This article is based on scientific evidence because it has been written, fact-checked, reviewed, and regularly updated by experts that follow our strict editorial process.
The sources used by our editorial team are trustworthy, experienced, and authoritative, such as peer-reviewed journals and governmental information.
All the pieces of evidence are clearly highlighted in the articles as sources in the form of clickable endnotes (,,) or simple in-text links.
Learn more about our editorial process.
Unfold Today articles that require additional medical expertise are reviewed by a qualified member of our Expert Review Network, a group inside Unfold Today's team that verifies content to guarantee that the information delivered to our readers is thorough, authoritative, accurate, and fact-based.
Ambitious beginners and gym rats, we all have our ups and downs when it comes to shaping our bodies, men and women alike, but setting smart short-term and long-term fitness goals before we start training will make the difference between actually reaching our targets and giving up after the first days of sweating.
In other words, if you properly set your goals, these will act as a personal North Star which will guide you on the road to your healthiest self.
Remember: being as fit as possible is crucial if you wish to live a better and longer life.
“...one of the keys to legendary is longevity. Do not die. You can’t own your game and change the world if you’re pushing up daisies in a cemetery,”
Bestseller author Robin Sharma in "The 5 AM Club"
To all fit or less fit men and women out there, whether you are professional bodybuilders, gym enthusiasts, or just first-time dabblers in the world of fitness, setting smart goals is the first step you need to take to successfully set sail in the journey to your dream physique.
So, with this blog post, we aim to equip you with a bulletproof plan consisting of short-term and long-term goals that will work together to make you chase your fitness dreams day in and day out.
Fitness goals are targets we want our bodies to aim for and, ultimately, to achieve.
Moreover, know that there are 7 holy grails people race for in the quest to improve their physical shape, whether we’re talking about men, women, or even couples who decided to sit down and brainstorm ideas for fitness goals that they could share.
Your current tasks:
Maybe the most sought-after fitness goal is losing weight, more precisely fat. No wonder since over 40% of adults around the world are overweight or obese.
Let’s be honest here. From silhouette-obsessed college students and women who never felt the same after their first childbirth, to the middle-aged men who woke up with 20 extra pounds out of the blue, nobody likes having a big belly.
So, losing weight is definitely one of the most popular fitness goals out there.
Even high-class men and women, Hollywood celebrities, and TV stars put outstanding amounts of effort into achieving their fitness goals, which are more often than not related to losing fat – see Melissa McCarthy or Jonah Hill.
In the end, if you’re lean, you look better, feel healthier, and you have way more energy.
How to accomplish?
Contrary to public opinion, it’s not hard to lose weight. You just need to become more active during your wake-up time and adjust your eating habits.
Strictly speaking, you should follow these simple instructions:
Unfortunately, many people fail at respecting the directions above, and that’s mainly due to the lack of discipline and motivation.
But luckily, we can make sure you’ll have both these qualities in the journey to your fittest self. How do we do that?
First, use our list of 95 low-calorie foods specially created to give you ideas for your next weight-loss-friendly meals. These will help you immensely in dropping pounds.
Also, if you want to fill up and not feel hungry when you’re trying to lose weight, make sure to include high-volume low-calorie foods in your diet.
Second, you need to set realistic long-term and short-term fitness goals.
To do that, follow the steps below.
Setting fitness goals for the long run will keep you motivated and accountable, even if you come from beginners’ camp.
Think about it, without one such long-term objective, chances are you’re going to get lost and discouraged because you won’t be able to see how many pounds you’re burning off and your overall improvement.
It’s like running a race without a finish line.
Answer these questions to find your long-term fitness goal:
Then, make sure you keep the answers on sight.
Short-term goals should make long-term goals easier to achieve.
So, the best approach is to set weekly and monthly (short-term) fitness goals and make sure the goals are
smart, sorry, I meant S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-oriented).
Here are a few smart short-term fitness goals examples for beginners in the art of losing weight:
Bonus: funny fitness goals for losing fat
Besides losing weight, one of the most common fitness goals among men and women is building muscle.
And even though this goal is more popular among male gym rats who can’t get enough of measuring their biceps’ size, more and more women can be found deadlifting or right in front of the dumbbell rack.
After all, muscles help your body achieve feats you’ve never thought possible before, let you open those tight pickle jars, and save you from body shaming, leaving you feeling unbeatable.
Hence, to look and feel good when you start losing weight, you want to replace that gooey fat with some shiny-looking beef.
How to accomplish?
So, how can you build muscle? Simple. You need to:
For hard gainers: if you struggle to eat enough food to build muscle mass or you don’t have too much money to spend on this, then make sure to check out our carefully researched list of 45 cheap high-calorie foods.
If you still find yourself struggling to gain weight, boost the calories in your diet with:
Tip for beginners: achieving fitness goals is not a race. You don’t have to go to the gym or buy weights to increase your muscle size. Therefore, I recommend you start with bodyweight exercises and slowly build your way up to the weight-lifting room.
Now, with the above instructions in mind, follow the next steps to make sure you keep yourself on the right track to a herculean body.
There will be times when you’ll hit a plateau and feel like whatever you do your muscles can’t push through. In these cases, you need to go back and remind yourself why you’ve wanted to get stronger, and that’s when your long-term fitness goal steps forward.
Here are a few questions to help you set it.
Again, make sure you jot down the answers.
Here are a few smart short-term fitness goals examples for beginner men and women looking to build muscle:
Bonus: funny fitness goals for building muscle
In this ultra-digitalized era we live in, it’s become a burden for many of us to leave the car in the garage and commence to work on foot. Just the idea of participating in a marathon makes a terrible amount of people say “Hell, no!”
And if this is you, don’t worry. You can always increase your endurance but you need to get up from the couch and overcome some limits.
Believe me, improving your stamina is going to bring incredible benefits to your everyday life. You will be more energized, wake up easier, be more agile, and what seemed physically demanding before would have transformed into a piece of cake.
How to accomplish?
I’m not going to sugarcoat you here. Improving endurance may seem the hardest among the 7 main fitness goals, especially if you count among the beginners who have rarely tried to develop their stamina.
Let’s have look at what it takes to increase your endurance.
Even if the above may look intimidating, remember, nothing is hard if you break it down in tiny steps.
NOTE: our Fitness Goals Worksheet will help you do this.
Imagine that you’re running, your breath starts to get uncontrollable, your muscles are tired, you sweated all over, and you feel like giving up.
You shouldn’t go for that killer sprinting session right off the bat. Instead, build your way up by accomplishing small goals.
As an inspiration, here are a few smart short-term fitness goals for beginners eager to follow Usain Bolt’s footsteps.
Bonus: funny fitness goals for increasing endurance
Let’s be honest, almost all of us have a favorite sport that we like to watch, practice, and get better at it.
For example, if you love Cristiano Ronaldo’s style, you may want to be able to jump as high as he does or do the tricks he can do with the ball.
If your idol is Roger Federer, you definitely want to hit a backhand as flawlessly as he does.
And if you’re into Simone Biles, you definitely wish to own her strength-athleticism combo.
However, all of these things are not easily achievable. You need tens and hundreds of hours of specific training to pull these feats off.
But with a strong will and a proper approach, you can learn anything in this world.
How to accomplish?
As I’ve mentioned above, the key to getting better at a sport is to do specific training.
And you know the drill, always use long-term and short-term goals.
Answer these questions:
Study the move you want to learn and observe all the motions needed to pull it off. As a result, you will have a clear picture of what part of your body you need to train for that specific skill.
To clarify, let’s take Ronaldo’s high jump technique. First of all, he pushes through his legs to take off from the ground.
Takeaway no. 1: train your calves, hamstring, and quads. Also, it’s a good idea to add some box jumps to your training routines.
Second, you need abs and neck strength to be able to hit the ball from the air as hard as Ronaldo does.
Takeaway no. 2: incorporate moves that train your neck and abs in your workout routines.
See? This is what I meant by telling you to break a skill you want to learn into tiny parts. Baby steps!
Besides elderly people, nowadays, young adults have begun to complain about their lack of flexibility as well. Bad news!
Is this because most of our work takes place in an office with us tied to a chair? I strongly think so.
Wouldn’t you want to be able to do everything freely, without pain, reach for everything you want on the top shelf, and keep your balance even in the harshest conditions?
Well, having great flexibility allows you to do all of that and a whole lot more.
How to accomplish?
The most effective ways to improve your flexibility are:
Alas, reading the above is not enough. Thus, you need to actually apply these tips, and you can make sure about that by following the steps below.
Here are a few smart short-term fitness goals examples for beginners looking to increase their flexibility:
Bonus: funny fitness goals for improving your flexibility
Many people crave a toned body, but they don’t know what that actually means.
Therefore, if you’re looking to have a body with “firm” muscles, just follow the instructions from the first two most common fitness goals among men and women – losing fat and building muscle. That’s what toning up means.
Besides the physical advantages of working out on a consistent basis, there are numerous benefits to your mental health.
As proof, more and more people start to acknowledge these bonus perks of sweating out and even make them the main goal of their fitness efforts.
According to science, the mental benefits of working out include:
And when science isn’t convincing enough, let’s hear the testimonial of the highest-paid Hollywood actor of 2020, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
I always talk about the importance of “anchoring” our day. Even if it means I’ve flown around the world and working non-stop. Wherever I land, regardless of what time it is - I’ll get to the hotel, shower, eat, meditate, caffeine, and hit the gym.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
How to accomplish?
Luckily, your mental health always improves after sweating a little bit. So, take this fitness goal as being a by-product of chasing any of the other 6 featured on our list.
I think this is called… killing two birds with one stone?
Another great "two for one" approach is to buy a membership at any of the gyms with pools near you so that you will be able to switch your workouts for a swimming session every time you have a rest day or you're a little injured. This way, you will not miss the mental benefits of a good training session.
Let’s recap. You chose your main fitness objective, completed both of the assigned steps, and maybe you selected a couple of funny fitness goals as well.
Therefore, by now, you should have jotted down a pretty nice-looking list of goals. If you did, well done! You can proceed with putting your goals on our worksheet below this text block.
If you didn’t do any of the above, you should know that setting fitness goals only takes a matter of minutes, even for beginners in the world of working out. So, let’s take action, shall we?
Henceforth, your mission is to choose which one of the 7 main fitness goals above fits your needs, set a long-term goal, and break that into smart short-term goals.
To make this process even easier, use our incredibly efficient Fitness Goals Worksheet.
As the proud founder of Unfold Today, I always stand by our products and make sure they provide value to our readers – yes, even the free ones.
Thus, here are the fitness goals I ended up with by following the exact instructions on our super-efficient worksheet:
Whether we are beginners or advanced fitness practitioners, sometimes we all need a push in the journey towards achieving our fitness goals.
Of course, a worksheet with your fitness goals broken down in easy-to-follow steps is the best thing to start with, but your quest to your tip-top condition is long, so glimpsing over a few motivation quotes works wonders, I’m telling you.
To sum up, whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle, increase endurance, improve your flexibility, or just benefit mentally from your workout routines, you can now make full use of the art of setting fitness goals and achieve your objectives sooner than you’ve ever thought possible.
What are your long-term and short-term fitness goals? Drop a comment below.
MOST POPULAR IN
Fitness and Nutrition