What is your fitness goal?
Kind of a blah question.
Most people say that hitting a certain weight is their big goal.
Some examples I’ve heard:
“I have my daughter’s wedding coming up and my goal is to lose 30 pounds to look nice for pictures”
“I’m training for a 5k race and my goal is to lose 20 pounds so my knees and hips hurt less when I run”
“My goal is to lose 50 pounds because my doctor says so”
Those goals by themselves are terrible.
First, what do you think of these:
“My goal is to retire at 65 with 8 million dollars”
“My goal is to own a chain of 20-restaurants”
“My goal is to have everyone in the dog show world know my name because I show the best Labradors anyone has ever seen”
What do the first and second set of goals have in common?
A very specific outcome with no outlined thought given to the process of actually getting there.
Let’s start with this:
You wanting to lose X number of pounds is an OUTCOME goal.
The steps you take on a regular basis to reach X number of pounds are PROCESS goals.
OUTCOME goals are about as valuable as an ejection seat in a helicopter if not backed by PROCESS goals.
With that said, I want to touch on two things for you to think about when setting a big fitness goal for yourself.
Outcome goals are great, but spend some time figuring out the process goals that, if followed, will almost certainly allow you to reach your outcome goal.
Everyone needs a difference depth of process goals in order to reach their outcome goal.
For some of you, simply nailing a calorie goal every single day will lead to your desired long-term outcome.
But for others, it will be more complex.
Here are a few examples:
-The more carbs Glen eats the more carbs he craves, which in turn almost always causes him to blow over his daily caloric goals. Therefore, Glen will likely need a daily goal of lower carbohydrates as a part of his overall calorie goal.
-When Elaine stays up past 9 pm watching Treehouse Masters every night she starts getting the “snack bug”. She ends up mowing down an extra 300 or so calories when she does this, which in turn puts her over on calories for the day. Elaine may need to create a daily goal of going to bed at 9 pm to help alleviate this habit.
-When Dorothy doesn’t go straight to the gym after work it’s likely she won’t go there at all. She may need to add a process goal of going immediately to the gym after work on her planned gym days.
-When Hank preps meals on Sundays and Wednesdays he is always able to stick to his nutrition plan. However, if he misses a prep day he ends up picking up something quick or scouring the pantry for whatever is in sight. Hank needs to create a goal that every single prep day can’t be missed.
These examples are based on weight loss, but this type of goal setting can be applied to weight gain, getting better at a specific exercise/sport, etc.
The thing to ask yourself is:
What is every possible hang up that you can see yourself having and how can you add a weekly, daily, or even hourly process goal to prevent it.
This will be different for EVERYONE. Make it work for YOU.
Over time, nailing your process goals may very well show you that your planned outcome goal was bad to begin with.
Let’s say you used to work out regularly and keep your nutrition in check, but for whatever reason, things happened, and 5 years later you are 30 pounds heavier.
You decide that you want to get back at it and make a goal for yourself to lose 35 pounds.
The first 30 because that’s what you gained and another 5 because you still felt a little heavy 5 years ago.
This outcome goal makes sense.
It has solid logic as to why that number of pounds means something to you as you were there before.
And no, I am NOT tying this into the 54-year old guy who says he wants to be X number of pounds because that’s what he was when he played high school football.
A female in her 40s.
She knows she is overweight but doesn’t necessarily know by how much.
Since graduating high school she’s slowly put on weight over the years and never really been active physically or dedicated to any sort of regimented eating.
She recently started strength training and wants to lose weight.
She sets a goal of losing 40 pounds because that would put her at what she weighed in college and she felt good then.
This outcome goal is bad.
There are a few different issues here.
First, there is no basis for her relative comparison. Thinking that the size you were 25 years ago is the “right” size for you now is illogical.
I do NOT mean because it’s not possible, but rather it likely isn’t a sound leap of logic.
She may very well find out that locking into great process goals over the next six months allows her to lose 50 pounds instead of 40.
Or, perhaps she finds out that only losing 25 pounds combined with building muscle from her strength training makes her feels great and provides a physique she really likes.
The take away:
A general goal of losing weight, building size, getting better at a certain exercise is fine.
But, having sound process goals will always take you to the best spot for YOU personally.
If you have a goal of putting on 15 pounds of muscle in the next year and you work your butt off and only gain 10, AWESOME.
You trusted the process and your body did the best it could.
Progress in fitness will not always go as you planned out in your head, but if you trust the process you will be successful.
Just don’t box up in your mind what you think successful is.
Your body will tell you if you give it what it needs.
If you need help setting any type of goals for yourself, feel free to email me at:
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