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What are your fitness goals?

What are your fitness goals?

When it comes to fitness, there are many different components you need to train to get better at your given sport. There are some things that are common to many sports and others that are specific to particular sports.

It is for this reason that you need to define what your fitness goals are when you are training. And as usual when it comes to setting goals, more specific is better. In fact the whole SMART goal thing works for fitness as well as any other field (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely). So “I want to get fit”, doesn’t really cut it by any measure as a goal. It is more of a vague statement”

For example a powerlifter trains in a completely different manner to a bodybuilder. Their goals are different. A powerlifters’ goals fit quite easily into the SMART goal paradigm. Usually powerlifters have a very specific measurable goal they are training for. It is also timely, because a competitive powerlifter trains for a contest that is to occur on a specific date.

If you are training for rugby, AFL or soccer, you may also use weights to train for the sport (particularly rugby) but your aims are different from a powerlifter or a bodybuilder. Your program will be different as a result too. A goal of putting on muscle is secondary to the idea of getting better at the sport.

Usually in sports such as rugby, there are different physical attributes that must be trained to allow you to improve at your sport. First and foremost is aerobic capacity, so your training program needs to incorporate that. This contrasts with a powerlifter for example, since their training program has little need for this.

Next something which is common to so many sports; explosive power, so you are likely to want to understand plyometrics and incorporate some plyometrics exercises into your program.

Then strength, including core strength – that strength that all coaches seemed to discover all at once a few years ago.

Obviously the problem when you get a lot of components to train is how do you fit this all in? Well that is where your goals come into play. Your end goal is to become better at your chosen sport.  You train the components that will allow you to improve at that sport.

For example, if you are a boxer, will having a big bench press improve your ability to throw good punches? If you are a marathon runner, weights are more likely to be a hindrance than a help.

Training physical attributes for a sport like rugby doesn’t necessarily make you better at the sport. However, if you have improved your aerobic capacity and can get around the ground better than before, it is likely to improve your game beyond what it was when you were less fit. Similarly if you are bigger and stronger, you are likely to be more able to burst through tackles (providing you have lost no pace).

Your goals therefore may be –

  1. Add 5 kilos of muscle
  2. Improve your squat by 20 kilos on a 5 rep set
  3. Improve your 50 metre sprint by 2 tenths of a second
  4. increase you VO2 max by 10 per cent.

You can see that these goals are all specific and measurable, and are likely to help your sport. And that is the key. You can’t know what to do if you don’t have specific fitness goals that pertain to whatever it is that you want to improve at.

Now picture this. If you have goals 1 and 2 but not goals 3 and 4, you may get bigger and stronger, but slower and less able to perform your sport. That is the specific nature of sports training.

So remember this whenever you train for any sport. The goals of what you want to achieve end up dictating what you achieve. Non specific goals get non specific results. Incorrect goals get incorrect results.

About The Author


A guy obsessed with stripping down whatever field he studies to get the optimum return from effort expended. Sort of like Tim Ferriss, except with zero fame.

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