Who has never started the year with new promises and new plans to keep? As the saying goes, new year, new life!
It is quite normal for us to start the year with new goals.
However, before we start applying everything the wrong way, the idea of this article is to teach us to become more responsible and to have some metrics that help us evaluate the goals we set ourselves.
Of the most common goals that come to me, I highlight the following:
- Want to lose 5 kg body weight
- Wanting to learn to count macros and Calories
- Want to improve my cardiovascular capacity
- Want bigger arms
Now, how can we turn goals into training goals?
- I want to lose 5 kg = I will add a calorie deficit to my diet and possibly add some cardiovascular training.
- I want bigger arms = It probably makes sense to prioritize training and arm training volume.
One of the best-known formalities for setting goals in the most diverse areas of work is through the SMART methodology.
SMART stands for “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Sensitive,” which means:
Specific - Specify that I want to have bigger arms instead of saying “I want to get bigger” so that it is easier to work and focus towards the specific goal.
The same applies when you want to lose fat, or maintain, or even gain some muscle mass, instead of saying “I want to stay Fit”.
Measurable - For example, saying “I want to gain 2 cm arm” instead of mentioning “I want bigger arms”, or saying “I want to lose 5kg” instead of just saying “I want to lose weight”.
What is actually measurable is controllable.
Attainable - For example, when you want to “gain 2 cm of arms in the next 12 weeks”, or when you want to “lose 5 kg in the next 12 weeks”. This is all achievable if the work is oriented in this direction.
On the other hand, if you want to gain 2 cm of arms in 2 weeks, or lose 20kg in 6 weeks, you will no longer achieve such goals.
Realistic - Very similar to the previous point.
Timeline Sensitive - These are goals without a date that usually become less demanding and people tend not to meet. Using Parkinson's Law: "the work expands to fill the time available to do it".
In this sense, it is essential to force a temporal space.
Taking the example you used earlier, you should aim to "want to lose 5kg in the next 12 weeks" rather than "losing 5 kg sometime this year".
Once you understand how to define our goals in detail, you have to prioritize them and therefore break them down into sub-blocks.
Using the previous example - “I want to lose 5 kg in 12 weeks”, you can break it down as follows:
- Lose 2,5 kg in First 4 Weeks
- Lose 1,5 kg between weeks 5 and 8
- Lose 1 kg between weeks 9 and 12
Your training and diet will certainly be complementary.
Although the example focuses on diet planning and weight loss progress, what should be done about the rest?
It will certainly make sense to have something adjusted. However, it is important to try not to plan objectives and goals that end simultaneously and that may interfere with each other.
For example, avoid thinking that "I want to lose 5 kg, gain 10 kg of muscle mass, increase 50 kg in my squat and run 2 half marathons".
If so, what training to do?
In our example we should note the following:
- Representing our maximum strength requires hypertrophy, technique, and neurological adaptations.
- Hypertrophy is efficiently achieved mostly in the total training volume.
- Neurological adaptations are mainly due to intensity (% 1RM)
Training volume and intensity are "almost" inversely proportional, so be careful to avoid the so-called overtraining.
A balance needs to be struck and trying to progress through progressive overload over time.
Here is a guide that can serve as an example of how you can prepare a training that suits you, based on the following:
Volume - Between 40 to 70 repetitions per muscle group in a training session, or 80-210 repetitions per muscle group in one week.
It will make sense to start with the lower limit of repetitions and rise as close to the maximum limit as possible during the first month, while we have the initial calorie deficit and we still have some levels of energy acceptable to complete the training.
Throughout the following workouts, you can slightly reduce the volume by focusing on trying to maintain the intensity.
Intensity: In our example for hypertrophy and strength, during the weight loss process, we should focus most of our time on training in the range of 6-12 repetitions (about 2/3 of the volume), with the remaining volume divided by repetitions low (<6) and highest repetitions (> 12).
Frequency. Each muscle group should be trained 2-3x per week.
* Based on Eric Helms indications.
Another aspect to be taken into account is the importance of focusing on the achievement of some cardio and a lot of muscle training, which leads to an increase in Flow G (G-Flux).
There are many studies that show that at a weight loss phase, spending 200 extra calories a day and having a dietary deficit of 300 calories will have an effect on body composition greater than a dietary deficit of 500 calories without extra energy expenditure.
In short, and after this lengthy text, you may ask yourself the following questions:
- What's the point?
- What methods are currently being used to achieve this goal?
- How fast is my progress towards the goal? (e.g., weight lost per week)
- What could benefit and optimize the process? (more hours of rest, better nutrition, etc.)
- How will I evaluate that something is actually improving effectiveness during the process?
- How long is it acceptable to see noticeable changes? (usually somewhere between 4-16 weeks to be visible and measurable enough)
- At the end of the time applied… did it go as expected? Did it go better or worse than expected? It's because?
If you are satisfied with the results, then keep what has been done.
If something went below expectations, start again from point 1 and apply the lessons learned during the process.
Rational thinking takes time to internalize, but by becoming responsible, rational, and objective in our analysis, we can learn from everything we do.
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It's early in the year, a great time to set goals and follow them to the end!
Article written by Team Sik Nutrition