This question bugs me.
If you ask Ido Portal, he says something along the lines of– “Stupid training; no need to always be training; just move.”
Most of the time, I agree with Ido.
For those who have a great routine, know what they like, try new things, walk a lot, eat well etc. they just live– and live well.
However, I like training for things– except marathons 😉
In fact, I have never done a marathon simply because I didn’t want to ruin my passion for running. The thought of having a mileage count hanging over my head each day sounded miserable. It sounded like a lot of pressure. Why? I think the overarching answer is that I don’t love running. Thus half-marathons are as far as I will race.
I like moving how I want, when I want. And moreover, I freakin’ love to move.
If you find a goal that allows you to move in a way you love, everyday, or at least often, you are golden–train this way.
That is my definition of training: to get better and be better at something you love.
If you like the way exercise makes you feel and you’re type A, (often pushing it hard at the gym), I am sure you’ve had someone ask, “What are you training for?”
It can be frustrating. Like, “dammit I just want to look good (and feel good).”
Maybe you aren’t training for anything– that is FINE.
So, what are YOU training for?
Be honest with yourself. WHAT are you training for?
If nothing at all, you can stop reading here. But, if you are about to set a new goal, or have one you are working on– read on.
The thing is, you can train for many things–consistency in life, more strength, a better body, enhanced skill, you name it.
The common factor, I believe, is that all training should begin with one goal.
Then the plan should consist of strategic moves, like a football coach makes plays.
Below I list three things I consider to be reasons or things for which people train. I give tips for each goal type– and discuss what it means to address limiting factors.
Goals people train for:
1. For specific measurable results in athletic performance, to attain a level of fitness needed for athletic competition, weight loss or physique goals.
These goals can be easily defined, and thus even easier to set out and achieve. (Easier said then done, I know).
Knowing the goal makes executing the plan much simpler.
Furthermore, these are goals wherein you either know you have conquered them by the end of the timeline, or it is very clear you have not. (fyi, I advocate setting deadlines for goals).
In example, a specific mile time, number on the scale, dress size, or win/loss of match would tell you if you conquered the goal.
These types of goals take hard work, a good game plan and focus.
With these types of goals it is key to be specific and realistic with your training.
Understand why you want this goal and how you will know once you achieve it.
When you set the goal you must mean what you say.
For example, if your goal is to “gain overall strength,” you should define your benchmarks and measures of success as being able to physically lift that heavier barbell, lift load “x” off the ground, or carry heavier loads across a room.
Some people may say, for instance, that their goal is overall strength, but what they wish to see in the end, are actually precise changes in the mirror. Be honest with what what you really seek. If it aesthetics, define it. Bigger biceps? Better abs? Write it down.
Training for a specific measurable result in aesthetics, performance, or weight loss can be the easiest and it can be the hardest. Make it simpler by really, truly, defining what you want in the end.
2. For experience.
If you are doing something in order to learn, to try a new perspective, or experiment with a new program, do it with an open mind. For instance, if I want to learn Crossfit, I will enter a Crossfit gym knowing it will be different for me, but excited to learn how different.
If it is for the sake of learning, sometimes setting a goal beyond completing the new program itself is hard; but try.
From this new plan, experiment, workout regime etc, you will gain more tools for your toolbox, if you pay attention to each step along the way. It can be easier to stay on top of all the details if you set a specific goal within the new experience.
For example, we could pretend I decided to do a two month trial at Crossfit– I may set a goal to learn how to do 10 butterfly pull-ups.
Maybe it means taking better notes for your clients, your friends or yourself. Whatever it is, ENJOY it.
I may not agree with all things Crossfit, but I had an awesome time trying it out and taking the “when in Rome” approach.
Take notes. Treat it scientifically and pay attention to your body’s response to the new diet, exercise plan, or new sport.
3. For longevity.
Remember the cliche, “It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon,” — give yourself 30 days to ease into this plan if it is for longevity. Trying a new workout or diet for your lifestyle is not a rushed process. It truly does take 30 days to make a habit. To get in a groove, you have to make the groove and be consistent. At the end of those 30 days, be realistic; can you sustain this for a lifetime, or for 5 years?
If you are a trainer, tell your clients it takes time and to ease into a new program with you. If they want something sustainable, suggest the 30-60 day outlook as being the “short-term.” It will take them that long just to get used to making the gym part of their lifestyle.
Nothing changes over night. Things take time. Don’t encourage tough goals for yourself or anyone with this type of a longevity goal. This is especially important if they have are a sedentary person just getting started. Finding something longterm means setting small, realistic goals over larger amounts of time.
The trick to conquering any of these goals: identify limiting factors.
I’ve never been a fan of any Negative Nancy. Nor have I ever believed in focusing on your weaknesses.
However when it comes to achieving a health, nutrition or athletic performance goal, I believe it is crucial to take a hard look at the mirror and identify your limiting factors.
Are you a couch potato?
Are you someone with little time?
Do you have injuries?
If you know an opposing football team has a super slow defensive cornerback– play to that, right? Throw that ball all day.
Analyze yourself or client during the goal setting process. Know the goal first and consider the limiting factors.
Whether you have to look at your lifestyle under a microscope (or your client’s) to figure out what’s holding you back, scaring you or genetically inhibiting you–finding these weakness can help you plan for better success.
Once you use that fine-toothed comb to organize your own thoughts on your lifestyle, you will be golden.
You will know your weakness and then be capable of setting up the best offenses against them.
P.S. Message me if you are having trouble with a certain goal; I may have a response that could help or that we could all learn from. Never hesitate to reach out.