One of the first things I want to know from anyone who I coach are their goals. 9/10 I usually get a response of weight loss, tone up. The problem with these goals is they are too shallow. You need to ask yourself what you really want out of training. Bodybuilder goals aren’t to look good, they are but that’s looking at it from a very shallow perspective. The goal is the show they are competing on.
If you’re someone just starting out, the goal cannot simply be “fat loss”. For most that isn’t enough. You need physical goals, like a push up, a pull up, a marathon, an iron man. When going through the motions of achieving these physical goals the fat loss and toning comes with it. I was once into bodybuilding, because I thought the aesthetics was what I wanted. I did want that and I really enjoyed weight lifting at the time. I would get stronger, I would get leaner so where do I go now? I could keep increasing the weight on the bars to get stronger but at this stage would be very minimal gains.
I seen a guy in the gym doing muscle ups on the rings and handstands. I was thinking to myself, why is he doing that in the gym. I wanted to explore it. I wanted to be able to move like that. I could pull more than my bodyweight on a lat pull down. I could do dips with 20kg plates hanging off me. I could shoulder press 40kg each hand. I would consider myself strong. But never even though about the idea of being mobile. Mobility is flexibility and the strength you have through that range of movement. I soon found out that I was strong through a very short range of movement because when I tried putting my shoulders into a position to hold a handstand it was very tough. When I tried to pull myself up through a muscle up I couldn’t do it.
I have found goals!
These goals are now keeping me accountable to train because it’s something I want to be able to achieve. Now it hasn’t become about going to the gym to do 3 sets of 10 reps over 5 or 6 exercises to maintain the body that I want. It has become about wanting to achieve physical goals. Within these physical goals, there are mini goals to achieve so you are constantly reaching goals and going to the next one. It’s really empowering reaching goals. Guess what you also get while achieving the physical goals? Strength, mobility, aerobic fitness, weight loss, muscle gains. I learnt all this myself through exploration of various activities and numerous people. I didn’t have 26 year old me to tell 17 year old me that I could have saved myself many years of training things that I didn’t actually need to do because I didn’t understand goals. If you’re reading this and your goals are ‘fat loss’ and ‘tone up’ then sit down and brainstorm things you have done in the past that you enjoy, maybe things you have seen that you think ‘wow, I want to be able to do that’ and work towards them goals. Because weight loss just simply isn’t enough.