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October 25, 2022

174 I Why I focus on patterns and strength over weight loss

Why I choose to focus on movement patterns and strength over weight loss.

I feel like it’s important to start this podcast off by saying that I don’t have anything against aesthetic goals. I typically have a few aesthetic goals myself. But I address those goals through performance goals that I know will yield the aesthetic changes that I might be wanting. So this is not to shame anyone who wants to change their body. Especially by adding muscle to it. I personally think it’s amazing that we can manipulate the human body via what we do with it. It’s fairly fascinating and what drew me to this field in the first place. But more from a performance standpoint, rather than an aesthetic one.

I get asked a lot if I ever competed in bikini or fitness competitions as well as powerlifting. So I get questions on both sides of the performance and aesthetic spectrum. And the answer to that is that I’ve never done either nor have I wanted to. My answer has always been that I wanted to lift for life. And I’ve been asked dozens of times in the gym over the last decade or more what I’m training for. This tends to be a common question when someone witnesses a woman lifting weights, or training with any intent beyond doing cardio and abs. I hope that that becomes less of a thing, and that training for life via intentional weight training just becomes the norm. Within the health and fitness industry anyway. I don’t know that it will ever be the norm and main stream.

So today’s episode is going to mostly be about the importance of training movement patterns and skills.

As well as the focus on performance goals over aesthetic goals. And What I’ve seen from having that focus with my clients over the past seven years.

I was extremely intentional in choosing the name of my signature 12 month training program back in 2017 – Built by Annie. I wanted it to be known that we were building things. We were building your body, building muscles, building movement patterns, building your work capacity, building efficacy in the gym. Much more went into choosing the name of that program then it just sounded good or making sense.

I don’t have science to back this up, but what I’ve seen anecdotally is that when people have a performance score, or a skill that they are invested in learning, their adherence and joy with that process increases. And I think that’s missing when we only focus on aesthetic goals or wanting to change our body.

Again, even if your main goal or objective is aesthetic, I encourage you to look at certain performance goals that might lead to the aesthetic change that you are wanting. For instance if you want a bigger butt, maybe your goal is to hip thrust two times per week, increasing your capacity one of those days with high reps, in increasing your strength or working towards a strength goal on the other day, say for six reps. Maybe you want to hit 300 pounds for six reps. That’s going to be a lot more of an enjoyable experience than just focusing on growing your butt.

If your goal is to get bigger deltoids, the same thing applies. The performance goal of getting a pull up, or a certain number of inverted rows for your rear adults, and reaching a performance goal for your overhead pressing is going to be some thing you will be far more invested in and proud of than simply growing your delts.

Now, I don’t coach or focus on nutrition but really the same thing applies there. Your performance goals with nutrition if you want to lose body fat would be around getting a certain amount of vegetables in per day, or drinking a certain amount of water, or practicing a certain habit. Focusing on the performance goals versus your weight or the result of lower body fat.

There is so much more to be gained from lifting weights than muscular changes to your body. And that’s why I choose to focus on these things in my own marketing. I also just know that over the years I’ve had a genetically marketable body, and I never wanted people to expect to look like me from doing my programs. I also knew that my body would change overtime, and I didn’t want the success of my business to be built on The physique of my body. I’ve talked about this before and other podcast episodes and Instagram trainings. If you are a trainer, I would be very careful with building your business on your body.  I’ve said this before, but I tend to not look incredibly different when I’m lifting consistently, but I feel 500% better about the way that I look. Which is an interesting thing from a psychological standpoint. I do think there’s something to be said for how you feel about your performance carrying over to how you might feel about the way that you look even if it’s not that different from if you didn’t have the performance piece. If that makes any sense. It’s like I’m proud of the way my body looks because of being proud about the work and performance goals that I have achieved.

I also want to make clear that it doesn’t have to be award-winning weights or performance. It can be the simple act of showing up for days a week and being accountable to yourself. Doing that consistently is going to make you trust yourself, and respect yourself more. And I do think that carries over into, again, how you might feel about your physical body. It’s certainly what I’ve seen with women over the years.

If you’re unsure what performance goals to work towards, but this sounds like an appealing approach to fitness for you, I highly suggest following a templated or one on one program. The program will provide your focus for the gym. Whether that is my built by Annie program or someone else’s program, following a program is a great place to start even if you do have aesthetic goals and that is your focus. Because so often desirable aesthetic changes come from consistent months and years of weight training. And consistent months in years of weight training likely come through following a program.

And hey, some thing else that I have seen is that the worry about our focus on aesthetic changes tends to fade away when people shift focused him more performance based thinking. Which I think is lovely as well. The more neutral we can be about our bodies. The more unbothered we can be. the better.

If you’ve never heard me talk about performance goals before, I will end by saying that they can be things like getting a deeper range of motion in a given movement, taking less pauses in a given set and rep scheme, actually following the tempo programmed for you, using more weight at the same sets and reps or doing more sets and reps with the same weight, Generally feeling like you’re dying less in the gym. That’s a very popular one in Built by Annie. We giggle because exercise is hard. And intentional exercise is hard. It’s not always fun and games. So when you are doing an exercise you don’t particularly like, or it’s just some thing that is challenging to you, when you notice that you’re dying less, or hate something less, it’s a very big win.

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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