[Episode 48] Setting Realistic Training Expectations For Yourself

by | Jan 29, 2021

In this episode we will be looking at managing your expectations around getting active.

When we are starting to get active or getting back into movement after a break it can be really easy to place expectations on what you’re going to do for yourself.

However, these expectations may not be helpful or sustainable and can ultimately make training something that you may dread or not enjoy doing. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

It’s great to have goals and expectations, but often these expectations are unachievable.

This can make getting active really disheartening.

I have so many folks come to me for training saying that they are wanting to get back into things. There is nothing wrong with this, but it can be really hard for them to get going again.

If you’ve trained in the past and want to get back into things that you used to do, it can be challenging.

Especially if you’re expecting yourself to just be able to do what you used to do.

You may think that adding whatever activity back into your routine and just doing the thing will work.

And for some folks it may.

A common mistake folks make is to try jumping back into training at the intensity that they used to do before they stopped training.

This can be really hard. Not to mention it puts you at risk of injury.

Sometimes getting back into the things you used to do, just might not be where you’re at right now either.

This is totally ok.



How to start a new training routine

Take a moment to look at what you’re wanting to do. It may be something that you used to do.

If you’re new to training it might be a totally new thing.

Check in with yourself and ask yourself why you want to do it.

I did an episode on asking why to yourself a couple weeks ago. It might be worth having a listen to before you push ahead with any new routine you may have planned for yourself.

Look at what you’re expecting yourself to be able to do. Be realistic.

Be understanding that life gets in the way at times. And it can be easy to plan to do all the amazing things. But then trying to fit it in around your everyday commitments can be super tricky.

And if you keep failing the things you plan for yourself, it becomes really easy to get disheartened.

That voice in our heads that likes to point out the things we aren’t doing can be mean and make things really rough.

So, before you begin anything to do with getting active, take a moment and look at what you have planned for yourself.

Is what you’re wanting to do achievable for you right now and long term?


One of the easiest ways to get active is to start small. There is nothing wrong with building things up over time.

Set yourself a small training goal each week. It could be a walk around the block. Or an online class. Or even a low intensity training session.

It doesn’t matter what you choose to start doing, so long as it is something that you can achieve.

Back in episode 35 I had a great chat with Zay, NGF’s very own mindset coach about creating new habits.

If you’re wanting some great ideas on where to start, have a listen to Episode 35!




It doesn’t matter what you used to be able to do or what you think you could do.

For example, getting back into running is a really common training goal for so many folks.

Just because you used to be able to run 5km, 10km or however many kilometres, doesn’t mean you can or should go straight back to that.

Instead start with a short distance of 1-2km.

Focus on achieving your run with alternating intervals of running and walking. Build yourself back up slowly.

This will keep things achievable as well as sustainable long term.

You’re less likely to injure yourself or be so sore that you limit how many times you can get out and move.

If it’s body weight or weight-based training that your wanting to do again, manage those expectations.

You don’t need to be training every day, especially when you’re just getting started.

But I get that the fitness industry loves to push the narrative of training hard and often.

This just isn’t the case.

Start with 1-2 days of training a week. Once you’ve got that down and feeling good about it, then look at adding more days.

When you train, take it slow.


You don’t have to be working the whole training session. That is yet another false narrative pushed by many trainers and gyms.

Resting during your session is just as important as resting on days between your sessions.

Take your time with your training. There is no rush to get it done or get as much done as you can.

This is how training injuries happen.




If you’re adding training back into your life, don’t expect to be able to “smash out” big training sessions every day or even every other day.

Keep your training sessions to an average of 70% max effort across all sessions.

Whether you’re running or doing some form of weights.

Set your training out in a format of a light session, a medium session (and a hard session once you get to 3 days a week).

You don’t need to do more than that. That 70% effort is the golden number when it comes to making progress and staying safe as you train.


Even if you start with doing one small thing every week, you are winning.



Getting moving doesn’t have to be a huge activity.

The most important thing is to manage what you can realistically do vs what you expect yourself to be able to do.

So many folks give up on getting active because it becomes really overwhelming trying to fit it into their current routine.

This is because they are expecting themselves to just be able to do all the things.

And then when they can’t do that perfectly every week, they can get down on themselves.

In reality, you’re going to miss training sessions.

Expect life stuff to get in the way sometimes. You’re gonna have good days and bad days. Good weeks and bad weeks.

It’s about being consistent in doing the things when you can, regardless of whether you always get it right or not that will make the difference.

Until next week friend remember it’s ok to have training goals, but keep them simple and realistic. Take your time and be kind to yourself when you miss doing a session.

Our thoughts influence every part of our lives. So focus on the bigger picture and long term goal instead of any short term challenges.

Bowie Stover Thinking Pose

Bowie Stover

Pronouns: they/them

My passion to help others through developing an active and healthy lifestyle, along with my desire to contribute as much as I can back to our queer community, has led me to co-found Non Gendered Fitness. To be a small part of your day that makes a HUGE impact on your life would be one of the most gratifying and rewarding experiences that I could hope to have.

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You can also find me (Bowie), Non Gendered Fitness (NGF) and Non Gendered Fitness (NGF) on instagram and Facebook at the links below.

Bowie: @the.no.t.enbie
NGF: @non_gendered_fitness



Non Gendered Fitness FB Page

Non Binary Fitness Coach Bowie Stover kneeling with two kettlebells

Bowie Stover
Kettlebell and Movement Coach

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