Why goal setting is essential for training

Updated: May 25, 2021

Featuring John Cardillo, Canada's Premier Fitness instructor and health advocate.


Goal setting is essentially a bridge between a desired outcome and defining the steps to get there. It combines our focus, driving motivations and actions necessary to achieve a specific accomplishment. Goal setting can be broken up into 2 primary factions; short term and long term. Long term Goal setting is climbing the entire staircase, while short term goal setting is focusing on getting to the next step. Each are essential, but long term goals always consist of successful short term goals. Why is goal setting so important to health and fitness and more importantly body building? We reached out to John Cardillo. Canada's premier fitness expert to get some answers!

First, you want to set your goal. Goal setting is likened to a captain of a ship setting coordinates for his voyage; 99 times out of 100 he will reach his destination . Avoiding the goal setting process will achieve the opposite; its hard to ever reach a destination if you don't have one.

The 2nd phase of goal setting is to establish a plan of action to achieve your goal. If your goal is to gain 15 pounds of lean muscle in the next 6 months, you can take necessary actions such as regulating your daily caloric intake by restricting your diet, or adopting a hi-intensity workout routine to support the goal.

The 3rd phase of goal setting is understanding that we should keep our goals in concrete and our plan in sand. Our plan can be seen as a road to your destination or goal. We should always be on the lookout for a faster, more efficient plan to achieve our goals with minimal bumps in the road.

The 4th phase of goal setting is just as important as the others. After you achieved your goals.. then what? For example, many of today's young people have a goals like to be married, land a dream job or accumulate wealth. After they achieve their goal they are left wondering what comes next. The truth is that as long as we are alive, our main goal should be to always have goals.


Goals, either big or small, short term or long term should be carried out in a SMART manner. Goals that are SMART are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. SMART goals build action oriented motivations and alleviates wishful thinking, time wasting and self disappointment. If your plan is to lose fat, you will need to measure how much fat you want to lose, how often you will train at the gym, how to handle your nutrition habits and how much fat your body is capable of losing over a specific duration of time. Therefore, make sure that your plan is possible and aligned with your abilities.

Setting goals is specially necessary for bodybuilding and sports training. If you have access to a fitness center, it is likely there are are little to no physical barriers preventing you from training. Setting consistent SMART goals in the fitness center is a useful technique to conquer the mental barriers that many of us trying to hit our fitness goals face.

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