Making goals & gauging your progress

What do you want? and When do you want it? A topic that usually comes up when you ask someone about fitness goals is “weight loss.” I understand that when people tell me this that they are concerned about their health and they know they are carrying around a few extra pounds. Weight loss isn’t a bad goal, but let us not confuse weight loss with health or fitness. Understand, you can be quite thin and still not be healthy or physically fit. For this reason, we want people to understand that weight loss should not be the ultimate goal, but rather fat loss.

When dieting, people generally have great expectations of a program and want immediate results. Who doesn’t want to wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and say wow all the fat is gone. I know I would. The fact of the matter is that it took time to put on those extra pounds of fat, so it is going to take time to get rid of them! There are no short cuts to better health and nothing happens overnight. On occasion when beginning a new program you may lose five or ten pounds within the first couple of weeks. That is good and there are numerous reasons for this, but this isn’t going to continue for weeks on end. Results are going to slow down and should continue at a healthy rate of one to two pounds a week. Think about that for a minute. With a healthy lifestyle you can potentially lose anywhere from 52 to 104 (52 weeks times 1-2 lbs. per week) pounds of fat in a given year! Most people that need to shed some weight don’t need to lose near that much.

Cutting out too many calories and using extreme forms of dieting can actually cause the body to burn lean muscle mass. So you may be losing weight, but it may not be the weight you want to lose. This is why weight loss is not the best goal to have. The number that you see on the scale is just that, it’s a number. It may actually be the thing that is holding you back. A lot of people start to get discouraged with a program when they get on the scale and no longer see the number going down. This may be due to several factors. One factor may simply be that the body is actually gaining lean muscle mass. This tends to be particularly true of people that haven’t traditionally done resistance training much prior to starting a new workout program. A better gauge of progress is to take pictures periodically, note the way your clothing fits or take measurements.

The next time you wake up, get out of bed, walk into the bathroom and get on the scale remember that the number you see doesn’t really mean anything. It could be a reflection of your hydration level or your last meal (water and body waste retention.) Therefore, don’t fixate on a weight, it is after all just a number.  Focus on healthy eating habits, adequate rest and plenty of physical activity and you will see results. Don’t know where to start?  Don’t know how to eat healthy? Don’t know how to workout? We are available in the gym or email us to set up a consultation time where we can talk to you about where you want to be!