People decide to do CrossFit for a variety of reasons – build muscle, improve body composition, make friends, learn to move better, cross training for an event, get off some meds, and so much more. The point is that there are a wide variety of great reasons to get into the gym every week.
With the new year right around the corner, now is a good time to think about some goals to be working towards. It’s helpful to think about what you want to accomplish, why you want it, and small concrete steps to get you there. As the weather gets colder and the days are shorter, having something to work towards will help you make the choice to get to the gym, rather than make an excuse to skip it. We also want to help you celebrate some Bright Spots along the way – those small steps towards your goals that will lead to achieving those bigger goals!
We want to help you create SMART Goals.
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Timely
There is a lot of value in those 5 words. To make the most of your CrossFit experience, it is a good idea to have some solid goals to work towards. Getting in better shape is a really abstract concept – how do you know when you’ve gotten there? How do you know that you have achieved your goal? How do you know when it is time to make new and improved goals? Be specific. I want to be able to touch my toes. I want to string together 10 unbroken double unders. I want to front squat 260 pounds. A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal.
Be very careful of weight loss or measurement loss goals though. As your body composition changes you may very well lose fat and gain muscle and actually see the numbers on the scale increase. The way your clothes fit is a better indicator of your body composition than the number on a scale. You can also get a Body Composition Scan so you have more than one metric to measure by.
Your specific goals need to be measurable. Running faster is a goal, but not one that you can measure as is. You need to be more specific, like run a 5k in under 20 minutes. This also means that you need to know where you are starting at so that you can see the improvement made. You need to know what your current 5k time is so you can measure your progress over time.
Your goals need to be attainable. You have to have the desire and the means to follow through with them. I can say that I want to complete an IronMan in 2020 in under 12 hours (specific, measurable and timely), but if I don’t have the time or dedication to train that hard or the money for the equipment, it really isn’t an attainable goal for me at this time. Something more attainable might be to run a marathon in 6 months, or complete a sprint triathlon in September.
The goal has to be realistic for you. To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic – you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be.
Losing 20 pounds in 2 weeks or increasing your back squat by 100 pounds in a month isn’t safe or realistic. Depending on what your weight is at currently or what your max effort back squat is, we could talk about an appropriate timeline to reach either of those goals. They are both attainable, but we need to make them realistic for you. And we can make stepping stones along the way to help you get to that bigger goal.
Your goals have to have a date on them. Even if that date moves once in awhile, you have to have a date that you are working towards. If there is no time frame, there is no sense of urgency. Goals with no time frame belong on a Bucket List. Those things you will get around to someday. Doing a strict push up, pull up or muscle up in 30 days is something you can work on right now.
Another important part of this is to share your goals with your Coach. They surely want to help you achieve everything you are working towards, but they need to know what that is to help you in the most efficient way possible. If you are looking to compete, they know to enforce movement standards and maybe call out some no-reps. They can also push you harder in workouts.
Taking your goals into account will also help you decide how many days a week you should be committing to the gym and how clean your eating, recovery, and sleep habits are. Your Coaches want to help you with all of this, ask them for help reviewing goals, making a plan to achieve those goals, and keeping you accountable to what you want to achieve.
When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them a reality. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.
You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. You may not know exactly what those steps are, but good coaches can help you figure that out!