The week's post looks at the importance of goal setting and progressions to complete our goals.
When first starting out in a gym, most people have a good idea of what they are looking to achieve. Be it losing weight or get fitter, there tends to be a reason why you enter a gym for the first time. With motivation high, a goal in mind and a new training programme, the first couple of weeks or months are excellent. After this period things can tend to slow down, results may not have happened as quickly as expected, leading to motivation fizzling out, goals left unachieved and ultimately in the worst case- we stop attending the gym.
So how can we counter this?
First of all we need to be SMART with our goal setting. I’m sure many people have heard of the SMART goal setting concept. The first part of SMART is Specific, a general goal may be to lose X amount of weight, a specific goal would be "I am going to lose X amount of weight in X amount of time by regularly attending the gym and eating well". Goals also need to be Measureable. Very simply, if we weigh a certain weight at the beginning, we can measure the amount lost. Goals also need to be Achievable. Placing barriers in the way of goals will inevitably lead to failure, if we say we are going to go the gym 5 days but have other commitments to stop this happening, we need to either drop the commitments or make the goal more achievable. Goals also need to be Realistic, something that we are both willing to and able to work towards, this doesn’t mean that we can’t set high goals, even something just out of our reach currently is fine, just not too far that we will never get there. Finally, Timely- a goal should be grounded by a time frame. If we just leave it open to achieving it by "sometime" we will likely never get there, but if we say by Christmas, we are working towards something.
Now that we have a SMART goal to work towards, how do we achieve this?
Firstly, whilst we have set long term goals, we should also look to break down the goal into smaller reachable month by month or week by week targets so that we can achieve little wins and keep motivation remaining high. More specific to the gym and fitness, don’t be afraid if you aren’t seeing the results instantly- the body doesn’t just adapt overnight and it takes time for the results to come through, so keep going with the programme and over the course of time you will soon start to see success. Crucially, we need to be constantly progressing the work that we are doing. Doing the same thing every time will produce the same results every time. Innately humans are built to survive and the body can adapt to become very good at specific tasks, so we need to keep changing the stimulus if we want to see adaptions. For example, if you are going to run 5k each time you are in the gym, you need to be pushing to complete a faster time or increasing the speed or incline- some change in stimulus for the body to adapt.
Finally, to really achieve our goals we need to work hard in every single session. It’s not easy to lose weight and just simply attending the gym isn’t enough. Set small goals for each exercise and then try to beat that goal week on week!
Have a go at setting a fitness goal for yourself and work towards it. As always if you need any assistance, the fitness team are here to help!
Written by Tom Smith, fitness instructor and strength & conditioning coach