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Getting Started Part 1- Defining a Purpose

You are an aspiring athlete, fitness enthusiast, or someone just looking to get healthy. You know you need to start training, but you don’t have a clue where to start. Do you lift, run, do body weight exercises at home? How often should you train? The only way to stop the question carousel that can go around and around in your head is to first define your purpose. Defining a purpose for your training will help you logically answer many of your training related questions, allowing you to commit to your training and pursue something that incites your passion.

Start by asking yourself, “What is important to me?” Narrow down a short list of physical attributes you’d like to attain. Be focused in your choices. Many individuals often end up without anything to show for after many months of hard training due to a lack of consistent purpose. A useful tool that can be used to help you decide on what you value most in your training is a paired comparison analysis table. The table will allow you to decide on the relative importance of some of the attributes you are considering developing in your training program.

Taking a look at the example paired comparison analysis table below, I’ll help explain and show the utility of the table as a quantitative method to measure your values.


​The table lists example physical attributes across the vertical and horizontal axis. The highlighted boxes are head to head comparisons of the same attribute and therefore eliminated from the table. Intersecting at each open box lies a comparison of two physical attributes. Using a 1-3 scoring system, 1 being marginally more important to 3 being much more important, decide which attribute you value most and assign it a score. (Example: In the upper left most box power has been valued over strength with a marginally more important value of 1.) After completing all of the head to head comparisons, tally up your scores and rank the physical attributes in order of importance like shown in the above paired comparison analysis score table.

This table does not take any amount of time to set up and complete. Save time by using a free example of a similar table found in the link below:

or read more about paired comparison analysis here:

Completing the table will allow you to quantify the relative importance of the many physical attributes you’d like to develop in your training. Figuring out what you value most is one of the easiest ways to help define your purpose. After figuring out the type of work you’ll be doing in your training, the last step to defining your purpose is to answer the question, “Why is it important to me?” Only you can answer this question. If you do not have a deep-rooted reason that training is important to you, compliance rates to a training program often dwindle. You could be an athlete aspiring for an Olympic medal, or a recreational exerciser just wanting to lose a few pounds. If you can rationalize why your training will improve the quality of your life, your chances of following your purpose and completing your training plan will be greatly enhanced.

Next up in the Getting Started Series: Goal Setting


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