Monday 1/4

Back Squat 3-3-3-3-3


It’s a new year, which always means New Years Resolutions. Before you go joining a “300 push up a day” club or resolving to lose 400lbs, really think about what it is you’re hoping to accomplish and the best way in which to go about actually getting it done.

From CrossFit Jääkarhu

Four Steps to Achieving What You Want

As coaches, it is our job to lead people. At CrossFit Jääkarhu, we take people from point A to point B: from where they are to where they want to be. This starts with setting goals.

It has been shown that people who write goals are more likely to achieve them than people who do not write them down. As coaches, you have to know each of your athlete’s goals in order to effectively train them.

You would not train a marathoner for maximum strength and power, and you would not train a powerlifter to run a marathon. Goals are not just important – they are the first step in the training process. If you don’t know your people’s goals, you need to figure it out, like yesterday!

But how to set goals? It’s not easy. Goal-setting is a process – an art. Like a book, it might take several drafts before they come out right. Goal-setting takes practice, and not all goals are created equal.


Step 1: Identify What You Want


Recently, I asked some of my athletes to send me their goals. What they ended up sending me was a laundry list of to-dos:

  • Eat clean.
  • Be consistent with my workouts.
  • Drink 1 gallon of water a day.
  • Practice more mobility.
  • Go to bed by 9:00 PM.

Really…?! Your goal is to be in bed by 9:00 PM? So once you’ve achieved that, you have realized your goals for your life? I think not…

The above list is what I call a “to-do” list. This is more akin to resolutions– but a far cry from “goals.”

You should wake up every morning excited as hell to achieve your goals. Your goals should inspire you work smarter, work harder – they should motivate you make significant changes in your life – they should scare you a little bit … make you nervous to speak them out loud … those are the goals that I’m talking about!

“I want to open my own business!”
“I want to make $1,000,000 in 2016!”
“I want to qualify to compete at the CrossFit Games!”

Those are goals! BHAGs, if you will (Big Hairy Audacious Goals). The first list above is of things that you might do on your path to achieving your goals. They are the baby steps, not the final destination.

What do you want – What do you REALLY want? This might take time to figure out, but no worries – the more you think about it, the faster it will come to you.

Step 2: Set S.M.A.R.T. goals

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Action-Oriented
R – Realistic
T – Time-Bound

So you‘ve figured out what you want. Now you have to put it through the ringer to find out if your goal is SMART.

Example 1: John D tells me he wants to increase his back squat from 225 lb. to 465 lb. This is an admirable goal. Then he tells me he wants to do it in 6 months. Pump the brakes, John. While his goal is specific, measurable and time-bound… it is not at all realistic.

If his goal was to increase his squat from 225 lb. to 465 lb. over the course of two years? Now that is something more manageable.

His goal might look like this: “I back squat 275 lb. by November 1st, 2015.”

Example 2: Jane D tells me she wants to “look better and feel sexier!” Also a worthy personal goal, Jane has a goal that is not specific enough, not measureable, not action-oriented, and not time-bound. The key is to find out what would make her feel better and feel sexier? As you whittle your way down to it, she discovers (or at least verbalizes) that she really wants to lose 20 lbs, go on a date-night with her hubby once a month.

So her goals might look like this:

“I weigh 155 lb. by July 23rd.”
“I consistently go on dates with my husband once a month – December 31st, 2015.”

In both cases, you can clearly see that John and Jane have goals that are S.M.A.R.T. Having SMART goals are easier to visualize and internalize. The easier they are, the better you will be able to lay out a plan of action to achieve your goals. The better your plan of action, the quicker you will find yourself crossing goals off of your list.

Step 3: Phrase Your Goals Powerfully – and Write them Down


The more powerfully you can express your goals, the more action they will inspire in you. Your goals should always be written in the present tense and with an affirmative voice.

Instead of: “I don’t spend all of my money month to month” – you would say, “I save 15% of every paycheck.”

Instead of: “I don’t smoke” you would say, “I am a non-smoker.”

Make sure that once you have crafted your goals that you write them down. Written goals are powerful goals. There is something to putting your words on paper. Real or imagined, writing things down is another step in the process that should not be passed over. Hang your written goals on your mirror – on your refrigerator or frame them at your desk – what ever it takes to keep them front-of-mind and visual.

Your subconscious understands positive and negative. If you think in the negative, your body will react in the negative! Make your thoughts, words, actions both positive and affirmative.

Step 4: Set Up a Plan of Attack

You will need steps along the path – a game plan. To hit his goal of increasing his back squat from 225 lb. to 275 lb., John D will need to hit 235 lb. first, and then at some point 245 lb., etc. Setting these benchmarks will allow you “little victories” (positive reinforcement) that you are well on your way to achieving what you want. Moreover, you will be able to objectively measure progress so that you can continue with what is working – or change what is not working.

Outline and detail all of the benchmarks that you will need to hit, and make sure that you write down what you will need to do to hit all of those benchmarks (eat cleanly, drink 1 gallon of water a day, be in bed before 9:00 PM, etc).

Secret Step 5: Take Action!

Your goals are nothing without action. This is where the rubber meets the road, and where many people will fail. Discipline, restraint, commitment and action are all required to achieve BHAGs. Once you have set goals and a plan to achieve them, you must take action – daily, weekly, monthly, yearly action until your goals become your reality!

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