In the first of our series of “why you’re not getting results”, we discussed how important knowing what your goals are and figuring out what you want to accomplish specifically. This is a crucial first step. You can read more from part 1 .
Now that you have the figured out “what” you want to accomplish, we then need to figure out “how” to accomplish it. This is achievable by having a performance based goal that’s aligned with your end result goal. If you’re going to change body composition, become stronger, healthier and more athletic, you must have a method to the madness. For example, training to achieve a loss of 5% body fat will give your programming a focal point. A qualified performance based goal would be to train 3x/week, increase 1 repetition every week or up your training weights 5lbs ever week at major compound movements, like presses, squats, and deadlifts. Another example is if your end result goal is to have a better looking upper body in a dress/shirt, a performance based goal of achieving 15 pushups and 5 bodyweight pull-ups in a row without stopping would be in line that that goal.
Training that’s focused on improving performance is a key element in monitoring your progress. One of the biggest hang-ups in many peoples training programs is there are too many changing variables. If you want to get better at pushups, your goal should be to do more pushups every week and utilize other movements like rows, planks, and presses that’ll help make those “pushup muscles” stronger. If you want to be more efficient at running, your goal should be focusing on running more quality miles every week, by emphasizing form and technique to make you a more efficient runner.
There are 3 ways that work best for my clients to improve performance in the gym. 1) Strive to increase your lifting weight every week. Typically increasing upper body lifts such as an overhead press, weighted pull-ups and barbell rows by 5lbs each week is an achievable goal. Double that for lower body movements like squats and deadlifts, as they’re denser in muscle and can withstand the weight increase. 2) Strive to increase your repetitions every week. This works very well for increasing calorie deficit (which helps with fat loss), hypertrophy as well as strength. 3) Increase the speed of your lifts. Speed begets power. Power begets strength. The faster you move, the more efficient you’ll become.
While a simple approach isn’t the sexiest, it is a great factor in helping you achieving your performance goals when time and energy is limited. Getting stronger, leaner, faster has been done time and time again for centuries. So why reinvent the wheel? One of the best things you can do for yourself and your training routine is to keep it simple. As I’ve said before, we’re in the midst of the busiest time of the year. Your decision capabilities are being utilized at its maximum potential.
Figuring out how to improve and achieve your goals shouldn’t have to be a mental rollercoaster. With the world spinning around you, it’s easy to lose your place and get off track. An often overlooked mistake is not keeping a training log. Recording the weights you used in your session, sets and reps, aren’t the only important pieces of data you should write down. What you feel, what you ate before your training session, even how your day went leading up to your workout are essential. Any data that may be useful for you to make adjustments in your training program should be jotted down. This is a hyooge motivational factor.
THE TAKE AWAY
Having a performance based goal that is developed to help you achieve your end result goal is the most effective game plan you can have. While your end goal is going to take some time to accomplish, setting smaller goals each week by increasing training weights, increasing repetitions as well as speed on your lifts, will help improve training compliance. Keeping track of your progress each week is a must. I keep notebooks for my clients, recording their performance and other important notes about the day’s session. Months later we can look back and see the progress, which gives that needed sense of immediate results.
As you get closer to reaching your end result goal you’ll need to start thinking about how you’ll be able to maintain it. You’ve done a great job at knowing what you want specifically, and you’ve created an action plan on how to get it done. Stay tuned for the last installment of this series on how to keep those results you’ve worked so hard for!