Coach D and Trent discuss the importance of setting good fitness goals, and allowing those goals to evolve and change over time. While all novices should focus on building a solid foundation of strength, intermediate trainees can direct their training in so many different directions, it’s easy to get lost.
Some trainees get into competition, whether it’s racing, cycling, powerlifting, or something else, which naturally directs the course of their training — the training is designed to produce improved performance in their sport of choice. For the competitive athlete, not much thought is given to longevity and health, or at least those things take a backseat to performance. It’s a bargain all serious competitive athletes make, and they are aware of the potential consequences.
Many of the people in the 40fit Nation, however, aren’t serious competitors and don’t plan to be either. They build a strength base, and a couple years into their training find themselves wondering… what next?
Intermediate training without a clear goal is often fruitless, because the complexity and demands of the programming require the coach to make choices about which aspect of fitness to develop. Top end strength will require more volume in the competition lifts, changing rep ranges, and accessory lifts to address weak areas or drive further adaptation when the competition lifts become too fatiguing to increase any further. High levels of conditioning, on the other hand, will naturally limit a trainee’s ability to get stronger as they must cover from high force production strength work as well as sub maximal conditioning work utilizing various energy systems.
Coach D offers a few tips for setting goals for trainees who are unsure what to do next:
- Pick something fun— try a new skill, sign up for a new sport or competition, join a social group that does physical activities, whatever you can do to utilize the fitness you’ve worked so hard to develop.
- It’s OK to feel good— as novices, we often tell them to forget about their feelings, and just put in the work. But experienced trainees have developed their sense of what “hard” is and may be feeling aches and pains as they cross further into the fitness end of the spectrum. It’s OK to dial your training back from time to time to give your connective tissue and joints a rest, especially if you plan to continue training for many years to come.
- Seek out a coach— if you don’t have one. Sometimes an objective third-party can help you identify gaps in your fitness, or help you develop a more sustainable training program if you’re feeling stuck or beat up. This also means being clear about your goals with your coach! Your goals will likely change over time, and that’s OK, just make sure you have regular conversations with your coach so that you are both working toward the same goal.
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