Setting Your Muscle Building Goals

Obvious as it may seem, many people begin a muscle building mission without a clear goal in mind. When I say ‘goal’, I am referring to goals both in the general sense (ie. I want to gain weight) and specifically (ie. I want to gain 15lbs over 4 months).

Choosing a general goal is the first step. You need to answer a number of questions about why you’re embarking on a muscle building journey, such as:

  • Am I underweight, or overweight?
  • Do I want to begin by ‘bulking’, gaining muscle and body weight while sacrificing muscular definition?
  • Do I want to ‘cut’, losing fat and body weight while increasing muscular definition?
  • Am I more concerned with being physically large and muscular, or being strong and powerful?
  • Why do I want to gain muscle – is it for respect from other men, is it to attract girls, is it for a sport, or just to generally feel more confident?
  • Are my goals congruent with my lifestyle? If I am working ninety hours per week and going to night school, will I have time to maintain a proper nutrition regime?
  • Will I be able to finish what I begin, or will this be a short term, quickly-abandoned infatuation?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can begin to set specific goals for yourself. Below, I’ve included an example of a “goal tracking sheet” that would be useful for every beginner bodybuilder. At the very least, I recommend you record your initial lifts and take some basic measurements (arm, chest). Having a number of before and after pictures can be hugely beneficial and motivational.

Here is a sample goal tracking sheet. Feel free to print off and fill in this sheet, or copy and paste to make your own.

Day 1
Day 45
Day 90
Body Fat %
Arm Size
Chest Size
Neck Size
Waist Size
Thigh Size
Day 1 Picture
Day 90 Picture