Cut weight. Attain your dream toned body. Maybe even develop abs. Three weeks in 2020, most people already have a list of what they hope to achieve from the hours they’ll spend working out this year. Whether these goals will be achieved or not is a different matter altogether.
But if you haven’t figured out your fitness goals by now, well, this might just be another year to sweat it off in the gym without a good cause, as fitness experts say.
So, what are your fitness goals for 2020? How different are these from your 2019 goals? Any plans on how to attain these? BDLife engages three professionals on what their workout year looks like as a fitness coach offers important tips.
On her Instagram page, where she regularly shares videos of herself working out, Wayua’s bio reads: wife, fitness mama, forever young. After all, she hits the gym five days every week.
Last year, Wayua had hoped to become healthier and fitter. “I managed to find a balance between high intensity training and body building,” she says.
The businesswoman also developed endurance by increasing the number of reps per exercise while watching her time duration.
“I increased my workout days from four to five. I also strived to be stronger by monitoring my weights and increasing them weekly. As a result, I lost several kilogrammes and my muscles became better toned,” she says, adding that being her 11th year working out, she has achieved most of her major milestones in her fitness journey.
This year, Wayua has only one fitness goal: to increase her cardio by incorporating jogging.
On what she’s happiest about, Wayua says she has become disciplined, not just in training, but also in other areas of life.
“I like to push myself to get up early in the morning and to execute every item on my workout list. The refreshing and energetic feeling after a workout session allows me to start my day with a positive mindset,” she adds.
To monitor her performance, she tries out new and complex exercises every month.
Her main setback, she says, is failure to incorporate a proper diet into her fitness journey.
“I don’t have a meal plan that tracks my food portions. I’m unable to tell how much proteins I need, for instance. This year, I’ll be deliberate about consulting a nutritionist.”
Ian’s key fitness highlight in 2019 was his successful participation in the Watamu triathlon, an arduous exercise that involves one kilometre ocean swim, 30 kilometres of bike ride and a seven-kilometre run.
“I’m super proud of myself for these feats. After the triathlon, I appreciated just how far I could stretch my body,” he says.
His plan this year is to build lean muscle, speed and endurance.
“I’ve taken up boxing and hot yoga classes. I believe this will complement my regime to achieve my goal,” he says.
On his biggest workout incentive, the business development manager at Konvergenz says he is a member of a team called Fit Consortium that comprises disciplined fitness enthusiasts.
“We train together every weekend. This helps to keep us accountable for each other’s fitness goals,” Ian says.
At the start of 2019, Scola had hoped to lose weight, to attend four weekly fitness classes and to do outdoor jogging at least once in a week, covering 12 kilometres.
“I weighed 70kg as at the start of 2019. Now I weigh 62kg. I’ve also been consistent in my workout schedule. I train for four days now,” she says. The jogging results aren’t as flattering though, mostly because of laziness, she says.
“I jogged more on the treadmill than I did outdoor runs. I’d get tired and give up easily,’’ she adds, noting that she determined to change that this year. “I hope to be disciplined about my jogging schedule.”
Scola also feels she fell short of pushing her body to the limit last year.
“I took so many breaks from my training regime, which would take a toll on my body whenever I tried to adjust back to the schedule. This year though, I hope to consistent as I start on strength training and body toning,” she says.
To this effect, the sales executive is working closely with her trainers and has also drafted a training programme she believes will work for her.
“I get depressed when I fail to attain my fitness goal. Sometimes I’m quite impatient with my body, which has the counter effect of slowing me down. I hope to overcome this in 2020,” she says.
To attain your desired fitness levels, Patrick Namwambah, a fitness coach and founder of Fulana Sports, says goals have to practical.
“If you want to lose 20kgs, for instance, what are you doing towards this? You must adopt consistent healthy habits such as taking the stairs instead of the lift and cutting down on your intake of animal proteins,” Patrick says, adding that eating a homemade meal instead of takeout goes a long way to ensure that one stays fit.
He cites stress, fatigue, hazy goals and lack of patience for failure to attain fitness goals despite commitment to workout.
“It takes many years to add 20kgs. It’s not realistic to want to cut this weight within a few weeks. The process of breaking down fats in the body takes time,” Patrick says.
So, how much is achievable within a calendar year in terms of fitness? Patrick says output will depend on how much work is put in.
“With a healthy lifestyle and a consistent training regime of five sessions every week, you’ll be able to shed between one and two kilogrammes a week, for instance,” he observes.
On performance assessment, Patrick says one should review their fitness achievements and have performance discussions with their trainer every quarter.
“It’s not the big goals that will help you to attain your desired fitness levels. Rather, it’s the smaller, daily living habits that you put in place, and your consistency,” he notes.
Hoping to burn fats on certain body parts without disorienting other parts is a misconception, Patrick says.
“Your body will shed abdominal and back fats asymmetrically, but you have to be patient,” he warns.
The other misconception is about water intake, he says.
“There are days when your body will demand more water and others when it will demand less, based on your training. It’s not possible to have a standard water intake,” he clarifies.
To people who took up training this year, Patrick advises: “Fitness should be a process and a lifelong goal. Don’t put strict timelines for yourself. See fitness as a 360 degrees approach to a better life. Be consistent. Most importantly be positive about yourself,” he says.
The trainer cautions against adoption of celebrity diets for quick fitness fixes, saying that Kenyans should instead consider local fitness solutions which are more cost-effective.
Patricks recommends yoga, rope skipping and running as alternatives to attending gym sessions, saying that these activities are equally effective.
“There are training videos online, which you can learn from as you work out from the comfort of your house. You only need to be physically active,” he says.