That that don't kill me, can only make me stronger. I need you to hurry up now, cause I can't wait much longer. Kanye West, Stronger

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Goal Setting

More and more I find setting a workout goal to be a great way to ensure I have a good workout. It makes sense, an athlete would never train for their sport without a well defined plan of attack. I am sure Michael Jordan never just said, maybe I'll dribble this ball around for a few weeks; it was probably something more to the tune of I have to make 50 foul shots in a row before leaving the court. (My dad often had me do 15 as a kid, I guess he figured since I was short, I better be a great shot.)

So while I don't really write out a weekly plan. On my way to the gym, I check in with my body and set a definitive goal. Something as simple as, I am kind of tired, 30 minutes walking on the treadmill and watching the news, is more likely to result in at least 30 minutes, then walking for 15 and deciding you've had enough.

Since I have extended my workouts to 65 minutes, 5 times a week, a plan really helps keep me focused and on track, without a goal. If I just "went to the gym," I would probably never make it! So whether the goal is run to this point or 30 minute run, 25 elliptical, 10 rower, I like having an objective in place.

Those last 5 minutes can be brutal (but also the most important), so saving your favorite song or two for them can help. Lately, Naughty Girl has helped me survive when the going gets tough. Rather than make those last 5 minutes miserable, make them glorious.

If I really have to pull out the big guns, I think of inspiring quotes, such as without challenge, there is not change or do or do not, there is not try. Obviously, I interpret these lightheartedly!

I definitely need to start defining my strength plan more clearly, I think that is why I often get bored and leave early, I have nothing to aim for.

So I encourage you to set some goals, maybe 10 minutes before you start your workout. Whether it be running at a certain speed for a 20 % of your run or making it half a mile further before you walk or just making it through an entire episode "So You Think You Can Dance" (at 75% of your maximum heart rate if you want to get hard core on me) on the elliptical.

I hope these ideas help you stay focused and enjoy your workouts more. Recognize your accomplishments and feel great about achieving your goals. And every once in a while, feel free to phone in a workout, just not from your razor!

PS Janet Evans was once my idol!


VeggieGirl said...

Setting goals is definitely an effective way to stick to workouts and such - great advice!!

Lauren said...

What book did you read and recommend about intuitive eating? Do you try to do intuitive eating? Or balance it with counting?

Amanda said...

How do you have time to fit in 65 min of aerobics 5 days a week with weight training? Sleep and eat healthy? Preparing healthy vegetarian food takes alot of energy! I hate making salads- cleaning the lettuce and vegetables etc.

I find it hard just to get to the gym 3 days a week.

Melissa said...

Hi Lauren,

It was probably Feel Good Food, by Karen Knowler. I love Karen, and I highly recommend her website

If you have any interest in raw food. The book is good, but look for a good deal on amazon!

I try to eat when I am hungry. I never calorie count. This is because I eat mainly in little cafes, delis, or restaurants in nyc. It would be impossible to figure out how many calories are in the things I order. It's not like chain places that list the calories in everything. It would make me crazy and be a waste of time and energy I could spend elsewhere--for me anyways. Unless I ate only food out of a package, which are usually the most processed ones!

So instead of calorie counting I just try to order sensibly and cleanly prepared foods...most of the time. I stay away from things that are definitely caloric bombs, like alfredo, cream and butter sauces or anything fried. And then I do my best to listen to how much my body wants.

I guess I try to be intuitive, I also try (key word) not to eat too many things that send my body false hunger signals, like refined flour/sugar or candy or frozen yogurt. I try to save these things until I have gotten a fair amount of nutrient-rich food in my system, so anything indulgent will be counter-balanced with the healthy stuff and my blood sugar isn't all over the place.

Hi Amanda,

I naturally wake up early, plus I have floor to ceiling windows for two of my bedroom walls so it is always a bright morning! So I usually wake up around 6-6:30, and head to the gym in my building to get the workout out of the way. So that is at least twice a week, then maybe one day I hit the gym right after work or during my lunch hour and the other two sessions I do on the weekend. The strength is only 30 minutes so I can fit those two sessions in when I have a little free time.

I eat out all the time, although I am trying to pack lunch more often. I am always on the go, so usually I just grab lunch and dinner out and try to pick one of the more nutrient, fresh veggie rich, cleanly prepared options.

As far as salad, I usually try to buy things where a lot of the work is done, broccoli florets, bagged tri-colored chard that's ready to go, snap peas, sliced baked beets, grape tomatoes and carrots that just need a quick chop and to be dumped into a bowl. While I love cooking, I just don't love it enough to dedicate a ton of time to it right now, so if I am home I throw together a big salad and couple it with some beans, tempeh, or a yogurt or goat cheese and maybe whip up some oatmeal pancakes--my ridiculous new obsession or just whole grain bread with almond butter.

If you can get your body used to doing workouts in the morning, you'll find it frees up a lot of your time! Good luck, and not everyone needs to workout 5 times a week. It makes me feel better mentally and physically, but 3 times may be enough to do that for you!

Have a great weekend!