effective weekly goal-setting

goal-setting.  i have written numerous posts on goal-setting – my favorite was one that i wrote for the one-and-only mizfit, with a blog post entitled “fitlosophyze your goals“.  after you peruse this blog post i’d recommend meandering over there for a very in-your-face guide on setting effective goals from yours truly (if i must say so myself).  but since we just talked about setting 12-week goals, i wanted to get down to the nitty gritty and talk specifics.  so many times people understand where they want to be in the next 3 months, but then get overwhelmed on setting the smaller, weekly goals that it will take to get there.  so i wanted to share with you EXACTLY what i wrote in my fitbook for my 12-week goals, then show you what those corresponding week 1 goals look like.  capiche?  vamanos.

12-week plan page

  • weight: (current) 119  (goal)~115    
    **told you i’d be an open book…but again, weight isn’t my primary goal!
  • body fat:  (current) 19%  (goal)~15%   
    **based on my super-unreliable body-fat scale, but whatever.
  • bench press:  (current)85#  (goal)120#


  • workout:   
     - knock-out 50 push-ups, 3 pull-ups, 10 pike leg raises + bench body weight
    - do 1 new challenging or fun workout each week
    (i always workout 6 days a week - lift 5, cardio 6 so i have to add details to push myself!)
  • nutrition: 
    - cook at least 1 new recipe each week – play again in the kitchen!
    - aim for 4-6 small meals before 9pm each day
  • other:        
    - prep food on sundays and plan the week ahead of time (note: i always do this but slack on prepping sometimes!)
    - treat myself once per week in moderation (~300 calories)

MOTIVATION: gain self-confidence through building my strength back for ME…based on how i feel, not how i look.  reward: shopping spree at lulemon right before my 31st birthday!

week one
(note: if you don’t do this, odds are you’re among the many people that miss workouts because you’re “too busy”…plan ahead!  i sit down on sunday, look ahead at my schedule and plan workouts accordingly!)
monday: bis, tris, abs + walk at beach with girlfriend (1hr)
tuesday: back (circuit w/push-ups), abs + stepmill (30m)
wednesday: shoulders + spin class (1hr)
thursday: legs, abs + elliptical (30m)
friday: run (30m)
saturday: chest, abs + golf 18-holes (fun “cardio”…walking!)
sunday: active rest…probably walk with my girlfriend or maybe rollerblade at the beach!

(repeat of 12-week plan – unfortunately not much has changed in 1 day!)


  • workout:  
    - work abs every other day and chest heavy one day and circuit back day w/push-ups
    (this is to work toward reaching my 12-week goals of push-ups and leg-raises!)
    - plan one fun activity this week (golf!)
  • nutrition: 
    - be mindful at each meal (not distracted) and plan ahead 
    - cook turkey spaghetti squash this week
  • other:        
    - track water intake each day and aim for 3L per day (using my 1L smartwater bottle…drink 3 per day!)
    - eating out on saturday night: skip bread, choose wine instead and share dessert as my treat this week!

REWARD: trip to my favorite starbucks on the beach after church on sunday and sip an iced americano and read on the beach! 
note: weekly rewards DON’T have to cost you $$…they can be quiet time reading a book, or something you’d do anyway but earn it instead (i.e. manicure, massage, etc.)… but give yourself something to work toward for the week.SO – does this help you understand  how you tie your weekly goals to those 12-week goals?  having 12-week goals are great but you have to have a plan to reach them.  wanna lose 12lbs?  great – you gotta lose 1lb per week.  how do you do that?  have a 3500 calorie deficit each week which means over a 7 day period you need to either eat 500 fewer calories or burn 500 more…my solution: eat 250 less and burn 250 more so that you’re not starving or spending all your time in the gym.  let’s use my 12-week goals as an example and how i plan to achieve them:

1.   start with where you are! 
i am not stoked about where i’m at, but hey – that’s why we’re in this together right!  here are my starting points for my strength goals:

  • bench press (1-rep-max): 85#  (goal: 120#)
  • push-ups: 32 (goal: 50)
  • pull-ups: ZERO…booo!  (goal: 3)
  • hanging pike leg-raises: 3.5 (goal:10)  (click here and it’s the hanging pike)
    **i was proud i did this many on the leg raises!!!  they are torture and ridiculous just to keep form!

2.   improve each week.
whether it’s strength training or running a 5k, you have to create a starting point (which is where we’re at right now) and improve a little bit each week.  do the math and see how much you need to improve each week to get to those 12 week goals….but you can’t just increase numbers sometimes, you have to try different training methods.  true, it helps that i’m a trainer – but i also read EVERY health/fitness/nutrition publication available, play on the internet to get new ideas, and ask around. 

  • bench press: essentially i need to increase my weight by 3# each week, but i’ll do this by lowering my reps and increasing the weight to build strength, the do 1 super-set of low-weight, high-rep to burn out my muscles.  i can add 3# each week…that’s not even adding the little 2.5lb donut-size weights on each side.  i so can do this!
  • pull-ups: these are more complicated, on back day i will integrate pull-ups each week and essentially start with negatives then work to assisted pull-ups and then by week 6 i should be able to do 1, week 9 i should do 2 and by week 12…3!
  • push-ups: to also help with building my chest-strength for bench press i’m going to circuit my back days with push-ups (kim taught me this), so i do a back exercise, then instead of resting you do a set of 10 push-ups, then back, then 10 incline push-ups, then back, then 10 decline push-ups…you get the point.  it keeps your heart rate up and builds push-up endurance.  this will get my chest strength up and once per week i will test my improvement on # of push-ups…i need to do 1.5 more than the week before to work my way up to 50.  piece of cake!  i love this whole baby step thing!
  • hanging pike leg-raises: essentially i need to do 1 more each week to work my way up to doing 10.  these are a true test of fitness and you pretty much have to have a 6-pack to do these…so join me won’t you…it’s a  great goal!  i’ll do these on ab days where i haven’t already exhausted my body because these do take a lot of total body strength because you have to hold yourself up, then keep your legs straight and use your abs to pike up.  KI-LL-ER.

3. track your progress + stick with it
i’m not just talkin’ about the fitbook here people.  it’s super important that each week you give yourself props for reaching those goals, big or small.  it not only gives you a massive boost o’ confidence, but it keeps you motivated ’cause trust me.  we’re gung-ho now in week one.  wait til about week 6 when the energy starts waning!  must i remind you that right about then (6 weeks out) will be thanksgiving and by golly i’m not going to let you fall off the wagon into holiday huggy-bar hell.  we are going to finish out 2010 with a BANG!  that does not (repeat: does NOT) mean we won’t enjoy time with family, indulge in a bit of pumpkin pie, and be merry…but it just means we will keep our holidays to one day, then get back to it the very next day.  we got goals to reach people! (end: rant)

in closing, i want to share one personal thing with you.  in the past maybe 3-4 weeks a few people have commented that i’m “looking good”, or ask  ”have you lost weight?” or “are you leaning out again?” or my personal favorite: “flaquitas” which means “little skinny one” in spanish, but moreso because it’s a term of endearment.  these are people that i know and love so these comments do not bother me in the slightest – quite the contrary, i’m happy to hear that my hard work is paying off. but one comment that i got today stood out among all the rest.  it was a trainer at my gym who came up to me out of the blue and said that he thinks this is the best he’s ever seen me…my muscles are really defined and toned, i’ve kept my strong glutes (trainer speak for “nice butt”), and my abs and defined by not too lean.  this same trainer saw me pre-competition, all through training, totally leaned out in competition mode, then go through my roller-coaster over the past year and half post-competition.  so this compliment meant the world to me.  but here’s why: it wasn’t the EXTERNAL gratification of having someone else notice my body, but the realization that internally i got more self-satisfaction from that compliment over any of the other “skinny” comments.  that to me: that is growth. 

now – it’s your turn. you told me those 12-week goals – how are you going to translate those into weekly goals so you baby step your way to 2011?
i’m listening!


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