10/6/16 - Are You Sure You Want to Lose Weight?
The single most commonly desired outcome from fitness training is weight-loss. While DEUCE Gym is an uncommon place to train and the statistics might be less so here, weight-loss goals are still abundant inside these four walls, too. While I’m not here to dissuade students from their goals, I often observe that this goal is misguided.
What’s the problem with weight-loss goals? The first problem is that it’s rarely what the subject actually wants. In fact, I observe most people that think they should “drop ten pounds” actually just want to be leaner or for their shape to change. I’ve never met someone who simply wanted to change their relationship with gravity. While being leaner or in an ideal shape may also mean you weigh less, it’s not necessarily the case. In fact, these are mutually exclusive variables. Many folks can actually look “better,” have a smaller waist, have less body fat, and weight more than they used to.
This opens the door to another reason why weight-loss goals are rarely ideal. So many things affect weight that we get both positive and negative feedback about our goals that are misguided. Hydration, for example, can account for up to five pounds in weight change, which creates a scene where you’re on the scale high fiving yourself for being down four pounds when you’re actually just dehydrated. In my experience, weighing less rarely means I’m more lean. I’m not naive to think I’m winning if I’m a soft 221lbs versus being a lean 225lbs.
Not only do weight-loss goals often misdirect our efforts, they are hardly sustainable. What happens, for example, if you hit your target weight? Are you good to go, or is losing more weight somehow better? Do you stop training? Or, maybe you train to maintain this new ideal weight. Do you change the type of goal that you will pursue next? While you could argue that any goal only has temporarily relevance some are more efficient than others in getting results. Process oriented goals like committing to a certain nutrition strategy, setting goals for how much training you’ll do each week, or even performance oriented goals like a 5K run time or a max set of strict pull ups are not only tangible goals well within your control, but they have longevity beyond the finish line of the goal. The nutrition strategy can continue, the training schedule can continue, the 5K run time can be beat, and the pull up event can be PRed. Not to mention, these types of goals tend to have side benefits of aesthetic changes, too. As a performance oriented gym, we aren’t bashful about our biases. Improving performance is always relevant, always process oriented, and does a great job of covering subjective aesthetic goals simultaneously.
Opting for a weight-loss goal just because it seems like the most tangible body oriented goal to set is both lazy and not good enough in this context. Do you want to see you abs? Fine. Smaller waist? Cool. More defined arms? Go for it. Let’s just not pretend that these are all weight-loss goals.
50’ Odd Object Carry (AHAP)
5 Strict Pull-Ups