One of the many things I’ve learned over the years, as a professional fitness trainer is that “You’ve got to know where you’re going; or you’ll end up someplace else”.  I’m not sure who to credit for that bit of wisdom, possibly Joe Weider of Muscle and Fitness magazine fame.

The first step with any new client is to find out what their Goal is.  What is it they’re trying to accomplish; and more importantly … why this goal is important to them!

A good trainer will be very involved with the goal setting process.  You and your trainer / coach are now a team working together to accomplish goals that you’ve set together.  It is a Win-Win situation for you both.

Goals needs to be Specific.  “I want to … lose weight, have more energy and stamina, be stronger, faster, play better golf ” … And the list goes on and on.  I had a golfer tell me “I want to be as strong and consistent on the back 9 as I am on the front 9”.  An 88-year-old garden enthusiast told me he wanted to be able to work in his raised vegetable bed next spring … the attorney who said she wanted to look better in her suit! You get the idea .. goals are varied and personal.

Next, we determine a way to Measure progress toward accomplishing the goal.  Obviously if weight loss is the goal, then we measure total body mass, body mass index and body fat percentage.  Girth measurements, pictures, articles of clothing also make good “yardsticks” for measuring progress.

For the athletes that I train, speed, strength, endurance and muscle mass are things which we measure.  Start with a bench mark and measure progress at set intervals to chart progress.

The Goal must be attainable ! This ties in with realistic as well.

Can you go from doing 3 push ups with all out effort … to doing 30 push ups within 1 week ? Not likely!   Similarly if you have weighed 200 pounds for the past year, dropping 50 lbs (25% of your body weight) in 2 weeks is not attainable or realistic.

Once we determine that the goal is specific, measurable, attainable and realistic … we set up a timeline.  A time driven weight loss goal could be to lose an average of 2-3 pounds per week.  This equates to about 10 pounds per month.  We quantify this goal by weighing at the same time of day on the same scale at set intervals.

So, think about your fitness or health goal and let’s get SMART about achieving it!