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Fitness Goals That Aren’t a Marathon

Nothing against marathons, but sometimes running 26.2 miles just isn’t one’s dream in life. Or perhaps…isn’t one’s dream right now.

Nonetheless, establishing S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals is an important skill to provide direction in your fitness journey.

Here are some of my favorite fitness goals to help inspire yours:

1. Slam Dunk!
The vertical jump—it requires explosive power and strength. And while not everyone can jump like Jordan, we can train to become leaner (increasing muscle mass while losing body fat) and stronger to one day reach the rim of a 10-foot basketball hoop.

To achieve this goal—couple leg strength exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and calf raises with plyometrics. For instance, jump rope routines activate many of the same muscles required in your vertical leap and can help drive down your body fat percentage through intense cardio. Or check out Jen Heward’s plyometric workout—you’ll be jumping for joy (when it’s over).

Make it S.M.A.R.T: I want to touch the rim of a basketball hoop—improving my vertical jump from 8.5 feet to 10 feet—within 10 months by strengthening my legs and engaging in plyometrics in order to boost my performance during sports.

2. Got Mud?
If you’re interested in a race but are worried about the monotony of running, check out a mud run! Typically between 5k and 10 miles, mud runs can be a great way to test your cardio and endurance, as well as strength and agility as you navigate through various obstacles.

Better yet, you can sign up with a team and train together. Run 2-4xs a week for a few months leading up to the event and hit your local jungle gym to practice swinging across monkey bars and army crawling through tunnels.

And of course, prepare to get a little—or a lot—messy and unlock your inner Ninja Warrior.

Make it S.M.A.R.T: I want to complete a 5k Spartan race in under 40 minutes by January 2022 and will achieve this through cardio training 3xs a week and bodyweight strength-training 2xs a week in order to enjoy a fun challenge with friends!

3. Do what you (don’t) love.
I say this as someone who despises upper-body workouts…my goal is to do 5 pull-ups by the end of 2021. Why?

It’s easier to stay motivated through “lackluster” training days when you occupy your mind with a goal.

Sullen while stretching? Spend the next 9 months on your yoga mat practicing the front splits. Leg day leaving you gloomy? Train to squat twice your bodyweight.

You’ll establish a greater sense of pride as you turn your weaknesses into strengths. When I finally hit that magic number five, I’ll be showing off my biceps to Schwarzenegger himself.

Make it S.M.A.R.T: By December 31, 2021 – I will be able to do 5 complete pull-ups by training my arms and back twice a week, balancing my upper body strength with my core and lower body.

Make sure to orient your goals around your hobbies and interests (or bucket list items). At the end of the day, remember that fitness should be fun!

This article was written by Melissa Pelowski. Interested in writing for us too? Email your pitch to for consideration.

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