4 Pillars of Every Fitness & Health Goal

4 Pillars of Every Fitness & Health Goal


Let’s begin by saying, NO, fitness goals are NOT only comprised of ‘exercise’ and sometimes, ‘nutrition’; they are a holistic notion and we must understand this. Being in the fitness space for some time now, as well as having a variety of clientele, I figure a great aspect to begin with as my first health post is how I personally define and compose a fitness and health goal.

Over the years of training, the amount of times I’ve heard from clients or gym-goers saying “Ahh I just can’t seem to reach my goal”, “I’m seeing progress, but Theo, it’s extremely slow”, or my favorite, “I’m doing the right things but I feel something missing”, has had to reach a new threshold. Too many of us believe that when we say “I have a new fitness goal” whether it be weight loss, lean body mass gain, etc., we usually immediately resort to what exercises we need to do to accomplish it, and very rarely, what nutritional plan needs to go along with it. But most don’t realize that there’s more that goes into setting a fitness goal then just the physical activity aspect.

I define a fitness and health goal as a desired result for both my body and brain through the use of proper exercise, nutrition, recovery and most importantly, an effective mindset.

A fitness and health goal is defined as a desired result for both my body and brain through the use of proper exercise, nutrition, recovery and most importantly, an effective mindset.

Man Exercising

1. Exercise

We will start with the most obvious, the exercise portion. While there are a ton of definitions on what exercise truly is, a good working one is the physical training of the body to enhance function and overall health. Almost every fitness goal will compose of a physical activity aspect. Now, this will vary based on the respective goal. For example, an individual aiming for strength gain should focus on potentially more compound lifts with a focus on a high intensity/low volume mix , while someone focused on body fat reduction may be employing a balanced mix between resistance training, High Intensity Interval Training, and cardio. Even in those individuals where the goal may simply be to “stay fit and healthy”, you could get away with this just by watching nutritional and caloric intake, but to be more efficient, moderate exercise on a weekly basis can promote a great deal of benefits past nutrition alone.

Nutritional Food Bowl

2. Nutrition

The next pillar of a fitness goal is usually the most commonly known one, right behind exercise, and that is nutrition. Nutrition, by dictionary terms, is the process of deriving food in order to promote overall growth and health. Nutrition is generally composed of macro nutrients and micro nutrients.

  1. Macro Nutrients are nutrients your body needs in larger amounts
  2. Micro Nutrients on the other hand, are needed in lower respective amounts

Macro nutrients are nutrients your body needs in larger amounts. These are made up of 3 divisions; carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Micro nutrients on the other hand, are needed in lower respective amounts. These are usually vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, etc.

Now, while this is important to know, what we want to be aiming for is not just nutrition, but proper nutrition. Now, what do I mean by this? Nutrition that is geared respective towards 2 attributes:

  1. Overall general Health
  2. Goal-focused intake

Overall general health is usually thought of more in a macro sense; we all generally strive for engaging in this. This may entail commonalities such as making sure one drinks enough water in a day, gets in enough variation of vitamins and minerals, enough protein intake, and minimizing sugar intake, among others. Healthline has a great overview article on general tips for good health.

Goal-focused intake on the other hand however, is more micro oriented; it is respective to each and every individual’s specific fitness goal. For example, someone focusing on increasing muscle mass, they may increase caloric intake through increased levels of all macro nutrients, especially protein. An individual on the ketogenic plan will gear most of his macro intake through healthy fats, moderate protein and minimal carbs. While everyone should focus on keeping overall nutritional health, not everyone may have a specific micro goal.

person stretching

3. Recovery

Now, we move onto the last 2 domains that are almost ALWAYS left out or unheard of, the first being recovery. Recovery is the process of ‘healing’ or recuperation from physical & mental strain on the human body. It’s the time away from physical activity. Now, while sleep is usually the first thing someone think’s about, this isn’t the only attribute under recovery. Recovery consists of sleep, hydration, muscle release, stretching, mobility, posture and meditation. All of these play a crucial role in rehabilitation of the musculature and well-being of the body. Remember, the time away from exercise is when the body ‘adapts’ to the physical stress that was put onto it, and starts to heal and build stronger. Energy stores become replenished and muscle fiber recovery takes place. A quick description of how exercise and muscle fibers work. A muscle is made up of many fibers. When you engage in physical activity, this external stimulus acts as a stressor onto the muscles which causes small micro-tears in the fibers. Your body then repairs the muscles (through recovery), and adapts to be able to take on greater strain the next time around. Aim for getting around 6-8 hours of sleep per day (dependent on age), try for calm static stretching twice a day (wake up and before bed), as well as proper posture through the entirety of the day. I will be compiling a separate article with focus on detailed recovery soon enough.

Motivational Slogan

4. Mindset

Last but not least, we come to the most vital pillar of all; mindset. Notice how I’ve used the terms ‘mentality’ and ‘brain’ throughout this article. That is because I firmly believe the body and brain are 2 separate entities, working in tandem. One effects and complements the other and vice versa. These are where intangible terms such as motivation, attitude, optimism, and discipline come into play. To me, every goal, regardless if fitness oriented or not, begins in the head. If you’re self-doubting yourself from the start, what makes you think you’ll achieve the goal, let alone start it efficiently? Everything is interconnected; science and emotion is one. Your feelings of self-doubt and lack of ambition can cause discontent and stress, which in turn, raise cortisol levels, and if raised for a continuous basis, causes muscle development impairment and even muscle atrophy. You must start with the emotion and the intangible. What do you want to achieve? Why do you want to achieve this? Whats the ultimate aspiration? How will I make this happen? Only when your mentality is in the correct spot, efficiency and production will take place.

While this was not meant to be an in-depth post on each attribute, I wanted you to walk away with an understanding of the compilation and break down of a fitness goal. Remember, all are interdependent; without proper exercise, there is no stimulation. Without a proper mindset, one strays onto a path that may take them nowhere.

If you enjoyed this, please share the link and I hope to see you back for my next article! Thanks for reading! Much love.

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