Setting Your Body Composition Goals

Health and fitness products and services set goals focus on changing your weight. And there are only 3 ways to change your weight: 1) get smaller, 2) get bigger, or 3) stay the same. You may have seen those phrased differently like 1) “Lose Weight (or Fat),” 2) “Gain Mass (or Muscle or Strength),” and 3) “Get Healthy (or Maintenance or Reverse Diet)”.

However, we know that weight itself is not a problem, but that the underlying body composition is what matters for how we look, feel, and live. Besides, if we could, wouldn’t we want to “Lose Fat” and “Gain Muscle and Strength” and “Get Healthy” all at the same time? The scientific-theory and -evidence proves that it is possible to accomplish all of these goals at the same time if we have the right nutrition and activity plan based on where we start (Your Status) and where we want to end (Your Goals).

Goal Assessment

Wellest optimizes Body Composition with a primary focus on improving Leanness (measured in Body Fat Percentage (BF%)) and then improving Muscularity (measured in Fat-Free Mass Index (FFMI)) secondarily. This is because although both can be improved simultaneously, it is faster and easier to change BF% and it becomes much faster and easier to change FFMI once BF% is within a healthy range. More on those measurements later.


To help you understand how your goals work together to improve your health, Wellest projects what your health statistics would be if you were to accomplish both of your goals at the same time. This is the “Goal You”. You can compare the Goal You to reference goals using the Wellest Body Composition Map. As part of setting your goals, Wellest will provide a Goal Assessment summary based on your closest reference points.

💡 Tip | You can see the difference between your current and Goal You health statistics at the bottom of the Your Goals screen. If you tap on the values you can change them from the difference (e.g. lose 10 lb) to the actual goal value (e.g. weight 150 lb).


In general, the overall goal for everyone using Wellest is to move towards the bottom-right of this map as they reduce BF% and increase FFMI. Wellest automatically guides you towards the dark teal section of the map — the "Wellest Zone" — that represents the ideal combination of improvements to general wellness, function, athletic performance, aesthetics, and long-term health.


To better decide how to choose your goals it can be helpful to understand your current health status by reading the Your Status FAQ article.

Learn More about Your Status

Goal Leanness (Body Fat Percentage (BF%))

The first and most important goal to set is for your Goal Leanness (or Goal Body Fat Percentage (BF%)). BF% is a ratio comparing your Body Fat Mass with your Weight. When compared this way, it is easy to see how your body compares to the available research for various health conditions as well as visualize how "lean" your body looks.

Beyond the obvious benefit of improving aesthetics, BF% is a proxy for the range of far more serious metabolic diseases. These include heart, lung, brain, kidney, and liver diseases as well as various cancers and type II diabetes. These conditions lead to nearly 70% of all causes of death in the United States per the CDC.

To help you set the right Goal Leanness level for you, Wellest offers a number of reference levels to choose from:

  • Current | As a reference, this is the current level determined by Wellest using your demographics and measurements.

  • Wellest Zone | By default, Wellest will try to move you into the area of the Wellest Body Composition Map called the "Wellest Zone". This means reducing your BF% to at least the "Athletic" level or at your "Maintenance" level if you're already more lean. See more on why below.

  • Minimally Healthy | By reducing BF% below the "Minimally Healthy" level for your gender you significantly reduce your risk of developing these diseases compared to the average.

  • Athletic | By reducing further into the "Athletic" level you reduce your risks much further still, and gain the benefits of improved athletic ability, function, mood, and aesthetics. For many sports, this can be the ideal level for performance, although some such as sumo wrestling prefer high BF%, and others such as bodybuilding prefer lower BF%. For some people that prefer a "softer look" this level is also considered the ideal level for aesthetics too. Moreover, this is considered the Wellest Zone minimum level of leanness because at and below this level you will experience significant improvements in metabolic and sex hormone function with higher TEF and NEAT without sacrificing BMR. It also allows your body to take best advantage of nutrient partitioning to more easily recover from activity and build muscle faster.

  • Aesthetic | Going further still into the "Aesthetic" level you reduce your risks but primarily you're gaining other benefits such as improved athletic competitiveness (e.g. for sports with weight classes), improved aesthetics, and self confidence. Depending on your genetics it can become increasingly difficult to reduce BF% into this range. And it can become very difficult or even impossible to maintain BF% at this level without making fitness your full-time profession.

  • Genetic Potential | Because it is possible to have too low of a BF%, Wellest will not allow you to maintain a value at or below the "Genetic Potential" level where it could impact your health through persistent changes to your metabolic and sex hormones. If you select this goal then Wellest will continue to push your plan to decrease BF% until you reach the level but depending on your genetics and compliance it may not be possible for you to achieve this level.

  • Custom | If you have a specific level in mind you can set it in the custom goal field.

  • "Maintenance" | Finally, although Wellest does not offer a "Maintenance" setting directly, it is very easy to set this by simply entering your current level into the "Custom" field.

Goal Muscularity (Fat-Free Mass Index (FFMI))

The other goal to set is for your Goal Muscularity (or Goal Fat-Free Mass Index (FFMI). FFMI is a ratio comparing your LBM with your Height. Similar to with BF% when compared this way, it is easy to see how your body compares to the available research for various health conditions as well as visualize how "muscular" your body looks. Observed in conjunction with BF%, FFMI helps us determine the overall look of your body or its "tone".

Beyond the benefits to your aesthetics, FFMI is a proxy for important health conditions that will impact you as you age including sarcopenia and osteoporosis. Sarcopenia, or age-related muscle loss, affects up to 50% of those aged 80 or above. Osteoporosis, or age-related bone loss, affect up to greater than 50% of those aged 50 or above and is markedly worse in post-menopausal females. Ultimately, it is these conditions that put the elderly at risk of incapacitation, inability to fulfill activities of daily living (ADLs), and life-threatening falls.

  • Current | As a reference, this is the current level determined by Wellest using your demographics and measurements.

  • Wellest Zone | By default, Wellest will try to move you into the area of the Wellest Body Composition Map called the "Wellest Zone". This means increasing your FFMI to at least the "Minimally Healthy" level or at your "Maintenance" level if you're already more muscular. See more on why below.

  • Minimally Healthy | By increasing FFMI above the "Minimally Healthy" level for your gender you significantly reduce your risk of developing sarcopenia and osteoporosis compared to the average.

  • Athletic | Wellest does not offer an "Athletic" level of FFMI because the ideal level of FFMI for any given sport is so highly variable depending on age, gender, tier, class, position, etc. Work with your Wellest Coach for help determining the ideal athletic FFMI for you and your athletic goals.

  • Aesthetic | Going further still into the "Aesthetic" level you reduce your risks but primarily you're gaining other benefits such as improved athletic competitiveness (e.g. for sports with weight classes), improved aesthetics, and self confidence. Depending on your genetics it can become increasingly difficult to reduce BF% into this range. And it can become very difficult or even impossible to maintain BF% at this level without making fitness your full-time profession.

  • Genetic Potential | Because it is possible to have too low of a BF%, Wellest will not allow you to maintain a value at or below the "Genetic Potential" level where it could impact your health through persistent changes to your metabolic and sex hormones. If you select this goal then Wellest will continue to push your plan to decrease BF% until you reach the level but depending on your genetics and compliance it may not be possible for you to achieve this level.

  • Aesthetic | By increasing further into the "Aesthetic" level, you reduce your risks but primarily you're gaining other benefits such as improved aesthetics similar to what you'd find from modern action movie stars or fitness models. Along with the additional muscle mass, you should also gain strength that may be useful for your sports or hobbies.

  • Genetic Potential | For most people, there is a clear upper limit on the level of FFMI that is possible to develop. As you approach your own "Genetic Potential" level, you will find it becomes increasingly difficult to gain additional strength, endurance, and muscle mass. And although there is no risk to having too high of FFMI, often continuing to push towards this level can be extremely time consuming, frustrating, and can result in injury. For although it is an amazing challenge it may not be possible or beneficial to even attempt to reach this level.

  • Superhuman | For those exceptionally rare individuals, or those with the proper supplement protocol, it can be possible to exceed their estimated "Genetic Potential" and for them, Wellest offers the "Superhuman" level of FFMI. With this setting, Wellest will continue to increase muscle building activity and corresponding nutrition to push you to gain additional muscle mass indefinitely. Be very mindful of injuries and understand that few if any people can achieve a level beyond their "Genetic Potential".

  • Custom | If you have a specific level in mind you can set it in the custom goal field.

  • "Maintenance" | Finally, although Wellest does not offer a "Maintenance" setting directly, it is very easy to set this by simply entering your current level into the "Custom" field.

Time to Goals

As you select both your Goal Leanness and Goal Muscularity, Wellest estimates the amount of time it will take you to go from your current level to the Goal You. These durations are displayed in the Goal setting cards at the top of the Your Goals screen. Both of these durations consider the other goal and the projected safe and sustainable progress that you can make towards both goals simultaneously.

It is possible for one of your goals to be already accomplished, which is shown as "At Goal". It is also possible for the time to achieve one to be much different from the other. For values below Genetic Potential BF% or above Genetic Potential FFMI, plan durations are not know and instead are shown as "Continuous" referring to continuous improvement as Wellest will continue to push you to improve upon these values indefinitely. Finally for Goal Muscularity set below your current level you will see "Loss Not Supported" because Wellest does not support the loss of LBM programmatically as there is no research to suggest that reducing LBM is better for your health. If you have an interest in reducing your LBM strategically, please contact your Wellest Coach directly for help.

Finally, to better decide how to choose your goals it can be helpful to understand how your overall and weekly plans are created by reading the Your Plan FAQ article.

Learn More about Your Plan

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