Fitness Goal for Beginners – Introduction
What are the most realistic fitness goals for beginners to achieve?
While most people understand the need to exercise, many fitness enthusiasts struggle to maintain a regular workout routine.
In many cases, that’s because the benefits of physical activity can seem kind of vague.
Things like losing weight, getting fit, and getting stronger are not always quantifiable, so it’s easy to forget why working out is (or should be!) so important.
One way around this problem is by setting and working toward specific fitness goals.
For example, if you were an athlete, you might set the goal of competing in the next Olympics.
With that goal always on your mind, you are much less likely to skip out on your workouts.
Or maybe you’re a budding powerlifter, so you set yourself the goal of deadlifting double your body weight.
Again, with this goal driving your workouts, you should have fewer problems staying motivated and sticking to your training schedule.
But what if you are a beginner at the start of your fitness journey?
What realistic goals should you work toward?
This article will suggest TEN different fitness goals perfect for newbie exercisers.
10 Realistic Fitness Goals for Beginners
Don’t try and achieve all ten workout goals at the same time.
Instead, pick just 2-3, reach them, and switch your sights to a new goal.
That way, you have short-term and long-term fitness goals, and your workouts will always have a purpose that goes beyond just getting fit or losing weight.
Beginner Fitness Goal Examples
#1. Eat five servings of vegetables or fruit every day
As the saying goes, you are what you eat.
Food provides your body with energy in the form of calories, but your body needs more.
You also need to keep your body supplied with vitamins and minerals, plus fiber to function correctly.
The most abundant sources of these nutrients are vegetables and fruit.
It can often be hard to find the time to stop and cook healthy meals with today’s hectic lifestyle.
Instead, we fill up on takeouts, ready meals, and sugary snacks.
That’s part of what makes it so hard to lose weight.
Eating more vegetables and fruit is an easy lifestyle change to lower your calorie intake while making your diet more nutritious.
No time to cook?
You can eat a lot of vegetables and almost all fruits raw.
Eating five servings of vegetables and fruit a day will help ward off hunger, so you are less tempted to eat junk food and boost almost every aspect of your overall health.
You’ll probably lose weight too.
#2. Walk 10,000 steps a day for 30 days
Many people I meet ask me to write them an exercise program.
I’ve done this in the past, but invariably, they don’t follow it for long, and I waste my time.
So, I tell them to walk 10,000 steps for 30 days straight, and then I’ll write you a program.
People who show this level of commitment are much more likely to stick to the program I write, whereas someone who can’t or won’t walk 10,000 steps for 30 days probably won’t.
Walking is one of the best general fitness exercises you can do.
It’s easy but still an effective way to lose weight and get fitter.
Try walking 10,000 steps a day for 30 days.
Once you reach that goal, do it again!
This dedication will soon affect other aspects of your life, improving your willpower and determination.
#3. Lose ten pounds
Even if you need to lose more than ten pounds, dropping your first ten is one of a beginner’s most productive fitness goals.
Besides the health benefits of dropping ten pounds, it’s also a realistic goal and manageable within a reasonable timeframe.
Big goals that take months to achieve are often forgotten simply because they seem unobtainable.
Losing ten pounds is a significant accomplishment but not so lofty that you feel defeated before starting.
Most people should be able to lose ten pounds in six to eight weeks without resorting to starvation diets or crazy workouts.
Need to lose more than ten pounds?
Forget about it!
Just think about the next ten-pound” “block.”
That’s the best way to maintain your motivation.
#4. Plank for a minute
Most people want a flatter, firmer midsection.
Some may even dream of a six-pack.
The plank is a simple yet effective core exercise that you can do anywhere and anytime, ideal for home exercisers.
While there is nothing magical about planking for a minute, it’s a good target worth pursuing.
Start off doing 2-3 sets of 20-30 seconds and increase gradually from there.
When you can do a minute of planking, look for ways to make your core workout harder and not just longer.
There isn’t much value to planking for 5-10 minutes.
Useful plank progressions include the:
- stability ball plank,
- hollow holds, and
- pot stirrers
#5. Do 20 perfect push-ups
Push-ups are one of the best excuse-free exercises.
Working your chest, shoulders, and triceps, you can do push-ups almost anywhere and anytime, and they are the ideal accompaniment to deadlifts.
While push-ups work the muscles of your anterior chain (front of the body), deadlifts work your posterior chain (back half of your body).
As a result, you can get a total body workout with these two great compound movements.
Now that is minimalist training that you can do at home with only two exercises.
Twenty push-ups are a good goal, especially if we’re talking perfect push-ups, with your body straight, abs braced, and lowering your chest to the floor each rep.
Start out doing 2-3 sets of as many as you can, two to three times a week.
Gradually increase the number of reps.
When you can do three sets of 12-15, you should be ready to do a single set of 20 reps.
If 20 reps sound too much right now, work on hitting ten perfect push-ups first and then increasing.
#6. Do your first pull-up
Pull-ups are a challenging exercise from which many exercisers shy away.
That’s because doing even one can seem impossible.
However, with some effort and dedication, most people (including women) can work up to doing a single pull-up.
It is worth your while to work towards achieving your first pull-up because of the tremendous benefits of pull-ups.
There are several ways to build the strength necessary to do pull-ups, including:
- Lat pulldowns
- Band-assisted pull-ups
- Machine-assisted pull-ups
- Negative pull-ups (lower yourself down, use your legs to climb up)
- Incline rows
As you improve at these pull-up assistance exercises, your strength will improve, and it won’t be too long before you crank out your first pull-up.
#7. Do five pull-ups
So, you’ve done one pull-up; what’s next?
The next logical target is five reps.
Do three sets of 1-3 pull-ups a couple of times a week, working on doing more reps per set as you get stronger.
You can also use the pull-up assistance exercises outlined above to supplement your pull-up training.
It might take you a few months, but eventually, you’ll be able to do five straight pull-ups, and that’s a fitness feat worth boasting about!
#8. Run a mile non-stop
A mile can seem like a long way if you are new to running.
However, in time and with a bit of training, most people should be able to run one mile without stopping.
If you are new to running, start with brisk walking, broken up with a bit of jogging.
Alternate between walking and jogging for 15-20 minutes for a few workouts.
Then, as you get fitter, try to walk less and jog more.
Also, work out for longer, e.g., 25-30 minutes.
Continue walking/jogging for a few weeks until you can comfortably run for 10-15 minutes without stopping.
You are now ready to run a measured mile.
Don’t try and set any speed records your first time out.
Instead, focus on covering the distance.
You can go faster next time!
#9. Deadlift your bodyweight
Running is not the only type of workout to change your body and help you embrace a healthier lifestyle.
Weight training is a super productive way to build muscle, melt body fat, and achieve your weight loss goals.
Without resorting to crash diets!
In short, you may find (like I did), that making resistance training part of your life could be the magic key to achieving your physical and mental health goals.
While there are many great compound movements to choose from, the deadlift is often called the king of barbell strength training exercises.
It practically works all the major muscle groups of your body, is relatively straightforward to learn, and all you need to do deadlifts is a barbell and some weight plates.
You don’t even need a squat rack.
Deadlifting will do you good regardless of how much weight you lift, but you’ll make faster progress if you work toward a specific goal, such as deadlifting your body weight.
How about 50% of what you weigh?
Over the next few months, gradually increase your weights as you decrease your reps until you mostly lift in sets of 3-5 reps.
Then focus exclusively on adding more weight to the bar.
Make sure you focus on your form and don’t sacrifice good technique for more weight.
When you can do 4-5 five reps with 80% of your body weight, you should be able to lift what you weigh for one repetition.
#10. Run a 5k non-stop
5k is just over three miles, so this goal is a step up from goal #1.
However, achieving it involves using the same walk/jog system you used to run a mile.
Like the previous step, try to walk less and run more until you are confident you can run 5k without stopping.
Focus on completing the distance before you start going for speed.
Need some extra motivation?
Realistic Fitness Goals for Beginners – Wrapping Up
Some of the most realistic fitness goal examples for beginners include:
- Eat five servings of vegetables or fruit every day
- Walk 10,000 steps a day for 30 days
- Lose 10 pounds
- Hold a plank for a minute
- Do 20 perfect push-ups
- Get your first pull-up
- Do five pull-ups
- Run a mile non-stop
- Run a 5k non-stop
- Deadlift your body weight
However, working out without a goal is like going on a long journey without a map!
You MIGHT get to where you want to go, but it’ll be blind luck if you do.
Also, your journey will take longer than it could have, as you’ll probably get lost a few times.
You may even quit entirely and go back home!
Having fitness goals is a great way to help keep you focused.
Also, knowing that you are working toward something specific means you’ll be less likely to give up.
Make your goal even more effective by adding a deadline, such as “I’ll run 5k without stopping in three months.”
Timeframes like this add a little urgency to your endeavors, making it even less likely that you’ll miss workouts along the way.
Of course, you don’t HAVE to set goals, and indeed, many exercisers are happy working out without them.
However, if your motivation and willpower need a boost, setting goals from any of the above examples can help.
If you are a novice exerciser, your body will adjust fast to your new workouts, and you’ll see your body transform almost weekly.
However, within a six-month time frame, your gains may stall, and you might start to lose interest in your new exercise routine.
Fortunately, there is a method to remain motivated – goal setting.
While the ten fitness objectives above are short-term goals, attainable in less than three to six months, long-term goals are arguably more valuable for year-round workout commitment.
This next article – 5 Long-Term Fitness Goals to Get Leaner & Stronger In 2023, explains how to develop SMART goals for the long run and provides five examples.