|Posted on June 14, 2018 at 10:55 PM|
How to reach your fitness goals
Ok. Here goes. There are four things you need when trying to reach your fitness goal….
- Good Nutrition
They may be listed in an order, but they aren’t necessarily in any order. Except, nutrition, of course.
Nutrition is the biggest part of any fitness goal. Whether your goal has to do with weight (either losing or gaining), toning up, gaining strength, or almost anything else, what you eat and drink makes a difference.
This is a huge topic in and of itself. Ranging from clean eating and understanding macro and micro nutrients to carb cycling and ketogenic diets. I’m just going to focus on Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) and tracking calories. If you have questions about other nutrition topics, don’t hesitate to ask one of our nutritionist or personal trainers!
First things first, the TDEE is used to estimate the number of calories you need each day to be you. There are a few ways to calculate it, but the easiest is to use a TDEE calculator. My favorite is from tdeecalculator.net.
The calculator is great for determining how many calories you should eat each day. With this knowledge you can work on either losing or gaining weight, depending on your goal.
When losing weight, you don’t want to deprive yourself of calories. You do want to take in less calories than your body needs for the weight you are at though. So, how many calories should you eat?
One rule of thumb is to never go below your basal metabolic rate for calorie intake in a day. You can think of the basal metabolic rate as the number of calories it takes for you to maintain your weight if all you did was lay in bed and stare at the ceiling.
Another rule of thumb is not to exceed more than a 500-calorie deficit for daily caloric intake. Any larger deficit should be due to a doctor’s or registered dietitian’s specific orders.
The hardest part of all of this is knowing how many calories you are consuming each day. This is where a calorie tracking program comes in handy. We tend to use MyFitnessPal here at the clubs, but any one will work.
Don’t forget to add the creamer you put into your coffee or the ranch dressing you dipped your fries into. The bite of your husband’s sandwich. That piece of gum you are chewing on. Almost everything you eat or drink has calories.
So, the first step toward your fitness goal is to track what you are eating and compare the number of calories you are consuming with your TDEE and see if it matches up with your goals.
Calories in minus calories out equals a gain, a loss, or a maintain. It’s really a simple formula. If you want to lose weight, then have a calorie deficit. If you want to gain weight, then have a calorie surplus. And if you like where you are at, then try to balance the calories in with the calories out.
Consistency is as important as understanding and following good nutrition. While nutrition and exercise are what most people think of when they work on fitness goals, it’s really consistency and intensity where people fail.
I don’t know how many times I have heard clients tell me how they had a bad nutrition day on a Friday and then extended that to the whole weekend, because, why not? If your serious about reaching your goals, then Saturday morning you get back on to good nutrition.
Here’s a little something to know. If you eat just 100 calories more that your TDEE per day for a year, you will gain a little more than 10 pounds.
A few servings that are about 100 calories:
- 12 gummi bears
- 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
- 2 medium chocolate chip cookies
- 4 1/2 Hershey's Kisses
- 4 marshmallows
- 3 1/2 cups of air popped popcorn
- 3 ounces of chicken breast
It’s easy to forget to add some of this to your calorie counts. I mean, why add a marshmallow, it’s just something I popped in my mouth.
There are a few ways you’ll want to be consistent to reach your goals.
First, track everything you eat and drink. Especially at the beginning of your journey. This is important for a few reasons. Most people really don’t know what they eat and drink each day. If you force yourself to track everything you eat, my bet is it’ll be eye opening. Another point, as you track your food you get a much better understanding about the calories of each food you eat and a surprising look at what foods are healthier for you and which are not.
Second, be consistent with your calorie intake goals. If you can do this daily, then that’s outstanding, but at least keep your calories within a weekly goal. For example, we'll assume a 2,000 calorie goal per day. That puts the weekly goal at 14,000 calories. So, if you go over on a day, then try to hit the weekly goal.
Third, be consistent with your exercise. Set a goal of so many minutes of cardio in a week (or sessions if you are doing something other than steady state cardio.) Plan out your resistance exercises for the next 4 to 6 weeks. Then be consistent with them, remember to think of them in longer periods of time. That way, if you are off one day, you can make it up on one of the next few days.
The Mayo clinic suggests a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. If your goal is weight loss, then 300 minutes of exercise per week is recommended.
So basically, they recommend 2.5 hours to 5 hours of exercise per week. Hopefully this doesn’t sound like a lot of time. I know, we are all very busy, but 1 hour is less than 5% of a day. So, what the Mayo clinic is asking is only about 1.5% to 3% of your week. That’s it.
So, this brings up two points. First exercise is important for being healthy, let alone for reaching any health and fitness goal. Second, consistency is as important here as it is with your nutrition.
The type of exercise you do will depend upon the goals you have for yourself. If you are looking to lose weight, then cardio is a great place to start. If your goal is to tone up, then you’ll need to work with resistance weights.
Come up with a plan for your exercise. To make a really good plan takes time and at least a little knowledge. Personal trainers do this very well. In fact, we have personal training packages dedicated to creating an exercise routine just for you.
Once you have your plan, you need to be consistent in its execution. The best way to do this is to make your exercising a habit. If you’re a morning person, then exercise in the morning, if you are an evening person, then exercise in the evening. If you must miss a day, then make sure you make it up the next possible day you can.
I’ll mention one last thing to consider when working toward your fitness goals, intensity. This is just as important for your nutrition as it is for your exercising.
First intensity in nutrition, because let’s face it, that does sound like it should fit unless you are talking about Nathan’s 4th of July hot dog eating contest.
Intensity in eating is how well you can keep to the right calorie count, or macro nutrient count, or whatever else is on your plan. Consistency would be getting back to your plan if you “fall off the wagon.”
What about intensity in exercise? Nope, you don’t need to grunt on every rep so the whole club knows your there! And you don’t need to do whatever the member next to you is doing either. It’s about how hard you are working on each rep compared to you.
The more effort you put into your exercise, the quicker you will achieve results. Take losing weight for example. I think most of us get that running a mile is more intense than walking a mile. And so, for cardio this is easy to understand. The harder we make the cardio the better it will be for us.
But what about resistance training? I’ve heard numerous people say that 12 reps are the perfect amount of reps to do. And so, they will pick a weight, lift it 12 times and call it good. The idea of exercise is to push yourself and this extends to resistance exercises.
There are a lot of diverse ways to lift. Lifting for strength, endurance, power, and stability. Each way has a different rep count that you want to stay between. For instance, with hypertrophy (a version of strength training) you try to get between 8 and 12 reps. As I often say to my clients, if you can’t get to 8 reps the weight is too heavy. If you can get to 12 with good form and could get 1 or more reps, then it’s too light.
This is where your intensity in lifting really shows. Knowing when to increase or decrease your weights so you max-out within a specific rep range.
So these are the basics:
- Know how many calories you burn each day.
- Count how many calories you consume each day.
- Be consistent with tracking your calories.
- Exercise consistently
- Push yourself when you exercise (intensity)
Nutrition and exercise are well known components, but there is a great depth of information for both. Consistency and intensity are less known, but in many ways more important. There are millions of people that know enough about nutrition and exercise to make it to their goals, but they lack the consistency and/or intensity to make their goals happen.
Hopefully this article is a good starting place for reaching your fitness goals. I know a lot of these points have been heard over and over again. There is good reason for that, they work.
If you have any questions, talk to one of our nutritionist or personal trainers. Both are exceptional sources of knowledge. Afterall, that's what we do everyday.
Certified Personal Traininer
Fitness Evolution - Monticello