Healthy strategies for a healthy summer

Focus on process-based goals when taking your health and fitness to the next level

As we get more beautiful weather this spring and summer, it will encourage more Winnipeggers to get outside and become more active through recreational sports or going to the park - usually in preparation for weddings, the lake and the beach.

This is a fantastic opportunity to get healthy.

If you are looking to take your health and fitness to the next level, I highly recommend you take a few minutes to set some goals for yourself.

Now I’m not talking about spewing out some arbitrary weight loss number and then hoping for the best. This type of goal is known as an outcome-based goal and is very common.

One example of an outcome-based goal is, “I want to lose 10 pounds in June.”

There are two pitfalls to an outcome-based goal.

The first is that there is questionable reasoning behind the goal.

Why did you pick that goal? Do you like how the number 10 sounds? Did a doctor tell you that to be healthy you needed to lose 10 pounds in the next few months? Is this physically possible or safe? Are your friends always talking about losing “that last 10 pounds?” Is this 10 pounds of fat or do you care if you lose muscle as long as the scale goes down 10 pounds?

Have you honestly thought about your reasons for this number?

The second pitfall is the lack of control you have in achieving that goal.

What if you totally revamped your nutrition, worked out harder and smarter than you ever have before, and you only lost five pounds?

What if you didn’t lose any weight?

This may be due to many factors you can’t control or that are variable or hard to predict from person to person.

Wouldn’t that be frustrating? You might feel like a failure even though you were extremely disciplined.

The feeling of failure would have come from the way the goal was designed.

Time and time again I’ve seen people who are developing healthy habits and making real progress but who just don’t feel successful.

They need to focus on process-based goals that are in their control.

One example of a process-based goal is: “I will do 12 metabolic resistance training workouts in June.”

You can control this.

Plan out the details and be specific:

What days of the week will I do this? What time of day will I crank out my workouts?

What are my workouts going to be? Should I look for a quality trainer or coach?

Will I have a workout buddy? If yes, who? If I have to miss a workout for a legitimate reason, how will I make it up?

At the end of June, you will be able to easily track your progress of the process.

But isn’t the outcome still important?

Yes, of course it is!

When process-based goals are achieved they will lead to positive outcomes as well.

In our metabolic workout example above, it can lead to fat loss, strength gain, change in how clothes fit, increased energy levels and quality sleep among many other exciting things.

You should document any and all positive changes you notice along the way. The beauty of this setup is that that you didn’t arbitrarily box yourself into an outcome-based situation that too often discourages people in their journey to improve their lives.

You have to determine your own process-based goals. They can be related to anything - workouts, healthy eating, even things unrelated to fitness.

I recommend using the effective SMART goal acronym, which emphasizes making goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-oriented.

Focus on the process. Feel in control.

Enjoy the results!

A lifelong athlete, Johnny Fukumoto has a degree in kinesiology from Wilfrid Laurier University. He is the owner of, and head trainer at Fukumoto Fitness, Winnipeg’s “anti-gym.” Visit

Published in Volume 66, Number 27 of The Uniter (May 30, 2012)

Related Reads