A Time to Go for New Goals

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Spring cleaning. Spring planting. Spring training. There’s a reason this season ignites action after a long winter. Each day seems to breathe new motivation into our lives — to make fun plans, to get things in order, or to set fresh intentions, especially when it comes to our health and fitness.

Personal trainers often see renewed enthusiasm and determination in their clients when it comes to setting movement goals during the spring. “Many people realize some of the activities they’ve been looking forward to all winter are now just around the corner, and they may not be as prepared as they hoped,” says Alec Blenis, Dynamic Personal Trainer at Life Time in St. Louis Park, Minn. “But it’s never too late to get started.”

“People often come in during the spring with specific goals for being in better shape for activities like golf, tennis, and outdoor water sports,” adds Ashley Drazkowski, also a Dynamic Personal Trainer at Life Time in St. Louis Park, Minn. “But no matter what their goal is, I’d encourage anyone to take advantage of the energy of the season and use it to help ‘spring’ them forward.”

Here, a few Life Time Dynamic Personal Trainers share how they help their clients set goals and get started on the path to reaching them this time of year.

Setting Spring Training Goals

“I want to be healthier” is a sentiment trainers commonly hear, but it can sometimes be hard to figure out how to turn that desire into something more specific and achievable. Blenis suggests starting with thinking about the activities you already love to do.

“Some people don’t have very specific goals, and that’s OK!” he says. “I always try to zoom in on their personal preferences and past experiences. For example, if someone loves playing pickleball, a strength and conditioning plan that helps their game can ensure their workouts are fun and engaging while also supporting overall health.”

When a client comes to him without a clear goal in mind, Dynamic Personal Trainer Mark Brown — who’s based at the Life Time in Flower Mound, Texas —  likes to ask, “when is a time in your life when you felt your best?”

“Usually, I’ll see their face light up and they’ll reflect on a time when they felt great,” he says. “Knowing what it was about that time that made them feel good — perhaps they had more energy throughout the day or were engaging in more social activities, for example — allows me to work with them to come up with a game plan that’s informed by their past but fits their current lifestyle.”

Goals aren’t everything, though, Blenis notes. The key to success is to break your objective into smaller, achievable targets. “Goals are great, but simply having one isn’t enough,” he says. “What you need is direction and hope. This means, your goals must be realistic and attainable with a clear action plan. You’re more likely to feel excited about a goal that feels attainable, providing the hope you need to inspire you to act.

“I help my clients break down their big goals and set milestones to conquer one at a time,” he continues. “We focus on creating a plan that they can stick with consistently, even if it’s not exactly perfect.”

5 Common Training Goals for Spring

1. I want to lose weight or improve my overall health.

This is one of the most popular goals for the season, according to Blenis, Brown, and Drazkowski.

“Many people have similar general goals, such as improving their body composition, getting healthier, or just feeling better and more confident in their daily life,” says Blenis.

As the weather gets warmer and vacations are booked, “the biggest desire I hear around this time is, ‘I want to lean out,’” says Brown. “For this type of goal, the first thing I check in on is nutrition. I often find myself debunking myths people hear on social media from nonfitness-professionals. Then, we focus on a healthy-eating plan and water intake as well as a sustainable workout plan.

If your spring goals are more general, implementing a new healthy habit can be an easy way to start. Take stock of what your current habits are and where you have opportunity: Can you aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water daily? Can you start including protein at most meals? Can you get in some level of movement each day?

2. I want to train for an athletic event.

Running, biking, and triathlon events are popular in the spring and summer. If you’re training for one of these endeavors, creating a plan and finding support is key.

“The first step is to commit to an event,” says Drazkowski. “Once a date is set, you can create a training schedule to set you up for success. I always suggest finding a partner or group that is working toward the same or a similar event to keep you accountable even when you’re not feeling the motivation.”

Working with a personal trainer along the way can help you avoid injury and optimize your training plan. “People with specific performance goals often seek professional support for injury prevention, maintaining mobility, or simply trying to make the most efficient use of their time and energy,” Blenis says.

If your goal is to complete a 5K, this 90-day, beginner-friendly plan could be a resource.

3. I want to train for strength or power lifting.

Strength training can help you build muscle and burn fat — and it also goes a long way in supporting your overall health. If you’re just starting out or are wanting to take your training to the next level, Drazkowski recommends working with a fitness professional to get the right progressive plan in place.

“A certified personal trainer can help ensure you’re getting the most out of your workouts,” she says. “Learning how to strength train properly will pay dividends in the long run for both your progress and time.”

If you prefer to work out in a group setting, Life Time’s Alpha signature group training classes are centered around Olympic-style lifting and metabolic conditioning.

4. I want to train for everyday life and to be healthy for my family.

Whether you’re seeking to keep up with kiddos or just want to feel more energy throughout the day, fitness professionals will tell you to take time for yourself and find a variety of workouts you enjoy.

“For my clients who are parents and want to be active in their children’s lives, I recommend yoga for flexibility and high-intensity-interval-training workouts to help keep endurance up and hearts healthy,” says Brown. “Running behind a toddler can feel like an obstacle course event, so workouts that keep you on your toes will help do the trick.”

It’s all about committing time to yourself, adds Drazkowski. “It’s OK to keep it simple. Find a cardiovascular activity that you enjoy, such as biking, hiking, running, or swimming, and combine that with a resistance-training program — or even just pushups and sit-ups at home.”

5. I want to train for active hobbies like hiking, paddling, or climbing.

Many outdoor activities have surged in popularity over the last few years, and spending time in nature is essential for our mental well-being. If you’re training to be trail- or paddle-ready, certain exercises that target your legs for walking on terrain or back muscles for carrying a load, for example, can work to your advantage.

(Learn more: “Workouts to Train Your Body for Outdoor Adventures”)

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