Nuts & Bolts Part 1 Ultra-basics: Goal Setting
What we seek is something heroic and profound: a radical physical transformation
"A goal without a plan is a wish."
Featured Equipment: bench press, heavy ropes, stationary bikes
Why do we go to the time, trouble, effort and expense to exercise and diet? I would suggest that the core rationale, the singular unifying motivation that explains all of our collective efforts is transformation, a dramatic, radical physical transformation. The goal is to modify the human body. We seek to reconfigure our physique. We seek to improve upon our current physical self. As Albert Camus once noted, "Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is." We refuse to be what we are, physically, and seek out means and methods that enable us to transform ourselves, from caterpillar into butterfly, using exercise and diet. This transformation of the body is something quite heroic and profound. The reason we go to the time, trouble and expense to bench press, wave heavy ropes, ride stationary bikes, sprint, swim, diet, buy nutritional supplements and make diet books best sellers is that collectively we all seek the same thing: to transform ourselves. The idea is to find modes and methods that will allow us to construct a better body. In doing so, every measurable performance benchmark automatically improves. How do we define physical transformation?
- A dramatic increase in lean muscle mass
- A dramatic decrease in stored body fat
Triggering transformation: the transformative process begins in the Mind of the seeker. There are critical mental propellants needed to commence the transformative quest.
- A strong desire for change, a deep dissatisfaction with your body: without a burning desire to change, no serious, sustained effort will be mounted and maintained. Without strong dissatisfaction there is no incentive to act.
- Mental imagery: in our Mind's eye we construct a hologram of our transformed self. The mental image creates a deep longing that can lead to action. With practice the vividness and clarity of these body images deepens.
- Willpower: the ability to do what we don't want to do is critical for jump-starting the process; thru strength of will we adhere to the exercise and diet parameters that define the process and run counter to our current habits.
- Enthusiasm: willpower is finite and when it flames out enthusiasm must come online to power the process. The generator of enthusiasm is results: successfully adding muscle and reducing fat causes us to redouble or efforts.
- Momentum: results refuel enthusiasm and sustained enthusiasm creates physiological momentum. By the end of a transformative cycle, a synergistic state occurs wherein results exceed any and all realistic expectations.
Tactical Attack: the four interrelated disciplines: the tactical template includes four component parts, four interrelated yet disparate disciplines that need be practiced simultaneously.
- Progressive resistance training
- Cardiovascular training
- Brain-train (the psychological aspects of transformative fitness)
Each of these four disciplines needs a strategy of execution and each strategy needs to be set into a timeframe. Every discipline must have numerically specific goals: there need be an over-arching goal (complete physical transformation) and the systematic attainment of the goal needs to be set into a timeframe. Once the overarching goal is clarified, individual goals are established in each of the four interrelated disciplines, weekly mini-goal benchmarks are reverse engineered.
- Significantly decrease stored body fat
- Significant increase lean muscle mass
You might protest, our simplistic two-part definition of becoming significantly leaner and more muscular…"I want to become healthier," "I want to improve my tennis game," "I want to run a marathon," "I want to drop thirty pounds before my high school reunion," "I want to forestall aging." Whatever goal you seek, if it is physical by becoming (somehow) significantly leaner and stronger, this leaner stronger you will improve in direct proportion to how much leaner and stronger you have become.
Want to be a better racquetball player? Get leaner and stronger. Want to extend function and vitality deep into old age? Get leaner and stronger. Want to hit a golf ball further? Swim longer? Leap higher? Run faster? Get leaner and stronger. Get it? By focusing and concentrating our combined fitness efforts on attaining these two attributes, leaner, more muscle, every other benefit occur as spin-off side benefits. Once the premise is embraced, how does one go about becoming leaner and stronger and to a significant degree?
The Four Transformative Disciplines
- Progressive resistance training
- Cardiovascular training
- Psychological aspects
Each of these four separate and distinct disciplines has a goal, a timeframe and a plan of attack. All four need be present and accounted for, practiced simultaneously, week-to-week for months on end. At the end of the process, the body is transformed. Factually, if trained rights and fed right, the human body has no choice other than to grow muscle and mobilize and oxidize stored body fat. The four disciplines have pre-planned strategies usually running three full months. Called a periodization cycle, the four disciplines are given predetermined goals.
About the Author
As an athlete Marty Gallagher is a national and world champion in Olympic lifting and powerlifting. He was a world champion team coach in 1991 and coached Black's Gym to five national team titles. He's also coached some of the strongest men on the planet including Kirk Karwoski when he completed his world record 1,003 lb. squat. Today he teaches the US Secret Service and Tier 1 Spec Ops on how to maximize their strength in minimal time. As a writer since 1978 he’s written for Powerlifting USA, Milo, Flex Magazine, Muscle & Fitness, Prime Fitness, Washington Post, Dragon Door and now IRON COMPANY. He’s also the author of numerous books including Purposeful Primitive, Strong Medicine, Ed Coan’s book “Coan, The Man, the Myth, the Method" and numerous others. Read the Marty Gallagher biography here.