It’s no surprise that CrossFit has taken the fitness industry by storm. A proper CrossFit workout is not your typical cardio session. CrossFit is for those people who want to combine the benefits of Olympic-style weight lifting with the trill of high-intensity group-fitness classes.
If you want to see great results from your CrossFit workouts, it’s important to set goals. It’s not enough to move absent mindedly through your WOD (workout of the day). You need a clear vision of why you’re in that CrossFit class and what you want to achieve.
Let’s take a look at how to set S.M.A.R.T. CrossFit goals to boost your progress, stay motivated to stick with the classes, and achieve your ideal physique.
THE PROBLEM WITH SETTING CROSSFIT GOALS
The problem with many CrossFitters is that after the initial month or two, motivation fades and exercise becomes a chore. Why does this happen? For many, it’s because CrossFit is just another thing to do. These people have no set course. They don’t know where they are going so they’ll never get there.
Without a clear picture of what you want, you’ll fail to see the point in continuing with the same energy. Sure, you might feel obligated to go to support your health and maintain a presence in the CrossFit community, but your heart might not be in it.
Put simply, without motivation, you won’t push yourself. If you aren’t going to push yourself, if you don’t have anything to work towards, you won’t bother working at all. So, how do you keep motivation high while enjoying the journey towards a better body or personal bests? By setting well-defined and S.M.A.R.T. CrossFit goals.
WHAT IS A S.M.A.R.T. GOAL?
Whether in CrossFit or general fitness, when asked about their goals, many people will respond with generic responses such as the following:
- “I want to lose weight.”
- “I want to build muscle.”
- “I want to get healthy.”
Sure, losing weight, building muscle, and getting healthy are all important, but these statements are too general. These “goals” don’t say anything about you truly want to achieve or what you really want. Consider the answer to these questions if the person explained how many pounds they want to lose, how much muscle they want to build, and what exactly constitutes being healthy. There would be more substance to these answers and more to work with.
This is where setting a S.M.A.R.T. goal can help. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that explains what each of your CrossFit goals should be broken down into. It stands for:
Let’s break down each section with CrossFit-based examples.
HOW TO SET A S.M.A.R.T. CROSSFIT GOAL
Before you get started with setting your S.M.A.R.T. CrossFit goal, it’ll be important to grab a pen and paper. Or create a document on your laptop. It’s good to physically write down your goals on paper as it helps to elevate your commitment to them. But you can do the same thing on your computer if that’s what you prefer.
First, you need to explicitly define your CrossFit-focused goal. You can do this by avoiding generic or vague language as we detailed above. Here are several questions to ask yourself about your goal. This is by no means a definitive list, but these questions should help you to consider what you should ask yourself:
- What do you want to achieve through your CrossFit workouts?
- Do you want to lose weight? If so, how much weight?
- Do you want to build bigger muscle mass?
- Do you want to lean out?
- Do you want to become stronger? If so, what qualifies as “stronger?”
- Do you want to increase your bench press?
- Do you want to improve your cardiovascular health?
- Do you want to make friends?
- Do you want to enter a CrossFit competition? If so, when?
The point is to be as specific as possible. Be sure to include your “why” factor. Why do you want to achieve this goal? Writing down the reason will only help to solidify your need to do it. Don’t worry about overwriting; in fact, the more you write, the clearer your goal becomes.
Here are a few examples on how to write a specific CrossFit goal:
- I want to gain ten pounds of lean muscle mass because I have a high school reunion in six months and I want to feel confident.
- I want to lose twelve pounds of body fat because beach season is coming in three months and I want to fit into the bikini that I bought.
- I want to increase my endurance because I want to be able to be able to go hiking with my friends and not have to take several breaks.
- I want to be able to clean and press 135 pounds ten times because it will help push my strength to the next level enough to be able to compete in the next local CrossFit event in July.
- I want to beat my current Mary WOD time by ten seconds because that will allow me to qualify for the event.
There’s a saying that is repeated over and over again in the fitness industry:
“What gets measured gets managed.”
Sure, it’s cliché at this point, but that doesn’t make it any less true. You need to be able to track your progress in accordance with your goals. We highly recommend writing down your CrossFit progress after each workout in regards to acute variables such as exercises performed, weight used, and repetitions completed.
This is the reason that you should consider purchasing a notebook just for progress tracking. You can also download one of several applications for your phone. Here are a few other things you may need to track your CrossFit progress:
- Notebook or a phone app
- Before and monthly update pictures
- Common bodyweight scale
- Measuring tape for tracking inches gained or lost of muscle and fat
- Bioelectrical impedance instrument, which measures the amount of fat vs. lean tissue
A quick note on measuring yourself: Weigh yourself every day as soon as you wake up. At the end of the week, tally the average. This will be your average weight loss. As for measuring your inches gained or lost, do this on a weekly basis. Be sure to write everything down!
You’ve got your goals listed. You have the instruments needed to track your progress. What about your plan of action? What do you need to do in order to make this goal happen? Which tools will you need in order for this goal to become a reality?
From a gym membership to a workout plan, in order to attain your goals, you need to stack the odds in your favor. Here are some things to consider in order to set an attainable CrossFit goal:
- Do you have a membership to a CrossFit gym?
- Do you know CrossFit terminology?
- Are you knowledgeable about CrossFit exercises?
- What is your plan for recovery?
- How many days per week will you go to the box?
- Do you need to purchase any special equipment for your workouts such as a weightlifting belt, wrist wraps, or knee sleeves?
Be sure that you have access to the things that will help you progress towards your goals, not regress from your goals. Consider what it will take to achieve success, make a list, and get those things into your life.
This is where the average CrossFitter has the most trouble. When setting a goal, be sure to ask yourself whether or not it is realistic. Everyone wants fast progress, but in reality, results will come to you at a consistent and gradual pace.
If you don’t set realistic goals, you are bound to overwhelm yourself. Stress kills motivation and that’s something you need in order to achieve those goals. Be realistic. Be sensible. Is it really possible to safely lose 20 pounds via CrossFit in one week? Do you believe that it is possible, safe, and realistic to go from snatching 45 pounds to 75 pounds in just two weeks? Can you really jump from battle ropes to a power sled to the barbell back squat without crashing?
The trick here is to kick your ego to the curb, do your research, and set the game up for you to win. You can avoid injury, embarrassment, and frustration by turning your large goals into a series of smaller goals, and planning them over the course of several months.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to be able to perform twenty muscle-ups, but at the moment, you can only perform five with perfect form. Each week, you should strive to complete one additional muscle-up with perfect form to your total number. So your calendar will look something like this:
- Week 1: Goal: 6 muscle-ups
- Week 2: Goal: 7 muscle-ups
- Week 3: Goal: 8 muscle-ups
- So forth and so on
Keeping in mind the above point about being realistic, you’ll need to set a date on your CrossFit goal. When would you realistically like to achieve this goal? This will vary greatly depending on what you want to achieve and your current fitness level.
Again, be specific and realistic about the date. Need to lose 10 pounds of body weight? Consider hitting that goal within 3 months. Want to pack on 15 pounds of lean muscle tissue? Shoot for 6 months.
It’s important to remember that goals are always evolving. They can always change. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t manage to crush your goal by your set time. Sit back down to redefine your goals based on the level of progress you have attained. Above all, have fun with it. CrossFit isn’t about tearing yourself down. It’s about becoming the best version of yourself through positive changes.
WHAT IS YOUR S.M.A.R.T. CROSSFIT GOALS?
What do you want to achieve? How long will you allow yourself? Have experience setting S.M.A.R.T. CrossFit goals? Tell us about it on our Facebook!