How valuable is your time? Would you rather get a great work out in to rush back home to slay some dragons? Or would you prefer to spend 2 hours in a gym to notice that your FUPA hasn’t gone away at the end of the month? The last thing you want to do when you enter any fitness facility is wander aimlessly. Have you ever played an open world game without looking at your map or quest log? I bet it would be most difficult to find where you need to go with out opening the quest log and marking the location of the quest. Just like the aforementioned quests, one of the worst things you can do is put in hours upon hours of work just to follow a road that won’t lead you to your quest/goals. In short, there are many type of goals under the health and fitness umbrella, just like there are also various appropriate ways of reaching those goals. Lets say you want to get ripped or throw some size on your sorry excuse for calves, would you put in 30 minutes a day/5 times a week/ for 3 months running long distances on a treadmill? No, you literally just wasted your time doing something totally different. It's the equivalent of putting a Xbox game in a PS4 (I don’t need you mod nerds to question this), it just won’t work. This post will touch on how to pick a goal. Training specificity is for another post.
Before you embark on your journey to find the inner beast in you, decide what it is you truly want to achieve. Here are some of the types of goals you may decide to pursue: aesthetics, strength, fat loss, nutrition, rehabilitation, flexibility, sport specific, and functional. One of the most annoying thing as a trainer is having a client give me vague answers such as: I want to get toned, or I need a fat ass and a six pack. Of course I keep a smile on my face, but the demons within me are nut hair close to unleashing raw unadulterated knowledge on them, Parris Island style. So let's take a few elementary steps back by bringing up the good old S.M.A.R.T. goals system. The parts I need you to focus on are S and R, which respectively mean specific and realistic. The whole S.M.A.R.T. template is important once you start, but for deciding what it is you want, I would say you’ll be able to make a good decision using just the two I mentioned. Your goal needs to be specific, meaning that pin pointing the goal rather than being vague and say something like being fit, which is a relative term. For example, a specific and realistic goal is: I would like to drop 10 pounds or I would like to strengthen my back muscles to improve posture because I sit at a desk all day and stare at my phone or computer, and now I look like Quasimodo. You see what I did there? I just picked something specific and made a goal to correct or achieve it. Super simple, it's not rocket heart surgery. To break it down to some of you Millennials, what I do not want is the equivalent of asking your girlfriend what she wants to eat. If you don’t get that joke, then you’re either too old or you’re single AF.
Now that the gym part is covered, you are set to look like Greek god. I’m kidding, I wish it was that simple. Now, another factor that needs to be decided for what your training for is your nutrition. Same rules apply, and it’s not just, “Oh, let me eat some salad and cut down alcohol.” Specific goals cal for specific training and nutrition. I will grace thee with another example of what not to do: “PFC Wagner over here is 150 pounds of pure beta male and is trying to get to 200 pounds of pure alpha male. Wagner works out hard training for hypertrophy (becoming a genetic beast lobster) then goes and makes all his meals salads with very little nutrient density and little meat amounting to 2,000kCal a day. To make it worse, Wagner falls into pyramid scheme of shakes and quasi nutritionist and self proclaimed coaches with a little green leaf logo. Wagner does not feed the beast, Wagner will for ever have spaghetti arms.” Ok, so maybe I started ranting off with too much detail, but I hope you get the point. See, Wagner was training hard but he wasn’t providing skeletal muscle with the proper nutrition to grow. Eating “healthy” isn’t the secret to proper training, as a matter a fact if you actually eat to meet a specific goal, you will for the most part be eating health. I say this because most fitness goals will lead to a healthy eating style due to the demand of the body, regardless if it’s to put on weight or drop weight. More of this will be covered in the nutrition portion of Geek Fitness posts, where great attention should be placed on dirty and clean bulking or cutting cycles.
I bet you may or may not be reading this chapter and thinking, “Who the fuck does this guy think he is? I can’t live a fun life like this!” Unless you’re competing, you don’t need to create a dictator like eating and training regiment. You can reach a desirable goal without sacrificing your social life; the key is consistency. At my leanest and closest to single digit body fat percentages, I was still cracking open cold ones with the boys. I worked hard and played hard. The bane of my existence in this field have always been an ice cold beer and some chicken wings. With that being said, knowing my habits I created a schedule that would fit my lifestyle as well as social happiness. I would exercise about 10 hours a week, eat properly 90 percent of the week, and got adequate rest to support growth and recovery. When the weekend came I seldom said no to any outing with friends. I would also down 2 or 13 pints of beer, no big deal. But I was aware of what I was doing, if I was drinking all that, I would stay away from the bar food. A majority of the weight gained while drinking seems to come from my desire to indulge in delicious, greasy, and fried foods. When it was alcohol alone, I didn’t see much of a change in body composition, but full disclosure, that is completely anecdotal and unsupported by any actual study that I have done. Again, this is just an example, I’ll get back to the point. Create a path to meet your goals that will compliment your lifestyle rather than just forcing an unfavorable routine at the expense of your sanity. Of course, that latter does work, and is effective if you so wish to take that route. Both are good ways to approach, you just have to sit down and ask yourself what you want and then noting it all to bring balance to your daily life. Reading this post adds +1 perception, +2 athletics, -1 social justice, and +1 dexterity.