I’ve been in the gym scene since 2010 and one thing I’ve continuously observed both in myself and in others is that success is rarely an accident.
Sure, if you’re new to resistance training you’re going to experience growth even on the dumbest of training routines and nutrition plans. But very soon your newbie gains will be over with and that’s when you need to get smart about your training and plan out your growth.
After all, as author Alan Lakein has said, “failing to plan is planning to fail”…
Playing It Smart: The Importance Of Management In Bodybuilding
Probably the biggest impediment to achieving your goal bodyweight is not having a long-term strategy for growth. Most people in the gym do the same stuff year after year – and stay the same as a result.
This is where management comes into play.
Generally speaking, management is the organization and coordination of activities in order to achieve a specific outcome.
As the most influential management author, Peter F. Drucker says in his book “Managing Oneself”, we must each be our own chief executive officer (CEO).
This rings true when it comes to our career and personal lives, and it also rings true when it comes to the gym. You must view yourself as your own personal trainer and strategically plan and manage yourself to achieve your desired outcome.
The POLC Framework: 4 Simple Steps To Achieve Your Goal
The POLC framework categorizes the four main functions of management – planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.
Next, we’re going to dive deep into each of the 4 functions to clarify what they mean and how to utilize them in our pursuit of building muscle.
Planning is the first function of management and it’s where every project starts. Your body can be viewed as a work-in-progress, too.
Having a plan is critical because “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”.
It all starts with setting goals. In essence, goal-setting constitutes projecting your progress into the future.
Thus we set long-term goals and short-term goals, which are further broken down into milestones.
For goals to be of any value it’s important to set them up the right way.
Good goals are written down.
Good goals are SMART:
- Specific – your goal has to be super specific – it’s critical to define your target well. Otherwise how are you supposed to hit it? And how will you know when you’ve achieved it?
- Measurable – your goal has to be measurable. What can be measured, can be improved. And again, if it’s not measurable, how are you supposed to know when you’ve achieved your goal?
- Attainable – your goal has to be attainable. You need to have realistic expectations, otherwise you’ll always be fighting an uphill battle and you’ll end up burnt-out and frustrated.
- Relevant – your goal has to be relevant, meaning it has to be a worthwhile endeavor.
- Time-bound – your goal has to be time-bound. It needs to have a specific deadline by which, come hell or high water, you need to have achieved it. Deadlines are crucial because they create urgency.
An example of a good goal would be the following:
“I want to weigh 200 pounds at 10% bodyfat by 1st of May,2016”.
It’s specific and measurable (200 pounds at 10% bodyfat), it’s attainable (depending on where you’re currently at), it’s relevant (it’s worthwhile to you) and it’s time-bound by a deadline (1st of May,2016).
So the very first thing you need to do is create a long-term vision for yourself.
What’s your ideal outcome? Where do you want to be 3-5 years from now in regards of your body composition?
So sit down and write down your long-term vision. Make sure it’s SMART.
Next up is your 1 year goal. In order for you to achieve your vision on time, where do you have to be 1 year from now? Write down your 1 year goal.
Next up is your 6 month milestone. In order for you to reach your 1 year goal on time, where do you need to be in 6 months?
In essence, all we’re doing here is we’re mapping out your progress.
While you’re setting your goals, keep in mind that this is a rough projection of your body composition. Progress is non-linear. The law of diminishing returns governs that your progress will slow down as you become more and more advanced.
Organizing is the second function of management and it consists of determining how best to group activities and resources.
If planning answers your “what”, then organizing answers your “how”.
For our purposes, this translates into figuring out how we’re going to achieve our goal on time.
This means designing a training routine, nutrition plan and rest strategy.
It also means creating a tracking system consisting of a training log where you write down your workouts and a nutrition log where you write down your caloric intake.
Leading is the third function of management and it consists of motivating the members of an organization to work in the best interest of the organization.
Again, this means viewing yourself as your own personal trainer and motivating yourself to stick to your plan through tough times.
Achieving any worthwhile goal takes hard work and you’re not always gonna be enthusiastic about doing it.
In those moments of weakness it’s critical that you’re able to take a step back, remember why you’re in this and coax yourself into doing the right thing, whether it be going to the gym or eating those extra 500 calories.
Controlling is the fourth function of management and it consists of monitoring and correcting ongoing activities to facilitate goal attainment.
What this basically means is that when a milestone deadline comes, you measure your progress. If you’re not where you’re supposed to be, you course-correct.
This is where the tracking system we set up earlier comes into play. As Peter F. Drucker has said, “what’s measured improves”. By collecting all the information about your workout performance and caloric intake you can measure your progress, analyze what you can do better and course-correct.
After the beginner stages in the gym, progress can become slow or completely stagnant.
That’s when you need to step up your game – get strategic, look at what you’re doing objectively and course-correct.
Still, building a great body isn’t rocket science and, armed with the POLC framework, you’re virtually guaranteed to reach your desired bodyweight – provided you put in the work.