with Cat Kom & Master Mike
A lot has been written and recorded on goal setting, yet in the fitness world, how often we see goals set and then set aside. Cat Kom is joined by Master Mike to talk to us about what is clearly one of Mike’s passions – how to set and achieve realistic fitness goals.
Whether you’re looking at fitness goals while planning for a big life event, finishing up a long stretch of hibernation, or maybe even getting a health warning you can’t ignore, the way you approach goal setting will have a huge impact on your overall success. Done wrong, as Mike says, “expectations for working out are resentments under construction.” So let’s talk about Cat and Mike’s tips for setting realistic goals and expectations.
Tips for Goal Setting:
- Set realistic expectations based on where you are now. Most people set the goal line too far out and then work through months of disappointment, never reaching the goal. For example, when Mike was younger, he could run a sub-6 minute mile, but now he can’t even run an 8-minute mile. So setting a goal to run a 6-minute isn’t grounded in his current reality.
- Set goals using a targeted outcome. For example, if you’re new to fitness, set expectations of 75-100 workouts over the next 365 days. This is realistic because:
a) You’re allowing yourself the grace to take a day or two off without feeling like you’ve failed.
b) It’s challenging to your norm, but not so far off to be unachievable. Starting with “I’m going to hit the gym 5 days a week” has a high chance of failure if you’re starting at zero. A goal of 75-100 in a year is just a couple of times a week, and you’re going to feel like a rockstar when you add that third (or maybe even 4th) workout in by year-end!
- Don’t start too big. Instead of saying “I want to lose 50 pounds,” try something like “I want to do 3 activities a week that can eventually lead to losing weight.” Cat and Mike both have some tips that are specific to weight loss goals.
a) Shoot for the “Magic 500.” Every day, affect a 500 calorie change. That can be via a 500 calorie workout, eating 500 calories less, or a combination. At the end of the week, you’ll have lost a pound. At the end of the month, 4 pounds. At the end of the year, 48 pounds!
b) There are small steps each day you can take to impact the targeted outcome. Can you add a little less cream and sugar to your coffee? One less candy bar or cocktail? These small changes will probably be fairly simple to implement, but can yield a 10-pound annual weight loss.
- Exceeding expectations leads to long term health. Stretch goals are ok, but they should still be realistic. Can you sustain the exercise for 10 minutes? 20 minutes? That’s realistic. One day, you’ll show up and you can do an hour. Hooray! You’ve exceeded the expectation and it’s time to re-evaluate your goal.
Speaking of re-evaluation of goals, everyone should look at their expectations at least annually, and adjust periodically as needed. It may be wise to shift gears mid-goal as well, though. Sometimes you need a new goal because you’ve achieved the original one, but sometimes you just set the wrong first expectation. It’s 100% ok to toss the wrong one and find the right one. Even the expert trainers have to do that now and then…
During a quarantine job change, Mike started running more. He was focusing on the calorie burn from the workouts and got falsely addicted to that measurement. When his knees started hurting, he took a pause to re-evaluate. Why was he pushing the calorie burn so hard? He wanted to show a fresh training result for the months off of work. But obviously, the knee pain wasn’t the result he was hoping for. You can get addicted to false expectations as easily as you can succeed with realistic expectations. So it’s important to follow the goal-setting tips, AND be ok with a reset if needed.
Overall, Mike reminds us all, “Be safe, be strident, but don’t be extreme in the way you treat yourself. We workout because we can.”
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