A number of years ago I was milling about at a company Thanksgiving function. I overheard the wife of one of my coworkers talking about exercise. Apparently someone had just started an exercise routine and they were discussing it. This coworker’s wife has a bit of an ego and seems like a bit of a know-it-all. She started discussing exercise goals. Not really in a beneficial manner, but more condescending, like “if you don’t have any goals you may as well not be exercising.” Her manner was a bit abrasive, but I think underneath there is some validity to having a goal. That moment stuck with me, as it just seemed a little funny to watch her be so serious and disgusted that someone could exercise without a goal.
I’m not sure you need a goal if you want to start getting active. A goal may help of you want to work at something, but getting more active is goal enough in our sedentary society.
Even so, a goal gives you something to work towards. Given that, here are my fitness goals.
Goal #1: Outrun the other person running from a bear. (Run one mile)
The old joke goes like this:
Two campers are walking through the forest when they suddenly encounter a grizzly bear. The bear rears up on his hind legs and lets out a terrifying roar. Both campers are frozen in their tracks.
The first camper whispers, “I’m sure glad I wore my running shoes today.”
“It doesn’t matter what kind of shoes you’re wearing, you’re not gonna outrun that bear,” replies the second.
“I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun YOU,” he answers.
Basically, in that situation I’d be bear food. I want to be able to run fast enough and far enough to get out of danger when need be, or at least run faster and farther than most everyone else. I figure running one mile is enough to outrun most everyone else.
Goal #2: Escape Disaster or Arrive on Time (Run one mile quickly)
Whenever I finally run a full mile, I suspect my first time will be a slow run. After that I’ll be looking to improve my speed.
When the end of the world comes later this year, I want to have a running chance at staying alive. I figure if I can run quickly I may be able to escape some disasters. Say the earth splits open, I may be able to outrun that crack that slowly opens across the landscape. Or maybe I need to outrun a slow rising flood or a rapid lava flow. Running one mile quickly should be able to cover those scenarios.
Another case might be when I’m late for a flight and I need to sprint across the airport. I don’t fly often and I usually arrive hours early, but you never know. If I can sprint for one mile I might just be able to catch that flight.
Goal #3: Be able to keep up with my daughter on the playground.
When I was a kid, I was all over the playground. I loved the monkey bars and basically anything that I could climb on or hang from. Now that I have a child of my own I’ve had a chance to revisit the playground that has been out of my life for so long.
Guess what. It’s not like it used to be. Well, for one thing playgrounds don’t have any of that fun dangerous equipment anymore, but aside from that I just can’t keep up with the kids anymore. Every time I tried to hang from the monkey bars I felt like my arms were being ripped off.
After just four weeks of daily exercise I have seen dramatic results in my ability to play on a playground. I can make it all the way across the monkey bars now. I can also climb up and slide down the fireman’s pole. I’m looking to improve upon the ease of these things, but I’m nearly ready to declare this goal met.
Goal #4: Be able to bike to work. (Ride 10 miles in less than 1 hour)
I would love to be able to bike to work. I’m not sure I would do it often (or at all), but I’d at least like to have the option. My current bike is a single speed beach cruiser. Not the ideal commuter bike, but it sure makes for a comfortable leisure ride.
I would like to be able to maintain an average speed of 10 miles per hour so that I can make it to work in an hour. On certain bikes this might be easier, but I don’t own those bikes, I own a beach cruiser. I’m going to make use of what I have to attempt this goal.
I have a 4.5 mile loop staked out near our apartment, where I can ride without crossing any major streets. That’s a good loop to practice on as it’s relatively safe and I can mostly stay out of traffic. At some point, I’m going to start mixing in some biking with my running to work on this goal.
Goal #5: Lose my spare tire
Back in my high school days my stomach was nice and flat. I’d like to drop my spare tire and return to something resembling a flat stomach. I not looking for a six pack, just something more flat than round. So far I’m mostly focusing on fitness, but I may have to look at some changes to my diet to complete this goal.
That’s it. Five goals to work towards as I Rethink Fitness.
Do you have any fitness goals set, or do you prefer the simple goal of just being more active? I’d love to hear what you are working towards.