People will often express general personal training goals, such as wanting to “tone up” or “lose some weight.” To have an effective program we should define goals in more specific and measurable terms so that progress can be evaluated. Effective goals are commonly said to be SMART Goals, which means they are:
- Specific: Goals must be clear and unambiguous, stating specifically what should be accomplished.
- Measurable: Goals must be measurable so that whether progress is being made can be tracked.
- Attainable: Goals should be realistically attainable by the individual. The achievement of attaining a goal reinforces commitment to the program and encourages continued participation.
- Relevant: Goals must be relevant to the particular interest, needs, and abilities of the individual.
- Time-Bound: Goals must contain estimated timelines for completion. Individuals should be evaluated regularly to monitor progress towards goals.
You should err on the conservative side when setting goals in terms of what might be realistic and achievable. Lofty goals feel good and sound inspirational, but individuals are often disappointed when progress is slow.
An example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal would be saying “I want to lose 10lbs of body fat in the next 6 months for my sister’s wedding” rather than simply saying “I want to lose weight.”