Did you set goals at the beginning of 2013? Are you on track to achieving those goals? Most people lose sight of what they wanted to accomplish in the year after only a couple months or give up all together. If you fall into this category, it’s not too late to reassess and get back on track in what you set out to do this year. After reading research studies and through real world experience by training clients, I have found that goal setting is far more effective if you follow some key principles.
The main criterion of an effective is goal is creating one that is realistic, measurable and timely. If a client wants to lose body fat, it is not enough to simply state, “I want to get leaner” or “I want to get fit this year.” That is too vague and not specific enough. Goals need to be measurable. If the client currently has a body fat of 28%, setting a goal of 15% body fat would be measurable and now you can quantify progress. Other health related goals could be established and quantified, for example, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, cardiovascular and muscular endurance tests, and 1RM strength tests. Other tests include an accumulative score based on various health aspects and how you compare to others within your demographic, such as the Q score by Aviva.
A goal also needs to be timely in order to be effective. Put a time frame on your goal. For instance, you may set the fitness related goal to be attained by a reunion or wedding date. Summer months are motivating, as most people want to sport a six-pack for beach weather and look good in a swimsuit. Just be sure to give an exact time, “summer time”, is not specific enough. “I want to decrease my body fat by 13% by September 1” is timely.
The last aspect to consider is ensuring your goal is realistic. Had I said, “I want to decrease my body fat by 13% in 3 months” would be unrealistic and one would compromise their health in attempting to do this. A simple equation can help with calculating ideal body weight:
IBW = Fat free mass/(1 – desired body fat)
Fat free mass is your lean body mass—muscle, bone, blood, organs, etc. If a person weighs 210 pounds and has a body fat of 28%, they have 151.2 lbs. of fat free mass and 58.8 lbs. of fat mass. Now what you do is plug the fat free mass into the numerator of the equation above. Then you divide by 1 minus the desired body fat, 15% is the goal I used. Therefore the denominator would be equal to 0.85.
IBW = 151.2/0.85 = 178
After doing the calculation, we can determine this person’s ideal body weight would be 178 pounds with a body fat of 15% (considering there was no change in muscle mass). Therefore, the person would need to lose 32 pounds of body weight, specifically fat mass. Maintaining lean body mass is possible with resistance training programs and nutritional interventions.
A healthy rate of fat loss is 1-2 pounds per week. The person would have 5 months from today’s date (April 7) to lose 32 pounds, which is an average of 1.6 pounds per week. “I want to decrease my body fat from 28% to 15% by September 1” is measurable, timely and realistic.
It’s not too late to take control and establish effective goals for this year. After you set your goals, be sure to plan objectives that will lead you to accomplishing them. For the body fat goal, it may be; 1) perform a minimum of 3 resistance training workouts per week 2) complete 30-45 minutes of cardio 5-6 days each week 3) eat a balanced diet that is limited to 2,200 calories per day. Share your goals with your family members and friends and this will help with accountability. Don’t hesitate to follow these action steps and reclaim your goals for 2013!