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Goal Setting: A Quantity of Quality

Many of the fitness programs that are out there today like Crossfit, Insanity, or H.I.I.T. are centric to an AMRAP philosophy (doing as many repetitions as possible within the prescribed time limit). These programs are popular, and it’s no wonder. As you are muddling through your 25th clean and jerk in a minute you are really going to feel your workout.

There are a number of conversations and debates that support and contradict the effective use of AMRAP as a training tool, as it pertains to creating quality workouts, its role in program design, injury prevention and occurrence, etc. Regardless of how you feel about everything that is the AMRAP philosophy - many times when we are looking to establish our next fitness goal, most people are looking immediately to a strength, endurance, or body fat goal. It’s cultural, it’s en vogue, it’s tangible, they are goals that are easily explained and quantifiable and with all of that said, who can blame us.

Watching a seminar by @DrMarkCheng I heard something that immediately struck me “quantity of quality”. When I first heard what he had said I thought that he’d misspoken and meant to say “quality versus quantity”. After further review I noted that he said it the way I’d initially heard, “quantity of quality”, and it was like a slap in the face – the two are not mutually exclusive.

Creating quality reps is something that we practice regularly at Northwest Fitness, creating. We pride ourselves on the fact that the majority of our clients are able to perform clean and concise complex movements. With that in mind, looking at the specific goals of the broad range of clients that we work with, the primary commonality between them was to “do” something. This makes sense in a lot of ways. I have a facility full of ass kickers and name takers that think Nike ads are instructional videos, the kind of people that I spend more time holding back than pushing forward, the kind of people that literally “Just do it”.

Today I would like to create a conversation about the goals that have gone by the wayside and revisit goal setting through the lens of elegance and mastery, through what Dr. Cheng referred to as a “quantity of quality”. I’d like to see everyone to take the opportunity to set a new goal, not a goal of reps or weight, but really and truly a goal based purely on the mastery and elegance of a movement. To take a movement and make it look effortless, and then repeat it, and then repeat it again, and again, as though it’s as natural as breathing.

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