How to Achieve Fitness Goals Faster

Weight loss, strength, and other fitness goals can be achieved through compounding micro goals. Person facing away from the camera about to do a barbell back squat.

In a society of instant gratification and rapid rewards, all too often, we forget the powerful impact of accumulated and compounded work over a substantial period of time — especially when we’re on a fitness journey.

We all just want to achieve fitness goals as fast as possible and are focused more on the end result than the journey to get there.

It is common to look for that magic pill or remedy to achieve our fitness goals faster. However, it is not always just the “what” that someone is doing that should interest us. The “how” is equally powerful.

One thing is for certain — there is no shortage of motivational videos and memes in the fitness industry. Often times what is lacking is execution. Whether someone wants to lose weight, develop healthy habits, or build muscle, they’re often quick to think about their fitness goals and maybe even write them out, but they aren’t quite so quick to take action and follow through with that workout and nutrition plan.

Start Achieving Goals Faster

One of the publishers of Success magazine created a theory called The Compound Effect. It is an active mindset and approach to creating positive and impactful change in an area of your life that needs reform. In our case, this area of your life in which you desire success could be a physical transformation for a competition, shedding fat to optimize overall health, or mastery of a specific physical fitness skill.

The creator of The Compound Effect aims his book at jump-starting your success or boosting your income. My goal is to show you how to implement it in your fitness pursuits. This practice is something I have successfully implemented with countless training and nutrition clients due to its simplicity and repeatability.

The compounding effect, a concept rooted in incremental progress over time, can be a game-changer when it comes to achieving long-term success in any fitness goal.

All too often, we overvalue the implementation of a quick fix. We undervalue the impact of minute decisions compounded on a daily basis. It is the minute decisions, when repeated and duplicated, that create unparalleled results and unexpected change.

The compounding effect works in fitness by building upon small successes and gradual improvements over time. Each workout, healthy meal, and positive choice contributes to the foundation of your progress. When consistently applied, these efforts result in increased strength, endurance, flexibility, and overall fitness.

By focusing on the process rather than quick fixes, you create a sustainable approach that yields long-lasting results.

Set Realistic Fitness Goals

These small changes are what help us achieve our fitness goals and maintain them for the long term. They may not seem like much in the moment, but after an extended period of time, we can see the significant impact these actions had on our health goals.

For example, an athlete, bodybuilder, or powerlifter who gets merely 30 minutes more of quality sleep per night, each night, 365 days per year than his competitors gets 182 more hours of sleep per year. That may not seem like much on the surface, but when calculated, that is nearly 8 days more sleep over the course of a year.

Or perhaps your friend with bigger arms is consistent about drinking his whey protein daily before and after workouts. Your friend consistently meets his daily protein requirements, whereas you are haphazard with your preparation strategies and fail to track your protein intake. Is there any wonder why your friend is reaching his fitness goals faster than you are?

These are just two examples of how small decisions, when implemented and acted upon on a daily basis, create life-changing results. And these are both very realistic goals to have: sleeping more and hitting your protein target.

Setting realistic fitness goals like light movement every day, weight training 3–5 times a week, or reducing how much hyper-palatable food (aka junk food) you eat are surefire ways to achieve desired body composition and other health goals.

You probably see this all the time as a certified personal trainer. Your client comes to you with a realistic goal to lose fat or build muscle, for example, then you encourage them to start exercising, and after consistently hitting the gym and adhering to their nutrition plan, they start seeing changes.

Health and fitness goals can be achieved through small, consistent actions. Man flipping a giant tire.

Create a Healthier Lifestyle

In training and nutrition, the compound effect can be seen in:

  1. The power of our choices
  2. The impact of habits
  3. Training inertia (momentum).

In other words, making the correct choices consistently and honoring the pursuit of our goals creates momentum. Simplified:

You? Choice + Behavior (Action) + Habits (Repeated Action) + Time = Goals

Think about the saying made famous by Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

This reminds us that practicing excellence and perfecting the craft day after day, month after month, and year after year is what separates the average from the stellar. It creates an outlier effect of “hidden advantages” or an unexplainable edge.

You may find the perfect fitness routine and the perfect diet, but the repeated execution of the two programs over time is what will lead to that unexplainable edge. One might argue that superior consistency in an inferior program would generate better results than inferior consistency in a superior program.

You can implement the compound effect in your training right now. Make a choice and pick three variables related to your fitness goals where you can make quantifiable (numerical) incremental changes. Some examples you can choose from include:

  • How much sleep you get
  • Getting to be 30 minutes earlier each night
  • Taking your supplements daily
  • Sticking to your nutrition or exercise routines
  • Hitting specific macronutrient goals (protein, carbs, or fat grams)

Create specific, measurable goals that you can take action on and duplicate the seemingly insignificant changes day after day. Think about the SMART method when outlining your goals.

After some time, you will notice that you have perfected these three goals (or choices). They have become habits that you no longer have to think about, you just do them. For example, you automatically reach for your creatine after your workout.

Your next step is to attempt to add two more micro goals (maybe this time it’s choosing lean meats over full-fat if your goal is to lose weight) so that you are now creating a powerful compound effect of five healthy choices each day.

Your Fitness and Health Goals are Within Reach

Whether you are just trying to get back in shape or whether you are looking to be shredded on stage, making these incremental changes can take you one step closer to your health and fitness goals. What you see in the mirror and how you feel each day will be a result of your choices, behaviors, and repeated actions.

As a coach, any fitness program you create is meant to be sustainable for your client, right? So bear that in mind with goal setting, too.

And even if a client has an unsustainable goal (e.g., getting stage lean, which isn’t going to be something they maintain year-round), you can teach them sustainable habits that will, at the very least, be relevant for the duration of that goal.

By understanding and harnessing the power of the compounding effect, we can achieve our fitness goals with remarkable efficiency and sustainability.

Build yourself an unexplainable edge.

Practice excellence.

Achieve your goals.