One of the most important and evergreen questions troubling humanity is the one about the meaning of life. We search for sense in nearly everything we do in order to be able to face adversity. If we can’t see the point in something, we simply don’t want to do it. The same goes for physical activity, and that’s why having long term fitness goals is crucial for achieving success. Here’s what I think about them and what mine are.
Goals we set for ourselves can be short or long term, and the idea behind them is to measure the level of success. A goal is supposed to constitute a sort of a reference point and motivate you to push forward.
A short term goal in strength or hypertrophy training, especially for a beginner, can be doing 20 workouts a month, which can then turn into more of a long term fitness goal of four months of 20 workouts each.
An intermediate lifter can aim for five reps of 225 lbs on a flat bench, which is something that may take a while to achieve.
Long term fitness goals can also consist of a specific body weight or body fat level but is focusing solely on numbers and performance at the gym a good idea?
Looking at fitness beyond sport
I keep saying that the gym isn’t just physicality but also a whole lot of mental games. Across months and years both your body and mind change.
Muscles are capable of steady hard work but it’s the brain that controls them and drives them to act. Effort starts in your head.
When you’re not in the optimal mood, when the motivation drops, when habits fail, when your internal voice keeps saying “not today, let it go”, you’ll need a deeper motive that pushes you to do what you do.
You have to develop a personal training philosophy as early as you can.
Why you should be thinking about training long term
The problem with reaching your goals, which I feel like not many people are talking about, is that it doesn’t deliver a lasting satisfaction. Completing a goal is somewhat like an orgasm – pleasant while it lasts, but leaving you with a kind of emptiness which makes you question certain things.
Meanwhile, it’s the very chase after the rabbit that makes you better in the process. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like you shouldn’t be reaching your goals, but at the same time you have to realize you’ll need more of them. Otherwise you’re risking losing the purpose.
Goals can be various and set in different timeframes. Their nature can be lasting, instead of being a set point in time, which can render their full completion impossible, something you actually want.
In other words, you’re steadily but never fully completing them at the same time.
Your long term fitness goals should be grounded in something more than just passion for sport. If you feel like the gym isn’t a seasonal fling for you, it may be a good idea to link as many important aspects of your life to it as possible.
Look at the questions below. Answering them should help you figure out your own long term fitness goals.
- What is important to me in life and how can it relate to training?
- What do I get out of training?
- Is training making me better?
- What am I losing by not training?
- Do I want to improve and maintain my wellbeing through sensible diet and regular physical activity?
- How important to me is investing in myself?
My long term fitness goals
You don’t have to and shouldn’t postpone your training journey until you figure out your long term fitness goals. Just get going and see where it takes you.
I thought that apart from the questions above, I’ll also share my own goals which accompany my fitness adventure.
Let’s start with the fact that I have a bit of a food obsession. Not only do I like to eat food (who doesn’t 🙄) and appreciate the sense of taste, but I also keep talking about it with others, think about it, and consume all sorts of food-related content online all the time.
I consider food as both a pleasure and fuel sustaining my body. Calories are the indispensable energy, while protein and other macro and micro elements are the building blocks, so, in some sense, myself, just in a different, yet unprocessed form.
Now that I think about it, this may be some combination of egocentrism and an eating disorder but it works for me so I see no reason to change it.
Regular physical activity allows me to maintain a significant level of dietary freedom and not worry too much about every unscheduled calorie.
I consider food to be an essential element of human life so I think it’s good to have some sort of a control system related to it.
Another long term fitness goal of mine, which I consider to be achieved and still worked on at the same time is developing a sustainable and satisfactory lifestyle – feeling and looking good on a daily basis.
To me, a boring sports diet and regular heavy workouts are no punishment but a lifestyle I thoroughly enjoy and which generates very tangible results. By no means do I want to quit it and living like this is a goal in itself for me.
On top of all this I want to remain agile, strong and self-sufficient for as long as possible. I feel like I have to do whatever’s in my power to maintain this bio vehicle I’ve been blessed with in the best possible condition. I also believe that the human body has evolved to stay active, and dormancy is detrimental to its state.
Everyone who embarks on a fitness journey surely has certain simple goals. Not only do they help measure the efficiency of one’s actions but they also add purpose to them.
In order to become successful at the gym one needs a lot of time and mental strength. Long term fitness goals will help you persist in your resolutions and keep reminding you why you’re doing what you’re doing when you hit a rough patch or become unmotivated.
Every person training should ask themselves a number of questions in order to figure out the sense behind the actions being taken and thus maximize their chances of success.
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