Training for Aesthetics VS Training for Performance

I’m embarrassed to admit that for close to two years I was the girl who wanted to lose 20 pounds and then followed an exercise program designed to help me lift more weight.

At first glance, you might not see anything wrong with that.  In fact, there is definitely a method to that madness.  Lifting weights is an absolutely crucial part of a well rounded fitness program, and is especially important for women.  Increasing muscle mass is a good thing, as more muscle equals more calories burned at rest and a faster metabolism.

So then why didn’t I ever lose those 20 pounds?  Why didn’t my thighs ever get smaller?  Why didn’t my booty get bigger?  Why didn’t my body magically look how I wanted it to?  Why?

Here’s the deal.  We’re all setting goals for 2015 and since changing my programming just under six months ago, I came to an interesting conclusion.  One that is, by the way, backed by all kinds of science.  If you want the smart version, feel free to google it, but here’s my dumbed down two cents.

If you have a goal, you kinda need to train for it.

So if you want to be a faster runner, it makes sense to follow a program designed to *gasp* make you run faster.

If you want to lift big weights and be super strong and max your squat this year, again, follow a lifting program.

But if what you actually want, like I did, is to reshape your body, then you’re going to need a plan to do that.  At the moment, I don’t do a lot of Olympic movements, and yeah I admit it, I do biceps curls, but it’s because my goal right now is to actually achieve a specific look.  Looking a certain way is more important to me than how fast I ride my bike, or how much I can squat.

Sure, those numbers might improve as I cut body fat and train for aesthetics, but they also might not.  And as much as I hate to “lose” any of my fitness or strength, I have to be ok with that because my aesthetic goals are more important.

So here’s the moral of the story kittens.  Set your goals for 2015, but do yourself a favor and be really honest with yourself.  If your goals don’t support each other (i.e., run my fastest 5k and put on 20 lbs of muscle, or lose 20 lbs and increase my back squat), decide which you want more and train for it.

And don’t misunderstand me.  Regardless of your goals, there is a place for cardio, strength training, and mobility in your fitness routine.  How much and what types of each, however, will vary depending on what you’re trying to achieve.

Trust me, there’s nothing worse than feeling like you haven’t reached any of your goals or like you aren’t making any progress.  And it’s really not fun when you realize it’s because you’re doing things that are counterintuitive to what you really want.

We can’t have it all.  But if we decide what is really, truly important to us and work daily to achieve it, we can have the things we really want.

So get after it.  And tell me, what are you goals for 2015?

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3 thoughts on “Training for Aesthetics VS Training for Performance

  1. Great post! My goal to this year is to work on health inside mentally and spiritually as well as physically. I always start out training for performance but end up training for aesthetics. 😦

  2. Well said. In my year and a half as a crossfitter, this has been a topic I’ve battled with repeatidly in my mind. While MY goals for 2015 will change several times as the year progresses, I’m looking at things one step at a time and my present goal is to train for asthetics. 4 weeks (almost) from bikini wearing. My lifts could suffer, but today I’m ok with that 🙂 Lots of times we forget these things! Thanks!

  3. So true. Ima havin’ trouble lately, I need to quit reading cut/bulk ‘net BS.😆

    Long term, unquantifiable, goal is to reduce/eliminate joint pain.

    2015 {gym} goal is 2*BW DL. Getting old sucks😂

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