THE COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO SETTING UP YOUR OWN FITNESS PLAN
Starting a fitness journey can be difficult, very difficult. The old saying goes: ‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail’. So in these next few posts I will be taking you through the step-by-step process of setting up a FITNESS BLUEPRINT to reach your goals more effective.
‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail’
STEP ONE: KNOW WHERE YOU ARE AND BE REALISTIC ABOUT WHERE YOU WANT TO GO
The blueprint to your fitness journey starts with understanding your current position and realistically setting expectations of your end goals.
You need to address four things at the beginning of your blueprint:
- Your current weight
- Your goal weight
- The time frame (rate of loss or gain)
- The health of your metabolism
By assessing these factors, you will have the foundation of your blueprint. From this foundation you will later combine elements like calories, carbs, protein, fat and training et cetera to match your goal. For PART ONE we will only focus on figuring out the foundation.
THE FOUNDATION: ACCURATELY DETERMINING YOUR CURRENT WEIGHT
Determining your actual weight is very important and this is where many people make their first mistake in their traditional approach to transforming. There are tens, if not hundreds of things that could influence your daily weight. It is therefor important for us to set up a consistent method of measuring our body-weight.
The best way to accurately know the ‘ballpark’ of our current weight is to get on the scale at the same time and condition everyday. A great habit for this practice is to weigh yourself in the same garments every morning right after using the bathroom, before consuming any food or liquid.
This establishes a consistent and easy-to-remember method of tracking your weight to set the foundation. This is also the method you should be using throughout your journey to measure whether you are still on track.
Setting up a table like the one below will help you keep track of your weigh-ins. Your starting weight will be the average (add the weeks weigh-ins and divide by seven) of all your weigh-ins in the first week and this will serve as the foundation of your starting calculations (discussed in upcoming posts).
THE FOUNDATION: YOUR GOAL WEIGHT, RATE OF GAIN OR LOSS AND THE STATE OF YOUR METABOLISM
This is another common area in which most fitness plans fail. The average new-years resolution goal is set too big with hopes being overshot by miles when it comes to how quickly it is achievable. Usually fitness goals are also set in place without any gauges of the progress.
The science has shown us that losing weight at a rate of 0.5 to 1 percent of our current body-weight per week is a safe and sustainable rate (gaining muscle occurs twice or three times slower). It has also been shown that the leaner you are, the lower you have to be on the spectrum of that scale. For example:
If you are 1.6m tall and weigh around 80kg, you are quite overweight and can aim closer to the one-percent end of the spectrum per week. That means around 0.8 to 1kg weight loss per week would be a safe rate for you. But if you weigh 50kg you are losing too fast at 1kg per week and might be causing hormone and mood issues.
As part of setting up your foundation (weight, rate and metabolism) you need to take special care of that last factor. To know whether your metabolism is healthy, you need to ask yourself these questions:
- Have I been ‘dieting’ often?
- Am I eating less and losing no weight?
- What is my relationship to food?
If those answers are yes, yes and obsessed, then you might have a maladapted metabolism. A better way to assess this is to check your TDEE via an online calculator, eat that amount of calories and see how your body reacts (measuring and fixing a broken metabolism will be addressed in this series as a post on its own).
Do not start dieting if you have a damaged metabolism, wait for the post on how to fix your metabolism first.
THE FOUNDATION: THE TIME FRAME
Finally, you can set up the time-frame in which you have to acheive your goal – assuming your metabolism is in tact and you have determined your weight and rate of loss/gain. For example:
Let us assume you are the 80kg individual person from earlier and your rate of loss is 1kg per week (gaining will be discussed separately). Your end goal should be realistic, like a healthy BMI of 24 (around 60kg). This would, realistically take you 20 weeks to achieve, or 5 months. That is much longer than the average time frame people give themselves and much more attainable.
There you have it for your first step towards your blueprint: the foundation. For BMI and TDEE calculations you can find calculators here. Remember to assess your weight, rate, time and metabolism realistically. To receive the next part of this article subscribe to this blog and my newsletter. The next few entries should cover:
- The elements of nutrition (calories, protein, fat and carbs etc.)
- How to align these elements to your blueprint
- Broken metabolisms
- Training and cardio’s effect on your blueprint
- How to bring it all together
Thank you for reading, if you found this article useful and you are excited for the next few entries please help me out by sharing this post to your feed and following along. Links to this post will be available on my social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube. Sign up to receive mails when the new posts come out.