What Are Your Fitness Goals And What They Actually Mean?

What are your fitness goals and what they actually mean? 

If your fitness goals sounds measurable and specific, such as “I want to do a shoulder press with 20-pound dumbbells instead of 18 in 4 weeks” or “I want to reduce my body fat percentage by 0.5 in 6 weeks”, don’t read that post. You are good to go. 

Most of the time, however, fitness goals with us ladies are quite vague. This is why sometimes they never get achieved and fall into the “failed resolutions” category. Which is a shame because goals set correctly can potentially get you someplace amazing. Like “Being toned” or “fit”. 

So what do most popular vague goals actually mean?

“I want to tone up”

I want to tone upWhat you want is to develop muscle mass – and this is where you say “But I don’t want to get big”. Most weight lifting myths are debunked by now, so you probably know that with your low testosterone level your chances of getting big doing strength training are fairly slim. It takes more than 3 gym workouts a week and an odd Zumba or pilates class to build muscle hypertrophy. The amount of training, discipline, recovery, meal planning and sometimes not quite legal supplement going into “getting big” is unbelievable. So don’t be afraid to say “I want to develop muscle” because that’s what essentially “toning up” means.

“I want to lose weight” (quite often followed by “and tone up”)I want to lose weight

What you actually want is to reduce your body fat mass. With the same number on the scales, you can look quite differently after a few months of consistent strength training. Your measurements, your posture, the way your clothes fit and, most importantly, how you feel would be way more important than your weight. Don’t obsess over it (unless your BMI is higher than recommended for your age – and even in this case not because of the aesthetics but because of the pressure on your joints). 

“I want a flat stomach”I want a flat stomach

 No amount of crunches and even planks will give you “flat stomach” – it takes a low body fat percent for your abs to actually show, and most of the work will be happening in the kitchen. Instagram fitness models with their six-packs shouldn’t inspire you – you don’t know what and how much or how little they eat. For most women, reducing body fat down to a “visible six-pack” level means sticking to quite restricted diet and, honestly, sometimes it’s not worth the effort. Female bodies just love to store fat around the waistlines and I can live with half an inch of fat covering my abs as long as I don’t have to cut my carbs and log all my meals. There’s more to abs however than a six-pack – strong core muscles provide great support for your lower back preventing its pain and injuries, so plank away!

“I want to get fit” I want to get fit

 Fitness is a broad term. Sometimes, weight lifters are struggling running a relaxed 5K distance, and cardio bunnies can’t reach their own toes. Define what being fit means to you. Personally, I want to be able to walk up the stairs without breathing like Darth Vader, enjoy a dance or a kickboxing class without dying and teach my own cardio class both jumping around and instructing. I’m in my very late thirties, so working on flexibility is more a necessity than wanting to impress someone with standing splits. I need to develop muscle to help prevent arthritis and other sexy changes happening to our bodies as they age. Why do you need to be fit? 

Last but not least – “I want to look like… “

I want to look like

Instagram with its filters, light, good angles and influencers has a lot to answer for. Remember, people on these pictures only appear real. Sometimes it takes up to 40 minutes to get one good picture – not quite instant, eh? The way people look has a lot to do with their age, genetics, location (I’d love to stick to Kayla’s fruit and cappuccinos based diet but I’m afraid it’s not quite realistic in bonnie Scotland). If you have kids, work full time and have some social life going on, you can’t compare yourself with someone whose only job is to work out and flex for insta-stories. You and only your dear self should be the reference point for your looks. 

So what are your fitness goals ladies?  

Anastasia Petrova Fitness Trainer London

Anastasia Petrova,
Owner and Founder at Burn and Tone Workout,
Fitness Trainer at Curves Edinburgh Northwest,
Brand Ambassador at Kelta Fit