So many times, we find ourselves feeling overweight, flabby, out-of-shape and lacking in energy. So many times we decide it’s time to do something about it, and we take on an exercise program with the best of intentions only to find out that it’s hard to get started on something like that, and even harder to stick with it for the long term.
That’s when it’s time to be realistic. When you’re considering workout goals, the benchmarks are going to be different for everyone. Your age, joint health, any prior injuries, overall state of health and many other factors are going to have to figure into your fitness goals, and examples like Vanessa Williams or Rhonda Rousey are just not going to be attainable for many women. Here are some suggestions for a list of personal goals that are realistic and should be doable for most women.
Push-ups are an old favorite that requires no exercise equipment and is totally safe for people who don’t have wrist, elbow or shoulder issues. Moving your own body weight in a push-up helps strengthen the pectorals, triceps and scapular stabilizers. Start with a modified pushup (knees on the floor) and eventually work your way up to a rigid position, keeping your body in a straight line and balanced on your toes and palms. You’ll find that 25 reps will easily fit your goal list soon enough.
If you’ve got access to a pool, swimming is an ideal whole-body exercise that provides resistance without impact. It strengthens the core, legs, and upper body and has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system, insulin levels, flexibility and total health. Best of all, swimming doesn’t take a lot of training or special equipment – for most of us, it’s a natural skill that we learned at a very early age. Try swimming ten laps in a competition-size pool, then work your way up to 20 or 30 or even 50 laps. Can’t swim? Consider water aerobics, aquatic cross training, aquatic jogging or some of the other programs that offer many of the same benefits.
Medicine Ball Routines
The medicine ball is about as simple a piece of exercise equipment as you’ll ever find. It’s just a ball, ranging from the size of a softball to the size of a basketball, that’s weighted for extra effort. Medicine ball exercises date back to the 19th century, but trainers have rediscovered them in the last 15 or so years. Try the Around the World, for instance, where you stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold the ball at shoulder height and rotate behind your head and all the way around your head. Another great medicine ball exercise is the Good Morning, starting with the ball on the floor between your legs and swinging it up behind your head, in a full range of motion. You can also swing the ball in a wide circle in front, or a burpie exercise where you hoist the ball upward as you get to your feet. All these exercises are great for building core strength, flexibility and range of motion. Use whatever size and weight ball you’re comfortable with, and try working your way up to 12-15 repetitions and two to four sets.
Kettlebell exercises originated with the Russian military and are an excellent whole-body approach. The kettlebell is a round weight that can range from five to 35 pounds, with a stirrup-style handle for easy grip. There are plenty of exercises that use kettlebells, but a good starting point is the kettlebell swing. Grasp the handle with both hands, feet shoulder-width apart, and hold the kettlebell at crotch level. Using your whole body, swing it from that position to eye level and try for 15 repetitions. It engages the core muscles and hips as well as the upper body, and offers as much benefit from arresting the weight’s momentum as from swinging it.
There are too many strength training exercises that use free weights to even go into here, but a few of them could include:
- Bench presses
- Upright rows
- Shoulder presses
Strength training with free weights helps sculpt and tone the muscle groups, while boosting metabolism and helping to redistribute body fat and cut body fat percentages. Remember to engage in some warmups before any strength training session, and then cool down with stretches afterward.
You don’t have to be an athlete, and you don’t have to entertain ideas of world-class bodybuilding. There are plenty of fitness goals examples out there, and all you need to do is get active and set some realistic goal list – and then maybe you can work your way up to a more rigorous regime like Latreal Mitchell’s. Remember, though, that it’s not a competition with anyone. You’re doing this for yourself, for your own well-being and health, and that’s enough of a payoff just by itself.