We are all wired differently and for many of us we’d rather just flow through life and not worry to much about keeping score! As much as there are reasons for NOT Stressing too much about the numbers; the fact is, if you have no destination in mind, any map will get you there. So having some direction in mind can serve as a guideline for keeping us on the path to where we would like to end up. In the fitness world; that can be accomplished by setting some Short-Term, Mid-Range and Long-Term GOALS. For those of us that are a little more analytical and are tied to the numbers on our FIT-BIT or Scale or whatever measuring stick we choose, this is a pretty natural thing to do; but for those of us that are more free flowing and not so analytical, it’s probably better to have some general guidelines than strict numbers.
If you walk your dog every evening after dinner for 30 minutes; there’s a good chance that you’re getting some really good aerobic exercise and it really doesn’t matter how many steps you took or how many calories you burned on that walk, but it’s a guideline. I’ve watched people cause near Brain Damage from trying to count calories, grams of protein, grams of fat, ounces of water, etc… as it relates to nutrition. For those people; I’ve found great success in having them keep a food and water log and then at the end of every day they go through and put a “G” or a “B” by each entry. Most people generally know what foods are “G”OOD for them and which ones are “B”AD for them and the specific calories and grams of various nutrients can be helpful in analyzing their diets at some level, but as a general guideline they can get a pretty good idea of how well their food choices are by this simple drill.
As we progress in our workouts; it is helpful to keep track of some of the various measuring sticks as we can identify simple things to adjust that can make HUGE differences in our results. For example; if someone is trying to “Increase their strength on the Bench Press”; they tend to spend way too much time Bench Pressing and not enough time working on the supporting and opposing muscles, while at the same time OVER-TRAINING their chest, triceps and shoulder muscles (often causing injury). As much as it’s a bit of a pain, it’s generally a worthwhile effort to keep track of your workouts, besides establishing a base-line of where you started it’ll give you a guideline of how long you’ve been doing any particular workout and how you’ve improved in various segments of your program.
Breaking goals down into Short-Term, Mid-Range and Long-Term gives you the chance to adjust those Long-Term Goals as you work through the shorter term goals. For example; if your goal is to “Run a Marathon”; a good start would be to establish a mileage base by running 10 Miles the first week and increase that until you reach 50 Miles-per-Week in a couple of months. Then adjust your program to reduce your actual miles logged, but to have those miles be at much faster paces and also adding some strength exercises to improve stabilizing muscles, upper body muscles as well as adding some non-impact cardio vascular activities (i.e. elliptical or cycling) to continue to improve your cardiovascular endurance. Perhaps after another 8 weeks; you realize that running 26.2 miles is way over-rated; but it might be fun to run some 10k Fun Runs with your friends. No harm in that, but it’s your choice and you are still gaining great fitness and health benefits by being out there. Remember that without a specific destination, any road will get you there, but you might end up someplace other than where you really want to be!