by Matt Wiggins – MMAWeekly.com
Well, it’s a new year. By now most
of you should have gotten over eating too much for Christmas and drinking too
much for New Year’s, and should be back on track as far as training and
This is the time of year that you
always hear about “New Year’s Resolutions” and all the big, grandiose things
people want to accomplish for the New Year. It’s a good idea in theory, but in
practice, it generally flops. I still think that the whole idea of “New Year’s
Resolutions” is pushed more by the consumer industry so that companies can sell
you crap you don’t need (especially in the fitness community), but that’s another argument for
Like I said, I like the idea of
Resolutions, but there are two basic problems with the whole idea of
#1 – Everybody always makes
plans for these HUGE changes, but never map out an accurate plan of attack to
actually accomplish these things. As a result, these Resolutions rarely ever
get accomplished. And this leads into #2…
#2 – It’s become socially
acceptable to make excuses for why you can’t make (or stick to) a plan, and in
turn, never accomplish your Resolutions. In fact, if you were to just casually
ask folks you know, I’d wager that more often than not, most would tell you
that Resolutions are more likely to be failed at than accomplished. And it’s okay
with everybody if this happens. Which sucks.
Social acceptance of failure aside,
the main reasons people fail to accomplish Resolutions are the same reasons
that people fail to accomplish any goal (which is all a Resolution really is)
– poor goal-setting.
Most folks set these lofty goals
with absolutely no plan of attack on how to get there. They just start out
haphazardly in the general direction of what their goal is with a vague idea of
where they’re going, and just sorta “hope they make it.”
The thing that blows my mind is that
people have done it this way for what seems to be forever, and it NEVER works,
but they keep doing it anyway. The crazy thing is people don’t do this in
other areas of their life. If you were in Los Angeles, and wanted to drive to
New York, would you just pick a road and start driving, armed only with the
idea that you’d have to drive east to get there? I kinda doubt it. Yet people
think this half-assed mindset will help them accomplish their goals.
When it comes to goal-setting
(especially for fitness or your strength & conditioning training, or even
your MMA training), there is a process you should go through if you’re truly
serious about accomplishing something. It might sound anal, but it will
DRAMATICALLY increase your chances for success.
Make Your Goals Definite
You have to accurately define your
goals, if not, you’re destined for failure, if for no other reason than you
don’t know what it is you’re trying to accomplish.
Look at it this way. Let’s say you
decide you want to “get stronger.” Okay, how do you want to get stronger? In
what areas? By how much?
You could go from squatting 225 lbs.
and in six months, be squatting 235 lbs. Did you just get stronger? Sure, the
amount of weight you put on the bar is higher. But is a ten-pound increase on
a 1RM in six months anything to really be happy about? Maybe if you were
throwing around a ton of weight, but if you’re only squatting 225 lbs., unless
you’re a girl, you shouldn’t be too happy about anything.
The same could similarly be said if
you went from 40 push-ups in a max set to 43 push-ups. Did you get stronger?
Sure you did, but not that much.
On the other hand, if your overhead press
when from 165 lbs. to 200 lbs., then you’d have a hell of an accomplishment to
be proud of. You not only got stronger, you got a lot stronger.
You have to be definite in setting
your goals. Don’t just say, “I want to squat more.” Say, “I want to go from
squatting 225 lbs. to 250 lbs.” Then you have a definite goal in mind –
you know exactly where you’re headed.
Put Your Goals on a Timeline
Just like being definite with what
your goals are, you have to be definite with when you want to achieve them.
Sure, you might be specific in saying that you want to add 25 lbs. to your
squat 1RM, but if it takes you three years to do it, are you going to be happy?
More than likely not. Yet, at the same time, you can’t expect to achieve it
by the end of the month, either.
Once you have your specific goal
decided, map out what a good timeframe is to achieve that goal. And be
specific about it. Don’t just say, “in a couple months,” or “a few weeks.”
The timeframe has to be as specific as the goal itself.
“There’s a grappling tourney on June
10. I weigh 210 lbs. now, and I want to compete in the 185 lbs. class. I can
safely cut five pounds in water weight, so I need to weigh 190 lbs. by weigh-ins,
which is June 9. So, I need to lose 20 lbs. by June 7-8 so I can safely cut
the last 5 lbs. by June 9.”
THAT is an example of a specific
goal, with a specific timeline.
“In my last fight, I didn’t have
enough gas in my tank. I’d better increase my work capacity and overall
endurance (muscular, strength, and cardiovascular). Now, sparring three,
three-minute rounds hard really drains me. My next fight is going to be
sometime in May. I need to increase my endurance by then. But seeing as how
I’ll also be in fight prep training, I’d better be in shape by then. I’ll be
in camp for most of April, so I’d better be in shape by the end of March. By
March 31, I want to be able to spar three hard, five-minute rounds without
Break Your Goals Up Into
Sometimes goals – especially
if they’re big goals – can be pretty daunting. Not only can it be hard
to keep up motivation, but you can also get off-track or behind, but not really
realize it until it’s too late.
For example, let’s say you want to
lose some weight. You make a specific goal of losing 30 lbs. (though a better
and more specific goal would be to lose XX lbs. of bodyfat rather than just
bodyweight, but for now, we’ll just say “weight”). You also give it a specific
timeline of losing said weight in three months. So far, so good, right?
Well, here’s the problem. Let’s say
you don’t set benchmarks for yourself along the way. Two months pass by, and
you’ve lost your 30 lbs. Great right? Well, now it’s time to set a new goal,
and keep going.
But let’s say the opposite happens.
Say 10 weeks pass by, and you’ve only lost 15 lbs. You only have two weeks
left; yet you still need to lose half the amount of weight you set for
yourself. Guess what, unless you just decide to cut a bunch of water weight
for some sort of weigh-in (which isn’t going to be permanent weight loss
anyway), you’re pretty well screwed.
Had you set benchmarks for yourself
along the way, you’d have been able to see that you weren’t making progress
like you would have needed, and could have made necessary adjustments.
In this case, to lose 30 lbs. in three
months, you could easily break it up into smaller, mini-goals of losing 10 lbs.
per month. If one month had passed, and you’d only lost 5 lbs., you’d know
that something wasn’t working right, and you’d better make some changes. On
the other hand, had you lost 12 lbs., you might be able to determine that you
could meet your goal early, and possibly even lose more weight – maybe 35 lbs.
in three months.
Like I said before, a lot of this
might sound anal or “nit-picky,” but the more specific you can make your goals
in nature and in timeline, and as much as you can monitor your goal as you
progress, you can assure that you accomplish your goals. It will also make
planning how to accomplish your goals that much easier as well.
Train Hard, Rest Hard, Play Hard.
Matt "Wiggy" Wiggins is a strength coach and author
living in Cameron, NC. Having trained 15+ years, Wiggy is a strength moderator
at mma.tv, columnist for MMA Weekly, and an avid fan of Mixed Martial Arts Training. His site, Working
Class Fitness.com, is dedicated to designing low-tech, high-result MMA
Workouts, Navy SEAL Workouts, and programs for
ATTENTION: Physical exercise
can sometimes lead to injury. The information contained at
WorkingClassFitness.com and MMAWeekly.com is NOT intended to constitute an
explanation of any exercise, material, or product (or how to use/perform them).
WorkingClassFitness.com and MMAWeekly.com are not responsible in any way,
shape, or form for any injury that may result from any person’s attempt at
exercise as a result of the information contained herein. Please consult a physician
before starting any exercise program, and never substitute the information on
this site for any professional medical advice or treatment you may receive.