The key to any challenge is that performance is the main goal, not aesthetics. I always focus on performance. I believe that when one has a concrete training goal – for example, “press 300 pounds, box jump 45″, and run a 6:30 mile” – training becomes more focused and goals become real.
Immeasurable or non-specific goals – “get in shape” or “I just want to get stronger” – are a great way to shortchange your training and set yourself up for failure. Concrete goal setting and achieving is a simple three-step process:
- Set Goal
- Make Plan
People don’t know how to set goals. Most of the time the goals are too high or too far away. There are a lot of 200-pound bench pressers whose goal is 405. That’s fine in the long term, but they do have to bench press 205 before they bench over 400. Small steps lead to big rewards.
I also like my training day to be goal oriented. I need something to shoot for, to visualize, and to achieve. The weight room is one of the few places most of us have to challenge ourselves physically. But instead of using these few hours of training to challenge our minds and our bodies, we piss them away with set after set of plain ol’ boring.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that shooting for PR’s and pushing sets isn’t always the most optimal way to train. But maybe we spend too much time trying to find the optimal way to train when we should be embracing the right kind of training. The “right” way to train largely depends on who you are and what drives you to be better. For me, this is goal-oriented training.