non weight loss goalsNot everyone needs to lose weight. It’s a surprising bit of information many fitness professionals and companies seem to ignore. I recently lead an 8 Week Corporate Fitzness Challenge for a large company and many of the employees taking part were surprised when I didn’t really ask or require them to lose weight. In fact, I didn’t set any specific goals for that large group of individuals, because … how could I? They were INDIVIDUALS. Instead, I made it a “Do Better, Be Better” challenge.

With this type of challenge, I began with a few lunch-time presentations in which I taught them how to eat properly, design their own exercise program and set their own goals. Sure, a decent part of the group wanted to lose weight, but not everyone did. Instead, each person really thought deeply about what would legitimately benefit his or her life. The non-weight-loss goals ranged from:

  • Gain five pounds
  • Earn the ability to run a full 5k
  • Run a 5K each weekend until the challenge ends
  • Participate in a super sprint triathlon
  • Eat more produce, fewer salty snacks
  • Ease back and hip pain with regular stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Cut out soda, juice, fancy coffees, alcohol and other caloric beverages
  • Improve eating habits to avoid taking Insulin for Diabetes

ID-10042690What I loved most about this group and their goals is that they really meant something special to each participant. They were real people who weren’t obsessed with looking a particular way in swimwear. Instead, they were working on improving the quality of their lives medically or athletically through exercise and nutritious food. Some were just sick of hanging on to so many unhealthy habits. Almost everyone made major progress towards their goal by the end of the eight week challenge and many knocked it out of the park.

So what really matters to you? Are your hips always tight? Do you have a nasty nighttime snacking habit? Do you do tons of cardio, but never ever work on strength?  I’m confident you know what your shortcomings are. Pick one or two and focus on those. The guy who ditched his back pain in our eight week challenge, is now working out regularly because pain is not a deterrent. Our sweetie who cut soda and other sugary drinks sleeps all the way through the night and has more energy. Fitness is like that. Each time you do something good, the benefits come ten-fold. Pick one thing. Just one. Achieve that mission and move on to the next. You’ll be surprised what a massive impact those small changes may make. And yes, at the end of the year, you may just find that some of those non-weight-related goals lead to weight loss. Whoops!