Setting reachable fitness goals

Motivation to change one’s health and appearance comes in one of two forms.  You aspire to look or be like someone else that you believe is the “ideal” representation of a human being or your doctor has made it mandatory for you to get fit or you won’t be around to see Canada win any more gold.  Both are strong motivations for most Canadians, and for those living elsewhere just replace Canada with your country.  I do hope that some of you have a third motivation . . . to best the best person you can be, inside and out.  What does that mean exactly?  This is the easiest and only realistic goal you can ever have.

brooklyn decker swimsuitWhen someone comes to and says I want to look like Brooklyn Decker or Angelina Jolie I immediately frown.  If they come to me because their doctor or insurance company sent them, I know we’ve started on a road to nowheresville.  What I love to hear when I meet a prospective client is “I want to be the best me that I can be.”  This individual is much more likely to experience success right from the start because they’ve established a realistic perspective on what they want to look and feel like.

You will probably never look like a celebrity model no matter what you do.  You can use her workout program, hire her personal trainer and even eat exactly what she eats but you’ll only be disappointed with the outcome . . . that is unless you are among the lucky few that actually possesses the potential to do so.  If you have always struggled with your weight then you should lower your expectations because it’s likely not in the cards for you to look this way.  If you’re a guy and you want to be huge like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but you resemble Woody Allen it ain’t gonna happen for you either.  Even if you follow Arnold’s weight training and diet regimen and employ a team of muscle building chemists it still won’t get you there.

So why  am I so pessimistic in an entry meant to be motivational?  Because without a proper perspective, you will be doomed to failure from the get go.  First, you need a reasonable image of how you want you body to look and this vision can only come from the mirror. There is nothing overly vain or narcissistic about wanting to change your body.  Desiring a healthy body, one that is attractive to the opposite sex, seems not only very natural but could be very productive . . . well if you want to reproduce anyway.

So maybe you want a smaller waist, leaner, tighter thighs or less baggage in the back of your arms.  Maybe you dream of making all of these changes; whatever it is you need to visualize how you will look when you reached your goal.  Imagine how your body will look and don’t reference some else’s body, especially someone with superior genetics.  There is nothing wrong with drawing motivation from someone else’s achievements as long as you maintain proper perspective.  If you exercise and diet only for your health, without a care for how you look then I say you’re not being totally honest . . . what I mean to say is when you are healthy, you will  look great and I’m positive you’ll take pride in that.  Either way your approach to diet and exercise will be relatively the same.

Once you’ve established your goal(s), you need to set a reasonable timeline to achieve them.  Have you ever read an ad that promises body transformations in record time?  It’s worked for hundreds of their clients and can work for you too?  Diets that don’t require exercise?  Exercise that doesn’t require dieting?  This is the kind of crap I want to filter out with this blog and my services.  My point here is that these types of false promises have completely warped most people’s sense of what a  reasonable timeline is.

woman checking her out hip butt in the mirror


Here’s a fact: the faster you want the results- the harder you’re going to have to work to achieve them.  Here’s another fact: less than 20%  of people have the discipline and tolerance to “pain” (from burning muscles and psychological strain) to achieve this.  So, that leaves the patient group.  Those that can go the distance and see a program through to the end.  The ones that see the writing on the wall- if you can’t change your lifestyle to be as conducive to your goals as possible than you will experience sporadic and short term results at best.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention . . . of our 80% remaining, only 10% will adopt this new lifestyle.  That leaves 30% of our group with the potential to reach their goal.  If only half of them set unrealistic goals then, that might leave 15% who actually succeed.  Pretty crappy number.  You won’t see any weight loss program admit those numbers.  They only focus on the 15%. This shouldn’t be surprising considering how much money is being made in this industry;  money reaped from failure.

Distorted perceptions and unreasonable timelines can make your dream of getting your best body a pipe dream.  If  it was so quick and easy we wouldn’t be fatter than ever as a society. But we are and until people can see through the smoke and mirrors and change their whole life, nothing will change.  I know, that because you read my blog and you’re a really smart person, that you’ll be in the that 15% and busy answering the onslaught of questions from others like ” What have you been doing? You look great.”  Did you hire a personal trainer or something?  This is the acknowledgement that you took control and did things the right way.

Craig Simms

Craig Simms

Craig Simms is a personal trainer and weight loss coach in Vancouver, B.C. Craig has been a fitness leader for over 21 years and has amassed over 25,000 hours of personal training experience in that span. He specializes in personalized weight management programs.
Craig Simms
Craig Simms

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