Setting Your Fitness Goals
It's a new year, and with that comes New Year's Resolutions. For many people, health and fitness goals are at the top of the list. In fact, according to a study from the Bank of Montreal, in 2014 the top resolutions for Canadians were about health and fitness (with personal finance as the number two issue).
Setting a resolution or having a specific goal is a great start, but to reach your goal you need to do three things, says Steve Brown, general manager of Flaman Fitness in Burlington.
“You have to make a plan and schedule your workouts, you have to be disciplined to keep to the plan and you have to make sacrifices," says Brown, who does Ironman races – a combined 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike ride and a full 42.2 km marathon. To keep in shape, Brown wakes up at 4:30 a.m. in the morning so he can get in a workout and still have time for work and spending time with his wife and daughter.
“You have to find the schedule and plan that will work for you and your lifestyle," Brown notes. “Everyone has their own personal motivation that will keep them going."
Whatever your goals are, whether it's running a marathon or a 5 km race, losing weight or just being active with your kids, you need to find the right equipment to suit your goal.
“Equipment is a means to an end," explains Brown. “The type of equipment will depend on your goal. If you want to lose weight, for example, you should look at cardio equipment. That's equipment that gets your heart rate going, like treadmills, bikes or ellipticals. The best piece out there is the Bowflex Treadclimber because it's a three-in-one machine: a treadmill, an elliptical and a stepper. You burn more calories quicker – three times the rate compared to any of those machines on their own. It's easy on the body and protects your knees and lower back. And you only need 15-20 minutes, three 3 times a week."
So how do you know what kind of equipment to get? When looking at treadmills, Brown says to consider how many people are going to use it and if you'll be walking, jogging or running.
“You can get a great value treadmill like the Lifespan 1200 with basic console features. There are also a lot of options available when it comes to technology. Many treadmills come with hook ups for your MP3 player or software to track workout data. One example of that is the Freemotion 6.9 treadmill, which hooks up to the Internet so you can watch news or be on social media while exercising."
For ellipticals, Brown says different models have different stride lengths and you'll need one that's appropriate for you. “There are also some like the Progression 500 elliptical where you can adjust the stride from 18-26 inches to accommodate everyone in the household," he notes.
“At Flaman Fitness we've brought in a variety of cardio equipment that have many different features depending on your goal."
“You want something with a variety of exercises and an adjustable seat and arms to fit your body size. Machines like the Bowflex Xtreme have an adjustable seat and handle to accommodate all users. You'll also want something compact to fit in most spaces."
When buying equipment, you also want to make sure you have the right amount of space in your home says Brown, and it's good to have a budget in mind when you're shopping.
But whatever your resolution is, Brown stresses, once you've made that goal, the most important thing to do is take that first step towards a healthier lifestyle.
“We believe that health and fitness is for everyone," he says. “Today's the day to start your fitness journey. You can start in any way – eating one less cookie or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. It's all about taking that first step."