Bodybuilding Goals are a must because, without them, you are almost like a ship without a sail. Without effective goals, promising champions like a sailless, directionless vessel can never hope to reach their destination in the physique world.

Even The Pros Set BodyBuilding Goals.

But up and coming bodybuilding superstars aren’t the only ones for whom goals are the essence of survival,” says Loren Franks, sports psychologist “productive goals are also crucial to the Big Ramys, the Brandon Currys, and other present-day stars of the sport. For these legends of muscularity, goals  provide a clear measure of achievement, but they also have many other benefits as well,” says Francks

Gary Dessler, a leading psychologist, defines goals ” as the standard against which actual performance can be compared” in other words, goals should be the target you push all your efforts towards. An excellent example of a goal is deciding to lift six days a week. And when you get to the gym, you actually put your muscles through a bombing session on each of those six days. We have accomplished that specific goal because our behavior coincides with our performance standards.

Not Just Any Goal Will Do

The real criterion for success is whether or not we have hit our target and whether or not we have achieved our goals, says Franck. But not just any goals will do.

Psychologists have recently shown that effective goals have certain distinguishable characteristics which are the keys to success.

Your 6 Steps To Success

Recent studies have shed light on how to set goals that get outstanding results. Whether the desired outcome is in the workplace, at the training table, or in the gym seems immaterial when the following six steps are concerned. Therefore while bodybuilders can use these six “secrets” to achieve sure-fire results in their physiques, they are bombarded with success when they put them to work in every area of their lives.

arnie barbell bicep curl

1. Set Specific Goals

Research shows that specific goals are much more productive than general goals, which merely stress ‘doing your best. One study, for example, was carried out by Gary Latham and j.James Blades in six logging operations. Data was collected on 36 truck drivers responsible for loading their trucks with felled trees and then driving the load to the logging mill.

In the present condition, where no specific goals were set, and truckers were ‘doing their best,’ the trucks usually fell short of their maximum legal load limit. However, when the specific goal of 94% of the maximum weight was set, performance improved by 30%!

” The Setting of a goal that is….specific… leads to an increase in performance because it makes clear to the individual what he is supposed to do, ” Lathan and Blades conclude. ” thus, the worker is not only incited to expend greater effort, but he may devise better or more creative tactics for attaining the goal”

Accordingly, specific goals are a must for bodybuilders who are set on making it to the top. “For instance, while ‘doing your best in competition may be somewhat useful, specific goals about which contests to enter and when to enter them all pave the way to success. Likewise, ‘doing your best to cut up will most likely be self-defeating in the long run, but specific calculations of desired bodyfat levels, striations, and vascularity are all keys to championship results”. Says Fancks

barbell curls black and white picture

2. Set Challenging Goals

While it’s true that specific goals are crucial for maximum performance, challenging goals also play a vital role in champion goal setting. Psychologist Edwin Locke confirmed this following a series of studies. Locke, who administered paper and pencil tests to some 150 experimental subjects to measure the effects of goal difficulty on performance, discovered that ‘the higher the level of contended achievement (that is, the higher the goal), the higher the level of performance.’

Thus there’s a “bigger payoff for bodybuilders who shoot for the stars than those who merely aim at the mountains,” says Franck. In practice, this means that goals should make you stretch and bring forth your best efforts. Franks concludes, ” True, it means getting in good shape for an up-and-coming contest, but more importantly, it means getting in the best shape of your life. In short, the champion ‘goes for it and goes all the way.

3. Set Realistic Goals

There does seem to be a danger in setting goals that are too challenging. ” To improve one’s performance, one must first aspire,” says psychologists Gary Latham and Sydney Kianne. “but to aspire, one must see that success is possible; that is, clear evidence must be available that others under similar circumstances are succeeding.”

Some goals can be so unrealistic that they become counterproductive and fail to improve performance. Such, for example, would probably be the case for a beginner who, after a year or two of training, sets himself the goal of becoming the winner of the national bodybuilding championship.

While the title is undoubtedly a worthy goal for bodybuilders who are still their physique roots deep, perhaps the more realistic goal of winning some state contests would be more appropriate before setting eyes on winning a national. In this way, goals become stepping stones instead of stumbling blocks and provide steady progress throughout one’s bodybuilding career.

4. Set Long And Short Range Goals

This brings us to the issue of long and short-range goals. Each is a staple for Mr. and Mrs. Olympia-level bodybuilders and those who would one day like to be. Short-range goals are the building blocks of their long-range counterparts. Not only do short-range goals put us in a position to achieve our long-range goals more readily, but their accomplishment actually bolsters our desire to meet our long-range objectives.

5. Set Relevant Goals

Succesful goals should always be clearly related to the task you want to accomplish, argues Dessler. Although this is just good common sense, it’s incredible how easy it is to get sidetracked when setting goals.

For instance, strength training may be an admirable goal for a bodybuilder whose heart is set on taking home some major bodybuilding titles. Still, if their physique responds better to ‘pumping,’ perhaps strength training is irrelevant. In much the same way, might we find a future Mr. Olympia who feels that a year-round diet of only fish, chicken, and salad is worthwhile for his goal? But such a fat-reducing diet may be the most relevant a few weeks before contest time, while a more balanced, less restrictive diet may be most relevant to polishing his physique in the long run. Thus bodybuilders who are out to maximize their gains quickly learn to set relevant goals. In a sense, it’s like shooting at a bull’s eye. The real measure of success is not whether you just hit the target but whether you can take dead aim and hit the bull’s eye, the part that’s relevant to you.

6. Set Observable Goals

Finally, insofar as possible, the champion bodybuilder sets observable goals.” Instead of striving for a feeling of being in good shape, a more observable goal would be to evaluate your physique in the salient terms of cuts, symmetry, size, and aesthetics. Though most bodybuilders have a clear image in their minds of what being in good shape really means, it’s to their advantage to break that ‘good shape’ down into several observable criteria,” says Franck

An obvious advantage of this approach is that success is more observable and concrete. While it’s nice to have a general feeling of being in good shape, it’s much more powerful to see why you’re in good shape according to the specific, overt criteria you’ve set.

The Real Question

Though the six secrets of championship goal setting have been supported by scientific research and bodybuilding champs, they mean nothing unless you use them. Like the bodybuilding gym equipment and supplements essential for your success, goals are merely another tool to help you build a champion body. The question is whether you’ll set and reach your goals like the champs or whether you’ll just ‘do your best.


References and Excerps

Loren Franck Ph.D. in Sports Psychology (BoduBuilding Monthly) Article Setting Goals

Psychologist: Gary Dressler

Psychologists: Gary Latham and Sydney Kinne