistic goals can help you both mentally and physically. This method can also help you improve your fitness level gradually and safely, which helps to build confidence.


The first step to setting realistic goals is to really think about your goal and write it down.


Then, ask yourself these three questions:


  1. How big is the goal? Is your goal only attainable in three months or more? If so, make goals to get you to that long-term goal. Ideally, you should be able to reach the smaller goal in two to six weeks.


  1. What does it take to achieve the goal? This question addresses your goal’s frequency. If reaching your goal requires five workouts a week, but you can only get a babysitter two days a week, then you need to scale back your goal. Be realistic about what time you have to devote to the goal and be honest about your fitness level. Building your fitness base takes time, and being smart about increasing it will help you stay injury-free. As a general rule, never increase your weight lifted or your minutes exercised by more than 10 percent in any given week. Slow and steady really does win the race!


  1. Can you see yourself reaching the goal? You want a program that you can stick with for the long haul not just this week. Be completely honest with yourself and ask if you can realistically see yourself doing what it takes to achieve the goal at hand. If you can and it meets the above criteria, then you probably have a goal!


Don’t be afraid to tweak a goal as time goes by. Life happens! Remember, the key to setting yourself up for success is to be realistic. Now, start setting those goals!

10 Ways to Improve UK’s Health Situation

The UK needs a “call to action” to tackle ill health says England Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt after a major study has found that Britain has fallen behind many Western countries on progress in managing preventable diseases.

And so, to be able to improve our health situation here in the UK, here are 10 ways to improve our health situation:


  1. Check your weight

Nearly three in 10 women and four in 10 men in England are overweight. Obesity causes 9,000 premature deaths every year and, on average, reduces life expectancy by nine years.


  1. Drink less

Most people are unaware that regularly drinking more alcohol than is advised by the NHS can lead to a wide range of long-term health problems, including cancers, strokes, and heart attacks. For example, men who regularly drink more than three to four units a day are three times more likely to have a stroke.


  1. Eat less salt and fat

Two thirds of Britons have too much saturated fat in their diets, putting them at an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.


  1. Exercise regularly

The benefits of exercise aren’t limited to losing weight. Even if you’re slim, you’ll still get health benefits from exercising. Even a small amount of regular activity can lower the risk of developing major chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, by up to 50%. Regular exercise can cut the risk of premature death by 20-30%.


  1. Eat more fruit and vegetable

For a healthy and balanced diet, try to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Research shows that eating at least 400g of fruit and vegetables a day can lower your risk of serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.


  1. Keep stress in check

If left unchecked, stress can lead to further health problems such as high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression.


  1. Improve your sleep

Nearly everyone has problems sleeping at some point in their life. If you’re not getting enough sleep, it can affect relationships, your performance at work, and it can delay recovery from illness. Good sleep starts with a good bedtime ritual and some simple lifestyle changes.


  1. Quit smoking

The health benefits of quitting smoking are immediate. Keep it up and you’re adding years to your life. Research shows that people who quit smoking by the age of 30 add 10 years to their life.


  1. Get a sexual health test

You can’t tell by looking at someone whether they’ve got an infection, so it’s important to get a check-up if you’ve ever had unprotected sex. Getting tested and treated for STIs is easier than you think, and most infections can be cured.


  1. Check that lump

One in three people in England is diagnosed with cancer at some time in their life. Cancer usually affects older people, but it can occur at any age. Detecting most cancers early means that treatment is more likely to be successful. Sometimes, noticing a small change, like a lump, changes to a mole, or unexplained weight loss, can make a big difference to your health.


With these 10 ways of health care, the health situation in UK will definitely improve in no time!


5 Rules to Athletic Diet

A proper diet is essential if you truly want a lean athletic physique. Many people think all they need to do is work hard in the gym and they will be all set, they are mistaken. Diet is actually more important than the time in the gym and it is where many fall short.  If you want a toned athletic body you need proper diet in order to get there, exercise alone is not enough.

Follow these 5 nutrition rules and you will be well on your way:


  1. Eat Clean

I will start with the most important of rule of all which is eating clean. What does eat clean mean? I like to put it this way, if it is made by Mother Nature then eat it, if it isn’t don’t. Example: Mother Nature makes eggs, chicken, fish, fruits and vegetables – eat them. Mother Nature doesn’t make Twinkies, candy bars, pizzas, Cheetos or soda pop – avoid them. It is as easy as that really. Basically, eat the nutritious ones and avoid the unhealthy ones.


  1. Drink water

Drinking water has many benefits, the first being that it has zero calories. Water can also help curb binge eating by drinking a glass of water with your meal it will fill you up faster and prevent you from eating more than you should. Your body is also about 60% water with your muscles being 73% water so it is a good thing to drink plenty of it especially if you are exercising regularly. Water also helps in digestion, metabolism, joint lubrication, mineral intake and overall body health and function. Overall it is just a healthy thing to do. Try to get in 8 glasses of water per day.


  1. Eat Protein

Eating protein will help build and maintain muscle.  You should consume at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. This means 180 grams of protein per day for a 180-pound person.  Healthy sources of protein includes lean meats such as fish, chicken breasts, turkey, eggs and beans. Lean ground beef can also work as well as a lean cut of steak.


  1. High fibre

We all know about the intake of fibre to keep you regular, unfortunately most of us don’t get near enough fibre in their diets. Fibber is even more important in a high protein diet and let’s be honest, pretty much all high fibre foods are good for you, so be sure to dig in. Examples of high fibre foods are broccoli, whole grains, apples, beans, peas and oatmeal.


  1. Protein Shakes

Protein shakes are not only a good way to get the protein you need and BCAA’s but they are also a good meal replacement. Get a nice vanilla protein powder and add some fruit like bananas, strawberries and raspberries and it will fill you up with vitamins, fibre and protein.


Nutrition can help enhance athletic performance. An active lifestyle and exercise routine, along with eating well, is the best way to stay healthy!

Transforming Myself: The Journey

Some of you may or may not have heard my story, but I found some old pictures and I thought it would be a good time to retell it. When I was a freshman in high school I clocked in at just under 210 lbs. I was unhappy. I came home from school and just ate food all day until I went to sleep then the cycle started all over again.

How did I end it? One day something just clicked, I don’t remember exactly what it was but it was something like I ate so much I couldn’t move or there was some hot girl I was interested in who just saw how much I hated the way I looked. That day I began running. I went about a mile. Then a week later I was running two miles. Then a week later I was running three miles, a lap around two beaches that was near my house. I rode my bike everywhere including the 4 miles back and forth to work at a grocery store. Since I was in the produce section, I pretty much just ate fruit and a turkey sub during the 8 hour shift. Was it the best “diet?” Of course not, but it got me started. Basketball was also a driving force as I wanted to be a better player for my upcoming JV season.


In three short months I dropped 35 pounds and stepped into school on the first day of my sophomore year with a whole new look and a million times more confidence.


My weight-loss tip?


I’ve learned that endorphins are the best anti-depressant of all. Remember to take care of yourself during times of extreme stress. It’s the first step to being able to take care of those around you.


Try different workouts until you find one that makes you happy and that you find fun! If you think it’s punishment or torture, you’re not going to stick with it. There is something out there that will work for you and that you will actually enjoy!


The hardest part of losing weight isn’t working out or knowing what to eat, it’s committing! Find a training partner to help keep you accountable. It’s easier to reach your goals if someone is expecting you at the gym every day or if you have a gym buddy that you simply enjoy working out with to help make it fun.


Make lifestyle changes, don’t ‘go on a diet.’ Diets are temporary and so are the results. If you make permanent changes, you get permanent results.


Give yourself rewards. My reward is usually a City Cakes salted caramel cupcake. Work hard and play harder. As soon as you deny yourself cheat days, that’s when you start having cheat weeks.


There is no magic pill or potion for getting fit. I learned this through my own trials and errors until I was finally able to kick bad habits and embrace health and fitness as a lifestyle.