Goal Setting By Faith

Faith: complete trust is someone or something.

I’ve made, and re-made, myself through focused, intentional goals. Whether it’s been specific weights I wanted to lift, competitions I wanted to enter or the exact amount I wanted to weigh. In some cases these specifics are pretty important (like being ready for a particular contest date) but in some, thinking specifically about bodyweight, I’ve started to wonder if there’s a better way.

As a coach I ask people lots of questions about what they want and why they want it. How they want to look, feel, perform and, sometimes, what they want to weigh. When planning my own training and diet I’ve asked myself similar things - at least until recently.

Recently I’ve started to wonder if maybe, just maybe, my body is a little smarter than I am. Maybe it’s got an intrinsic sense of what’s best that encompasses more than the simple variables I’m able to look at when picking a particular weight for myself. Let me give you an example…

When I was competing in strongman my all-time favorite strongman was a former world’s strongest man named Jón Páll Sigmarsson. Sigmarsson was about 6’3 and weighed 315 pounds at his biggest and best. He also looked awesome:

Jón Páll.jpg

Inspired by Jón Páll I decided my goal was to weigh 315 as well, a feat I accomplished just before Ontario’s Strongest Man my last year competing:

log bw.jpg

Obviously I was pretty big and strong at this point but I honestly can’t tell you that 315 was MY best weight. Sure, it worked for Jón Páll but was it the best choice I could have made? I’ll never know. What I can say is: I wonder. I wonder if I would have been better off making better food choices and recovering quicker even if it meant just weighing 305. I wonder if I could have been just as strong but more athletic and quicker if I weighed 280. I wonder if maybe I would have performed my best with another 20 pounds walking around at 335.

I’ll never know for sure what would have been the absolute best for me because I didn’t give myself, and my body, the opportunity to figure it out. I didn’t say, “Ok body, I want to be the best strongman I can be - let’s go figure that out and see what it takes.” Instead I said, “I’ve gotta weigh 315 like Jón Páll!”

This new approach, this “I want to feel like X, perform like Y and look like Z” is what I do now. I let my results and, body, take the wheel when it comes to the specifics and don’t try to force myself into a certain mold or number of pounds.

Obviously this requires some faith and trust in the process. It’s a new thing for me to take what I weigh off the table and focus on everything else but as I’ve given myself over to this new system more and more the most unique thing is happening - everything else is coming easier. I’m performing better, recovering quicker and looking better even if that happens to be five pounds more or less than I would have expected, or wanted it to happen at, but at the end of the day I’ve learned I have to choose what’s important to me. If that’s the scale, so be it - as long as I’m willing to accept the ramifications of that decision and the same on the other side, I’m able to get everything I want if I’m willing to give up the control of seeing a certain number on the scale.

So, can I tell you if this is the right play for you? No, I can’t. My only hope is that you’ll at least consider, and maybe even test this out, it’s worked too well for me not to share to it with you. Good luck, either way.


Craig Bongelli