Long and Short Term Fitness Programs, Questions to Ask Your Personal Trainer, Part 5

July 16, 2014 12:18 pm / Posted in

If you’re just joining me in this series on “Questions to Ask Your Personal Trainer,” make sure to start at Part 1 – My Personal Training Philosophy. In this article, I want to talk to you about the difference between long and short term fitness programs, and how they fit into the giant jigsaw puzzle that is your health.

Short vs. Long-Term Fitness Programs

Short Term Fitness Programs

Graph chart with word "success" over it.My short term fitness programs are normally driven by immediately achievable goals. This can involve adding a day of exercise per week, eating more vegetables with every meal, or simply getting to bed at a consistent hour that allows you to get a work out in every morning. This might not sound as attractive as losing a lot of weight very quickly, but they are more likely to lead to lasting results.

They are driven by SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. For example, one of my clients’ fitness programs was to walk every morning for fifteen minutes over the next two weeks. This was more specific than “work out every day.” It was measurable – “15 minutes, every morning.” It was certainly achievable. For someone with very low activity levels, it was definitely relevant. And finally, it was time bound – two weeks. Another SMART goal might be to drink eight glasses of water every day for the next month – or even to add one more day of exercise this week.

The importance is that the goals deliver immediate results. This helps build momentum towards achieving your long term fitness goals.

Long Term Fitness Programs

Long term fitness programs require time, consistency and effort. I prefer to break them down into a series of smaller, achievable steps. I hate to see people set a long term fitness goal, only to fail because they set their sights too high. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t dream big, but rather that big victories are earned one small step at a time.

Long term fitness programs are also driven by SMART goals. One might be to lose 10% body fat within one year. Another might be to run a 5KM race by May 2015. These types of goals are, by virtue of their time horizon, more vague, but they need to be grounded in a realistic outcome if you are to yield results.

Do I Offer Long or Short Term Fitness Programs?

The short answer to this question is “both.” Many of my clients will come to me for a short time, but many more stay with me for the long haul. I definitely see better results when there is a longer commitment, but there’s no reason someone can’t come in to learn how to set themselves on the right track in the short term.

Book a no-commitment, free appointment at my Ottawa studio and I can answer most of the questions you might have about the fitness programs that are right for you.

Read the Rest of the Questions to Ask Your Personal Trainer Series:

1 – Part 1: My Personal Training and Fitness Philosophy

2 – Part 2: How I Stay in Shape

3 – Part 3: My Opinion on Supplements

4 – Part 4: My Certifications

5 – Part 6: How Many Times a Week Do I Train Clients? (coming soon)

6 – Part 7: Why Did I Become a Personal Trainer? (coming soon)


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