Body goals are creating your reality
Why are body goals creating your reality?
Whatever goals that you set as a vision for your body, will drive the creation of what it ultimately becomes.
Not having any set body goals, leaves it totally to chance, whereas setting proper body goals gives you direction, and a sense of accomplishment when you've realised your goals.
The tips, resources and advice I'm sharing with you here will help you to cut through all the noise and confusion that's around, and create your own body goals, to ensure that you get the great results, for the body that you want.
Set your own body goals
Just remember, always set your own goals. Don't become obsessed with constantly comparing yourself with others. We are all different, and people are all at different stages of training and development, so often comparing yourself to others is not giving you an accurate comparison.
The images portrayed by many celebrities or fitness models in the main stream media, or on social media, is not the reality of their 24/7 lives, rather it is either an artificially modified image, or a snap shot in a brief period where they have a peak physique, not something they maintain over a long period.
Lots of us measure our level of fitness by bluntly standing on a weighing scale. The rest of the story depends on what the scale tells us. But if we go a little deeper and analyze the correlation between our weight and fitness, we come to realize that there isn’t any.
Consider a 70- kg female boxer in the heavy weight division and contrast her with an average office assistant who weighs only 50 kg. Can you determine who is more physically fit merely by looking at their weight? I don’t think so.
There must be much more to fitness, and setting proper body goals than just analyzing one’s weight.
How about height? Height is a good identifier when it is coupled with weight as it helps to determine how the weight is distributed around the body.
So far we have two fitness identifiers, height and weight, but there is much more to fitness than just height and weight.
I know a college teenager who was 5’ 9” and weighed only 55 kg. By most standards, she was underweight according to her height and weight. The astonishing thing about this girl was that she was actually underweight and fat.
After some initial measurements, the college student underwent a detailed body composition test that discovered she had a fat percentage of over 30%, which technically made her obese even though she was underweight by all other standards.
To analyze your fitness fully, you should undergo proper testing and measurement first, by getting yourself checked by professionals.
This means checking for vitals (BP, rate of respiration, etc.) and going through the basic medical tests.
Body composition test
Second comes a body composition test. This is crucial for your fitness and body goals as it tells you exactly where you stand in terms of fitness and how far you are from your ideal body goals.
A typical body composition test result would look like the table below:
*Actual Result extracted from Tanita Body Composition Analyzer TBF 410
While Tanita have a range of body composition monitors that are suited to most people as an in home solution, the In Body company provides equipment on a more industrial / fitness center level, to accurately measure body composition.
If there is a fitness center near you that has one of the In Body monitors that you can use, I'd suggest taking a test, as you will get lot's of great data from which to formulate your body goals.
In Body have a great web page on their site, which explains why focusing on body composition is much better than focusing on weight loss or gain alone, along with other great tips on setting body goals that are right for you.
I'd suggest that you check it out via this link.
Another good measure of how physically fit you are is to test your cardiovascular fitness.
This is your bodies ability to transport and use oxygen during exercise.
The K. G. Jebsen Center of Exercise in Medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, put together a test to give yourself a measure of this, compared to a world wide average. You can try it by going to their site below;
Your body goals change
What are healthy body goals for you will change, depending on many factors, such as where you are in your training journey, how disciplined you are able to be with your diet, and realistically your basic genetic make up.
As your body ages, what are realistic body goals will change as well.
It's nice to believe that "age is just a number' and I'm all for pushing yourself as hard as you can no matter what your age, but understanding how you need to adapt to your body's aging process is just a sensible thing to understand.
ERIBA science hall have built a really good resource, that helps explain what aging means for the human body. I suggest no matter what your age, you'll find something of interest that improves your understanding of your body. Check out the site below;
Important terms for body goals
Before going any further, let’s define some of the terms we’ll be discussing, and that you'll come across along with abbreviations used and some exercises referred to, which may be new to you.
Fat Percentage: Percentage of fat in your body by mass.
Fat % = (Fat Mass / Total Mass) x 100
BMI: Body Mass Index indicates the amount of fat in a body by considering height and weight.
BMI = Mass ( kg) / (Height (m)) ²
The result of the BMI can be analyzed to deduce in which category you fall.
BMI < 18.5
18.5 < BMI < 25
25 < BMI < 30
BMI > 30
BMR: Basal Metabolic Rate. This is the number of calories your body burns in a day if you do not move at all. BMR constitutes the calories consumed in bodily processes such as digestion, respiration, maintaining core temperature, etc.
FFM: Fat Free Mass. This is the total weight of your body if we disregard the weight of the fat.
FFM = Total Weight - Weight of Fat
TBW: Total Body Water. This is the weight of water contained in the body.
1RM: This is the maximum amount of weight you can lift if you were to perform a single repetition of a given exercise
Repetitions performed until failure: This means that repetitions are continued until you cannot physically move the weight to complete a further repetition.
I note that this is not just till you feel a bit tired during a set, or it’s getting really hard to move the weight. It means that you physically cannot complete the repetition.
Also, not to confuse the issue, I note that sometimes once completing full repetitions becomes impossible, you may still be able to complete partial repetitions, and this allows you to continue to work the muscles until you cannot move the weight at all.
Training splits: Training splits, or split routines refers to a training methodology wherin workouts are structured so that exercises which work different body parts, or different types of training are programed to occur during different workouts, or on different days.
For example, I might train lower body on one training day, and the next training day train upper body. Or, I might train chest and biceps on one training day, and the next train back and triceps.
Hypertrophy Stimulus: Is a term for activity causing muscle hypertrophy, such as resistance training through such things as body weight exercise or weight lifting.
Muscle Hypertrophy: Is a term for the growth and increase of the size of muscle cells.
Set: A set is the total number of repetitions / lifts that are completed in a row without rest.
For example you might complete three sets, with 20 repetitions in the first 15 repetitions in the second and 5 repetitions in the third, which would commonly be shown as the weight lifted by the number of repetitions in the set. i.e 50 x 20, 80 x 15, 100 x 5. The workout for that exercise would therefore have comprised of three sets.
Super Setting: In a superset, multiple exercises are performed back-to-back without any rest period.
Smith Machine: A piece of equipment commonly used in weight training, comprising a barbell fixed between two steel posts / rails, usually counterbalanced, allowing only vertical movement of the barbell. Commonly used for exercises such as overhead pressing, or some variaitions of squatting.
V02 Max: Is the maximum oxygen uptake or the maximum volume of oxygen that can be utilized in one minute during maximum exercise. It is measured as milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight. It is used as one factor to assist in determining an athlete’s capacity to perform sustained exercise, and is linked to aerobic endurance.
Deadlift: An exercise in weightlifting in which the weight, being plates fixed to either end of a barbell is lifted from the floor to the level of the hips and then lowered by controlled effort to the floor.
Squat: An exercise in weightlifting where you squat down as if you were sitting in a squat position with your bum touching your heels, then stand back up, with a weighted barbell across your upper back.
DB Flyes: An exercise in which you lay flat on a bench holding a dumbell in both hands and extend your arms out to the side, then raise them up and continue to raise and lower as if flapping your wings, in a controlled motion.
Stasis dermatitis: is an inflammatory skin condition that develops following fluid build-up, or blood pooling (stasis), just under the skin as a result of problematic circulation.
Body goals and target setting
What are your body goals? What do you want ultimately to achieve?
Realization, and visualisation of your goals is a very important step for the start of your program.
Your goals need to be high enough to make you work hard, but also realistic so that you don’t give up trying.
A sensible goal can make the difference between a well-motivated individual and a dejected person who gives up soon after she starts her quest for the ideal body.
For example, my goal after spending many years behind an office desk was to reduce my body fat percentage from around 26% to 14%, with my weight staying relatively stable at around 62 kg to 65 kg.
This meant that I needed to exchange fat mass for lean body mass. My strength (muscle) content had dropped off over the years and had been replaced by fat, and I needed to reverse that before it got worse in the interest of my health and general performance and enjoyment in all areas of life.
Committing to and achieving measurable body goals like this gives you the confidence to realize that you can continue with the process and achieve further goals.
Achieving your fitness goals will assist you in so many other areas of your life, I assure you.
A further example of a realistic goal, especially for women, is a fat percentage of 16%, with a total body weight remaining unchanged.
To achieve this goal, depending what condition your body is starting in, you may have to gain a considerable amount of lean mass while losing some body fat.
This goal would indicate someone who is likely to be starting at a better general fitness level, based on the lower body fat levels, but the significant gain in muscle mass combined with trimming down body fat levels will produce impressive results both in appearance and athletic performance.
Generally speaking, women have a higher fat percentage than men.
The bar is much stricter for men than it is for women. There are obvious physiological differences between men and women that cannot be overlooked, which is why I am writing this more specifically for women.
Below is a fat percentage chart that will give you an idea where you stand in terms of body fat quantity.
Women (Fat Percentage)
Men (Fat Percentage)
Setting realistic body goals can be broken down into smaller, short-term goals as well.
We are all guilty of setting goals and targets that cannot be tracked. This makes them non-ideal or unrealistic to start with.
Targets and goals like, ‘I want to get into my old dresses,’ or, ‘I want six-pack abs,’ aren’t ideal goals to start with.
A good idea is to translate these goals into something quantitative that can be measured throughout your fitness routine.
A target such as, ‘I want to get into my old dresses,’ may be translated into, ‘I want to decrease my waist from 36’ to 30’ while attaining a BMI of 21’.
This makes it measureable and realistic.
A goal such as, ‘I want six packs’, after a bit of research, can be translated into ‘I want a fat percentage of 14% while keeping my ideal bodyweight of 62 kg.
This will show me my six-packs!’
Step 1. Setting up a SMART goal
Everyone has different objectives, and everyone wants something different from their fitness regime.
The examples above show you just a few of the goals for which you can aim.
Just remember to break down your ultimate body goals into smaller milestones to keep you motivated as you go for the ultimate goal.
Another important aspect is that your body goals should be time-framed.
You should set aside a realistic date by which you want to attain your ideal body.
This can be three months from now or three years from now depending on your current physical shape.
The time frame should once again be realistic. If you want to lose 12 kg, you shouldn’t go for a time frame of one month.
To time-frame your results, you need to calculate accurately how long it will take to achieve your fitness goal based on realistic expectations of body re-composition change caused by your planned diet and training regime.
This is where proper programming becomes important, as I explain further here. And in this blog about proper training and the principles of progressive overload;
If you understand what effect an increase in strength generated from an increase in lean body mass (muscle) will have when combined with a correctly tailored diet, you can pre-determine what your changes in body composition will be.
When you program your strength gains, you can accurately time-frame your fitness goals.
This is where strength training becomes much more effective than other forms of exercise.
Women, generally, have a tendency to shy away from everything related to weight training, but as you will soon discover, it is a very effective way of sculpting your body.
Many fitness athletes have personalized goals that have nothing to do with their body.
These may be something like, ‘Running 100 meters in 10 seconds,’ or, ‘Swimming a 50m butterfly under xyz seconds’.
Fitness goals like these can also work for you. It is not necessary that your fitness goal is closely related to your body, as long as you have a smart goal, you have a good starting point.
Your dream body—Facing the facts!
If you’re looking for some motivational prep talk, now is the time to look away!
Unlike all posts, books, programs and videos that tell you that body recomposition, weight loss, having legs and abs to die for and being fitness model material is a piece of cake, I’m going to tell you that it is one of the hardest things to do.
Life doesn’t give you shortcuts. Sometimes you do get lucky when you win a lottery or something, but that doesn’t happen in physical training, weight loss and body recomposition.
In my experience involved in many different aspects of sport, I haven’t heard of anyone suddenly attaining the body she dreamed of when she was a kid.
It’s a long, hard path, and each day you have to fight.
You have to fight with yourself, physically and mentally. ’
Every day you have to think, ‘Today I am better than yesterday, and no matter what happens tomorrow, I’ll be better than what I am today.’
Conviction and commitment are two words that you need to stick by if you want to be physically fit and look good at the same time.
Watching Tia Clair Toomey’s extraordinary performance winning a gold medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games was the easiest thing I had to do.
I was sitting on my couch with my chocolate and coffee while she did things that common folks would never even try.
I wondered about the effort, thinking, and the grueling hours of training that went into her preparation to complete the Olympic lifts.
What about the proper type of nutrition that she had to consume to maintain strength and agility in her body? Just thinking about it made my head spin.
Fitness, performance, and a great body come at a price.
This price includes proper effort and time, but the rewards are worth it.
Programs that promise six-packs in a week are a waste of time. Any program that offers a great shortcut is a clear scam.
Any advertisement that tells of a wonder pill will either give a bucket full of side effects and/or have no effect on your body.
The current consumer market is full of pills, wonder diets, supplements and equipment that give you false hope.
What they do is manipulate people into buying these useless products.
Supplements that are animal tested, pills that are placebo, equipment that makes no sense at all. the market is flooded with such things to attract the unwary. Not all of them are worthless, but, to keep a long story short, most of them are.
Their site has lots of great tools to help you understand the different terms and ways of measuring your fitness. They help you to sort what is scientifically proven from what is just fiction, and how exercise truly benefits your body.
Rather than searching for short cuts, you may want to consider working hard for your dream physique.
This is how athletes do it. Prepare and follow a program with discipline, a program that will ensure constant and measurable results, and your body will reward you.
You must also consider time management.
If you’re committed enough, you will surely find the odd hour to dedicate to your health and fitness out of your daily 24 hours.
Excuses like, ‘I don’t have the time,’ and, ‘I’m too busy,’ mean you will fail.
The art is to find time and make the most of it. If you can’t work out in the evening, start working out first thing in the morning. If you can’t wake up a bit earlier in the morning then you’re probably too soft to follow a program that guarantees you your ideal physique!
There is always time, before going to work, in between your morning and evening lecture, before going to bed, or in your office lunch break.
It is up to you how you find time to complete your physical training, and remember, the rest of your life will be better for it.
The right nutrition for your body goals
All the training in the world won't achieve great results, without the right nutrition plan to support your training and body goals.
People will often debate what percentage of a great body is built in the gym versus the kitchen. Even if it's 50-50, you should feel that's important enough to give it some focus in your goal setting and planning.
This post on sports nutrition will explain in detail what you need to know to work out your own proper nutrition plan to support your body goals.
Share your success
I'd love to hear what body goals you've set for yourself, or even already achieved, so please don't be shy and share with me in the comments below, or send me an e-mail with your before and after selfies, and share your success!