Conflicting Goals

Are Conflicting Goals Holding You Back?

In this article I want to help you re-focus your efforts so that you can see significant results in the key areas you want to improve.

A common answer I hear when asking a new Synergy member or PT client what their goals are, is ‘I want to have abs & develop muscle size’. This brings up a simple problem; that the first requires less kcal intake than they expend, & the other requires more. Both these goals will be achievable given a long enough time frame, however, focusing on both at the same is unlikely to get them very far.

In that situation we plan to first to lean up, focusing on reducing body fat percentage. Once we reach our goal we switch our focus to gaining some lean muscle tissue. During this time we aim to do it without losing too much definition. By the end of the two phases we have achieved some great results.

We are all guilty of wanting too much. An example of not following this advice & not achieving my full potential was a few years back; I trained for an Olympic distance triathlon during my pre-season training for American football. My priority was to be in optimum shape for football, hitting a target body weight of 82kg & achieving some strength goals. I ended up meeting a few of my strength goals but falling way short of my weight goal. I did ok in the triathlon but had hoped for a quicker time. The two sports couldn’t be more opposite ends of the training spectrum. Although I improved in both I didn’t enjoy trying to fit in so many different training styles & ultimately was not aiming for average. My main goal was to be in optimum shape for football & the past two years I have gone with my priority & improved my speed & size for football (despite my fair share of injuries).

That is a very obvious example, but even within the same training discipline it can very beneficial to pick target focus areas. If you are well trained you will likely start to plateau on most strength PB’s after a few years yet peoples goals seem still to be, to get stronger at every compound lift each month & view anything short of this as failing to progress. Often what is needed, is to pick one or two lifts & add extra training volume & assistance work into those. This is likely to mean reducing the volume on other body areas. Your goals should be maintenance of strength in other areas whilst improving one or two lifts.

For many athletes this means periodising your training, so you are splitting your pre-season into different focus phases: strength / Power / Speed / Endurance / Injury Prevention / Maintenance ect.

As a beginner you can get away with improving on multiple areas at the same time but the better adapted you get the more you need to think about picking some priority areas & working on less goals at a time.