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You’ve decided to get into the best shape of your life. But what does that actually mean? Many of us, myself included, have had the idea of training to lean down or to lose weight. It’s a pretty common goal, and the media continues to perpetuate it through ads for weight-loss products and plans.
I see two issues with this fuzzy goal. First, it’s not a tangible goal. It’s more of a moving target. How much weight do you want to lose? What happens if you gain muscle and lose fat? Second, it’s a goal based in self-judgment. You end up beating yourself down before you even start!
Let’s talk about a way to set goals and track progress that will set your world on fire!
Step Away From the Scale
It doesn’t tell the entire story. Body-fat composition can change for the better, and the scale will only show a gain in weight. This can be discouraging, even as your clothes start to fit better. I suggest keeping track of progress with one of three methods: measurements, calipers or photos.
Measurements can be done on any area of the body. The most common spots are calves, thighs, hips, waist, shoulders and arms. Measure every two weeks and keep a log.
Calipers can be used to measure body fat and are a good way to track progress. It’s the most accurate, inexpensive way to measure body fat. Three to nine sites can be pinched/measured. I like either measuring myself or having the same person perform the measurements.
Photos are my favorite method for tracking progress. You can compare the photos side by side to really see the changes. Choose a special spot in your home. Each time you take photos, make sure you’re wearing a similar outfit, standing at the same distance from the camera, using the same lighting and setting the camera at the same angle. I keep a small strip of tape on my office floor and set up my camera on my desk each time. This helps tremendously with comparison photos.
Whether it’s measurements, calipers or photos, try to record progress every two to three weeks.
Set Tangible Goals
A goal should be something challenging yet attainable and quantifiable. A solid goal provides us with an endpoint and helps us develop a plan to get there. Without a solid goal and plan, it’s like you’re hopping in your car and expecting to somehow reach your destination.
Keep It Real
Goals should align with your lifestyle. If you have more than one goal you’re going after, they should complement each other. For example, if you’re looking to gain muscle and run a marathon, it would be very difficult to do both well. Choose your priority at the time and work on a plan to achieve the first goal. Then attack the next one.
We take this approach in my 90-day challenge. We’ll work to build a solid foundation, then focus on sculpting physique. In the last 30 days, we’ll shred and reveal the work from the previous 60 days. We take it one goal at a time, and the results are truly incredible!
The Erin Stern Challenge will guide you through her essential fitness and nutrition regimen and help you develop a routine and mindset to make a lifetime of change.