Reverse Goal Setting for Fast Fat Loss
By: Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer
I Reverse Goal Setting for Fast Fat Loss
Any day is a great day for setting goals or making a healthy lifestyle
change, but there is something special about New Year's Day that brings out
the most sincere fast fat loss efforts in everyone.
So whether you are aiming for a reduction in body fat, an increase in muscle
mass, more energy to keep up with everyday life, or a goal specific to your
elite athletic pursuits, start setting your goals ASAP so that you can get
on the road to success.
Goal setting is not a behavior limited to fitness and working out. It is
something that should be incorporated into almost every aspect of life, from
financial planning to fitness, to networking and building social contacts.
Your fitness goals can be as simple as promising to learn a new exercise or
as specific as setting out to lose 18 pounds of fat and to gain 6 pounds of
Just like when you set financial goals, you may also want to consider
sitting down with a professional trainer or strength coach to outline
strategies and behaviors that are directly in line with meeting your fitness
and performance goals.
A smart trainer will give you simple and effective solutions to prevent that
awkward stray from your workout program, such as the importance of keeping a
training and nutrition log book. Also, because people are so often
overwhelmed by a vast number of commitments in life, workouts are often the
first thing to be dropped from their day.
Fortunately, there is another simple solution to this problem, and that is
simply to book your workouts as you would book your daily business
Goal setting is also much more than a tool to keep you consistent with your
training. It's much more than that. It can be both a rigid plan that ensures
success and a highly motivating technique that offers continuous rewards as
you meet your smaller goals on the road to your larger primary goal. So how
does one goal set for success?
Fortunately, there is a process called "Reverse Goal Setting" that meets all
of the above descriptions and can help bring your goals to fruition. Reverse
goal setting is stricter and more accurate than simply setting a long-term
goal and hoping that nature takes its course. One should expect reverse goal
setting to lead to much better results and a more enjoyable process,
although it may mean dealing with a little more pressure.
So how does it work? Well, first you set your long-term end goal, whether it
is fitness-related or financial. For example, let's say that you want to
lose 20 lbs. of fat by the summer. Your first step would be to identify the
exact date that you want to have met that goal (let's say the holiday
weekend in May).
Now, instead of setting goals to work up to that date, you will actually set
a series of smaller goals by working back from the original date. This way
there is no going easy at the start, a trap that many people often fall into
by setting one vague goal after the other. With this method, you can't
afford to delay because you have rigid deadlines to meet!
Step 2 is to arrange for a test to determine your level of success in
reaching this goal. In this case, simply arrange for a body composition test
with an experienced professional at the final date in May.
Now comes the more difficult part, and that is setting smaller goals from
May back to January. Given that it is very manageable to lose one pound of
fat per week, your next-to-last goal will be to have lost ~17 pounds of fat
by the first of May.
You should also understand that those last 3 pounds may be the most
difficult to lose, so additional goals for May could also be to train more
consistently than ever before and to follow a well-devised nutritional plan
as strictly as possible.
Stepping back another month, you will need to have lost at least 13 pounds
of fat by the first of April. If you don't meet that goal, then you will
seriously have to adjust your training program for the remainder of the
Since research has shown that interval training can result in greater
fat loss than continuous traditional aerobic training, now is the time to
become fully committed to interval fat loss training! Preparing workout
plans far in advance of the training period make also makes for a very
smooth and successful program, so be sure to plan the final two months at
Now to March, and the end of a long winter for many, when the opportunity to
train outside will tease you with brief stints of warm weather, but the days
will still be too short to enjoy. You know from your timeline that 10 pounds
of fat should have been lost since the first of January.
And since March is a long month, you should probably have many different
workout plans available to help overcome any staleness or a lack of
motivation for training. If you haven't already set a mid-program body
composition test or progress check, do so now so that you will see just how
far you have advanced!
And on to February, where you will have already seen the benefits of the
dietary and exercise changes you made in January. You should have noticed a
large loss of body weight by now, but this month should be dedicated to
ensuring that the weight loss was entirely fat and that all of your muscle
is maintained to help burn calories. A great way to do so is to make
February's goal to incorporate more resistance training into your weekly
Simple exercises such as squats, deadlifts, rows, and presses
should give you more benefits than any combination of curls and extensions.
Slick and sleek as they may be, few isolation exercises even come close to
the benefits of these multi-joint exercises. Dedicate 3 to 4 days of the
week to weight training (followed by interval training or traditional
continuous exercise) to help you achieve a better body composition.
Finally, you come to January, and your chance to set the first goals that
will kick-off your program. Before you do anything else, take a "before"
picture. No matter what program or nutritional advice you follow, and no
matter what the final result, you can always take great pride in your
transformation. To accompany your photo, schedule a body composition test
with a professional, or simply take a few measurements at home to satisfy
You will now begin your program planning, identifying immediate nutritional
and exercise goals, such as decreasing your sugar and soda intake, and
increasing your energy expenditure. You also know to decrease your intake of
hydrogenated and saturated fats, while increasing your intake of fats from
Finally, replace your soda intake with Green Tea, and greatly increase your
intake of fruits and vegetables. It's a very simple dietary turnaround that
is the first major step to help you reach your goal.
And now that you've set a deadline, you need to implement a fitness plan.
The best program for fast fat loss is Turbulence Training.
Make one of your original goals to be consistency! Follow your
training and nutritional outline and your goals will be reached faster than
But once you set that big goal, you must be 100% committed to reaching it!
Setting down smaller concrete steps will outline your path to success in
such a detailed manner that there will be no room for failure. By knowing
where you have to be at each specific date, you can make the necessary
nutritional and training changes to the program.
For fat loss, let goal setting take the place of informal questions. Don't
just dream of being somewhere in 4 months! Put the steps down on paper and
the deadlines as well (i.e. if you want to burn 10 pounds of fat in 4
months, what do you need to do now?).
Determine the long-term goals first and then move down to the specific skill
or physical attribute that you need to improve this year and next. Goal
setting is your road map to reaching your dreams.
About the Author
Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men’s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit www.TurbulenceTraining.com
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