Rethinking your fitness goals
I have spent the better part of 10 years working in the health and fitness industry. During that time, I have had countless members, clients, friends, and family members tell me about their fitness goals; such as trying to lift more weight on their squat, wanting to improve their marathon time or the old classic – trying to lose weight.
One thing that they all have in common is that they are focused on an outcome.
Unfortunately, I don’t see nearly enough people ever achieve their goals. I often end up in a conversation with someone about where they went wrong. Was their goal too ambitious? Were they lazy? Did something outside of their control derail them? Of course, it could be a combination of these factors, but I believe the real issue lies in planning. If you only ever focus on the outcome you may miss the important steps along the way. I’ll let you insert your own cliché quote about how the journey is more important than the destination.
I believe a more effective way to set goals is to think of them in a three-step equation: Process + Performance = Outcome. (1)
For the purpose of this article, let’s look at losing a certain amount of weight; 10kg in 6 months. Now that we have a specific outcome in mind we can work backwards and set up an appropriate process that will put us in the best position to achieve a goal.
Conventional nutrition wisdom would say that a reduction of 3500 calories per week will result in a loss 0.45 kg per week, so if we aim for a deficit of 500 calories per day, in 6 months we should reach our goal of losing 10 kg. With that in mind, we can set up a process. A reasonable plan to achieve this deficit would be working out 4 times per week (burning more calories) and restricting our food intake the other 3 days per week (consuming fewer calories). (2)
Now that we have a process in place, we need to set performance standards to make sure we are achieving what we desire. It is crucial to collect data for this step. There are plenty of apps and technology available to monitor workout performance to ensure we are burning enough calories during each gym session. We can log our workouts in an exercise journal to ensure adherence. Tracking our calories on non-training days is easy with any of the available nutrition apps or software.
If we aren’t seeing the results we had hoped for it will be easy to sit down and go over the data to see where we went wrong. Maybe life gets busy and making it to the gym four times per week is unrealistic. No need to panic, we can always adjust things on the nutrition front or add in a workout at home. Setting realistic performance standards is crucial for goal setting so we can identify what works or doesn’t work.
Process: working out four days per week, focusing on nutrition three days per week.
Performance: burn 500 calories each workout, reduce caloric intake by 500 calories on non-training days.
Outcome: lose 10kg in 6 months.
As we are 2 months into 2019 it's time to ask yourself are you any closer to reaching the goals you laid out in the new year? If not, no need to panic, book an appointment with any of our Habit Personal Trainers and set up an appropriate plan to reach those goals.