Full disclosure: I’m all sorts of hopped up on caffeine right now. This may make less sense than the post I wrote while I was drunk.
The reason I’m all hopped up on caffeine is that my day between 8:30 am and 1:00 pm has been waaaaay to productive. When that happens, I tend to “reward” myself by being lazy the rest of the day. I didn’t want that to happen so instead, I decided to drink a pot of coffee. YIPPEE!!
Hopefully by now you already know something about setting goals. They should be specific, measureable, and have a deadline. You should have short term, mid range, and long term goals. Blah blah blah blah. We’ve heard that a bazillion times before. But why is it so important?
For one, the very first question I will ask ANYBODY asking me for help is, “what’s your goal?” I usually get very general answers or they don’t have any at all; they just want my opinion. Guess what? A very general question will get you a very general answer. “How do I lose weight?” Eat less than you burn. “What exercises should I do?’ Compound movements that use a lot of joints. “How many sets and reps should I do?’ As many as your body allows.
You see, those aren’t very good questions, and it’s because there’s a lack of a defined goal.
Even I had been struggling to solidfy a specific goal, and it really showed in my progress. Did I make progress every day? Yep. But was it noticeable progress? Not really.
Specificity is Key
Without the specificity in mind, how can you possibly program a training template with your goal in mind? Yes, going to the gym everyday and letting your body decide what you should do will make you better. But gearing the template to maximize your results will make you achieve that goal so much faster.
I think I confused myself on that last one. Let’s try again…
If my goal is to increase my squat, and I only train squats once a week, that’s not going to bump it up very quickly. Yes, it will go up, but not as fast as it could. If your goal is to increase your squat, you should test a squatting variation every single time you step foot in the gym. Just because you test it every day, doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to. Some days it just won’t test well, but then that’s when you do something contra-specific. Still, that’s highly relateable to your goal.
Does that make more sense or am I really just rambling on and on and on?
My Struggles with Goal Setting
For about the past year (ya’rly!) I’ve been in a holding pattern. I’m that guy that goes to the gym and does the right things but doesn’t really have a goal in mind. It’s been nice, but it also sucks. Having a goal or something to reach for really motivates me. As I’ve pointed out before, making sure you’re excited to go to the gym is more important than being there and just going through the motions.
A couple weeks ago, I went through a Movement Coaching seminar. Before I can get certified as an actual Movement Coach, I have 4 months to make a significant body transformation. Walking into the gym and aimlessly testing random lifts (even if they’re the right ones) won’t get me there. I had to sit down and have a heart to heart with myself. This is what I came up with…(in order of importance)
- Shoulder press more than my bodyweight with a barbell
- Shoulder press half my bodyweight with a kettlebell
- Less than 10% bodyfat (that was a hard one to choke down)
- Deadlift 2.5 times my bodyweight
- Thicker chest
So, how does that impact my training?
Well, now that I’ve got all that in mind, my template is much more specific to my goal. I now test something overhead every single day. First I test strict presses, then an overload movement like push press, and finally a jerking movement. If none of those test well (or after I’m done doing them), I test contra-specific, which would be pull-up variations. Hell, some days I end up doing all of the above in the same workout.
Next, I usually go into some kind of hip extension movement. I usually test deadlifts, rack pull, trap bar deadlifts, RDL’s, cleans, swings, etc. etc. You see how all of those are deadlift specific? If those don’t work, maybe some squatting stuff. They aren’t specific to deadlift, but there is still hip extension.
After I finish all of my strength based movements, I finish with some kind of “fat burning” movement. That could be kettlebell circuits, long cycle, snatches, farmer carries….anything. Anything that incorporates a lot of weight, multiple joints, gets the heart pumping, and is still mostly specific to shoulder pressing and deadlifting. You see how the two go hand in hand? Strength goals and fat burning are NOT mutually exclusive. Everything I do has my first 3 goals in mind. If you don’t have a specific goal, how do you know how to choose the right lifts?
What about a thicker chest? Uuugggghhhhh….yeah…..that’s why it’s number 4. I always make my last goal one that would be nice to get, but not really all that important. Meaning, if I can press my bodyweight, deadlift 2.5 times my bodyweight, and am 10% bodyfat or less, I’m willing to bet I’ll be looking good enough that I won’t really care about it. Not to mention, Tuesday night is still bench night. It’s not like I’m neglecting it completely.
Need More Motivation?
You would think the large amount of money that I spent on the Movement Coaching seminar would be enough to motivate me. It is…kind of. Eventhough deadlifting is #3 on my list, I’m willing to bet I have that achieved before my 10% bodyfat goal. Me and low bodyfat do not get along well so even though I did spend a lot of money for the opportunity to get the certification, it’s just not enough. I actually need more.
So what am I going to do about that?
For me, money is a great motivator. Not just money, but also public humiliation. What can I possibly do that costs money and would cause me public humiliation if I didn’t achieve my bodyfat goal?? Hmmmm…..
I need 10 different guesses from 10 different people, and I’ll update the post to what I plan on doing.
Don’t Miss Your Chance
I was stuck in Corporate America for 9 years. I was miserable.
Then I took control.
You can too, and it starts right here.