As I was sitting around on a man-date the other night in beautiful Seneca Falls (if you don’t know where that is, you are lucky) Todd and I engaged in a conversation of typical manly things such as Justin Beiber, high fashion, and all that has to do with the next season of “The Bachelor.” Ok maybe not all of those things but for sure 2 out of 3. I digress…
What Todd and I really sat down to discuss was a new training program for me. Just a little background first. I was a college baseball player who loved all that involved training and being in the gym. Now I am a student in chiropractic school 3 months out of low back surgery (Insert Chiropractor with a bad back joke here). Overall, I feel awesome so I feel like it is now time to step up my training and get back into the gym, trying to lift (semi) heavy things.
So, the conversation started with the typical things like program design, reps, sets, exercises to include/avoid, and everything else one would expect in program writing. Then, Todd mentioned something that really stuck with me, something that the best program design in the world probably doesn’t include. He said, “Honestly, the most important thing is figuring out what you want to accomplish. What is your goal with a new training program?”
Full disclosure: A goal was something that I never even thought about before. Through college, I always went to the gym and worked my ass off because I wanted to become a better athlete and that was a total no-brainer for me. All other things like measuring my biceps, taking weird semi-naked pictures of myself and posting them on facebook (joking), and general Jersey Shore fist pumping- like activities (I can say that, I’m from Jersey) where all secondary. Seriously though, Todd’s question really made me stop and think. What IS my goal? There has to be SOMETHING I am working for when I get to the gym and train.
So, how can I go about figuring what my goal in the gym (or life) actually is?
Rule 1: Give your goal a definitive time limit. For me, it might be to make sure I do all of my filler exercises and stability work every time I go to the gym for the next 3 weeks. For people out there who do not enjoy the gym, it might be getting to the gym 4x per week for the next 3 weeks. This idea of a definite time limit allows us to see the light at the end of the tunnel and gives us a clear sense of accomplishment once we have achieved this goal.
Rule 2: Make sure your goal is realistic. I know what you are thinking because this seems obvious. Who would ever choose a goal that is unrealistic? Truthfully we have all done it. You all know that time when you picked up your favorite fitness magazine and thought, “Gee, I’d really love to look like Ronnie Coleman and not be able to wipe my own ass tomorrow.” Ok, maybe not that but you get the point. Picking a goal to look like Ronnie Coleman just is not possible. First of all, he makes a living doing bicep curls therefore spending ridiculous amounts of time in the gym that you and I just do not have. Second, he is an absolute massive human being, muscular or not, so to think you could ever approach his status is ludicrous. Finally, picking a goal to look like someone else breaks what I figure to be THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE in goal setting. See Rule 3.
Rule 3: Focus on the process, not the outcome. If you take one thing away from this article (besides my obsession with Justin Beiber, don’t judge, he is really talented!!!!) it is focusing on the process. Simply put, the PROCESS is something we can control. The OUTCOME is often out of our hands, for many different reasons. We can use our example from RULE 1: Go to the gym 4x per week for the next 3 weeks. This goal is something we truly control. In stark contrast, a goal such as, “I want to lose 15 pounds this month,” only focuses on the outcome. The problem here is that there is no action plan on how to get it done. Are you going to just not eat for a month? Sit in a sauna and sweat out water weight? Play Nintendo Wii? (I secretly hope I spelt it wrong because it is that stupid) Obviously, these are all really, really stupid ways to go about losing 15 pounds, but in reality they would work. I hope you get the point. So you want to lose 15 pounds? Awesome. Let’s figure out how, let’s focus our goal around a process that is healthy, smart, and tangible and those 15 pounds will be off in no time.
So, when you stop and think, “What is my goal?” remember these 3 simple steps:
3)Focus on the process
Justin Rabinowitz is pursuing a Doctor of Chiropractic degree at New York Chiropractic College (NYCC) and is expected to graduate July 2012. His passion for athletics and training started at an early age and continues to this day as he is currently the Co-president of the Sports Science and Human Performance club at NYCC. As an intern, Justin has had the great opportunity to treat endurance athletes at such events as the Buffalo Subaru 4 Mile Chase and the WoolSports Musselman Triathlon. Additionally, Justin has been selected to present at the 2011 American Chiropractic Association Sports Council Research Poster Presentation Contest. There, he will be presenting “Assessment of the Overhead Throwing Athlete.”
Prior to enrolling in chiropractic school, Justin captained the Ramapo College baseball team in Mahwah, New Jersey and played 1st base. Additionally, Justin spent the Fall of 2010 season volunteering his time with the Bridgewater-Raritan High School football team, working closely with the Tight Ends and Inside Linebackers.