Setting exercise goals

Fitness Q & A

February 04, 2005|By Gailor Large | Gailor Large,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I enjoy setting goals for myself, but when it comes to exercise, I never seem to achieve them. It's just too easy to skip days or slack off. What can I do to stick with it?

Think baby steps. Setting goals works only if they're realistic. Lofty, unattainable targets will set you up for disappointment.

Choose short-term and long-term goals. For example: "By the end of February, I want to run 1 mile without stopping" and "I will enter and run a 10K race before the end of 2005."

As you meet these goals, reward yourself accordingly. If you successfully run a mile without stopping before Feb. 28, treat yourself to a deep-tissue massage. Larger goals achieved deserve large rewards. And each time you reach a milestone, immediately set the next goal.

I once used a lot of butter and olive oil in my recipes. I've lost 25 pounds over the past year through healthier cooking and daily walks, but I'm getting tired of using only lemon juice, garlic and salt and pepper to season my dishes. Can you recommend any tricks for spicing up nutritious cooking?

Here are 10 tasty toppers to spice up your recipes for good:

1. Chili peppers and bottled hot sauces.

2. Herbs like oregano, basil, tarragon and rosemary.

3. Cilantro.

4. Soy and teriyaki sauces (light versions are best).

5. Vinegars like balsamic, blood orange, red wine, pear, rice or cider.

6. Mustards.

7. Curry powders and chutneys.

8. Onions, shallots and parsley.

9. Low-calorie bottled marinades and salad dressings.

10. Citrus juices and peels.

10 1/2 . Keep using olive oil, but in moderation. It's good for you.

I've been taking a kickboxing class for almost a month, but I'm still not seeing results. Should I give up?

If you don't feel challenged, then yes. But if you want to switch classes simply because you don't have bulging biceps and washboard abs after 30 days, relax. The results will come.

For now, instead of thinking about your body, concentrate on the other benefits of your kickboxing class, like the way it boosts your mood, provides an escape from daily stress and helps you sleep better.

Do you have a fitness question? You can submit questions via e-mail to, or online at, or in writing to The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.

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