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Set fitness goals not weight goals

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Posted by Cags R under Fitness & Training on 13 January 2013 at 12:00 AM

Over the Christmas period we tried to stop people fixating on the scales and focus on fitness, we've been checking out what everyone's New Year resolutions are for 2013 and it's surprising how many people still set their sights on weight loss goals rather than fitness goals.

Scales can't tell you everythingMany of us have what we would call our 'ideal weight' - a weight at which we feel we would be healthiest and, to some extent, happiest. What is curious, however, is where this number originates from. For a start, the majority of 'ideal weights' happen to be round numbers - denominations of 10 if you measure in lbs or kg or whole/half stone if you're an imperial measurer.

So where do we pluck this 'ideal weight' idea from?

For certain athletes, this weight is determined by their sport - jockeys, boxers and weightlifters are all athletes whose performance or class category is dependent on their weight. So for these sports men and women, the 'ideal weight' could be labelled 'ideal sporting weight'.

But what about those of us who are not training in weight-specific sports, merely trying to get fit and live a healthy lifestyle - where do we derive our 'ideal weight'? As a rule of thumb, the average person's 'ideal weight' can be derived from this formula:

X = current weight/height (cm) x 1/10 weight of favourite celebrity x 100

Ok so the maths may be slightly off - but you get the idea!

Other sources of 'ideal weight' are found in scales such as the BMI scale which assigns a healthy weight bracket for each height category. These scales are not perfect but give a rough estimate of an average person's 'ideal weight'.

Why should you set fitness goals rather than weight goals?

  • Fitness goals have fewer limitations - there are 3 things your weight can do; go up, go down or stay the same. There are hundreds of things your fitness can do - you can be faster, more flexible, stronger, more agile, improve your endurance - and within each of these you have sub-categories of areas to improve.

  • Fitness is sociable - ever asked someone to join you on a diet? Not all that appealing. Ever asked someone to come to a fitness class, sign up for an event or just go to play basketball at the park? Much more appealing! 

  • Fitness goals can always get bigger - what happens when you reach your 'ideal weight'? Compare that to what happens once you've reached a new Personal Best at your sport - you can always improve a personal best in fitness or push yourself on to a bigger goal, that's what makes fitness so addictive!

  • Exercise releases endorphines which are awesome!

Share your fitness goals here and make them happen!!

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    Comments

    20140101113050-ashleighr

    I love this! I remember last year when I was unhappy that I wasn't getting closer to my 'weight goal' and suddenly it occurred to me that the weight doesn't even matter. Coming down from 69kg I wanted to hit 55kg (my previous weight) at some point, but stalled at 62kg. I've been told that I look better now than at 69kg or 55kg and clearly it took a while for the message to sink in, but it did! My measurements suggest that I'm healthy and my fitness is still improving every week. I figured that, regardless of my weight, I should be striving for fitness! I've realised that if I want to reach 55kg, I'm going to have to start dropping muscle, and, let's be honest, that is not going to happen. I like my size and the muscle definition, and my strength and speed, so it's staying :) I hope that more people start to take note of this. Although weight may play a part at some point, it is not the be-all and end-all. Health and fitness is more important than a number on a scale!

    20130301071758-mncrowwoman

    Ron is right, the insurance industry uses statistical analysis to assign a generic mean in regards to the amount of risk they could be exposed to as far payout on claims. They are vested in minimizing any risk in the most cost effective way possible. That's it and nothing more. All methods that exist to measure body fat percentages are based on predictive equations with the exception of hydrostatic weighing (water displacement) which gives actual density information. The tests range from a plus or minus 3% error to as much as plus or minus 10% error. Factors for accuracy include how well it's performed, who performs the testing, consistency in administration and accuracy and calibration of equipment. Hydrostatic testing still ranks the most accurate while BMI charts using height and weight the least. Skin fold and impedance testing fall somewhere in between. Make use of them as tools with imperfections and not mandates for your health.

    20130102151836-purplecactus

    I remember having a conversation with the nurse who took my height, weight etc before my last operation... I like seeing things like this. There's nothing more disheartening than seeing everyone around you diets, wanting only to be thinner because it's this idea of ideal. Fitness goals are most definitely the better, healthier option (and far more fun, you're right!).

    20130306203851-monicastricker

    I could not agree more. I come at this from a unique perspective. When I graduated from hs I weighed 98lbs, naturally. I was by no means restrictive in my eating or anything, nor was I really very fit. After having my son I weighed 114. I moved worked with a trainer and went up to 119 then 121. I have to admit I got caught up in the weight on the scale even when taking measurements. I don't think it helped that my trainer seemed to be perplexed by my weight gain. Looking back now I was so zoned in I did not stop to think of muscle mass or anything. Most of the time I hear peoples tearful stories about people being chubby their whole lives; and don't get me wrong I am not making light of that. However, I don't think people consider the flip side when all you have to go is up. Mentally it is a difficult thing. Looking back I would like to slap the girl I was then at 22 years old. I can wear those pants I wore than, but I realize they were looser than. I have seen pictures of that time. I looked amazing with the nicest defined arms. It saddens me I could not appreciate it then, but I do now. The number does not matter anymore. I focus on my mile times, my repeater times, the number of pushups I can do. How many bleachers I can get in before its too much. I have learned from my past mistakes and I strive everyday to teach that to all the kids especially girls I mentor.

    20130306203851-monicastricker

    I could not agree more. I come at this from a unique perspective. When I graduated from hs I weighed 98lbs, naturally. I was by no means restrictive in my eating or anything, nor was I really very fit. After having my son I weighed 114. I moved worked with a trainer and went up to 119 then 121. I have to admit I got caught up in the weight on the scale even when taking measurements. I don't think it helped that my trainer seemed to be perplexed by my weight gain. Looking back now I was so zoned in I did not stop to think of muscle mass or anything. Most of the time I hear peoples tearful stories about people being chubby their whole lives; and don't get me wrong I am not making light of that. However, I don't think people consider the flip side when all you have to go is up. Mentally it is a difficult thing. Looking back I would like to slap the girl I was then at 22 years old. I can wear those pants I wore than, but I realize they were looser than. I have seen pictures of that time. I looked amazing with the nicest defined arms. It saddens me I could not appreciate it then, but I do now. The number does not matter anymore. I focus on my mile times, my repeater times, the number of pushups I can do. How many bleachers I can get in before its too much. I have learned from my past mistakes and I strive everyday to teach that to all the kids especially girls I mentor.

    encouraged this.

    20141003173405-nicholad

    I've found as I get fitter, weight loss has eluded me, simply becasue as I gain muscle so even when I lose wieght it isn't much. However as my clothes fit better then the weight is less of a priority. As running as become more and more important to me, then personal bests are now my goals, weight loss is a secondary bonus!

    20130219085852-ingridr

    One thing that has always perplexed me since moving to europe, if I run into a female friend I haven't seen in a few months the greeting always seems to be "you've lost weight! looking good"!! While I know I haven't lost weight, and maybe even gained a kilo or so and frankly if I lost weight at the rate they say I do there'd be nothing left of me. If I exercise I gain weight. I consider my so-called "ideal BMI" to be too skinny. My goal is to be healthy and to able to do the sports I enjoy. Don't treat numbers. Feeling Healthy and Fit is a much better indicator of well-being and looking good.

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