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Training with Realistic Goals and Expectations - The Lunch Hour Athlete

Training Log For: 10/19/09

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Posted by Matthew

I have been overweight all my life with two exceptions: 1) a couple of years in high school and college, and 2) right now. However, my body is still not where I want it to be and my fitness level is not quite where I would like either. Being plagued by unrealistic fitness and weight goals is not just a female phenomenon, just look at fitness magazines for men the next time you are at a book store. Men are constantly being fed the impression that they don't earn enough, don't drive a nice enough car, don't dress nice enough and don't look successful or masculine. And therein lies my dilemma.

My body weight is actually pretty good at the current 174 lbs. but based on most body weight calculators I should still be 10-15 lbs. lighter. Most people would probably laugh if I said I wanted to lose another 15 lbs. Even though those weight calculators don't take into account muscle mass, I still feel too big. I'd like to have a more defined stomach and drop about 2 pant sizes. But are my fitness goals really realistic?

I would say yes, but the pressure we put on ourselves is not healthy or beneficial to our primary fitness and exercise goals. Most fitness enthusiast fail to take into account the almost endless list of non-fitness priorities we have including (but not limited to) family responsibilities, career goals, daily chores, commuting to work, religious/spiritual commitments, hobbies, mental well being. No wonder most people - including myself - find it hard to stick to diet and fitness goals. We are absolutely bombarded with expectations and responsibilities coming at us from every angle.

So while it may not be realistic to commit 1 hour every night, 6 days a week, as that commitment might interfere with other priorities and obligations, we can fit in other ways to still be actively involved with a healthier life style that will contribute to our fitness goals. I don't have time to prepare a days worth of meals every night, I just have too much work to do, but my diet suffers as a result of not planning meals and eating out or skipping meals. So I can probably spend some extra time on the weekends preparing meals and either refrigerating them or freezing them in containers with meal sized proportions. Then in the morning instead of trying to fix food when I'm running late to work I can just bag up the previously prepared meals.

In the end we all have to customize our own fitness goals and workout plans, but we also need to be realistic about progress and unavoidable setbacks. It's not an unworthy goal to lose weight and work for your ideal physical appearance. But fitness for reasons other than avoiding health problems needs to be kept in a proper perspective that is weighed against and balanced with our other obligations. So when I miss a day's workout due to a doctor's visit or working over-time at work, it's not going to destroy my chances at reaching my goals, even a week or two setback isn't a game ending setback. Maybe you have to enjoy a 20 minute walk with your wife that evening instead of running 6 miles. Either way, stayed focused and determined, but realize that balancing your life can result in more fulfillment and contentment than the negligent pursuit of a fitness goal.