Michael Grogan is a Personal Trainer/Movement Coach in Melbourne CBD.  He uses a combination of Gymnastic Strength, Advanced Mobility and Barbell Strength & Power exercises to achieve increased levels of performance and body composition with his clients. For more information follow him on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michaelgrogan_movement/ and for enquiries contact [email protected] 

“I want to lose 5kg” “I want a Six-Pack”  “I want to have a box gap” (seriously).

These are common expressions out there when people are asked what is their compelling reason for training in the gym.  Wanting these things are fine…well maybe not the box gap… But are they really things that are going to be compelling enough to drive you to not hit that snooze button before a 6am session? or make you hit that Friday evening yoga session instead of hitting the after work drinks? The answer is probably not!

What you need to find are more COMPELLING reasons to train. You may train for a whole host of reasons and surely there is something more interesting than ‘I want to get rid of my muffin top’.

For those of you who have some great reasons to train and are motivated to hit that 5:30am crossfit session; that’s great! However for those of you who are stuck in a perpetual new years resolution to ‘get arms like madonna’ I have a proposal for you; Why not train for Performance? You could train to become stronger to be able to compete at a sport or train your mobility to get into more interesting yoga positions in class or you could train gymnastic movements to master the control of your physical body. There are numerous benefits to training for performance and I will outline 3 clear benefits to training for performance over training for aesthetics here:

 1.    By Training for Performance you will hit your aesthetic goals anyway!

Lets say you have bought into the Performance training philosophy and you have decided your goals are to be to be able to do a 1 arm chin up. Firstly, that is an awesome goal! Do you know how impressive one arm chin ups are? You will inspire your family and friends with your achievement and they will in turn look up to you and be inspired to maybe also start their fitness journey.

However lets also say your goal was to get Madonna arms. By way of process you will easily achieve your Madonna arms far before you achieve you one arm chin. Due to the muscle activation and development required in the training required to be able to do a one arm chin. That gives you a super compelling reason to train and also gives you the look you desire!

Above: L -sit Chin ups are a variation on the normal Chin up

 2.    You will learn new Skills and Educate yourself while training

Lets say you now want to develop your overall body strength and you wanted to Deadlift Twice your bodyweight. That’s also cool! You will be so strong with that kind of training – you will also be able to quantify all the work you have done in the gym by having a performance outcome for all your training (the 200kg!).  There are also numerous exercises that assist with the deadlift that you can learn about perform that will strengthen your whole body such as Kettlebell swings or Barbell bent row….and yes before you ask, the deadlift will also help you get a butt like Kim Kardashian.

However if you train specifically to ‘get a bigger butt’ there is limited professional research on this phenomena and you’ll probably spend your session on the leg press making calculation’s to how many reps you have to do to be like Kim as your session. N.B probably around 10,000 per day – and you still wouldn’t be close!

Above: 2 x your bodyweight is a good goal for training Deadlift

3.    Build confidence to open a doorway to things you didn’t think were possible

Lets say you are training to do a full push up. You have never been able to do one before and setting this goal has given you motivation to turn up to the gym and get it done. Six weeks of hard training pass by and you end up busting out 3 in your next performance test. Now that you have mastered your body into a push up position you probably have the strength to start training to be able to do a pull up, once you have achieved the pull up you start training to muscle up and before you know it your body is an efficient training machine ready to take on whatever life throws at it!….and yes your love handles now probably have turned into those attractive lines that run down either side of your hip bones.

Or you could just train for that muffin top…your call.

To Conclude:

Now you have knowledge of this new concept to train for performance you can now identify what it is you want to get good at in the gym, its time to learn new skills, push boundaries and take your body to new places you never thought possible! Whats it gonna be? One Arm Handstand? Learn how to Olympic Lift your bodyweight? Perform a Somersault? The gym is your oyster all you have to do is find that Compelling Reason to get yourself involved.

For all those wanting help with their training or setting up a Performance Based program please get in touch with me :

[email protected]



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Michael is a Human Performance Coach based in Melbourne, Australia creating high performance human machines since 2009. Michael believes in building physical performance using gymnastic strength, advanced mobility and barbell strength & power. Building mental performance through constant challenge, goal setting and skill based activities. Building lifestyle performance through discipline and mental drive.