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The Four Worst Fitness Goals and What You Should Aim For Instead



Fitness goals are great. After all, you're unlikely to achieve something by accident. Typically, you have to aim at something to do it.


Unfortunately, bad fitness goals are both common and counterproductive. It doesn't matter how hard you try; you can't outwork a bad goal.


Here are 4 of the worst fitness goals and what you should do instead.

X Pounds in X Days


Losing 10 pounds in 30 days is a terrible goal. Any combination of X pounds in X days is bad.


It's a bad goal because weight loss is complex; everyone does it at different paces.


Stress, sleep, life commitments, and much more all affect weight loss. It's not nearly as simple as people think.


Also, losing weight is rarely the actual goal. Most people want to lose fat. Losing weight too fast can lead to losing muscle and water, neither of which is ideal.


What to do instead


Instead of aiming for a certain amount of weight loss, aim to build better habits.


There is a long list of habits that help with weight loss.

• Drink more water

• Move around more

• Exercise more

• Sleep more

• Limit stress


If you build healthy habits and do them consistently, you will reach your fitness goals in a healthy timeframe.

Never Eat (Fill in the Blank) Food


Cutting out "bad foods" is probably the most common way people try and lose weight. It's not a bad idea; it can just be taken to the extreme too easily.


You should cut back if you eat a lot of ultra-processed or otherwise unhealthy food. But you shouldn't demand perfection.


Sometimes cheat meals can be helpful, especially if they help prevent burnout.


What to do instead


If your favorite food is unhealthy, limit it; don't cut it out completely.


A common tactic that works is the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy 80% of the time and enjoy yourself the other 20%.


That works for most people, but you can increase it to 90 or 95% healthy if your fitness goal is ambitious.

Work Out Everyday


Many people think they must work out daily to get in shape. That couldn't be further from the truth.


Yes, you need to work out with some consistency. But an intense workout 2-4 days per week is usually enough. You don't need to work out daily unless you want to.


What to do instead


Work hard, but also schedule time for recovery.


If you need a break, take one. It will allow you to come back well-rested and work harder.

Any Outcome-based Goal


Outcome-based goals are rarely effective. For instance:

• Lose x pounds

• Squat x more pounds

• Put on x pounds of muscle


There are two big problems with outcome-based goals.


First of all, they are often too aggressive. That can lead to unsustainable or unhealthy habits.


Secondly, they are often overly optimistic. It usually takes much longer to achieve a fitness goal than you think. Not seeing progress as fast as you hoped can kill your motivation.


What to do instead


Similar to the first point, building habits that align with your stated goal is better.


If you want to lose weight, build habits that have been shown to aid in weight loss.


If you want to gain muscle, build muscle-building habits.


If you want to get stronger, make consistently hitting the gym a habit.

Final Thoughts


Don't fall victim to one of the worst fitness goals.


No matter your goal - lose weight, build muscle, look better, etc. - it's better to do it correctly.


Build healthy habits and stick to them as much as possible without burning out.


And whatever you do, be sure to enjoy the journey. The process is often the best part.


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