Weight Loss Should Not be a Goal

Weight loss should not be the goal of an exercise program or the end result for improving one’s eating habits.  Weight loss should not be used as a measure of fitness or as a way to measure improvement, because losing weight does not, cannot, improve performance.

Focusing on weight loss is a massive waste of time and effort and sets up negative associations between exercise, eating and health. Without a concern for improving performance or increasing capability, weight loss is meaningless and certainly not a measure of success and certainly not a measure of fitness.

Everywhere you look there are health, fitness and diet experts saying that losing weight is a must in order to live as long and as healthy as possible. Rarely, if ever, is there a mention of any other kind of improvement besides the weight loss.


As a fitness development coach (formerly known as a personal trainer) if I let clients focus on weight loss as a goal I would be in big trouble.  Any fitness professional that let’s their clients use weight loss as the main goal of their program must fight a constant, impossible to win battle against nature and the forces of genetics.

People cannot continue to lose weight and they cannot consistently lose weight over a period of time.  When the weight stops coming off, a weight loss oriented program is deemed a failure and clients lose interest. However, they can continue to improve performance and work to increase their capability level.  

I have clients who in their sixties are continually working on getting better; performing a pull-up, improving balance, learning how to sprint and how to perform complex Olympic-style lifts. If these clients had been focused on weight loss they would have never been able to make the massive progress that has allowed them to achieve quite extraordinary things, which has improved their quality of life in ways that losing a few pounds never could.

3 comments
  1. Bryan
    Bryan
    August 31, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Indeed, focusing on weight loss is wrong because being heavy doesn’t entirely mean you’re unhealthy because there is such thing that is called muscle weight. Very good topic. Thanks! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Wade Werner
    Wade Werner
    August 31, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Excellent point and one that more people should understand. Unfortunately we are bombarded about weight loss as the end all and be all by the media. People should aim for quality of life which being fit brings to us as almost a gift in itself. Weight loss is often a by-product of being in shape, but being in shape is what life is all about if we are to experience it at its best.

    Reply
  3. Gareth Field
    Gareth Field
    September 30, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Are you kidding? Weight loss goals that coincide with what you think your client is going to lose based on a good training program and maybe slightly better eating habits is a fantastic motivator. If the client has a negative association with working out, it’s your fault, not their goals’.

    Reply
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