Whether you’re trying to bulk up or lose weight, it is recommended that you have a goal weight. This is the weight you can work towards and fixate on, fine-tuning your diet and training until you reach that point. When you do get to your goal weight, you switch your regimes to maintenance rather than radical change.
So far, so simple– or is it? There is one major issue that many people have with their goal weight: they don’t know what it should be.
Goal weights vary hugely, and are dependent on a number of different factors. In an effort to try and provide the clarity you need to establish your own goal weight, here are a few questions you’ll need to ask yourself:
Question #1 – What is your goal?
You have to firmly establish exactly what your fitness goal is– ideally, this should be more specific than “I want to be in good shape”. Good examples of goals include wanting to run a marathon or being able to participate in a new sport.
Your goal should fall into one of two categories:
- Bulk up. This applies if you want to partake in a new sport that requires muscle-building, such as wanting to meet specific boxing weights or become an active participant in weight lifting.
- Slim down. This applies if you want your ultimate goal to be something to do with cardiovascular exercise, such as running a marathon.
Question #2: What does the BMI calculator say?
Many people set their goal weight based on the Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator, but BMI calculators aren’t the most precise of tools. BMI is inherently flawed, and shouldn’t be seen as anything more than a guidance number.
However, it’s a good guidance number to have. Use a calculator to determine your “ideal” BMI, then:
- Add to that number if your goal involves bulking up. Bulking up may mean that your BMI category technically becomes “overweight”; this is one of the greatest flaws in BMI, in that it doesn’t distinguish fat from muscle when determining weight.
- You will want to subtract from that number if you wish to slim down. Your target should always be in the “safe” category — so not dipping into underweight — but cardiovascular improvement should see you on the lower end of normal.
Question #3: What are your measurements?
Measurements are just as, if not more, important than weight when determining your fitness. Your waist-to-hip ratio is important whether you are planning on bulking up or slimming down, so this becomes another goal you should look to reach. If you’re bulking up, you’ll also want to keep an eye on your bicep size, as this can help reassure you that you’re gaining muscle rather than fat.
If you’re slimming down, you will definitely find keeping an eye on your measurements is more beneficial than focusing on the scale. Weight loss isn’t linear, and weekly measurements are by far the best way of charting your overall progress.
Going through the above questions should help you to ascertain your goal weight and your goal measurements, ensuring that you’re always working towards the result you desire.