Beginning Your Fitness Journey: Setting Realistic Goals


As exciting as a new health and wellness journey can be, staying motivated long-term requires realistic fitness goals. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle, enhance endurance, or improve overall well-being, setting smart fitness goals can help you stay motivated over time.

Luckily, our Silicon Valley Athletics personal trainers know exactly how to set realistic fitness goals. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to set them, get into a fitness routine, and track your progress.

The First Step: Beginning Your Fitness Journey

New year, new you, right? If you’re thinking about starting a fitness journey this year, you should know that there’s no better time to start than now. If you give yourself a realistic time frame, you can make valuable progress over time.

Just think of it this way: if your goal is to get into shape for the summer, more time gives you more opportunities to tackle that goal. Realistic goals are the foundation of any fitness journey, serving as the compass that guides you through the inevitable ups and downs.

How to Set Realistic Fitness Goals

Setting realistic fitness goals requires you to align your abilities with a timeframe to achieve the goal over time. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to establish fitness goals that keep you motivated:

  • Define Your Ultimate Fitness Goal Using the SMART Framework:
    To start setting realistic fitness goals, you must first determine your goal. The best goals utilize the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound) framework. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into some ideal goals.
  • Turn Goals into Achievable Milestones:
    Divide your ultimate goal into smaller, achievable milestones. These smaller goals act as stepping stones in your larger fitness journey, making it more manageable and allowing you to celebrate every win you make along the way.
  • Consider Your Current Fitness Level:
    It’s important to assess your current fitness level in a judgment-free way. Understanding your endurance, strength, and overall fitness is key to creating realistic fitness goals. With that knowledge, you can formulate a challenging and rewarding exercise routine.
  • Set Time-Bound Goals:
    Establish time-bound goals with specific deadlines. This creates a sense of urgency, preventing procrastination, and pushing you to consistently work towards your objectives.
  • Regularly Reassess and Adjust:
    Periodically reassess your fitness goals and adjust them based on your progress. This flexibility ensures that your goals remain challenging yet realistic as you continue your journey.


10 Realistic Fitness Goals To Try

1. Daily Walks and Walking Programs

You don’t need to do backflips to make meaningful progress toward your fitness goals. If you want to start losing weight, build cardio, or just feel a little healthier, daily walks and walking programs are a fantastic start. After just two weeks of walking regularly, you can start to notice improvements in your blood pressure and stronger leg muscles.


  • Walk with a friend or family member for accountability and conversation.
  • Choose scenic routes that bring you a sense of enjoyment.
  • Walk for at least 10 minutes, increasing to 15-20 minutes after the first two weeks.
  • Practice walking 3-3.5 mph on the treadmill in your home or at the gym.

2. Building Flexibility

Improving your flexibility is a great way to challenge yourself and improve your fitness on a busy schedule. With short and simple yoga challenges and regular stretching, you can increase your body’s range of motion, prevent injuries, and energize yourself.


  • Find yoga challenges on YouTube, or work with a personal trainer for more comprehensive stretching guides.
  • Stretch for at least 10 minutes per day.
  • Stretch in the morning and after workouts to support blood flow to muscles and joints throughout the day.
  • Choose stretches that work the stiffest parts of your body.
  • Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds.
  • Use music to motivate and relax yourself during your stretching session.

3. Boosting Core Strength

Whether you’re looking to build muscle or not, your core is one of the most important parts of your body. It’s responsible for your body’s injury resistance, stability, and posture, with the ability to reduce that pesky lower back pain so many people suffer with. You can achieve these benefits with simple exercises, or work toward building impressive core muscles.


  • Practice core-focused exercises (planks, pilates, leg raises, etc.) for at least 10 minutes.
  • Dedicate time to working your core at least 3 times per week.
  • Hold plank exercises as long as you can, working toward a minute over time.

4. Weight Lifting

If you’ve never tried lifting weights before, this could just be the year to build your muscles. Or, if you have lifted weights in the past, try making your workout routine more challenging. Weights are a form of strength training that increases lean body mass and bone density, helping you sculpt your appearance, become stronger, and boost your overall health.


  • Start training for 30 minutes or less, 2 to 3 times per week.
  • If possible, train with a professional trainer to ensure proper form and prevent injury.
  • Lift weights that feel challenging, but not painful. Listen to your body carefully and stop lifting when you’re at your limit. Microtears in the muscles are beneficial, but actual injuries that are the result of pushing yourself too hard will only delay progress. 
  • Get in touch with local communities to gather more tips and share your accomplishments.

5. Practice Meditation

Your mind is just as important for your overall health and fitness as your body. To train your discipline, reduce stress, and improve your sleep, try practicing regular meditation. This fitness goal can be achieved by anyone, regardless of your current physical condition.


  • Start meditating for at least 5 minutes per day, increasing the time you spend practicing over time. 
  • Find a comfortable place in your home free from distractions.
  • Contact a personal trainer or download meditation apps to target specific issues (i.e. sleep, anxiety, stress).
  • Find music that helps you enter a meditative mind state.

6. Get Into A New Sport

Sports are a fantastic way to have fun and build hobbies while pursuing achievable fitness goals. You can build muscle, lose weight, and improve your health by starting a sport at home, or joining a local sports recreational team. Not sure what to practice? Research sports that align with your fitness goals and personal interests.


  • Utilize personal trainers, coaches, and programs to learn the proper techniques.
  • Find friends that practice your sport of interest.
  • Practice your sport for at least 30 minutes 2-3 times per week. 
  • Be patient when learning a new skill, giving yourself the time and space to master fundamental concepts.

 10 Realistic Fitness Goals To Try

7. Focus on Cardio Endurance

If you’re looking to expand your cardio endurance more deeply, there are many ways to meet that goal. Simple jogging, running, and rowing can strengthen your heart and respiratory muscles, reduce cholesterol and arterial blood pressure, and even optimize your metabolic rate.


  • If you lack fitness equipment or a gym membership, try jogging and running outdoors. Map your route to exercise for 20-30 minutes 2 days per week. To avoid overworking yourself, run for only 2-4 minutes at a time, and not every day. 
  • Use a treadmill, rowing machine, jump ropes, ellipticals, and more to boost your cardio. 
  • Talk to a personal trainer about ways you can challenge yourself without risk of injury.
  • Whether you’re measuring by mile, time, or speed, work toward new milestones as you improve your physical fitness.

8. Incorporate a Regular Exercise Routine

If you’re unsure of what area you want to focus on, but know that you’re looking to lose weight, build muscle, or become healthier overall, you can start by staying consistent. The hardest part of any fitness journey is sticking to it, so building a routine is the best way to make any kind of progress over time. Additionally, routines help you track progress regularly.


  • Identify areas in your schedule where you have free time and the energy to work out. 
  • Formulate a routine based on your schedule. This could be 10 minutes once a week or 30 minutes every day depending on your goals and available time. No amount of time you dedicate is insufficient, so long as you stay consistent.
  • Use your routine to measure progress over time, so you can track your goals and accomplishments.

9. Upper Body Exercises

Whether you’re interested in tackling heavier weights or hauling weekly groceries, strengthening your upper body is one of the key aspects of being able to lift. This fitness goal makes all of your daily tasks easier while also helping you improve your physique.


  • Find a personal trainer that specializes in the upper body to give you the best exercises.
  • Practice arm-strengthening exercises (pushups, tricep dips, etc.) at least 2-3 times per week.
  • Start with as many push-ups as you can do, working your way up to 20 over time.

10. Work On Your Recovery

If you already hit the gym on the regular, the fact is that you might be neglecting your recovery. As mentioned, knowing when to rest and recover is just as important as challenging yourself. Proper rest allows your body to heal, providing you with the maximum amount of benefit from your recent workouts.


  • Give yourself at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night, pushing your bedtime 15 minutes earlier each day until you can achieve optimal sleep.
  • Take the time to stretch and meditate in between workouts.
  • Prepare highly nutritious meals in your free time.
  • Enjoy a day out at the spa or masseuse.

The Impact of a Personal Trainer

Personal trainers can help you achieve any realistic fitness goal you have through expertise, personal attention, motivation, and guidance. It’s all about transforming your approach to fitness and well-being. 

Additionally, you can expect more than just a physical transformation. The positive impact your physical trainer can have on your mental health, self-esteem, and lifestyle can be profound. Under the holistic approach to health and fitness a physical trainer brings to the table, you can make more progress than ever before.

Start Your Fitness Journey with A Personal Trainer Today

If you want to start your fitness journey this year, consider connecting with one of the best personal trainers in the South Bay Area. Silicon Valley Athletics offers trainers who are certified experts in fat loss, strength training, and competition. 

Whether you’re looking for private sessions that help you excel in your sport, or after online training that boosts your weight loss goals, we have it all. Our entire team of dedicated trainers is ready to take you to the next level. 

So, if you want to boost your fitness progress, you can get started on our website, or contact us at (408) 469-9405. Find a program that works for your budget using our pricing table, or try a trial session with one of our trainers today!

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