Why Exercise Plans have to be SMART
So, it wasn’t so positive; again, I try to do more than my veins are able for because I think I’m able to do anything, my head says I can but the veins in my body say I can’t and I find that so frustrating. So, on Tuesday I decided to have a day off the bike and rest the veins. My plan was to get back on it on Wednesday for 5 minutes with the brake reset to what it was last week – probably a wise choice I thought.
However, I got to thinking about who is actually in charge of my body, is it me wanting to go for it, or is it my head telling me what I should do for the best? There is only one answer to that and its me going for it. So, instead of doing 5 minutes and building up again I went straight for the 10 minutes. This was fine for both rides on Wednesday and also for Thursday morning, but my veins were moaning a bit on Thursday afternoon, so they got a rest. The same happened on Friday when I gave them a rest but for the weekend I got all 4 sessions in and I was delighted with myself.
If you look at the chart at the heartbeat figure you can see it decreasing over the week as I am finding the exercise easier, this is very positive for me. Also, if you look at the Borg test next to the minutes it says t for talk after each exercise. This is also very positive because when I think back to when I started I could only do 2 minutes and I was out of breath with burning legs but now I’m able for 10 minutes at a relative canter – oh and that canter is at a cadence of between 100-110 by the way.
So, where am I in my journey to get fit. I think I’m doing great to be honest, sure I’m having a few vein issues but that’s just growing pains, the bigger picture and the longer game is that I’m getting fitter and I feel it. That’s because I have a plan, a plan thats SMART which is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. The plan that was made for me is all of these things and I think that for us to achieve any goal which requires any effort and any amount of determination needs to be SMART because if its not it will fail in the element it doesn’t achieve. I’ll define why I think my plan is SMART;
- Specific; My plan was designed for me to achieve to goals I wanted to reach, it wasn’t vague it was specific to me improving my breathing and in so doing losing some weight along the way.
- Measurable; I have 3 main ways of measuring my improvements, my heartbeat, the Borg test and my weight. All 3 are good indicators of improvement but when used together, especially when used with a Fitbit, can bring gamification to the plan and that’s highly motivational in itself.
- Achievable; The plan had to be achievable for me to start it and remain positive when it wasn’t so easy. This it definitely was, for example starting with 2 minutes on the bike on day one, it looked like it wouldn’t do any good at all, but I was wrong because after it I was out of breath and my legs were burning. It’s been like that all the way through, my targets have always got tougher but they’ve always been achievable and this in itself has given me bags of encouragement to keep on going.
- Realistic; Would I really do this, was I able for it, could I keep to the schedule, could I keep myself motivated? – these were things my friend had to take on board when making my exercise plan. The Gyms have been closed for 3 months due to Covid, so the plan had to use what was available to me. So, yes my exercise plan was very realistic because it used my spin bike and later introduced yoga, both of which was available to me and I was able to use and enjoy at home.
- Timely; I’m not a spring chicken, but I’m not as old as the Ark either, I certainly don’t feel it anyway. But I do weigh more than I should and although I do a physical job, I feel my body is losing some flexibility and tightening up. On reflection I think those two things are linked together, I hadn’t actually realised that before I started my plan. So yes, this is very timely for me, there are certain points in life when action has to be taken and for me this is one of those times.
I feel sure that if any of those elements weren’t there in my exercise plan it wasn’t going to be the positive experience it is turning out to be. I think if I took out any one of those five headings my plan would struggle, and I could well use it as a reason to pull out. Read them again if you want to and think about it, if you were going to start an exercise plan now could you fill in all of those headings and complete your plan? If you think not then do what you need to do to fix it, none of them are too onerous, and when you’ve done that just go for it.