Vail Daily column: Focus on one goal at a time |

Vail Daily column: Focus on one goal at a time

Ryan W. Richards
Make It Count

Thirteen years ago, my hairline became an issue. Turns out, losing your hair can be beneficial. I don’t have the added expense and time requirements needed to maintain a full look. The other benefit is the added luxury of being overwhelmed with the tools and specific accouterments available for keeping my shiny Q ball polished. Spend time in the aisles of any major retailer and earn your master’s degree in decision making; weighing the pros and cons of the Gillette Fusion or the highly regarded Headblade can be challenging.

The marketplace isn’t limited to shaving products either. The volume of products available for just maintaining your nose hairs is just short of marvelous. Product developers are fighting for market share. The fitness industry is keen on confusing you, too. You don’t even know where to begin.


I have been discussing fitness programming the past few weeks as I still receive many questions regarding the “how” to put a successful training template together. The options are as overwhelming as choosing razorblades, a process I am too familiar with.

The most important consideration before and during your exercise journey is specifically stating your goals. Without direction, you’ll end up in a cul de sac.

Here’s a classic example. I witness too many trainees who spend 80 percent of their precious hour at the gym foam rolling, walking around with bands and stretching. If you are so dysfunctional that you must spend an hour using these tools exclusively, you’ll reap some reward.

Often though, I see too many trainees micromanaging small perceived dysfunctions with corrective exercises; they never really get moving with weight loss or performance. At some point you need to move some iron and get your heart rate up. The first rule, regardless of your goals, is to spend no more than 10 percent of your hour performing corrective exercises.


Assuming you have training ADHD like most people, focus on one goal at a time. It appears most people are always trying to lose weight. You must attack fat loss with everything you’ve got!

Be done with it. Spend four to six weeks aggressively putting a dent in the scale. Stop messing around with changing your diet every three weeks, or mixing up your fitness routine. Whatever you do, get on a strict diet and attack.

Try the 28 day Velocity diet if you need inspiration. Be warned though, this is no joke. Report back late October when your abs are showing.


The idea of attacking your goals doesn’t stop with fat loss. Use specific blocks of time each year focusing on one quality. A great approach is to focus on fat loss, move on to muscle hypertrophy for six weeks, train strength for the following six weeks, and then circle back and test your approach.

Take before and after photos, challenge your one repetition maximum in a specific lift, or test your climb time up Vail Pass. Did you improve over the last four months? Fill in the gaps at this point as needed. Rinse and repeat as necessary. The second rule when asking “how” to build a fitness template is to consider one goal at a time.

As often as I promote this idea, I still receive push back because too many fitness enthusiasts insist on doing more. If you insist on training multiple fitness qualities at once, use a traditional block periodization model. Simply focus on one quality for two weeks, followed by another quality for two weeks. Alternate back and forth between these blocks for three or four months.

For example, strength train five days per week, using the front squat and overhead press with a load that is 75-85 percent of your one-repetition maximum. After two weeks, focus on work capacity that challenges your endurance and cardiorespiratory system. This block calls for specific circuit training, running, swimming, or any other modality you like. I prefer specific kettlebell exercises performed for high repetitions, three or four days per week. During Week 5, train the front squat and overhead press, picking up where you left off. Week 7, back to work capacity using the same modality as before.

Don’t get distracted when you don’t see results. This approach requires momentum and often takes a few months to get the message. Maintain this approach for several months and test the results. This approach is great for training multiple fitness qualities at once if you must. If you need to do more for whatever reason, the third rule for programming is to consider cycling through two specific programs, in two-week blocks, focusing on one quality during each block.

Give these considerations a brief thought as you walk around the fitness aisle. Don’t spin your wheels, though — you might end up losing your hair, too. Have a great week!

Ryan Richards has a B.S. from Ohio University and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is the personal trainer at the Sonnenalp Golf Club and the owner of R2HP, an athlete consulting and personal training company. Richards’ passion comes from overcoming childhood obesity and a T1-L3 spinal fusion. Contact him at or 970-401-0720.

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