A Functional Bodybuilder Explains How to Set the Best Goals – Men’s Health

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Marcus Filly was a strong contender who showed up and showed out repeatedly at the CrossFit Games, and who now shares tips on how to build strength and muscle safely and sustainably through “functional bodybuilding.” In a recent video on his YouTube channel, Filly reflects on how his training and lifestyle now differ from his competition days, and offers some advice on how to set goals that you’ll actually achieve.

“I’ll tell you what I miss more than the CrossFit Games. I miss the repetitive process of getting up each day and working on becoming the best CrossFit athlete I can be,” he says. “I truly loved the process of becoming better at fitness; I never had a date or timestamp in my mind of when I needed to achieve my particular goal. Nowhere on my vision board was stamped ‘I will win the CrossFit Games by such and such a time.’ What I focused on instead was clearing the space in my life to dedicate fully to the goal of getting better each and every day for as long as I could… On paper, the result after seven years of consistency was a pretty damn good CrossFitter. The twelfth fittest in the world, to be exact.”

However, Filly now believes that the skills, rigor and discipline he developed during that period, and the relationships he forged, were much more meaningful than his CrossFit ranking, as these are now what give him the confidence to know he can overcome new obstacles.

As much as he enjoyed the experience of reaching the final event of the 2016 CrossFit Games, Filly states that for him, the real pleasure and satisfaction came from the long-term journey of working up to that point, and this is a mindset that he continues to apply in all areas of his life.

“When you set a goal, and you push out the need to see the result further and further and further, then you begin to expand the opportunity to deeply change yourself in a meaningful and long-lasting way,” he says. He adds that while it is still of course possible to achieve great fitness outcomes in shorter timeframes, rapid results don’t necessarily always last, and that it is beneficial to think more about longer term changes and the kind of lifestyle you want to have.

“Think about your goals, and orient yourself to seeing those results a year from now. Not next month, or a month after that,” says Filly. “Then, align yourself to a process that spans that full commitment you’re going to make. You’ll be able to relax a bit more. Enjoy the process, and grow in ways you never thought possible.”

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Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.