Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fitness Goals - The underestimated resources of the fittest

Hey guys,

Today I wanna share some thoughts about fitness goals with you. We gonna talk about why they are so important and how you can set them properly?

We all want to learn from the best and most successful people in the world, in economical terms this is called "following the best-practices". And in our case it's pretty simple...

All successful people in history had a few things in common:
- They never ever give/gave up!
- They never infect/infected theirselfs with negative thoughts/opinions from other people!
- They fight/fought for what is/was important to them!
- THEY ALL HAVE/HAD GOALS!

Successful people in EVERY single part of life, weather it's business, sport or anything else, once had a vision and with this vision they set goals. They wanted to reach their goals so badly that they did almost everything to achieve them. They made a plan how to get there and then they stuck to this plan (maybe with some adjustments) until they got there in the end. Afterwards they set higher goals, made better plans and achieved those goals again...and so on. 

I once worked in a gym and talked to hundreds of fitness beginners and advanced sport lovers about their goals. I asked them why they want to join the gym and what theire expectations are. Barely one of the beginners and just a few of the advanced guys could gave me an answer that satisfied me.
95% of the answers could be broken down to the following:

1. I want to become a fit person.
2. I want to lose weight.
3. I want to fight my health problems.
4. I want to look better (by far the most frequent answer!).

In my point of view this answers are just some words, worth nothing! Every time I got one of those I started to talk with them about how they define their goals. What does "fit" or "good looking" mean to them exactly (ability to run 10k in 30/25/20 minutes, look like Arnie in his best days, bench press their own bodyweight etc.). How much weight they want to lose and why? What health problems do they want to solve and how do they think they can solve them (of course most people needed professional advice on this point)? I gave all of them some suggestions on how to define goals in a better way, because your motivations increases with proper goals and you can see much more success over time. Then I left them alone for some time and started to plan their way after they were sure what they wanted (sometimes, of course, I helped them a bit with finding the right goals).

A relative easy way to set goals is by using the SMART method (originally developed for Project Management):

S - Specific - if you don't know what you want, you'll never be satisfied with what you get
M- Measurable - if it is measurable you can see if you made it finally, otherwise you'll never know
A - Achievable & Ambitious - a matter of motivation, if it needs no effort, you don't have to train for it
R - Realistic - sorry guys, lose 30 pounds a week or win the NYC marathon is not realistic and leads to frustration*
T - Time framed - if you would say "some day" you never start and "some day" is going to be never
* At least if you aren't one of those world-class, incredible endurance talents like Mutai or Dado

A SMART goal could be like this: "I want to run the 2014 (time-framed) NYC half-marathon in less than 2h (specific & measurable)". If you are physically able and not in a bad form this goal is a realistic and achievable one and a half-marathon is, for most people, quite ambitious.  

Before you start to generate your own SMART goals you should think about this in the first place:
Who (e.g. what abilities do you have, how many lbs. can you lift already, what is your bodyfat percentage etc.) are you right now (starting position) and who do you want to be in the end (final goal). Breake it down to small steps (milestones), that can be reached in a manageable time. Always control yourself if you get to the milestones in your timeline. If not, for whatever reason (maybe illness or overestimation of your future strength increasment), adjust your goals, so that they fit to the requirements of SMART again (you can see goal setting as an evolutionary approach).

After you met your final goal, move on to the next higher goal you want to reach, seen from your new starting position.

As you could see, one hour of thinking what you want and why you want it and another half an hour of setting it out in writing by using SMART could help you to avoid disappointment and strongly help you to become who you really want to be!

Once you have built up a list of your personal goals (could be just one as well), you have to plan your way to achive them. I advise you to write down your plan and also your results. Like that it's pretty simple to monitor if you are still in line with your goals. 

I know that some of you already knew this stuff, but it's so important that it's good to bring it back in mind from time to time.

Cheers,
Andi