Don’t Sabotage Your Fat-Loss Program by Setting The Wrong Goals
Drop the Quantitative Goals like the following:
"I need to be a size 4 by September."
"I want six-pack abs by summer."
Long term success is maximized when behavior is aligned with the physical goal.
Quantitative goal-setting is based on an estimated outcome. When it comes to body-fat loss, this type of goal setting is nothing more than wishful thinking; an educated guess of what you “should” be able to accomplish. Predicting the exact rate of fat loss with an individual is well beyond the abilities of any fitness expert. When a client asks me, “how much body-fat can I lose in 2 months?” I tell them, “as much body-fat as your physiology will allow.”
My main objection to this type of goal-setting is that it does not reinforce good habits because it can make a well-executed program appear to fail if an arbitrary number is not achieved.
One of my clients lost 21lbs of body fat in three months and another lost 12lbs in the same time frame. Both clients were diligent with their training and nutrition, but one achieved greater quantitative success. Did one client do better than the other? No, one client responded at a faster pace, but they both were successful because they developed habits that produced measurable results.
Here is an example of a quantitative goal (the type you should eliminate):
“I will lose 10lbs of body-fat in 2 months.”
“I will increase my squat by 50lbs in 12 weeks.”
“I will drop 2 dress sizes in 3 months.”
Even though these goals sound reasonable, they are dependent on your individual response to the nutrition and exercise protocols.
If on the other hand, we set a behavioral goal to develop a habit; the progress measurements(fat loss) can be used to reinforce those habits. This is a great motivator which often results in the client being ever more diligent with the protocols.
Behavioral Goals are based on strategy, and fat loss requires a strategy.
Here is an example of a behavioral goal:
“I will consume a sugar-free, high protein breakfast from Monday-Saturday.”
“I will strength train 3 days/ week and attend 2 yoga classes/ week for the next 3 weeks.”
The key to long-term success requires that you develop habits that create a positive physical response and then measure the results to determine if the behavior change is working.