In order to maximize the success of your weight training program, you need to define a detailed and thorough set of personal health and fitness goals. Your personal fitness goals should include both short-term goals (typically 1 week to less than 6 months) and long-term goals (typically 6 months to 1 year). Define your personal fitness goals based on the specific reasons for wanting to improve your overall health and fitness level. Envision defining your personal fitness goals as the road map to actually obtaining a lifestyle that is filled with good health and fitness. For example, if you want to decrease your body fat percentage, you should calculate your body fat percentage prior to beginning your weight training program and then set your body fat percentage goal.
For instance, if your starting body fat percentage is 28%, you could set a 6-month long-term goal to decrease your body fat percentage to 20%.
In addition, you could set a 3-month short-term goal to achieve a body fat percentage of 23%. For example, if your long-term goal is to lose 60 pounds of excess body fat in 1 year, you could set 4 short-term goals, on an interval of every 3 months, to lose 15 pounds of excess body fat. For each weight training goal that you set, decide on a clear step-by-step process to achieve it.
However, when first starting a weight training program, a simple introductory workout to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses is recommended to determine exactly where you are in terms of physical measurements and strength. Before beginning a weight training workout program, it is helpful to list your goals in a step-by-step format so that you can start defining your weight training workouts to achieve them. Short-Term Goal (1 week): Perform a full body workout 2 times during my first week of training. Short-Term Goal (1 month): I can currently achieve 12 repetitions with 80 pounds when performing the flat straight bar bench press. Long-Term Goal (1 year): Be able to achieve 12 repetitions with 180 pounds when performing the flat straight bar bench press. As is evident, taking the time to define your short and long-term weight training goals is an excellent way to maintain focus and motivation. In addition, you will also find that not only is the obtainment of your personal weight training goals more predictable, but that your motivation and focus are heightened as well. Finally, as with many individuals that implement this approach to defining and achieving their personal weight training goals, they also begin to incorporate this technique into virtually all aspects and goals associated with their lives.
For example, this approach can be used to improve your financial condition, your performance at work, and even your relationship with your spouse, significant other, or children. Setting your personal weight training goals is paramount to achieving the personal health and fitness results that you desire, to definitively and accurately evaluating your progress, and to retaining a high level of motivation. As an analogy, beginning a weight training program without setting your personal weight training goals is similar to getting into your car and driving it without a final destination in mind. While both activities may be enjoyable, without having a well-defined set of weight training goals, both short and long-term, and a clear vision of where you would like to end up, it will be impossible to optimize the progress that you make while performing either. Many individuals fail to obtain their personal goals, be it fitness goals, professional goals or relationship goals. While there are several reasons why many individuals fail to achieve their personal goals, defining a well thought out set of measurable goals and a plan which they can execute to obtain their goals are at the top of the list. In order to be effective at achieving your personal goals, you must allocate the time to create a set of goals that are realistic, measurable and obtainable. In other words, defining your personal goals will create the road map you'll follow to pursue them, but physical action, commitment, focus and dedication will be required to actually obtain your goals.
For example, you can define one of your weight training goals as being able to bench press 250 pounds, for a single repetition, on the flat straight bar. For individuals that are new to weight training, failing to perform a few workouts to determine your current level of strength will lead to the possibility of setting goals that are unrealistic. For example, setting a goal of being able to press 185 pounds on the flat straight bar bench press within the first week and then determining that you can currently only bench press 100 pounds can lead to frustration and a feeling of failure when you miss your goal. For individuals experienced in weight training, setting personal weight training goals will be much simpler as you are already familiar with the equipment, understand the commitment that is required to achieve your personal weight training goals, and are familiar with the rate at which your various muscle groups respond.
This being said, it is extremely important that you define realistic weight training goals that, while challenging, are achievable within the timeframe that you defined within your set of weight training goals. As is evident, defining and setting specific weight training goals that are measurable will assist in maintaining focus, motivation, and realizing a sense of accomplishment when achieved. Define and set weight training goals that, while challenging, are obtainable within your specific timeframe.


In addition, setting unrealistic weight training goals can be detrimental to your health and well-being. If you find that you are not achieving your short-term goal of gaining 1 pound of lean muscle mass per month, you can modify your dietary intake and your weight training program in real time to increase the probability of achieving your short-term goal. Maintain clear records of your progress as you work towards achieving each of your short and long-term goals. This will allow you to look through your weight training log and monitor your progress toward your short-term goal.
Determine a clear step-by-step action plan for achieving each of your short and long-term weight training goals. It's important to remember that several of your weight training goals will be interrelated. Determine how you are going to reward yourself when you achieve one of your short or long-term goals.
This approach is simply a way to congratulate yourself for achieving one of your weight training goals, and reinforces your level of commitment and focus. As with any type of goal setting, it is imperative that you take the time to define a clear set of short and long-term goals that are realistic, measurable and achievable.
In addition, it is important to remember that the setting of your personal weight training goals must be followed up with a defined action plan that is designed to focus on, and achieve, your personal weight training goals. For this reason, your personal weight training goals and your specific action plan must be executed in concert, and thereafter, modified when needed as you progress towards obtaining each of your specific weight training goals.
In addition, take into account any physical limitations or time constraints when defining your personal fitness goals, as it is important to define a set of goals that, while challenging, are realistic and obtainable. When defining your personal weight training goals, remember that they should be centered around specific metrics associated with your weight, physical measurements, strength levels and cardiovascular endurance.
Make sure that your strength training goals are not vague and ambiguous as they can easily be reinterpreted based on your outcome. By setting a short-term goal that correlates to a long-term goal, you can monitor your 3-month goal to ensure that you are on schedule to achieve your 6-month long-term goal.
Goals that are too easy to obtain will provide a false sense of achievement, while goals that are too difficult to obtain will most likely reduce motivation and may even result in discouraging you to the point of giving up. By defining a specific time frame within which you are to achieve each goal, you force yourself to maintain a high level of focus and accountability. Attaching a time frame to each and every goal will inspire urgency and will assist you in maintaining a high level of focus and motivation. This helps to track your progress toward obtaining various goals and can provide a great motivational boost when you see check marks next to all of the goals that you have accomplished.
For example, if you set a 6-month goal of increasing your biceps measurement to 16 inches and find out when you initially measure your biceps that they are only 12 inches, you will more than likely miss your goal.
Most of the time, the same goal will have dozens (if not hundreds) of paths that you can take to obtain it. My 1-month short-term goal is to be able to achieve 12 repetitions with 100 pounds when performing the flat straight bar bench press. I will continue to use my short-term flat straight bar bench press goal to progress to my long-term goal. In fact, by using this approach as you progress in your weight training efforts you will find that achieving your personal weight training goals will become easier. In addition, it is necessary to define an action plan that is focused and targeted on obtaining your personal goals. If you are new to weight training, it may be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various forms of weight training equipment and perform several workouts before defining your personal weight training goals. Defining goals that are vague, unmeasurable or lack a timeline will only lead to a lack of focus, frustration, and quite possibly failure. All too often, individuals set their weight training goals within a timeframe that is unrealistic. For example, setting a goal of losing 30 pounds of excess body weight within the first 30 days is not only unrealistic, but unhealthy and potentially life-threatening as well. When defining your personal weight training goals, it is best to define both short-term and long-term goals. By creating short-term goals that are measurable, you will increase your level of focus and the probability of achieving them as well. You will be able to determine if you are falling behind on your goal and make the necessary modifications to get back on schedule.


Defining your weight training goals is related to what you would like to achieve, while the action plan is the actual mechanism that will allow your weight training goals to be obtained. To this end, experimenting with various approaches to obtaining each short and long-term goal will allow you to determine how best your body responds to each approach.
For example, setting a short-term goal of losing 8 pounds of excess body weight per month can be achieved through several approaches. As is evident, each of these two goals support one another, and when coupled, create a greater probability of achieving your weight loss goal. In some instances, just knowing that you have achieved one of your weight training goals is sufficient. If working out with a partner, you can create a reward in which the first individual to achieve a specific goal is taken to a restaurant of their choice by the other person.
Whether it be quitting smoking, increasing your lean muscle mass or losing weight, defining a clear set of goals will increase your probability of actually obtaining your goal. By attaching short-term goals (milestones) that are related to a long-term goal, you will be better able to determine if your weight training program is achieving the results you desire within your expected timeframe. This task is often easier when you are already adhering to a detailed weight training program because you can simply make adjustments to your actual workouts. A better approach is to measure your biceps beforehand and then set your short and long-term goals. Variety is an essential element of any weight training program and will promote even greater results as you will force your body to continually evolve and respond to the demands you are placing on it. In general, achieving long-term goals can be viewed as a culmination of obtaining short-term goals. This being said, you will now have to dedicate the time to weight training to obtain your bench press goal. The end result of setting unrealistic goals is a sense of failure, a lack of motivation and a desire to give up and quit. In addition, setting a timeline for each short-term goal will create a sense of urgency and commitment. For example, if one of your short-term goals is to be able to press 250 pounds on the flat straight bar bench press, log your single repetition maximum in a training log. Finally, a weight training log can provide you with motivation as you visually see that you have obtained your goal and are able to check if off as achieved. By doing so, you will create a weight training program that is specifically tailored to the obtainment of each of your short and long-term goals.
In the end, this approach will produce the most effective and time-efficient path to your goal. For instance, you may set a long-term goal to perform an additional weight training circuit (i.e. In this way, providing yourself with a reward for achieving each of your weight training goals can provide motivation and focus. By setting weight training goals that are realistic and attainable, you will increase your probability of success, maintain greater focus and enjoy a higher level of motivation. When reviewing your progress, you will be able to modify your action plan if you find that your progress is falling behind. By continually modifying your weight training workouts, you will force your body to respond by requiring it to adjust to the ever-changing demands that you are placing on it. For instance, you may attach a vacation to your long-term goal of losing 40 pounds in 6 months.
Defining realistic short-term goals (milestones) such as gain 1 pound of lean muscle mass per month will allow you to maintain a greater level of focus, and to monitor your progress with greater detail. In the event that you achieve your long-term goal of losing 40 pounds within 6 months, then reward yourself with a vacation to celebrate your achievement.
In addition, achieving your short-term goals will provide motivation to continue towards your long-term goal of gaining 24 pounds of lean muscle mass in 24 months.
For several of your short-term goals, you may want to attach lesser rewards such as going to a specific restaurant, spending a weekend in a nice hotel, going camping, purchasing a new movie or CD, and so on.



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