Goal Setting, Reality and Rhetoric

By Edward Parker

Ok, so cast your mind back to your first session with your current personal trainer. They will have asked you to list possibly three goals? Ideally one of these would have been a long term goal (e.g. get your dream beach body, single figure BF% with an increase in lean muscle, possibly even a six pack) and the other one or two were hopefully shorter term goals that would be attained on the journey towards your long term goal. Your PT will have informed you and rightly so, that reaching these goals was more than possible. Then they will have spoken about a number of factors such as nutrition, injuries, stress, rest, etc. All of which can have a big effect on you reaching your desired goals.

At some point over the next couple of sessions your PT may have asked you to keep a food diary and specifically if weight loss was your goal, they might have asked you to consider trying sugar detox, for at least a couple of weeks. Both of these requests are part of us trying to assist in your pursuit of goals, but they are also a little test to see your commitment to reaching them.

What do I mean by this? Well if you are not willing to keep a food diary or not willing to even consider changing your diet, then are you ready to reach your long term goals? This is not to say that if you don’t do these simple tasks you are already failing, it simply means that the changes required for you to reach your goals may take longer. Look at it another way if my goal is to gain 1 stone in lean muscle and reduce my body fat by 6%, but I am not willing to massively change my diet, stop drinking alcohol, get 8-10 hours sleep a night, train at a high intensity for 3-5 hours a week, then all of a sudden that goal is not so realistic. That is not to say that I may not reduce my BF% a little and increase my lean muscle mass a little over time, but I am not going to get anywhere near my original goal.

Part of the problem is that we constantly see in the media celebrities who in the space of 8-12 weeks make these staggering body shape changes. What isn’t said is that quite often that is all they had to do in those 2 or 3 months. They will literally have been woken in the morning by their PT who will have taken them out for a pre breakfast run or walk to kick start their metabolism for the day. They will have then gone home for either a freshly delivered or made breakfast (bespoke to their specific goals). Then had a nap or rested before being taken out for their main gym session before again being fed and rested before perhaps some light yoga or pilates before another meal and more rest. This will happen about 3-6 times a week for said 8-12 week period. Now I’m pretty sure with this kind of lifestyle most if not all of us could reach our dream body shape goal.

So what am I trying to say? Have a dream goal, but also be realistic. There are people who are able to make massive wholesale changes and stick to them, but most of us need to make small changes and therefore have more realistic short term goals. Still have the dream goal, but except that it might take a long time to get there or it might just remain thus, a dream and instead try to enjoy the journey. Enjoy the fact that you are training more and more intelligently, enjoy that you are trying to eat healthier and when you do, enjoy that you are edging closer to your goal.


About Ed Ed Parker has an honours degree in Sports Science from Brunel University. He is a qualified PE teacher with a background in hockey and has represented Yorkshire, NE England and Scotland at youth level. He is a keen sportsman who enjoys tailoring clients programs to meet their goals and lifestyle choices. He has provided programs for strength, conditioning, sports specific fitness, balance and mobility or simply to feel ‘Morefit’. Ed is aware of the difficulties and pitfalls that come with balancing a healthy work and social life so he will assist with your training, nutritional and motivational needs.

Training for Fat Loss

By Ulli Ackermann

One of the first questions I ask, when signing up a client for their journey to a better version of themselves is usually: “What do you want to achieve?” And while the answers are as diverse as the people training with us, the most common one is fat-loss.

There are countless myths, half-truths and “bro-science” aka invalidated gym-talk out in the fitness world and combined with a new fad diet and ultra-fat burning routine that is being promoted in magazines every week, one can only wonder, what really does work. The answer is more complex and needs more space than a short article can provide but here are a few bullet points to consider:

– There is no spot reduction One of the greatest and most common misconceptions of them all. You want to lose the fat around your mid-section and believe that doing 100 crunches every day is going to get rid of it, since you are working that area. Unfortunately, it is not that easy. While you are working the local muscle tissue underneath the fat tissue, your body would never use just that fat tissue as fuel. Because that’s what fat is. Excessive fuel that has been stored because you didn’t need it at the time. And the human body is a biological organism designed to always stay in balance. So while you will be burning calories off of your fat depots, it will come off on the whole of your body, not just on your belly. Which brings us to the second point.

– Whole body exercising is more effective.  The only way to consistently lose body fat is by creating a calorie deficit. That means that, if you eat 2000kcal a day, you need to be burning more than that, lets say 2200 or more. If you do 100 crunches a day, you may be burning an excessive 50 calories. Arg, that’s not even one chocolate bar. If instead, you incorporate big compound moves, deadlifts, squats, push and pull movements for your upper body, you may very well get up to 2500 kcal expenditure during that day. And depending on repetition ranges used, you add muscle mass as well, therefore increasing your basic metabolic rate, which in turn may burn another 100 or 200kcal a day.

– Consistency and patience is key.  One kilogram of body fat stores roughly 7000 kcal. The average adult expends around 2000kcal in a 24 hour window. So even if you wouldn’t eat or drink anything at all, it would take you more than three days to get rid of 1kg of body fat. The scale may say more than that, but that is cell fluids, in particular, water being lost in the process. And even if I would advise for such drastic measures to start off a fat loss journey in some rare cases, the tool of a full fast is not effective in terms of long term weight loss. The main reason for this is that the body doesn’t just lose fat if you don’t eat. It takes a little from everything you have, breaking down precious muscle tissue, important nutrients and muscle glycogen in the process. If that wasn’t enough red flags already, the metabolism slows down, burning less calories in the process, which is suboptimal to say the least.

If we take the above example of a 300 – 500 kcal deficit during one day, which is realistic and healthy with appropriate exercise, you end up burning an excessive 10000 – 15000kcal a month, which equals up to 2kg of body fat. That is, if you don’t fall off the wagon and indulge in naughty foods or drink in that month. So if somebody comes to me and says, they want to lose a stone, I will say, be prepared for 3 months of hard work every week!

It takes time to lose weight and it’s certainly not as easy as piling it on. But the moments when you look into the mirror or at a picture before and after are going to be the most rewarding and accomplished feeling ever.


[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://www.morefit.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Ulli-Ackerman-MoreFit-Personal-Trainer.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Ulli is a Personal Trainer at MoreFit Finsbury Park and has a diverse sports background ranging from weightlifting to Martial Arts, downhill mountain biking to even semi-professional dancing. His fitness approach is based on a MSc in Sports Science with emphasis on Motion and Performance. This enables him to tailor custom programs for clients of all backgrounds with an assorted range of goals. His main focus lies on body re-composition, body sculpturing and weight loss including a variety of exercise methods to achieve best results. “As a Trainer, I pour my passion and energy into our session to make you work at 100%. Nothing gives better results and leaves you buzzing after as much. I will guide you on the path to a better you and it will leave you healthier, stronger and more energetic!”[/author_info] [/author]