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How to Set a Muscle Growth SMART Goal

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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!

If you’re ready to begin your muscle growth journey, the first thing you’ll want to do is set the right goal. 

Setting the right muscle growth goal can create the foundation for success and leave you feeling like a stronger, more muscular version of yourself after completing your muscle growth journey. The wrong goal can leave you despondent and ready to quit.

With that said, you’ll want to make sure you set 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 variable of a SMART muscle growth goal letter by letter, and then give you an example of a SMART muscle growth goal so you’re ready to make your own.

S Stands for Specific

We’ll start with the letter S which stands for “specific”. 

In the simplest terms, 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?”

Our Ultimate Muscle Growth Nutrition Guide tells us that you can expect to gain 1-2 pounds of muscle per month (this amount may vary depending on your training age). With that said, we recommend picking a target of 1-5 pounds of muscle gain to start!

Answering specifically how much muscle you want to put on is the first step in setting your muscle growth SMART goal.

M Stands for Measurable

The M in SMART stands for “measurable”. 

As long as your SMART goal focuses on muscle growth, it should satisfy the M in SMART, since muscle growth is measurable.

You may be wondering how to measure muscle growth progress. We’ve got that all covered in our guide to Measuring Muscle Growth Progress!

In this initial step in your journey, though, just make sure your SMART goal is focused entirely on muscle growth to ensure your goal is measurable.

A Stands for Attainable

The A in SMART goals stands for “attainable”. 

Attainable means that your muscle growth goal should be challenging, but also realistically achievable. 

As we mentioned before, our Ultimate Muscle Growth Nutrition Guide tells us that you can expect to gain 1-2 pounds of muscle per month with a proper nutrition and training plan in place.

With that said, you want to avoid setting a goal like “I want to gain 50 pounds of muscle”. 

While there is nothing wrong with aiming for something like this over your lifetime, 50 pounds of muscle would take multiple years (or even decades) to put on, so you may be wiser to set a more attainable goal for the short term.

So, when creating your goal, make sure the amount of muscle you want to put on is attainable and realistic, especially if you are just starting out!

R Stand for Relevant 

Next, the R in SMART stands for “relevant”. 

When setting muscle growth goals, you want to ensure your goal is relevant to you personally.. 

NASM also says that relevant goals are goals that are important to a person and align with other fitness-related aspirations. 

Elly McGuiness also mentions that identifying the relevance of your fitness and your goals gives you the opportunity to think about what you're passionate about and your core values in life.

For example, if you know a beach trip is coming up 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. 

So, make sure your goal is relevant to you, your lifestyle, and your personal goals.

T Stands for Time-Specific

Lastly, T stands for “time-specific”. 

Every goal should  have a deadline that will encourage you to stay on track and make the goal a priority. 

Jumpstart states that having a time limit to your fitness goal enables you to stay committed and succeed in reaching your goal.

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.

An Example Muscle Growth SMART Goal

If you followed all of the letters in SMART while creating your goal, you’ll end up with something like this example muscle growth smart goal:

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

This is an example of a great 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.

With a SMART muscle growth goal that satisfies all the criteria like this example, you are setting yourself up for success and ready to begin your muscle growth journey!

Conclusion

Making sure your muscle growth goal is SMART creates the foundation for a successful muscle growth journey. A proper muscle growth SMART goal will:

  • Be specific about the amount of muscle you want to gain
  • Be measurable
  • Be attainable (while challenging) 
  • Be relevant to you, your lifestyle, and your priorities
  • Be time specific and give you a deadline

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

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

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!

References and Useful Research:

  1. https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-goal-setting/#:~:text=Setting%20goals%20helps%20trigger%20new,you%20don't%20properly%20manage.
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/fitness/art-20047624
  3. https://www.polar.com/blog/6-ways-measure-fitness/
  4. https://www.fitnesseducation.edu.au/blog/fitness/the-importance-of-setting-fitness-goals/
  5. http://www.skilledatlife.com/why-planning-our-lives-is-important/
  6. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/smart-weight-loss-fitness-device
Date Created: April 10, 2021

Last Updated: April 17, 2021

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