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Week 1.6 - Basic goal setting

Today we will cover basic goal setting, as blog 1.5 was very task heavy we will working more on thinking about goals - feel free to write your ideas down though.

Throughout this post I will be using some generic examples to help understand the method. We will cover multiple topics to help you plan your goals and avoid some common mistakes, we will cover the following:

. What person are you?

. What goals should you choose?

. What type of goals are there?

. How far should I go?

. Common mistakes made in goal setting.

What person are you?

This is the fundamental question, where are you at the moment? It is an easy but also equally delicate question to pose to yourself - if you want to change there must be a reason. If you are struggling please refer to blog 1.2 as the spider diagram you created will help.

You may be in some of the following groups:

. Overweight/fat loss

. Muscle gain

. Weight gain

. Tone Up

. Get shredded

. Get stronger

. Get fitter

. Feel healthier

. Get more flexible

. Injury/rehab

. Maintenance

. Consistency

Some of these work together so you may sit in several sections all at once, an example would be Tone. Tone requires fat loss and muscle gain/strength - if you combine both of these that would create a toned effect to your body composition.

Note - Picking too many at the same time will create a conflict of goals, you should focus on the most important goal first and prioritize. Similarly some goals are opposites so you need to understand that they cannot be done at the same time, we will talk about this more in week 2 & 3.

What goals should you choose?

I would strongly recommend only choosing 1-3 goals at a single point, this is due to each goal usually having a lifestyle, nutrition and training element. Therefore by the time you have planned out 3 goals, you will have a total of 9 elements to incorporate into your life - this can be far too much to adhere to and will take from other goals.

Examples -

Fat loss

#1 Fat loss

#2 Strength

#3 Flexibility/fitter

Muscle gain

#1 Muscle gain

#2 Strength

Get fitter (if skinny)

#1 Get stronger

#2 Get fitter

#3 Flexibility

Get fitter (if overweight)

#1 Fat loss

#2 Strength

#3 Get fitter

As you can see some goals are linked, we will take an overweight individual as an example - the individual wants to just get skinnier will ignore the fitness element as this will require additional CVT. Focus will be spent on calorie deficit, strength training and flexibility training. Whereas if the goal is to get skinnier and fitter, additional CVT will be incorporated in additional/instead of flexibility training.

What type of goals are there?

Typically I would ask my clients to think of 4 goals upon meeting them, they are the following:

#1 Short Term Goal (0-1 month)

#2 Medium Term Goal (1-3 months)

#3 Long Term Goal (>3 months)

#4 "Blue Sky" Goal (A forever goal)

Short Term Goal

. Shortest goal

. Usually adherence based

. Helps create healthy habits

. A quick win to keep motivation up

Medium Term Goal

. Specific target which is manageable

. Usually closer related to #1 goal

. Ideally short term goal should work towards medium term goal

Long Term Goal

. Closer to dream target

. Has to be related to #1 goal

. May change over time but goal should be ambitious & attainable

"Blue Sky" Goal

. Dream outcome from training and changing lifestyle & nutrition

. Often not actually outlined, used as a way to tailor the other 3 goals

. Other 3 goals have to work towards the "Blue Sky" goal

Example - Fat Loss

Short Term Goal - Attend the gym 3 times a week for the 1st month (12 total sessions)

Medium Term Goal - Reduce waist line by 4cm by the end of 3rd month

Long Term Goal - Fit into wedding address again by next anniversary

"Blue Sky" Goal - Feel confident to take bikini pictures on social media

How far should I go?

As personal trainers, we push our clients to their current limits to maximize results however there are limitations and considerations to goal setting:

. It has to be achievable! Many self-created goals are too much which will have a negative impact on your self-esteem if you do not achieve them.

. They have to be measurable

. Know when to stop - unfortunately success can be a negative thing. You may succeed in your original goal and keep pushing your limits, this includes eating disorders, injury and other medical ailments.

There are a few tips towards the end that will help you understand how far you should plan.

Common Mistakes

. Making the goals too difficult

. Not understanding the goals

. Not understanding how some goals impact others

. Not writing down a finish date

. Not measuring the goal often enough

. Not referring to the goal continuously

. Not updating the goal - you may change your mind. If you do, update the goal

. Pushing yourself too far to achieve a goal

. Listening to your body and others around you


. Bodyweight is not an accurate measurement for fat loss - it fluctuates too much.

Solution - Try using circumference around body instead.

. Bio-impedence fat loss testing (Weighing scales and handheld fat loss machines) are not very accurate. The most accurate and cost effective method is body calipers which takes some learning.

Solution - Take body circumference and progress pictures

. When you want to lose fat and build muscle (tone) - try not to measure body circumference as muscles grow at a much slower rate than fat loss it will look like you are losing size.

Solution - Take progress pictures

. Fat loss happens much quicker than muscle gain

. A rough guide for fat loss is around 0.5kg/week but this depends on how heavy you currently are

. Increases in strength happen slowly so plan accordingly.


. Work out where you are at the moment using blog 1.2 to help

. Work out a maximum of 3 goals that you want to do

. Try a brief short, medium, long and "Blue Sky" goal setting

. Plan has to be achievable

. Refer to this week's tips and read more in week 2 & 3.

Be your best!

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