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How to Set a Muscle Growth SMART Goal


calendar-iconApril 10, 2021

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Heads up! This article is connected to our Muscle Growth Journey page. For the complete picture on how to build muscle using our evidence-based system, check it out here!

Creating your own muscle growth SMART goal is the first step of your muscle growth journey. 

Setting the right muscle growth goal can create the foundation for success and help you to build as much lean muscle as possible. The wrong goal, on the other hand, can leave you despondent and ready to quit, and with less muscle than you had hoped for.

With that said, you’ll want to make sure you create a goal that sets you up for success. A great way to do that is using the SMART goal structure. A SMART goal is a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Specific. 

In this post, we’ll break down each letter of SMART, how it applies to your muscle growth SMART goal, and provide you with a template that you can use to create your own muscle growth SMART goal.

The Meaning of SMART

First, we’ll review each letter of SMART, and break down what it means for your muscle growth SMART goal.

S Stands for Specific

A SMART goal must be specific. This means choosing how many pounds of muscle you want to put on. 

Typically muscle growth is measured in pounds, so ask yourself: “How many pounds of muscle do I want to put on?”

M Stands for Measurable

A SMART goal also needs to be measurable. As long as you specify how many pounds of muscle you want to gain in your SMART goal, you can be sure that your goal is measurable.

We’ll be covering how to measure muscle growth progress later in our Muscle Growth Journey, so don’t sweat the details of how to measure muscle growth just yet!

A Stands for Attainable

Your muscle growth SMART goal should also be attainable! This means you want to be sure that the number of pounds of muscle that you are aiming to gain is reasonably achievable. 

Later in our Muscle Growth Journey, you’ll learn that you can expect to gain 1-2 pounds of muscle per month (the exact amount may vary depending on your level of training experience). 

With that said, we recommend picking a target of 1-5 pounds of muscle gain to start! As long as you pick a number within that range, you can be sure your muscle growth SMART goal is attainable.

R Stands for Relevant 

It’s important that your muscle growth SMART goal is relevant to you and your values. The National Academy of Sports Medicine mentions that relevant goals are goals that are important to a person and align with other fitness-related aspirations. 

For example, if you know you want to look great for a beach trip with your friends this summer, include that reason in your SMART goal. You want to include information that is relevant to your life and personal goals in your SMART goal. 

T Stands for Time-Specific

Lastly, your muscle growth SMART goal needs to be time-specific. Every SMART goal should have a deadline that will encourage you to stay on track and make the goal a priority. 

With that said, put a deadline within your SMART goal. Muscle growth is a relatively slow process, so be sure to give yourself at least a month or two so you can make significant progress.

Create Your Own Muscle Growth SMART Goal

Now that you understand each letter of SMART, you can use the template below to create your own muscle growth SMART goal. Just fill in the pieces of information within the parentheses using the template here!

Here's a template to create your own muscle growth SMART goal!

Once you fill in the template, your muscle growth SMART goal should look something like this:

“I want to gain 5 pounds of muscle in the next 5 months in time for my summer beach trip with my friends so that I look great in a bathing suit.”

This is a perfect example of a muscle growth SMART goal because it meets all 5 criteria that we went over in this article:

  • It is specific- It specifies how much muscle you want to gain.
  • It is measurable- It focuses on muscle growth, which is measurable.
  • It is attainable- 5 pounds of muscle in 5 months very attainable with the right training and nutrition plan.
  • It is relevant- It mentions a beach trip, giving the goal a sense of purpose and personal relevance.
  • It is timespecific- It specifies 5 months, giving a specific deadline for when the goal needs to be achieved.


A muscle growth SMART goal sets the foundation for successful muscle growth. In this article, we covered: 

  • A proper muscle growth SMART goal is:
    • Specific about the amount of muscle you want to gain.
    • Measurable (in pounds).
    • Attainable, while challenging. A goal between 1-5 pounds of muscle growth is a great range.
    • Relevant to you, your lifestyle, and your priorities.
    • Time-specific and gives you a deadline.

So, before you leap into your muscle growth journey, take the time to make sure your goal satisfies the SMART requirements!

Once you create your muscle growth SMART goal, put it somewhere visible, like on the wall in your room. It may seem like a minor detail, but it can be very helpful in keeping your eyes on the prize.

For the next step in your muscle growth journey, be sure to visit our Muscle Growth Journey page!

References and Useful Research


Date Created: April 10, 2021

Last Updated: July 11, 2021

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