by Kayleigh Williams
Imagine going your whole life and not finding out what your body and your mind are truly capable of? Well, here’s where performance goals come in. Performance goals are an excellent way to progress with your fitness, not only physically but also in terms of your mindset. When we challenge our bodies to progress, we are subconsciously building our mental strength; embracing the discomfort and resistance as an opportunity for growth.
When we talk about performance goals, we’re referring to the execution of movements and measuring the milestones in your progress. There are many different ways you can set yourself goals when executing a movement, so choose which approach appeals to you the most. Different exercises are suited to each of the following objectives so I highly encourage you to experiment and find what brings happiness to your soul (hello endorphins!).
With any of these 4 methods to set performance goals, you want to make sure you’re setting a S.M.A.R.T goal, so what is a smart goal?
Specific - establish exactly what it is you want to accomplish
Measurable - make sure you can measure your progress and do so in as many ways as possible e.g. weight loss - use the scale, photos, measurements
Attainable - is this goal achievable/ possible, especially in the time frame you set? (T)
Relevant - is this goal relevant to your life? WHY is it relevant and important to you?
Time-bound - set yourself a date/ deadline that you want to achieve your goal
Now let’s jump into 4 ways you can set your own performance goals…
1.Focus on ENDURANCE - this is usually a cardio style workout like running, you can challenge yourself in terms of setting a distance or time goal e.g. run 5k or run for 30 minutes and aim to beat your achievement each time. You are your own competition.
2. Focus on SPEED - great examples of workouts for speed are AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible, in a set time e.g. 3 minutes) and EMOM (Every Minute On The Minute). These workout styles keep you focused on speed because the clock is ticking, which challenges you in terms of intensity. Alternatively, you can focus on speed with exercises like running or cycling.
3. Focus on STRENGTH - my favourite… strength goals can be achieved via many different forms, as long as it is resistance of some kind (even body weight exercises!). You can set strength goals by gradually increasing the load/ weight you are lifting or the frequency or number of reps/ sets you do - this is known as Progressive Overload which is key for muscle growth. If you don’t have weights, play around with ‘time under tension’ through stationary holds or pulses, using resistance bands adds intensity or progressing from modified bodyweight exercises e.g. press ups on your knees to full press ups, then press ups with a clap etc. Another way is to incorporate strength with cardio, HIT style workouts.
4. Focus on MOBILITY - mobility is the ability for our bodies to move freely and easily. When setting mobility goals you want to focus on full range of movement so there’s a big emphasis on form and having control over the motion. You can work on your mobility through bodyweight exercises, stretching, foam rollers, using long therabands or yoga, as well as compound and isolation exercises.
“We’ll never know our full potential unless we push ourselves to find it” Travis Rice.
The great thing is that most performance goals benefit each other, so even if your focus is on mobility through bodyweight exercises like push ups or pull ups, you’re going to increase your strength. Another example is AMRAP and EMOM style workouts; although these are both speed-driven, they are excellent workouts that will challenge and build your strength too.
Even if your progression is small, it is a step in the right direction. You are stronger, fitter and more capable than you were yesterday. Remind yourself that everyone starts somewhere and as the saying goes practice makes perfect. Performance goals empower us in our fitness journeys and beyond!
Shout out to Rachelle Lopez, a qualified personal trainer + coach, who is featured in the photos in this blog and kindly gave me some great information for this piece <3