How To Make SMART Nutrition and Fitness Goals

When I ask my clients what their goals are when they start working out and eating healthier, they often give extremely generalized answers.

“I want to lose weight and tone up.”

“I want to get stronger and get abs.”

“I want to eat healthier and snack less.”

The bad part is these are terrible goals. Why are they terrible? Because they don’t offer enough information! They don’t say how they are going to measure becoming “stronger” or “healthier”, they don’t talk about how they are going to reach those vague goals. So how then should you go about making your goals?

I suggest following the SMART guidelines:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

So for example, let’s take the first vague goal above and dig into it.

“I want to lose weight and tone up.”

Is this specific? Absolutely not. To specify, we should put a numerical value on it and talk about the specific parts of body composition. Instead, someone might say, “I want to lose 20 pounds of fat, and gain 5 pounds of muscle.” Much more specific.

By adding this information, we then are able to make the goal measurable as well through the use of a scale and body fat calipers. The person would then want to specify when they were going to take these measurements. They might choose every Monday morning to record their weight and body fat.

Following this, they should make sure this goal is attainable for them. They must specify how they are going to meet this goal and what parts of their lifestyle they will be changing to meet the goal. They could then say that they will do 45 minutes of cardio three times a week, and lift weights for 45 minutes three times a week, as well as monitor their diet through MyFitnessPal, eating at a calorie deficit for the first 20 weeks, and then a calorie surplus the next ten weeks.

Next, they should check that this is realistic. Do they have a place they can do cardio and weights? If not, they should buy a gym membership. Do they have access to healthy recipes and the knowledge they need to know what kind of macronutrients they should be getting? If not, they should then specify that in their goal as well. Also, do they have a spot in their schedule to get these workouts in and meal prep? They should work on scheduling their workouts just like any other errand or meeting.

Finally, they need to set a timeline on the goal. If they don’t, it’s much harder to ever complete it. For this, a realistic time frame would be a pound of weight loss a week, followed by a half pound muscle gain per week after that, for a total of 30 weeks.

So now we have a true goal, one that is mapped out and much more likely to be followed until completed!

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