Updated: Aug 16, 2021
When it comes to setting goals, we often tend to be extreme and unrealistic. I often struggle to follow the goals I set, however, I recently learned how to communicate this issue better and here I am, rushing to share that knowledge with you.
Have you heard of the triangle of goals? Let me show you.
These three goals are the most common ones people tend to have. But, as you can see, they are further away from each other. What does that mean?
It is simple. We cannot have them all, or at least not at the same time.
If you desire PERFORMANCE, for instance, you are going to focus on training and eating for performance. This means that you are most probably going to practice the movement required in your sport.
The powerlifters are going to practice the main lifts and for sure they would not care how many abs they have. The food they eat would be in a similar fashion. Powerlifters need energy to perform. That does not mean they are going to eat crab, but sometimes a bit of fast-digesting carbs would be required.
Performance goals are going to match with the style of training and eating and that is going to come with a trade-off. More wear and tear of joint cartilage and ligaments over time. More inflammation in general. Aesthetics is not a priority as well. Nobody is asking Mat Fraser to lift his shirt off and let his abs be evaluated. Everybody cares how much weight he can lift.
It is no different with AESTHETICS. Low calories, different style of training, different weights. If you desire aesthetics, you should be aware that a low percentage of fats all the time can cause significant health issues. Energy levels down, cardiovascular problems low testosterone levels, etc.
Low calories can cause numerous issues too. Sleep deprivation, mood swings, not good workouts in the gym. Even though the performance is not the outcome, we all want to have a feel-good workout and not to be exhausted in the middle of it ending with some coffee or other supplements in order to continue.
And even if it is worth it for the desired beach body or the competition, the rest of the goals are still impossible to be achieved. Nobody cares how much you lift. Only your physical appearance is judged. Nobody cares how you lift. It only matters how shaped your six-pack abs are.
Let's see how is with LONGEVITY.
Imagine the 85 years old guy that goes to the gym 3 times per week. He is not going to look perfect. He is not going to perform like a powerlifter or cross fitter for instance.
His goal is to feel good, to move well, to have pain free life. He is not going to have a low-calorie diet or some potential relationship issues with food. He is going to understand nutrition and pick only quality food that fits his lifestyle. He is not going to lift heavyweight in the gym and set new world records. He is going to train the way he can, and it suits his body, in order to maintain a healthy body.
It is very important to acknowledge your goals and to know where exactly you want to be.
Do you want to have a beach body? Well OK. Are you willing to sacrifice one hour of sleep and be dedicated to a diet? If yes, great. If no, then let’s try to find a better goal for you.
It sounds very simple, but it is yet super hard to know exactly what you want.
Do you want to be super shredded for the upcoming photoshoot? OK. Let’s prepare for this and then switch the goals to longevity goals to maintain a healthy body, so when we have to do the prep again it be slightly easier than before. Do you see what I mean? You cannot have all the goals at the same time and expect to meet them all together. You are most likely going to be satisfied with one and frustrated with another.
It keeps happening to me from time to time. I would normally focus on the performance, just because I like to be able to do stuff. And I will see that I am getting stronger, but when I look at the mirror and often be disappointed. Then I would switch to a lighter, more cardio-based training and adjust the food. and in two weeks’ time, I will see that my veins are starting to pop out more and I can count some abs again. However, when I try to do pull-ups, for instance, I will be able to do only half of the amount and will feel heavy on the bar.
I am not asking you to change your goals, but to be realistic and have a better approach. Because once you learn how to do it the right way, then everything seems like a game.
I highly encourage you to have a look at the triangle of goals and to point exactly where you want to be. It is OK to change over time. But this way it will be easier to stick to the current one and be in a bit more peace with yourself.