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Goal Setting for Muscle Building

Goal setting for muscle building

In the health and fitness world, we commonly see men and women working really hard to achieve whatever it is that they want to achieve. We see them sweating it out with much determination in their faces. It is very inspiring to see such enthusiasm, such action that one would wonder, how are they doing it? What are their goals? How did they set up their goals? Is it effective for them?

According to Edwin Locke’s Goal Setting Theory of Motivation, setting goals is related to the performance of a task.  It further states that when one is going through specific and challenging goals, a higher and better task performance is achieved when coupled with appropriate feedback. The goals become the indicators of what needs to be done, and what amount of work is needed to be put in it.

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How are we going to set these goals?

There is a SMART way of doing this. This will help you organize and put your thoughts into an outline of what to do towards achieving that body you’ve always wanted.

Be Specific. Make your goal Measurable, Attainable and Realistic. Set a Timeframe.

Be Specific.

Set specific goals

Don’t just be specific, be clear as well. When goals are set this way, it leads to both a better output, plus, a better performance.  When you say, “I want to get fit”, have a clear decision as to the specific body part that you want to improve on. For example, “ I want to develop a muscular abdomen.” This helps you focus on what actions to take, or what specific workout would be best to get that muscle developed in your abdomen. Once this is achieved, you can take on another part of the body that you want to build until you reach that optimal status of bodybuilding according to your goals.

Make your goal measurable.

Set measurable goals

“I would like to add half an inch in my gluteal size.” It helps to set something that you can measure so you can gauge your progress. It helps determine whether you need to do more weight-bearing exercise or add up on some nutrition.

Make your goal attainable.

Set attainable goals

Now don’t set yourself up for frustration. You can’t say “ I will lose 50 lbs in a week” when you can’t even go to the gym on a daily basis. Be aware of your personal circumstances and set the goal around your schedule

Make your goal realistic.

Set realistic goals

Just like setting up a goal which is attainable, it is also important that it is realistic. When lifestyle dictates that you only get to rest for a maximum of 3-4 hours in a day, and the rest of the day is spent sitting down either in the office or during travels,  don’t set yourself to develop a muscular abdomen in just a week’s time.

Set a timeframe.

Set a timeframe.

This keeps you going like you have a deadline. Keep a mindset of achieving a certain body condition over a certain period of time.  All your efforts will be worthless if the mindset is “ I can still do this tomorrow.”

Advantages of Setting A SMART Goal

Advantages of setting SMART Goals

Clarity and Focus

SMART goals give you a clear picture of what to achieve. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound goals define your path. This clarity helps focus efforts on key tasks, avoiding distractions and keeping you on track for muscle-building.

Motivation and Commitment

Clear goals boost motivation by providing an endpoint to strive for. Knowing what you want and when to achieve it keeps you motivated, even on less enthusiastic days. The sense of purpose from SMART goals helps maintain high commitment to your fitness plan.

Performance and Productivity

Specific and challenging goals push you to strive for higher performance. Measurable goals allow you to track progress and adjust efforts, leading to continuous improvement and enhanced productivity in workouts.

Planning and Organization

SMART goals break down larger objectives into smaller, manageable tasks. This aids in planning workouts, nutrition, and recovery strategies effectively. Organizing actions and setting priorities ensures each step brings you closer to muscle-building goals.


SMART goals create a framework for accountability. You can monitor progress and hold yourself responsible for meeting targets. Sharing goals with a workout partner, coach, or fitness community enhances accountability with support and encouragement.

Adjustments and Flexibility

SMART goals enable regular progress assessments and necessary adjustments. If obstacles arise or circumstances change, you can revise goals to stay realistic and attainable. This flexibility ensures continuous improvement, adapting to challenges and optimizing strategies for success.

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As a bonus, we have included here some tips and essential information in muscle building.

1. Know your body.

Somehow, each and every one of us already have this predetermined rate of growth naturally inked in our bodies. We each have that genetic set that is responsible for the kind of body build that we already have. One cannot underestimate the power of knowing one’s body type. Knowledge of this means knowing what type of workout is best for you.

Know your muscles. With over 600 muscles in the human body, you will only need to target the major ones during a workout. We have the deltoids, pectorals, biceps, forearms, abdominals, quadriceps, trapezius, back, triceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. Work hard and work smart, that’s what they say.

Move your body. For every move that our body makes- yes, even the faintest smile, or the slightest wink – enables some of our muscles to perform an action, therefore changing certain body positions or size.

Know how muscles grow. Know what specific workout is going to optimize growth in a specific muscle. And know that muscles too, need rest. So before proceeding with another rigorous regimen, make sure your muscles are well rested so as not to risk injuring yourself.

Know how muscles work. First, muscles need to be warmed up. Next, they get loaded through the blood pumping into them. After this, the muscle gets the signal from the nervous system to contract, and with the help of ATP, contracts. This is now the workout stage. Now comes the time for the muscle to rest once you feel that muscle twitching already.

2. Build a strong foundation.

Nothing beats building a house on a solid ground. This is also true in bodybuilding. One can’t grow those muscles when the body itself is in a weak state. Do some bodyweight exercises, core exercises, proper warm-ups and cooling down exercises.

3. Use compound lifts.

This is simply an exercise which involves movement of two or more joints. See now how it builds muscles? More joints more muscles involved. More muscles involved means heavier weight that you can lift. And with proper execution, bigger weight lifted equals bigger mass contractions, therefore, bigger muscle growth.

4. Put variation into your exercises.

Just as we, humans, get bored with anything done repeatedly, so does our muscles. Muscles don’t work as hard when given the same amount of work on a repetitive basis. It doesn’t have to be a big change though, just tweak a certain move slightly. Say, change that hand position. Or, you can also change those variations. Add more sets and reps, or change the frequency.

5. Have enough and proper nutrition.

When the intake of nutrients is done in a proper manner, I tell you, half the battle is won.

6. Get adequate sleep.

Sleep is crucial for muscle recovery and growth. During deep sleep, your body releases growth hormones that aid in muscle repair and regeneration. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night to support your muscle-building efforts and overall health.

7. Stay hydrated.

Hydration plays a vital role in muscle function and recovery. Water helps transport nutrients to your muscles and remove waste products. Ensure you drink enough water throughout the day, especially before, during, and after workouts, to keep your muscles hydrated and functioning optimally.


The development of a muscular body adds up to the confidence that an individual has. It certainly helps improve one’s self-esteem and creates that positive outlook in life. Healthwise, it is indicative of good posture, better physical performance and decreases risks of injury. To be more effective though, choose, or set up goals that are more tailored to your lifestyle and personal circumstances, and not the one that you have witnessed as effective to your best friend. Choose to challenge yourself, to improve yourself and not to impress other people or to get even with that high school bully in your class. Remember, we each have a distinct body composition and listening to what our body is saying will absolutely lead you to a healthy, muscular body structure. Plus, maintain a positive outlook in life and that healthy glow will naturally shine everywhere.


Juneja, Prachi. Goal Settung Theory of Motivation. Reviewed y Management Study Guide Content Team.

Peele,Leigh. A Realistic Look at Goal Setting: Muscle Gain Part 1 in Body Composition and Fat Loss

Warner, Joe (2011). 7 Rules of Building Muscle. Men’s Fitness Magazine. PDF

Boyce, Lee. Setting Goals: A Realistic Approach to Consistent Gains., Shannon. The SMART Way to Set Goals!

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