Personal Goal Setting

Yesterday I wrote about the initial stages of developing personalized training for clients. I initially find out:

  • What activities do they enjoy
  • What activities do they not enjoy
  • How often are they going to exercise
  • How long will they exercise during each session
  • What are their physical limitations
  • What equipment do they have available
  • What is their ‘ideal’ picture of a healthy lifestyle

Using that information as a foundation I can begin to help the client structure goals in three key areas: nutritional health, physical health and mental health.

There is a great connection between being nutritionally healthy, physically healthy and mentally healthy. It’s possible to have one or two without the third, however, true health involves a balance of all three. To achieve a healthy lifestyle all three areas need goals.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these categories…

Nutritional – goals focus on improving dietary choices; Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight has 80% to do with what one eats and only 20% of physical activity.

Possible goals include:

  • Tracking calories (using MyFitnessPal or something similar on a regular basis)
  • Limiting processed foods (take on manageable dietary adjustments when people try and change too much all at once it failure becomes more likely)
  • Increasing water intake (drinking 1/2 of your body weight in water every day)
  • Increase vegetable intake (a great source for HEALTHY carbs)

Physical – goals focus on improving physical appearance/ability.

Possible goals include:

  • Building core strength (holding a plank in good form for 60 seconds, performing side plank holds/lifts)
  • Increasing cardio endurance (training for a 5k – is it just to finish or is there a time goal)
  • Increasing flexibility (increased range of motion)
  • Increasing muscular strength (chest press 20lbs dumbbells, bicep curls 15lbs)

Mental – goals focused on improving overall ‘quality of life,’ achieving balance of the ‘good stuff’

Possible goals include:

  • Maintaining a regular bedtime
  • Limiting television/computer time
  • Taking time for prayer/meditation
  • Volunteering

Once a client identifies their goals for each category we write them to meet the SMART requirements:

Specific – details on the goal; instead of ‘get healthy’ the goal would be ‘lose weight’

Measurable – how will we know if it is met, if the goal is to lose weight we need to determine how much

Attainable – is it realistic, no one is going to lose 50 pounds in a month,

Results Orientated/Relevant – is the goal relevant to what I want to achieve, no sense in making a goal to run a marathon if the person hates running

Time Bound – how long do we have to work towards/achieve the goal

Keep in mind when setting goals it’s important to determine both short and long-term goals. Short-term goals help create quick successes and build momentum, which can be a very beneficial step in reaching long-term goals.

If a goal is written to meet the SMART requirements, the client will be able to answer definitively if the goal is being/has been met or not.

  • Nutritional goals are often measured through some sort of a food diary.
  • Physical goals are often measured either through physical accomplishment or by weight/inches/body fat change/loss.
  • Mental goals are often measured in reflective discussions with the client.

I take the goal setting process very seriously because it is what allows me to better understand my clients and their ultimate needs. I would never structure a training program for someone wanting to train for an upcoming half marathon race that only included weight and core training – to meet their goals we would need to incorporate endurance training. Another example is a client who is wanting to lose weight. While cardio is beneficial, one of the best ways to increase weight loss is to build lean muscle mass and increasing the natural metabolic rate.

It’s my mission to help my clients reach their goals, and to do that, each and every program must be fully customized to meet them where they are and designed to help them achieve their goals.

3 thoughts on “Personal Goal Setting

  1. Pingback: Creating Customized Plans | Personal Training by Jenn

  2. Pingback: Not Just a Trainer, an Accountability Partner | Personal Training by Jenn

  3. Pingback: Healthy New Years Resolutions | Personal Training by Jenn

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