Stay Away From Foggy Goals

Jan 24, 2021 | Blog

The journey to finding the best training method or philosophy, without first clearly establishing your goal, has the potential to lead to a lifetime of shortcomings. One of the most important you can ever accomplish is clearly defining a measurable and concise goal.

Take a moment to think about your general goal, some examples are as follows:

Is your goal to improve maximal strength?

Is your goal to breathe easier?

Or is your goal to find a workout routine that doesn’t run you into a wall each time?

No matter what your dream may be, clearly defining your goal is the next step in finding the best training method or philosophy that will allow you to accomplish you goal. Defining your goal filters out workout routines or exercises that do not reach that goal. Goals need to be specific and they need to fit into your lifestyle. For example, if you want to improve your bench press but do not have a bench nor have access to one, then that goal would not be realistic for your current setting. Of course, goal defining and creating a goal may sound simple, we hear it often in the media around the New Year’s, in advertisements, and amongst chatter with others. However, it is common for someone to say, “I want to accomplish _____,” but then they don’t end up sitting down to clearly define that goal, include ways of measuring it, determine if it’s achievable, or put a time limit on it (also known as creating a S.M.A.R.T goal).

You need to ask yourself, “what exactly is my goal in a way that I can measure it, achieve it, and define it?” Then take the next step and put together a schedule of tasks that will allow you to reach that goal.

Let’s take an example of one of the three general goals mentioned above, if the goal to improve muscular strength, first, you need to define what muscular strength is to you. After you do that, reflect on the definition and ask yourself if that is exactly what you are looking to achieve. The reason for this is muscular strength starts to change when you integrate sets, reps, volumes, intensity, etc. Muscular strength can be defined, “as the ability of a given muscle or group of muscle to generate muscular force under a specific condition.” (Siff, 2003). Strength is relative and so when the conditions change to improve strength, so will the outcomes. For example, if two individuals perform the same strength test, such as a bench press for 5 reps, and then begin an 8-week program to try and build upon that foundation, yet one athlete completes a HITT training program and the other athlete decides to do a hypertrophy program.

How do you think this change would change the end goal? Well, when the athlete’s come back and retest, the athlete that went through the hypertrophy program will increase their bench press more than the individual who went through a HITT protocol. Why? Because a hypertrophy program is more aligned with improving muscular strength than a HITT protocol. The athlete who incorporated hypertrophy training chose an exercise program that clearly aligned with the goal, while the other athlete did not. This is why having a clear and concise goal in the beginning is important in order for you to choose exercises that are most appropriate for your end goal.

Once again, strength is relative and there are multiple variables to consider but it all comes back to clearly defining your goals. If you want to build muscle mass, jumping up and down off boxes for 20 second intervals is not the way to do it. Spend time clearly defining your goals. Take a moment today to sit down and write your goal out, read it over, and revise it so that you have a clear definition of what you want to accomplish.

Clarity and context need to be established to create an approach that will help you reach your goals. The foggier you keep your goals, the less likely you will be able to obtain them. Start simple and keep your goals precise.

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