Why You Can't Have 5 Most Important Goals

Ask yourself which goal is the most important to you right now. If you're not sure, ask someone for help or hire a personal fitness trainer to help guide you.

"You can't have five 'most important goals'." Chip and Dan Heath in Made to Stick.


The best plan for losing the most body fat in the shortest amount of time possible, is not the best plan for building muscle. I know, it's a bit disappointing. To reach your goals most effectively you need to pick one thing at a time. Let's go over why this is the case.

Tackling Your Physical Goals

Lose fat. Gain muscle. The exercise programs for these two goals might look pretty similar; higher volumes of training (more sets, reps, or both) and lighter weights (relatively). Why then can't you effectively do both of these things at the same time effectively? Well you can to an extent but, not the most effectively.

To lose body fat, you need to put yourself in a caloric deficit or a negative energy balance. To gain muscle, it's more beneficial to be in a positive energy balance or to eat more than you use for energy. Higher volumes help you grow muscle, they also help you keep muscle while you're losing fat if you're getting enough protein.

You can trust the process and do one at a time but, you don't have to. If you want to try and do a little bit of both this is entirely possible too. It'll just be much slower progress. To do that you want weight maintenance or to be isocaloric.

If you structure your goals in the right order you can accomplish all of them in time. Ask yourself which goal is the most important to you right now.

If you feel uncomfortable with your weight and that's holding you back, maybe you should lose fat first. If you feel like you've lost enough weight or you don't really care about how much you weigh, maybe you should tone up and put on a little muscle first. Any fat you might gain can always be removed later.

Try to keep things simple!

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