Setting goals and having ambition is important when it comes to exercising. They help your motivation and can signal whether you’re progressing or not. However, it’s important to set realistic goals otherwise they can have exactly the opposite effect. They can beat you up psychologically, discourage you and even lead you to giving up exercising and healthy nutrition altogether, believing (falsely) that it “doesn’t work.”
It can be tempting to look at an Instagammer and assume that if you do the exact workouts they’re doing in the same way, then you’ll look exactly like them. Unfortunately it doesn’t happen for a number of reasons.
1. They’ve been training with weights for years before they posted their latest cool looking workout.
What many Instagrammers fail to disclose with their latest workout video is that the main reason they are in the shape they are is due to regular heavy resistance training for years before. They didn’t get it by just doing H.I.I.T., running, Spin Class or Body Pump, (although these can have their place. They’ve built up substantial muscle mass underneath which has hardened and firmed their bodies. It’s much easier to maintain a slim, firm physique than it is to get one.
2. Their genetics are entirely different to yours so where and how they distribute their body fat will be different.
“I just want to lose a few inches round my waist.”
“I’d really like to tone up my arms.” Do these statements sound familiar?
The truth is, we’re all unique. Our genetics largely dictate where we store most of our body fat. We can’t spot reduce. What we can do to make an effective difference, is work our muscles underneath which will growth and firm up that area. We can do this through resistance training (as mentioned above) and strip the outer layer of fat away which covers our muscles through a calories deficit. Which leads us to the next point.
Your genetics might dictate that you tend to store fat in your arms or thighs. For your friend it might be around her hips and tummy. That’s just life. We have to accept that we’re all different, unique and special. Your fiance clearly realises this.
No matter how your genetics influence your body composition, it’s still possible to make massive changes when you provide the right conditions.
3. They’ve paid close attention to their nutrition consistently for years beforehand.
In order to reduce fat around your waist, hips or wherever else nutrition is vital. You really can’t out train a bad diet, as the saying goes. A healthy calorie deficit is vital for reducing body fat while retaining as much muscle tissue as possible. This is your starting point. The next priority is ensuring you’re getting the right amount of Proteins, Fats and Carbs.
In order to change your body you need to ensure it’s getting the right fuel consistently. If you’ve neglected sensible nutrition for 3 or 4 years, you can’t reasonably expect to somehow magically overcome this is in 8 or 12 weeks.
4. Their starting point is different to yours.
Guess what, if your body fat is currently 35% when you start to exercise and eat well, you’re not going to achieve 20% body fat as quickly as someone who started at 25%. If you expect to hit 20% body fat in twelve weeks but you’re starting of closer to 40% then I’m afraid you’re in for disappointment. It’s a scientific process and it’s all about creating the right conditions for fat loss to happen as effectively as possible. It comes to a point where you can’t speed it up any more and you just have to be patient and keep ensuring the conditions are right.
Set “You” Centred Goals
If you start off aiming to look like someone else I can guarantee you’ll not only be disappointed but you’ll end up miserable, as will your friends and family. Set goals with you in mind that are S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time based. This post will give you more detail on goal setting.
An example of a SMART goal for you might be to reduce your waist size from 38 inches to 36 inches in 2 months time. However, if you have a 38 inch waist in April and your Wedding is in July, aiming to have a 30 inch waist in time for your dress fitting is not realistic I’m afraid. You can still make progress in that space of time and get closer to what you’re aiming for but it’s important to realise what’s realistic and what isn’t.
If you’re looking at pictures of brides on Pinterest and Instagram and subconsciously thinking, “I hope I look like her on my wedding day,” I would encourage you to be actively avoid this trap. There are no winners. You will still look like you whether you exercise and change your nutritional habits or not. Your body is still going to look like your body whether your waist is 35 inches or 25 inches.
Having realistic expectations for what you can achieve by your wedding day is important and it can stop you being disappointed on your big day with what you’ve achieved. It’s never too late to change your exercise and nutrition habits and at the very least you’ll notice a difference to how your body feels and your frame of mind on your big day.
If you’d like any help setting some realistic goals for your wedding fill send me a message here.