What Is Your Fitness Timeline?
Written by Lalo Torres
In the age of social media, comparison, and instant gratification, we may feel like we need to accomplish our goals instantly. We see our friends getting their first muscles-ups or snatching 200lb, and we think…why am I not there yet? I put in the work! I am dedicating myself to the process; why did they get the muscle-up or double-under before me?
This comparison may defeat us and derail us from continuing the pursuit of our goals. It is at this time where you should ask yourself, what is your fitness timeline?
Categories of Fitness Goal Timelines
When it comes to a fitness goal timeline, we can break this down into two categories; general health and fitness and competition goals. Our general health and fitness goals may look like getting a pull-up, running efficiently, lifting a certain weight for recreational purposes or life skill purposes. Competition goals may look like competing in the CrossFit Open or qualifying for another high level competition. The difference between these two – besides the intention – is the time it takes to “accomplish” each goal. Their timeline.
General Health and Wellness Goals
For general health and fitness goals, we set our own subjective timeline. Maybe we work with a coach to set this timeline, but we set a “date” for ourselves of when we would like to achieve that pull-up. Dates are great to motivate us and they help hold us accountable, but there is balance to this when it comes to motivation. When you establish an end date for a goal, how can you hold yourself accountable, without defeating yourself when you do not see “instant” results?
As we know, some skills take A LONG time to accomplish. Staying fluid with the “end” date, but fixed on the day to day effort and intention may be the key to keeping us motivated.
Let’s say your goal for the year is to do a handstand. Ok, you set the date – 2022 is when you want to get your handstand. So you work hard all year, and by the end of the year you did not achieve that handstand. Meanwhile your friend not only got a handstands but ALSO a handstand push-up. NOT FAIR. Okay, let’s step back. You worked with your coach, did all the drills, put in the time, why did you fall short from your goal? Let’s reframe this train of thought and instead of asking why, lets ask what.
What did you gain from pursuing this goal?
Maybe now, you moved from using 20lb dumbells to 30lb dumbells in your push presses. Maybe now, you have more control of your body in your workouts and your everyday life.
Your fitness timeline here, is subjective. It is allowed to be extended, because the day to day effort in the pursuit in your goal…is still moving you forward! Mini-milestones are just as important as the end goal and they give you something to measure along the way.
Your body and abilities are unique to YOU. When it comes to general health and wellness, this is a LIFELONG journey, one that is your own. If you put in the work, your body will be ready when it is ready and will continue to reap the benefits from the pursuit of your goal.
Working towards a competition is a little more systematic because there is a fixed date (well…sort of. As we know world events may change competition dates). This fixed date allows you to train in cycles. Ideally you want time to build, a time to peak and a time to rest. This can also look life off season, pre-season and season in most sports.
For newer competitors, there may be this desire to feel “fit” all the time. To always be PR’ing a lift or to always be crushing workouts. To be the best you can be for a competition, you will want to time your training cycles to peak at the time of that fixed competition date.
Some people will feel that they are not improving when their bodies do not move or feel the way they do at their “peaking” state. As a competitor, you will not always “feel” your fittest. And that’s ok! If you have a coach who is programing for you in a smart and sustainable way, you will feel your optimal fitness level at the right time. Your job is to stay in tune with your body and trust the process of your training cycles. Again, there are no quick fixes here. No “30-Day Become a Champion” challenges. You can only ultilize your valuable resources; time and effort.
Realistically your timeline may take months, or even YEARS before you are at your optimal competitive level. You might train for the CrossFit Open and when the time comes, you fall short from your goal of qualifying for the next stage of the competition. Again, this is when you need to ask yourself, what is your timeline. Why are you training?
The greatest competitors, are not always the ones who are “winnig” or achieving front page success. The greatest competitors are the ones who are building, who are sustainable and who stay in the game. Which brings us back to that question; WHY are you training?
So, if you are a competitor, or someone who has committed themselves to a lifelong health and wellness journey, it’s important to look at your own timeline and ask yourself, what are you training for? Why are you pursuing this journey?
Once you can distinguish your motives, you can be fluid with your own fitness timeline. You will no longer feel the need to compare it to others, and you will enjoy the wins and benefits from the pursuit of the goal.
There’s a lot to consider when setting a goal whether it be identifying your “why” for the goal, setting “mini-milestones” to measure your progress along the way, and the multitude of things in between setting it and achieving it. That’s why we’ve put together this FREE Goal Setting Guide to help you better define your goals and lay out the plan to crush them!