By Naomi Rabon, NW Fitness Team Trainer

When I look back at different times in my life, I’ve had a wide variety of goals throughout varying stages of my journey to adulthood. Among these goals have been getting a good education so that I could get a good job – and my definition of ‘good job’ has even changed over the years – marriage, creating and maintaining stability, starting a family, buying a house, etc.

It’s no surprise that one can’t acquire all of these things all at once in a short amount of time, right? So why is it a surprise that you can’t accomplish all of your fitness goals all at once?


More than that, though, it also takes a very long time (months, years) of having a specific focus in several areas of your life to accomplish some of these big goals, such as being on a budget for years to save money for a house, or working at a company in a particular position with certain responsibilities for several years in order to move up to your ultimate “dream job” position.

It takes a lot of effort, forethought, and intention to create the life we want for ourselves (and sometimes a little luck, or being in the right place at the right time, or having the right connections) by achieving specific goals in certain phases of our lives in order to eventually accomplish the things we want to accomplish.

The same goes for our fitness journey. We have this big idea in our heads of what we want to achieve. There are actually three main goals I most often hear when working clients. I call them “The Big Three.” They are:

1. Build muscle
2. Lose body fat
3. Increase athletic performance

Oftentimes, clients will have one or maybe two of those goals they want to achieve. But it’s not uncommon for me to get a client who wants to achieve all three goals – and achieve them in 8-12 weeks!


That would be like saying you want to achieve about 3-5 year’s-worth of goals (if you are doing it the right way, under the guidance of a knowledgeable experienced coach, without risk of injury, in a healthy way that isn’t going to leave you with serious adverse health issues) but you want to do it in a drive-thru, express check-out lane kind-of-way.

Can all three goals eventually be achieved? Absolutely, there is no doubt you can achieve all of these goals. But you can’t achieve them all at once or in a short amount of time. And just like everything else you’ve accomplished in life – including making it through grade school – you need to achieve these goals one step at a time in phases with a particular focus in each phase.


If you want to achieve more than one goal, or like many people, want to achieve all three goals, here’s what you should do:

1. Prioritize one goal at a time. Focus on only one goal for at least 3 – 6 months in order to have plenty of time to make progress and achieve this particular goal. If you eventually want to achieve all three goals, my advice would be to first choose muscle building, as this is a good base for achieving the other two goals. Time-wise, the only exception is the goal of leaning out, or body fat loss. You don’t want to be in a deficit for too long or else it could backfire.

2. Put the other goals on the back burner for now. It doesn’t mean they aren’t important or that you don’t want to achieve them, but putting the other goals on the back burner will allow you to prioritize ONE goal at a time. It will also help you focus on the progress you’re making with the goal you are currently focusing on, and not think too much about the goal or goals you aren’t focusing on right now.

3. Make sure everything you are doing in your fitness program is geared toward the current priority goal. Your weight lifting, your cardio (which can sometimes be eliminated if you are focusing on muscle-building) and your nutrition should ALL be designed to help you reach your priority goal.

4. Be patient! This is the really hard part. At one point in my life I stopped running for 2 straight years (2011-2013) and did minimal cardio in order to give my body the best opportunity for building good quality muscle. It worked! I saw the most significant changes to my physique in the two years that I completely put running on the back burner and put all of my eggs in my muscle-building basket. At first it was hard, and I went a little stir-crazy, but when I started to see how much my body changed by lifting and minimizing cardio, it motivated me to keep going. The same goes for the goal of athletic performance and body fat loss. With every phase, there are pros and cons, but if reaching your goal is worth it then you can deal with the downsides.

5. Rotate your priority goal. If you are amongst those who want to achieve all three goals, then my advice would be to take each quarter of the year to focus on one of the three goals. Of all of the goals, the healthiest goal long-term is weight-lifting for muscle-building. The other two goals – body fat loss and athletic performance – should be for a shorter duration due to the potential for health (metabolic damage due to long-term deficit) and risk of injury (overtraining, overuse injury sports).

If I want to really focus on building muscle, then I have to put my running aside and make lifting heavy, eating in a surplus and having good quality rest/recovery days a priority. When running takes a back seat, and I can’t worry about my weekly running mileage if I want to make significant muscle gains. On the flip side, if I want to focus on training for an ultramarathon or run a personal record in a half marathon, then my weight-lifting has to take a back seat and I can’t worry too much if I only have 2-3 strength-training sessions a week or if start to lose a little muscle because my focus is athletic performance.

Fueling for athletic performance also requires a nutritional surplus and oftentimes different food sources than a muscle building or shredding focus does. Then body fat loss or leaning out requires an even different fitness program focus than a muscle building or the athletic performance program does. You can’t worry about the area that isn’t a priority at the time, or else you will drive yourself crazy (trust me, I’ve been there). So, do yourself a favor and pick one goal at a time to focus on, because if you want to accomplish everything, you likely won’t accomplish anything.

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Naomi-lighterBIOOne of the trainers on Nicole’s elite NW Fitness Training Team, Naomi is a certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is a NPC Figure competitor who has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 12 years.

Go here to find out more about training with the NW Fitness Training Team!