An ancient Chinese philosopher once said, “The expert in anything was once a beginner.” (Or was it RuPaul?) Yes, it was RuPaul who said that. No wait. RuPaul said, “Remember who you really are, unleash the dragon, and let these bitches have it.” That’s right. Anyway, my point is, every accomplishment has a beginning and every beginning needs a goal. If your goals for 2019 include getting fit, here are some tips for making your intentions a reality.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, “older people can be enviably youthful if they are active (and will benefit from the) unexpected roles that weight training may play in our health.”
Whatever your fitness target is, plan to stay with it for the long haul. A healthy lifestyle is not about a quick fix. It’s about a daily and a consistent effort for life. So where do you start?
You may have heard of SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time bound. Try putting these five elements to work when outlining your fitness ambitions.
SPECIFIC: Yogi Berra once mused: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.” So if your aim is weight loss, don’t just say, “I want to lose weight in 2019.” That goal is too general. Say instead, “I will lose 10 pounds by April 1, 2019 by exercising twice a week and cutting calories at every meal.” A specific goal gets specific results. And be sure to put your goals in writing! A written objective becomes a daily reminder of what you want to accomplish.
MEASURABLE: A good goal is quantifiable and easily tracked. So making a measurable goal means adding a number. “Lose weight” becomes lose 5 pounds, lose 2 inches, or drop one dress size by Spring.
ACHIEVABLE: Be careful not to set yourself up for failure by setting impossible tasks. “I will gain 25 pounds of muscle in January” is not likely to happen unless you jump species. Set goals that are reasonable and reality based like, “I will add 5 pounds of muscle by Summer.”
REALISTIC: Given your history, is it realistic you’ll achieve your aspirations on your own, or will you need help? Given your work schedule, is it realistic to train 2 hours a day, 7 days a week? Being gung-ho about making a change is great but make sure your objectives are tempered by reality.
TIME BOUND: Set a deadline for your intentions. “I will lose 20 pounds by the 4th of July” is a good target. “I will lose 3 pounds a month” is better. Make sure your goals are quantifiable and tied to timely benchmarks. Think of goals as dreams with a deadline.
It’s also a good idea to come up with an action plan for your SMART fitness goals. An action plan outlines how you’ll achieve your undertaking. Perhaps it’s by adhering to a specific diet. Maybe it’s by hiring a personal trainer to make you accountable to your game plan. The harder you work to achieve your mark, the better you’ll feel when you achieve it.
Do your goals for 2019 include bigger arms? Two-thirds of the mass of your arms are triceps, so if you want big arms, you want big triceps! Try these three tricep moves to really blast your guns!
TRICEP PUSH DOWNS: Attach a straight or angled bar to a high pulley and grab with a pronates grip (palms facing down). Standing upright with the torso straight and a very small inclination forward, bring the upper arms close to your body and perpendicular to the floor. The forearms should be pointing up towards the pulley as they hold the bar. This is your starting position. Using the triceps, bring the bar down until it touches the front of your thighs and the arms are fully extended perpendicular to the floor. The upper arms should always remain stationary next to your torso and only the forearms should move. Exhale as you push down. (3 sets of 15 reps)
TRICEP KICKBACKS: Position yourself on the left side of a bench with your right knee and right hand resting on the bench. Using a neutral grip, pick up a dumbbell with your left hand. Keep your back straight and look forward. Tuck your left upper arm close to your torso and bend at the elbow, forming a 90 degree angle with your upper arm and forearm. Your upper arm should be parallel to the floor. This is the starting position. Moving only at the elbow, raise the dumbbell behind you until your arm is fully extended. Pause, and then lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. Repeat this movement for your right arm. (3 sets of 15 reps on each side)
SKULL CRUSHERS: Using a close grip, lift the EZ bar and hold it with your arms extended as you lie on the bench. Your arms should be perpendicular to the floor. This will be your starting position. Keeping the upper arms stationary, lower the bar by allowing the elbows to flex. Inhale as you perform this portion of the movement. Pause once the bar is directly above the forehead. Push the bar back to the starting position by extending the elbow and exhaling. (3 sets of 15 reps)
Philip Hitchcock is an independent, Certified Personal Trainer specializing in “Fitness after 40,” Resistance Training and Weight Loss. He maintains his own client base and is also the exclusive trainer for the Four Seasons Hotel. Check him out at HitchcockFitness.com