January is the perfect time to set some goalsfor yourself. No matter how your Christmas and New Year went nutrition andfitness wise, it is time to put that aside and put pen to paper to set somegoals for yourself.
There are many ways to put your thoughts downinto goal setting. One option is tosplit your goals into categories; such as Physical, Relationship, Mental etc.and write 1-2 goals for each category. I invite you to -while reading throughthis- have a think about what goals might be suitable for you.
While all goals are important, we will focus today on a few key Physical goalsand what is realistic.
A good place to get some baseline measuresaround your physical health and what is going on inside, is to get an InBodyScan. These give you some greatquantifiable measures such as skeletal muscle mass, visceral fat (a type of fataround our organs that we do not want), or body fat mass (how much actual fatis in our entire body). Why are theseimportant you might ask? Well, these measurements provide something that istangible that we use to measure progression. At times, it can be hard to have a goal, such as ‘want to feel better’.While this is a GREAT goal, how are you going to do this? And also, how willyou measure it? Will you feel better by losing body fat (body fat mass) or feelbetter by getting stronger and lifting heavier (increasing skeletal musclemuscle mass)?
Now, let’s spend some time going over what isrealistic as a physical goal.
Assuming you know what some of your measures arethat we mentioned previously; muscle mass, fat mass etc. what is a realistic amount of fat to lose ormuscle to gain in a short amount of time?
With fat loss, if you are an untrained personand have some extra body fat to lose, then you can expect to lose more body fatthan a person who is trained and might have less to lose. Let’s assume you are at 30% body fat and havenever trained before. It is possiblethat you could lose at least 5% in a month, if you started training or movingyour body daily.
If you have been training for a while and havealready made some initial adaptations to your physique then you may find itharder to lose body fat. If you were atsay 17% body fat for a female, you will need to allow more time to decreaseyour body fat, and then it may only be by 1% at a time. This is not to deteryou from trying to lose fat, but you may have to allow more time to do so andtherefore it is unrealistic to set huge goals, such as 5% body fat loss in 4weeks, if you are this higher trained person.
Similarly, with muscle gain, if you are a female and your overall goal isto gain muscle, you need to take into consideration what is physically possibleand also how trained you are.
If you are a ‘newbie’ to resistance training,then you may expect to gain some muscle in the initial hypertrophy phases oftraining (initial growth of the muscle via training). It may be quite realisticto gain at least 1-2 kilograms of skeletal muscle in around 1-2 months. If you are that higher trained person (~5-6times a week for longer than a year) then gaining muscle will take longer foryou. Aiming for 1 kg of lean muscle(skeletal muscle mass) in a month could be a good goal to aim for. Women take longer (and have a
harder time) putting on muscle, so this would bea GREAT
achievement. Also, keep in mind, that at times,gaining some fat while gaining muscle happens and this is nothing to worryabout. Depending on your goal, if it isindeed muscle gain, you may have to increase some body fat to put on somemuscle mass.
So, with that being said. What is realistic forYOU? And how are you going to put that goal into action. So, grab a pen. What is your goal? And be specific.