Goals are set to achieve a specific result, which is ultimately the evidence of success for any training program. This can be the driving reason that someone will come to see a Personal Trainer; take up a new exercise regime or start a new sport – all because you have a goal in mind, whether it be simple or complex, short or long term.
In a typical client assessment, after we have discussed all the relevant factors of training and nutrition we come to the final, and arguably, the most important part of the whole process; the goals.
It’s crucial we understand what you are looking to achieve because goals are what will ultimately motivate you, it’s the reason that you’re challenging yourself with a new regimen of exercise and/or nutrition. It’s great when you have a goal in mind, however, what can get overlooked is how we plan to get to that target. So we will take a look at the different types of goals and the role they play in driving us forwards.
To kick this off I am going to give a quick description, and some examples of each of these types of goals, and how they can help maximise the results of any training programme. A successful training programme will have a combination of the different types discussed below:
This is the final destination; the ultimate outcome that you want as a result of the actions that you take. This goal can take the form of a specific weight-loss target such as 10kg weight-loss or a body fat percent reduction of 5%.
This is the specific performance targets that you have, this can be wide ranging depending on individual preference, it could be as lofty a target as smashing a 200kg deadlift for a single rep; or doing a single set of 12 squats with an 8kg kettlebell. The specifics are not important, what is important is that the goal is bespoke to you; and that it holds personal value.
This is how you will set about the process of achieving your outcome and performance goals, it can be such things as attending the gym three days a week, getting 8 hours of sleep or recording all your food in MyFitnessPal.
These are the actions that you will need to repeat on a regular basis in order to achieve your outcome or performance goal.
But which goal is the right one for me?
Now that we have a brief overview of the types of goals, I would guess your next question is which type should I chose? The answer is all three, they all serve an important purpose in your fitness journey, without one the purpose and direction of training and nutrition can be lost.
The idea of process goals is to ingrain long term habits that will help you maintain your health and fitness. It is also the foundation of your program, these are the small habits that will underpin both your performance and outcome goals. They are the small wins that you can get on a daily basis. This is important for motivation as the outcome and the performance goals can take time to achieve.
This immediate success provides positive feedback and encourages adherence to the programme. The process goals give you a feeling of control over your performance; with consistent effort comes success.
The performance goals depend on what you are training towards, this performance goal will drive training. On some occasions a performance goal can double up as an outcome goal; if you are a power lifter the goal might be to hit a squat of 2X bodyweight. But most often when I am training clients the ultimate outcome is linked to their physique, therefore we insert performance goals along the way to an outcome goal. These milestones drive performance, they ensure the intensity remains high in each sessions as clients strive to hit personal bests.
The outcome goal is the ultimate target, it’s the big prize at the end of the road, it can vary from rehabilitation from a running injury; to the transformation you have been dreaming of for years. It is the summation of all the processes and performances, and for this reason it can often take some time to reach. It’s important not to lose sight of the ultimate outcome, and the best way to do this is by setting markers along the way.
For example, if our ultimate weight loss goal is to lose 9kg in six months, we might set a 1.5kg weight loss for each month as this breaks it down into more achievable segments.
In summary, it’s important to understand what you want to achieve, the time frame in which you want to achieve it and the steps that you need to take to reach your goal. Ultimately the most effective way to do this is to use performance and process goals to reach an outcome goal.