Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Monday, February 9, 2009

What are your goals?

So, why are you working out?

The first step in a workout process is some goal-setting.

If you have no goal, you can't reach it. Your training will be unfocused. Without a goal in mind, you can't decide if an exercise, a set/reps scheme, an eating plan, or a whole training regimen is right for you.

Goals need to be three things:

Desirable. First and most important - if you don't really want to reach the goal you won't work hard to do it. Choose something you want to accomplish and are willing to sacrifice to get to.

Concrete. "Lose some weight" or "look good nake" or "get stronger" aren't very specific goals. You don't know when you've reached them, or even if you do know, you don't have an idea when to stop and set a new goal. Goals need to be specific - "drop my skinfold measured bodyfat by 3%" or "decrease my waist size by 2 inches" or "add 25 pounds to my one-rep deadlift" are specific. Even better? A goal with a timeframe. Set a date, so you know if you made it or didn't. Specific goals are more...

Attainable. Your goal should be something within reasonable reach. "Run a marathon" isn't reasonable if you're completely out of shape - you've got to run a mile before you can run 26.2 of them in a row. Neither is "drop 100 pounds before the Summer" when it's February. Set your goal far enough that you have to strive to reach it, but neither so far away you can never reach it or within such a short time that you're doomed to failure. If you can bench press 1 x bodyweight for one rep (say, 180 pounds and you weigh 180 pounds), you can set your sights on 1.25 x bodyweight (225 pounds for one rep). It's a tough goal but you can reach it.

Once you reach your goal, you can set a new one. Better to set a series of concrete, desirable, and attainable goals in turn than to set one big one from the start. A series of steps its easier than one big leap.

A Chinese proverb says "The journey of a thousand li [A unit of measurement like a mile] starts with a single step." So mark out that journey with a series of goals and achieve them one by one. Know why you are exercising and you'll have a better idea of how, when, and what to do.

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