The Top 3 Reasons and Steps to Set Fitness Goals

The Top 3 Reasons and Steps to Set Fitness GoalsThe Top 3 Reasons To Set Fitness Goals

One of the first things we do with a personal training client is set goals.

It only takes a few minutes and can make or break your results in the long run.

The problem most people have is that they don’t set any goals to start with.

If you come in with the general idea that you want to work out that’s great.  It’s a start and that’s important.

But if you have a specific goal in mind and never write it out it’s hard to take the appropriate steps to reach your goals.

Reason #1 – People who have end goals perform better.

Whether you’re working as a host in a restaurant looking to become a manager, a business professional in the corporate world looking to become a CEO,  or a rookie professional athlete looking to make the Pro-Bowl football team, you will perform better if you have that specific goal in mind.

The host understands that they need to:

  • Master all the skills of being a host and providing the customers the best possible service to move up to becoming a server.
  • Be a server at one point and have a thorough knowledge of the menu that will help them excel at bringing in customers that will provide repeat business for the restaurant.
  • Understand how the food is prepped and prepared by the cooks/chefs to understand how the food can be best prepared for customers enjoyment.
  • Shadow a manager and understand the ins and outs of the business and handling customer interactions.

The business professional that wants to be CEO knows that they:

  • Have to be promoted X amount of times.
  • Will need to switch to a better company X amount of times.
  • Need to be making X amount of money by X year.

The professional athlete understands that they have to:

  • Be in the top 2 spots at running back for their football team their first year.
  • Take over the starting position their second year of being on the team.
  • Score X amount of touchdowns to be considered in the running to be on the Pro-Bowl team.
  • Take his team to the later stages of the playoffs to be considered one of the best running backs in the game.

No matter what position you’re in, having specific goals in mind will help you perform better instead of just going with the flow.

This applies to anybody looking to see results in the gym.

Results are measurable and controllable as long as we have them written down.

The gym members that do the best normally have a specific date in mind.  People that have weddings in six to twelve months, a vacation to the Bahamas, or a cruise coming up for example always are driven and perform better.

Reason #2 – People who set goals reach their end destination more quickly.

Let’s take sample client A and B who are both overweight and need to lose some significant weight, let’s say 20 pounds.

Client A comes into the gym saying that he’s been feeling a little sluggish lately and could probably use to lose a few pounds.

Client B comes in and has a specific goal to lose 30 pounds of weight and 5% body fat in 6 months.

Now the way this would normally work is that client A comes into the gym, hops on a treadmill, does a little weight training and heads home.  He didn’t really sweat much, and his weight training wasn’t providing enough stimulus to really help him burn calories.  The reality is that he was pretty much just wasting his time in the gym.

Looking around, trying to figure out what piece of equipment to use or how much weight he should bench press.  He endlessly performs crunches on as many machines as possible thinking that’s the way to get his abdominal muscles to show.

His eating habits haven’t changed, he still goes out to eat 4 or 5 times a week and then hits the bars on the weekend with his friends drinking and eating pizza and nachos.

This is normal for a lot of gym goers because they join the gym……just because.

Six months down the road he’s only lost a couple of pounds, but he is stronger.  At this rate it will take him a few years to lost twenty pounds.

On the other hand client B knows that in order to get to his goal that he has to work out four to five times per week and burn 300 calories each time he hops on the treadmill or elliptical.

Instead of mindlessly wandering around the gym he’s created a workout plan for both his weight training and cardiovascular training.

He has also made changes at home with his nutrition.  He’s cut down going out to eat just once a week and he cut out alcohol for this brief six month stint.

Each week he’s seeing results in the mirror and it’s motivating him and driving him towards his six month goal.  He understands that the small sacrifices he has made is getting him the results he desires.  He know that six months in the grand scheme of things is such a small amount of time to get his body looking the way he wants.

Five months down the road he has hit his goal and he has a month to spare.

Results come quickly especially to those that have a specific goal and dedicate themselves  initially.  It’s kind of like that snowball effect.  Once it starts rolling downhill it will pick up more snow and roll faster and faster.

However, that won’t happen if you’re just going to the gym to go to the gym.

Reason #3 – People who set goals are less likely to fail because it holds them accountable.

A lot of people will get the inkling to get in shape and lose some weight.  What they don’t realize is that they need to plan for success.

The reason bodybuilders do so well is that they don’t falter from their plan.  They stick to the way they eat and work out and don’t make up excuses.

Excuses are the number one reason most people don’t get to where they want to be.  Having a goal that’s written on paper and hung up on the fridge door will provide you with a constant reminder of what you’re looking to do.

You need the accountability to make sure you achieve your goals.  It’s very easy to say:

  1. “I have a tough day at work.”
  2. “I’m tired so I’m not going to go to the gym today.”
  3. “I don’t have any time so I’m just going to order some pizza.”

Instead you need to think to yourself.

  1. “Going to work out will relieve some of this stress from work.  I always feel better after working out.”
  2. “It will only take me 45 minutes to workout.  That’s only one of my TV shows.”
  3.  “It will only take 10 minutes to whip something up in the kitchen real quick that is much healthier and will feed my body the nutrients it needs.  It’s also much cheaper.”

The Top 3 Steps to Set Fitness Goals

Step #1 – Figure out deep down why you want to get in shape.

There is a driving force deep down that has made you come to the decision to go to the gym and work out.

What is it?

It’s not just lose a few pounds or even ten to twenty pounds.

It’s “I want to be able to squat 315 pounds and run a 5:30 mile.”

Or “I need to drop 15 pounds so I can fit back into my bathing suit from 2 years ago for my upcoming beach vacation.”

Even “I want to look strong and sexy for my significant other and not feel uncomfortable when I take off my clothes.”

For the guys it may be that you want to have that six pack you used to have as an athlete back in college.  Or maybe you want to fit back into your jeans that have a 30′ waist.

Now that’s a driving force.

That may sound a little drastic, but that’s really the driving force behind working out.  We want to look good, strong, healthy, and fit, and there is nothing wrong with that.  If you work extremely hard in the gym and eat well then you deserve it.

Step #2 – Write it on a piece of paper.

An easy way of making sure you stay on track with your goals is to have them written down.

What I like to do is look at my goals every night before I go to sleep.

I like to assess how I’ve been doing.

Some questions I ask myself during this “review” time are:

  • Did I reach my goal?
  • Did I take steps towards my goal today?
  • Did I do anything that would prevent me from reaching my goals?
  • What could I have done better?
  • What will I do tomorrow that will set me up for success

This helps me make sure I stay on track with whatever I’m trying to achieve.

Another thing you can do is post these written goals somewhere around your house where you know you will see it throughout the day.

Good places are:

  • A mirror in your living room.
  • Mirror in your bathroom.
  • My favorite is the fridge!

Make sure you write your goals down and have them somewhere you will see them every day.

Step #3 – Once you accomplish a goal, create new ones.

Just because you have completed a short or long-term goal does not mean that you’re done.

If you’re constantly looking to improve yourself you have to keep working each and every day.

The more you complete smaller goals, the better chances you will have at reaching your larger long-term goals.

Start off with a few small goals such as:

  • Eat breakfast every day.
  • Eat a portion of lean protein with every meal.
  • Drink one more cup of water than you usually do.

These are all small goals that will make it easy to get steam rolling with some larger more long-term goals.

The Bottom Line

Setting goals will help make you more successful, whether it’s in your work life or your personal life.

If you want to succeed make sure you set goals, write them down, and then write new ones once you’ve completed an old goal.

Author Profile: Alan Koger

Author's Website Alan Koger started weight training at a young age in order to compete against his two older brothers in sports.He played varsity soccer, and later on professionally in the MLS, as he earned a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Health Sciences from the College of William and Mary. Alan currently owns his own personal training studio with two other partners in Richmond, VA.Their studio focuses on the combination of proper resistance training, cardiovascular training, and nutrition in order for their clients to achieve the results they desire.

Disclaimer: The views of the author are his or her own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Ask The Trainer.
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