My previous blog was all about how to make goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-framed) so lets turn “I want to lose weight” into a SMART goal:
“I would like to reduce my waist circumference from 87cm to 77cm by adding cardiovascular training twice a week in the form of running and HITT; and core resistance once a week. I will start a daily food diary and reduce the amount of fats, oils and sweets I eat from 4 portions to 2 and increase my fruit and vegetable from 1 to 5 portions per day. I would like this to happen for my holiday in June which is in six months time.”
On the assumption that I have established that is is a achievable and healthy goal for you I would look at different methods of measuring your success during the Fit + Fabulous personal training programme over short, medium and long term periods:
Physical Measurement Assessments.
Physical measurements can be assessed to monitor progress and make adjustments to the end goal if required. Measurements such as BMI, body measurements, waist to hip ratio, photographs, body composition using skin caliper or bio-electrical impedance and scales are all methods used to help monitor weight loss. For example, by taking physical measurements at the start of the programme and agreeing re-test dates such as 2 months, 4 months and 6 months, these figures can map the progress of hitting that all important end goal. Don’t make your weight the only assessment as it is not the most accurate; ditch the scales and purchase a tape measure.
How to take body measurements:
It is easier if you get a friend or partner to do the measuring if you don’t have a personal trainer.
Stand tall with your feet together and try and find an identifiable mark like a mole or scar that you can use to re take the measurements again.
Do not hold your breath and breath in, your only kidding yourself!
From the SMART goal we want to establish what you enjoy doing; if its not what you enjoy then there is little chance that its going to be sustainable and you will lack motivation. Exercise for weight loss should be a combination of cardiovascular, resistance and flexibility exercises. A balanced approach will enable the reduction of fatty tissue, tone muscle and improve flexibility within the muscles and around the joints. It is about being inventive and continually increasing the difficulty of each exercise throughout the course of the programme.
For running, there are different training methods that can be used rather than continuously running which add variety. Fartlek and Interval training are excellent ways of fat burning, training different energy systems and muscle fibre types and increasing aerobic fitness. There is also an excellent assessment to monitor general cardio-respiratory endurance for trained clients which is called the Cooper Test. This involves running the fastest sustainable pace for 12 minutes on treadmill or flat course then comparing your statistics to the relevant norm chart.
There are multiple assessments that can be used to assess muscular strength or endurance, depending on your goal. A common example would be working out your 1 repetition maximum (1RM) which is the heaviest weight you can lift once. For weight loss, muscular endurance tests would be more applicable and these generally involve high repetition of an exercise over a period of time. Lets say we apply the sit up test for you, as its specific to your weight lose and toning goal around the waist. This involves doing full sit ups for 1 minute in a correct and fluid movement and comparing it to the norms chart.
Flexibility can be monitored using many different assessments depending on what area of the body. There is no mention of flexibility in the above goal however I can guarantee if probed a little there will be an area that requires improvement whether its movement at specific joints or muscle groups. A good test to try is the sit and reach test to assess lower back, hip joint and hamstring flexibility.
I have said it before and I will say it again “Food is Batman and exercise is Robin!” What do I mean? You can do as much exercise as you like but to get the best outcome whether it be weight lose or sports performance, food will play a vital role in the end result. To change your diet and introduce exercise is no mean feat and really what you are looking to do is completely change your lifestyle. That is not easy and takes time however it is very achievable. Nutrition is about balance and finding something sustainable, not a quick fix.
Start with small steps and change one thing at a time. For example, if you only eat once piece of fruit a day increase that to 2 and continue with this for a week, then add in another fruit or a vegetable until you hit your goal. Write down all the fruit and vegetables that you can think of, pin it in the kitchen and experiment with them in your diet; make it fun! To assess your eating take a food diary and plan your meals in advance. The Eatwell Guide is a great starting point of reference.
Assessing progress over short, medium and long term periods enables keeps you motivated and map progress more closely. Why not give some of the assessments a go for your own 2017 resolutions and keep track of results. For any enquiries please get in touch. Good luck!