Unless you are an elite athlete or someone who is training in a specific discipline like powerlifting or marathon running, it is likely that you will have multiple goals that you wish to achieve over the long term of your training.
Most people I talk to or give advice to will say that they want to be more muscular with lower body fat, but also want to be stronger, and fitter, and more flexible, and have better posture etc. the list of demands that people sometimes give me is endless. It is for this reason that I would like to discuss setting multiple goals and making sure that they are achievable together. For example building muscle and dropping fat in my opinion is extremely difficult for an advanced level trainer. It is actually far easier for someone who is relatively new to training. When you are new your muscles will respond very quickly to weight training so you will grow even on a calorie deficit. This allows you to eat for fat loss but still gain muscle through training. So for most of us trying to achieve multiple goals can sometimes be very difficult, if not impossible. It is for this reason that we must pick goals that compliment each others training and diet styles.
Finding matching goals that can be accomplished together is simply a case of looking at how you would train and diet for a certain goal and see if all of the goals can be accomplished through variations on these styles. For example if your goals are to increase strength and muscle mass then you can easily accomplish this with a heavy training routine and high calorie diet. The 2 goals go hand in hand. However if you want to gain strength but drop fat it will be harder as you tend to lose strength when working in a calorie deficit. This would require very hard and heavy training and a slow fat burning process that doesn’t require a very low calorie diet.
So what type of goals could you set for yourself that would work well together?
Performance related goals:
- increased strength
- improved CV fitness
- increased speed
- better muscular endurance
- higher standing vertical jump
- better exercise technique
- increased muscle mass
- lower bodyfat percentage
- better muscle symmetry and balance
- get a 6 pack
Health related goals:
- lower resting heart rate
- lower cholesterol
- improved flexibility
- improved posture
- improved lung efficiency
These are a good range of goals for you to set yourself that are not specific. Specific goals would be something like running 5km in under a certain time or being able to bench press 100kg for example. These goals are very general and great for beginners to use as they don’t require set time limits or numbers. It is just a good gauge of direction to take your training and diet in at the start of your training journey.
So which goals would work very well together. You can pick multiple goals. For example it would be easy to achieve increased strength, exercise technique, increased muscle mass, better symmetry and balance, improved flexibility and lower resting heart rate. That would require strength training with focus on good technique, a mass gain diet and some daily stretching exercises. You couldn’t add improved vertical jump with these goals as you would be getting heavier due to larger mass. This would hinder vertical jump.
In my opinion if you are aiming to achieve multiple goals you should prioritize them. It is often the lucky coincidence that some goals are a byproduct of others. For example I have a client who aims to run 5km in a certain time as well as achieve greater strength goals and improve cardiovascular fitness. He also wants to drop fat so is on a calorie controlled diet. If he focuses on the fitness and performance goals then the fat loss will happen as a side effect of this hard training.
So in conclusion I would always recommend having multiple goals to keep you interested in your training but make sure that you have goals that compliment each other, structure your goals in order of importance, set time limits on each goal and train/eat smart to achieve these goals.
Good luck in all of your goals.