I get questions from frustrated women (and men) on a regular basis asking me for advice to help them reach their goals.  They often send their current training and nutrition program and ask me to take a look, and ask for feedback.

The most common theme?  The training programs that these men and women are following do not match their goals.

At my gym, J&M Strength and Conditioning, our main clientele consists of women from 25-55 who just want to look better and feel better, and when you get right down to it, those are the goals of most people who step foot in the gym.  That’s why my business partner, Jim Laird wanted to start J&M in the first place.  To create the simplest program possible to allow people to look better and feel better, with the least amount of effort. 

The problem is, people are choosing activities that, at best, move them slowly towards their goals, and at worst, prevent them from achieving those goals.

The most common program-goal misalignments that we see involve:

–  Physique competitors

–  Endurance athletes

– CrossFit Athletes

Before you freak out on me, please note that I am NOT saying that there is anything wrong with following programming to help you achieve your goals in sports listed above.  I am simply saying that we see a lot of people participating in these sports with the main goal of looking and feeling better, only to be disappointed when it doesn’t happen.

Remember, any physical activity done at a high level comes with a price.  Sometimes that “price” is related to aesthetics, and sometimes that “price” is related to health.

Physique Competitors – If you read my 3 part series on extreme leanness, you know that there are both health and aesthetic consequences that can come from competing in physique competitions.  From rebound weight gain, to hormone imbalances, getting extremely lean can wreak havoc on your body.  You can read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 here.

Endurance Athletes – Competing in endurance sports can also compromise aesthetic and health-related goals.  Rachel Cosgrove wrote a fantastic article here about the negative effects that training for an IronMan had on her body.  In this post, Jen Comas Keck writes about how you can out-train a good diet.  And here, Mark Sisson from Mark’s Daily Apple writes about the negative effects that excessive cardio had on his health.


J&M Client Suzanne ran marathons for years before retiring her running shoes, and picking up strength training.  She dropped 2 clothing sizes in just a few months and spending half the time working out!

J&M Client Suzanne ran marathons for years before retiring her running shoes, and picking up strength training. She dropped 2 clothing sizes in just a few months, spending only half the time working out!


CrossFit Athletes – When it comes to people who participate in CrossFit, we generally see more issues with health-related goals than physique-related, although we have seen some physique related issues.  In this article, Chris Kresser discusses the perils of doing too much high-intensity training, too often.

So what should you do if your goal is simply to look better and feel better?  What should you eat? How should you train?  Stay tuned for Part 2, and I’ll answer those questions!


=======>Takeaways In Two Minutes<========

The majority of people who start a workout regimen, are doing so with the simple goals of looking and feeling better.  If you’re not seeing the results you want, your program might not match your goals.  I see this most often in people who want to compete or do the pfollowing activities at a high level: 

– Physique competitions

– Endurance races (this does not include short/sprint races)

– CrossFit

None of those are designed to make the average person look and feel their best.  They are designed to push the body to an extreme, and any time you do that, looking and feeling awesome is usually not the result.  The result is a health and or aesthetic sacrifice in order to reach a certain performance goal.  If you want to do that, that’s fine.  But don’t be surprised when you don’t look and feel like a million bucks over a long period of time.   There are several articles above if you want to read about the negative effects of these sports, and if you want to know the quickest and easiest way to look and feel amazing, stay tuned for Part 2. 


P.S.  If your goal is to look and train like an athlete, whether you’re male or female, check out my Coach Mike Robertson’s new product, Bulletproof Athlete here

P.P.S.  Affiliate Disclosure:  The link above is to a product on which I will make an affiliate commission.  I want to be open with you all about this, because I want you to trust me 100%.  I get emails daily from people trying to get me to affiliate their products, and I turn 99% of them away because:

– They are bogus.

– They aren’t high quality.

– We don’t believe in their product.

– Any combination of the above, and much more.

So please know, if I am recommending something, it’s because it’s awesome and I currently use it or have used it myself.  True story.  No exceptions.  I wouldn’t steer ya’ wrong!

4 Responses to Does Your Program Match Your Goal? Part 1

  1. Sara says:

    I just started Tyler Fitness Revolution which consists of days of strength training and metabolic training. The class, with a coach, lasts 45 mins. I am looking to shed body fat because my body fat is about 28%…interested to see the results.

  2. Bethany says:

    Thank you Molly!

    This article could not have come at a better time! I am training for my first full marathon and have been really frustrated lately because my weight has actually gone up a couple of pounds and not down like I had expected. Losing weight was not my primary goal of running this marathon, but I was looking forward to weight loss as a perk because that is a goal of mine as well. I want to run this marathon to prove to myself that I am much stronger than I give myself credit for and that I am disciplined and capable enough to take on bigger dreams in life. I was feeling like I was in the twilight zone for being in marathon training and not seeing aesthetic results. Thank you, now I don’t feel so crazy. I have known for a while that I really need to get into strength training so thank you for the encouragement. I cannot wait to read part 2!


  3. Laura says:

    Thanks for the post Molly. I did Crossfit last year, and I did get stronger, but I also got hurt. I’m so tempted to go back (mostly because I really like the people) but I’m a out of shape 46 year old and while Crossfit can be scaled, I still felt very inadequate next to the people that could run, or even lift heavier weights.

    I want to lose fat and look good without feeling bad about my abilities.. I know I can rock it – I just don’t want to rock it to the point of getting injured as I already have a slipped disk in my back.

    I’m looking forward to your next post……

  4. Emma says:

    Hi Molly,

    I love your site!

    My goal is fat-loss, but I do Crossfit.

    I’m not one of those crazy hard-core people that goes 6 x a week though, I tend to only go 2-3 days a week, but I’m not really seeing any results.

    I think a lot of it for me is probably due to diet, but I’m just wondering what else I should be supplementing the Crossfit with on the other days when I don’t do that to help with fat loss? Walking? Cardio?

    Also, I was just reading your post on carb cycling and I was wondering how Crossfit fits into that, there’s generally always a strength component, but then some of it is cardio as well, I assume it’s still counted as a training day where carb consumption is concerned?

    Any advice you could provide would be great 🙂



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