This article represents a critical factor to be evaluated when selecting the proper training program. For the full article go to our Programs page.
One of the most commonly overlooked elements of choosing the correct training program is establishing objective and measurable goals. Goals such as “get in shape” or “lose weight” are OK to start however more definite goals are necessary for better results and true success. Goals such as “run a mile in under 7 min,” or “lose 10 pounds” can be measured empirically and give you a clear target.
After establishing your fitness goals you need to pick a program and or trainer/mentor that can help you achieve these goals. Picking the inappropriate program for those goals can end up being counterproductive and can cause loss of motivation. For example if the goal is to gain strength and the program involves running 10 miles per day, the end results may be less strength and more endurance.
Setting Fitness Goals
A good example for the general goal of “get stronger” would be to set specific weight lifting goals around the main functional lifts. This may be as follows:
- Bench Press Body Weight
- Squat 1.5 times Body Weight
- Deadlift 2 times Body Weight
If you have never done these exercises before a quick search online will yield countless results on how to do them and their benefits. Additionally contrary to popular belief, these exercises are great strength conditioning, core and toning exercises for both men and women.
The next step is to put a deadline or date on when you want to accomplish these goals. If your goal is to bench press your body weight and you can currently only do 50% you may want to set a few incremental goals in between to help encourage success and motivation. An example would be to set milestones for 60%, 70% and so on.
Setting goals too far out makes it easy to lose sight of them, while setting them too close may prove too challenging. It is best to set goals in quarterly (3 month) increments to help balance both short term and long term thinking. In line with this, it may also be appropriate to set yearly and monthly or even weekly goals depending on what your overall fitness commitment is.
One of the biggest challenges to staying motivated is the disconnect between literal (objective goals / outcomes) and symbolic results. What this means is that “lose weight” is not good enough (too vague), while “lose 10 pounds” does not tie any emotion to it. On top of having the “lose 10 pounds” goal, it is best to tie-in imagery to help keep motivation high.
Examples of this may be photos of what you want to look like, either a historical photo of yourself or photos of models. It may also be cloths you want to fit into or an event/social function you want to get ready for. Another example would be something you are getting in shape for. Perhaps you want to get in better shape to keep up with a toddler or growing child.
It is best to put these images up somewhere where you will see them daily. This way they will serve as a constant reminder of why you are putting in the hard work and making the sacrifices. A bathroom mirror, car dash or cubicle wall are all acceptable places. How pretty the image looks is not as important as the reminder it sends and emotion it invokes within.