5-min Reads – Training Purpose and Goals
Health and Fitness Topics Explored with Kyle in 1,500 Words or Less
Member’s Question: Was there ever a time when you just didn’t like exercise (for whatever reason), and how/why/when did that change for you?
There will always be things battling for your time: family, work, social life, exercise, relationships, etc. There will always be social challenges battling your healthy lifestyle and nutrition choices. Digging deep into what you want your life to be and defining what is really important in your life is a must to ensure the path you are following actually leads somewhere you want to go.
Without thinking deeper than generic goals and finding your true training purpose, there will be times when your resolve to stay fit is tested. There are a few very basic truths that encompass our lives that you must accept. To be healthy, you must consistently exercise, you must have a good relationship with food, you must manage your sleep and stress levels, and you must do all of this in a sustainable way. In this article, I will focus on the exercise portion and how, without taking the time to really think about why you are exercising the way you are, it is easy to get burned out and not prioritize something as important as exercise in your life.
A training purpose gives you a framework prioritize the things that truly matter in life and to further define goals that will lead you to the life you want to have. A lot of times, I see members choose goals without thinking of the implications trying to reach those goals will have on their lives. Here’s a personal example:
I enjoy CrossFit and have seen incredible results over the years. A few years ago, I shifted my focus to target one of my biggest “weaknesses” as a smaller athlete, my maximal strength. I set very aggressive strength goals for the year. I started a very demanding workout program that had me training like a competitive CrossFit athlete. I was seeing amazing results, feeling great, getting stronger and hitting PRs just about every week. After a few months, accumulated fatigue caused by the amount of working out turned into my workouts into a grind. I wasn’t having as much fun in the gym anymore. I never missed a workout and, because of that, had started sacrificing things I enjoyed outside of the gym. I would skip playing golf or meeting some friends for lunch because it interfered with my demanding workout program. I woke up each morning in pain as I got out of bed because I was really pushing the limits of what my body could handle. Eventually, I hurt my back. Injuries have a way of making your reflect on your choices. During this time I definitely considered quitting working out. What was it all for anyway? That injury was the best thing that ever happened to me. My life priorities were out of balance and I needed to define my training purpose to decide if what I was doing was actually in line with what I wanted out of life. Did I need to be training like a professional athlete?
My training purpose: To be healthy, enjoy training, look like I work out, and never be reasonably limited by my fitness in anything I do into my nineties. If the randomness of life brings a fun opportunity that requires something physical from me, I do not want my fitness, an injury, or time to be a reason I cannot participate. I want limit myself to only spending 4-6 hours a week working out and to follow the programming I provide for CFCL classes. This will not only help maintain the balance in my own life, but to be proof to my clients that amazing results are possible through our classes.
After I defined my training purpose and had a better understanding of the toll, emotionally and physically, training at that level takes, it was clear that I had to change something. While I am still targeting my overall strength as I follow our Strength-bias program, my training is no longer taking over my life. This has allowed me to gain back my social life, focus on the business of running a gym, provided me more opportunity to use my fitness and play outside the gym, and has gotten me back to enjoying my workouts. To create the life I want to have, I need to consistently prioritize the right amount and the right kind of exercise. When working out start to feel like a grind, I can fall back on my training purpose and re-evaluate. Sometimes my Training Purpose helps me grind when I’m just being lazy and sometimes it helps me pull back and make adjustments to my training. On a daily basis it helps me focus my energy, so I don’t have to answer, “Why am I doing this?” when the workout gets tough.
Define what you want your life to be like in 5, 10, 50 years. Use that to define your training purpose. You should use your training purpose to help further define personal fitness and health goals. You should check-in on your training purpose every so often and compare it to your training to see if everything still makes sense. Opposite of my example above, this can work both ways. If you want to live a healthy, fit life, and you find yourself only working out 2 times a week, your training purpose can be a great motivator to get you back on track.
I'd love to hear what your training purpose is and help you further define goals that fit within that framework. Feel free to email me your training purpose and any goals you are considering if you'd like some guidance from your CrossFit City Limits coaches!
Goal setting is a great motivator to be sure your hard work in the gym is taking you in the direction you want to go. We may do things a little differently if our goals are to build muscle, get stronger, build endurance, gain flexibility, lose weight, compete in CrossFit, compete in another sport, or to maintain fitness during a pregnancy. If you have not yet defined your Training Purpose, then you will not have the required information to help you make decisions about your goals and training that will create the exact life you are looking for. Setting goals is more complicated than simply choosing a weight you want to life or and amount of weight you want to lose. You need to consider what it is going to take and what you are willing to do in your life to accomplish the goals you are setting.
Step 1: Define your Training Purpose.
Step 2: List some general things you’d like to happen. Lose weight, get stronger, get faster, increase your endurance, etc.
Step 3: Choose a method to measure your success. For weight loss, you may use you weight on the scale or you may choose to go by how your clothes fit. For improving your endurance, you may choose a 5k time trial or a long benchmark CrossFit workout that tests endurance.
Step 4: Further define your goals. At this point, it is great to start doing some research or working with a coach. You need to understand what is realistic and in what time frames. You will also need to understand how to work towards your goals and what it is going to take to reach them. As you research or work with a coach, you should lean heavily on your Training Purpose to be sure every decision you are making is in-line with the life you want to have to help determine how aggressive of goals to create. Goals should be measurable and have a defined timeframe.
Step 5: Create sub-goals. For example, if you goal is to do a pull-up by the end of the year, it may be a good idea to create sub-goals for you to track your progress over time. These may be progressing to smaller bands for your pull-ups, performing weightlifting pulling movements at certain weights, hitting certain weight loss goals, or setting a goal of how many days a week you work out. You should determine what it is going to take to reach your goal and then create sub-goals that will guide you to your ultimate goal.
Step 6: Get it done! You have taken the time to decide that your goals are in line with what you want your life to be. You should understand that it is not going to be easy, or you would have likely already accomplished it. There are going to be hard moments, but you need to grind it out. If you want it, you WILL accomplish it. If you’re not ready, you’ll find excuses for yourself. Be strong, use your grit, and if you want it, make it happen!!!
I’d love to hear your goals and help you further define and decide exactly how to attack them. Shoot me an email if you’d like to chat