“Safe” Goals Versus “Reach” Goals {Recap of 13.4}

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

Woohoo! I met my goal and survived Open WOD 13.4!

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As I mentioned in my previous post, 95 pounds (the prescribed weight for this workout) for clean and jerk was pretty close to my 1RM, so my goal for 13.4 was to make it through the set of 12 clean and jerks and toes-to-bar. I thought 60 (total) reps was a good, safe goal for me. It would challenge me and push me out my comfort zone, but it was attainable at the same time.

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Even though this workout was only 7 minutes, pacing was really important. With such a heavy weight on the clean and jerks, I knew I didn’t want to burn myself out too quickly, so I split jerked and dropped the bar right from the start.

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And, of course, I made sure to get my head through on each and every rep. I did not want to get no-reped on a 95-pound clean and jerk!

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The toes-to-bar were actually the “easy” part of the workout for me, which is crazy to say considering I could barely do them a couple of months ago. I feel like in just 4 weeks, since the start of the Open, I’ve come a long way with my CrossFit skills. I mean, I guess I didn’t really have a choice if I wanted to post a score in the Open, right?

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I kept a nice, steady pace through all of the clean and jerks and then busted out the toes-to-bar as quickly as possible (I did the sets of 3, 6, and 9 unbroken!). I made it through the set of 12 and then managed to get 3 more clean and jerks for a total of 63 reps, which surpassed my goal. Yay!!

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Even though I met my rep goal, I couldn’t help but think what might have happened if I had set that number higher. Maybe I should have set my goal for 70 reps instead of 60? Or 75 reps? Who knows what could have happened?

After the WOD, I told Mal I felt like I had sort of “sold myself short” with my goal. Mal isn’t one to sugarcoat (anything), which is just one of the reasons why I love him so much, and he totally agreed with what I said. He said he could tell I was trying my hardest during the workout, but I really didn’t need to split jerk all of the reps and maybe I would have picked up my pace if I was aiming for 70 reps instead of 60. Good points, Mal. Good points.

I thought about repeating 13.4 again yesterday to see if I could beat my score, but I decided to just enjoy meeting my goal and move on. (It’s not like I’m going the Games, right?) But, I learned an important lesson this weekend with regard to goals, and I’m definitely going to set a “reach” goal for 13.5. I can’t always play it safe!

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Ok, let’s talk about the funky pants I wore for this workout. They’re awesome, right? My friends at Reebok sent them to me for the Open. They’re the Reebok CrossFit Forging Elite Fitness Capri – Print, and I love them so much. Julie Foucher actually wore a similar pair of capris during the blogger event at Reebok, and I really liked them, so I was psyched when Reebok sent me a pair of my own.

As you might remember, I love fun workout pants. Black pants are fine, and I wear them all the time, but they get boring. Colorful or printed pants are so much more fun! In addition to the crazy-cool Reebok + CrossFit pattern on these pants, I also really like the thick waistband (super flattering and very Lululemon-esque) and how low it fell on the hips. The material was soft, smooth, and moved really well during the workout. I’m a big fan of these babies. They’re definitely my new favorite CrossFit pants!

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The nice folks at Reebok also sent Mal some new gear for the Open, including a CrossFit Compression Top, which he wore during 13.4 this weekend.

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Mal was pumped when he opened the box from Reebok and saw compression gear inside. He immediately said: “Cool! I’m going to be all Austin Malleolo with this!” Haha! Austin definitely loves his Reebok compression gear!

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Mal really liked how the compression top felt during the WOD. He said it kept everything nice and tight.

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I asked him if it made him hot (it’s long-sleeve after all), but he said it didn’t. Mal was sweating by the end of the workout, but the material is really thin and breathable, so it didn’t trap in heat at all.

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Mal did really well during 13.4 and got 73 reps!

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April Burpee Challenge

The folks at my CrossFit box are crazy awesome and decided to embark on a Burpee challenge for the month of April. Our goal is to do a combined 150,000 Burpees this month, so we’re each doing an average of 90 Burpees per day. I love challenges like this, so I thought I’d tell you guys about it in case you wanted to do your own Burpee challenge. I mean, who doesn’t love Burpees?!?

Question of the Day

Do you set different types of goals for yourself? Do you think “safe” goals are better than “reach” goals in some circumstances and vice versa?



  1. As I get older, I think safe goals work the best for me. I always try to push it but if you go too far your out for awhile. Great article!

  2. After reading all of your Crossfit posts, I have really wanted to try it and I looked into it where I live and it’s $180 a month for just me! Unfortunately, that’s a little too pricey but it looks so motivating! Plus I am dying to know what all of that crazy slang means! 🙂 Good luck with all of those burpees!!

  3. I have started having to just set safe goals because I was setting too many reach goals, not meeting them, and then bumming out about it so much that I quit setting goals altogether. Now that I have hit a few of my safe goals, maybe I can start setting a few more reach goals for the future.

    Congratulations on meeting your goals!

  4. I think it’s important to have a nice mixture of both–so that you’re still pushing yourself but not punishing yourself for not necessarily always making the ‘reach’ goal.

    Good points! And nice work on the WOD!

  5. I’m a horrible judge if my goals are “safe” or “reach”. I tend to overestimate my time/resources/abilities a but much! It just makes it all the more exciting when I actually accomplish a goal, I guess!

    You are rocking those capris! Love.

  6. I agree 100% with what you said about achieving a “safe” goal and then feeling like you sold yourself short! But, I’d rather be safe than sorry. I set myself “safe” goals when I’m not doing training runs so that way I maintain my fitness without getting hurt (hopefully). Today was my first really great run back since some IT issues, and I did 4 miles but felt like I could have kept going…and I WANTED to keep going, but I didn’t want to hit a “reach” goal of six or seven miles (which is absolutely attainable when I’m not injured) and regret it later because I re-hurt myself! It’s nice to see that you’re not being too hard on yourself and that you didn’t try and “beat” yourself because a goal reached is a goal reached… and that’s better than nothing!

  7. This is random, but were you and Mal always workout buddies? I’m only 20 but find myself being kind of picky when it comes to meeting a guy who I can workout with/who works out in general. I always see you guys on blogs who get to workout with their boyfriends/husbands and wonder if you guys encouraged them to start being active or if they just happen to be into it too!

    1. Yep, but more so because of CrossFit! We used to take Body Pump classes together and we trained for a marathon together a couple of years ago too.

  8. Congrats on meeting your goal AND for pushing yourself to do more next time! I’m glad Mal’s getting in on some of the comp gear!! So fun!!!

  9. I’m sure you’ve probably been asked this question dozens of times, but will you share a little about how your body has changed from Crossfit? Are you a clothes size smaller/bigger, is most of the added muscle in your arms?, do you feel longer/leaner, etc? Just so curious

    1. @rebecca: I agree, this would be interesting. After doing Insanity last spring I had to go up a size in my pants/shorts because of my thighs. It would be helpful to know if other women experience this with intense workouts or workout programs.

  10. OMG! A Burpee challenge! What a great idea. I will totally participate with you!
    I always set safe goals that I like to share with everyone, and then a secret “reach” goal that I only reveal if I attain it.

  11. Tina, have you tried the lululemon all sports bra? I love it – I find its great for crossfit on us large chested gals…Very supportive but not cups. And it doesn’t cut into my back as much as the TTtamer.

  12. Great job on the open workout! It can be hard to know when you can safely push yourself even more. We did the open workout on Saturday day at our gym, but it was still my first week so I was hanging out at 60lbs. I’m still having to concentrate so much on the form of my movements that it really slows me down — it’s hard not to get impatient to get better faster!!!!! The burpee challenge sounds fun.

  13. Where do you think is the best place to get a full description/explanation of Crossfit? I’m interested in it, but I don’t love the gym in my town. (I know people who go there and have met some of the members — don’t love their clique-y vibe) I’m a new reader to your blog and YOU make Crossfit look amazing!

    1. CrossFit.com is a great place to start! There are lots of videos and descriptions to give you an idea what it’s all about!

  14. Honest question. Are you ever satisfied with your efforts? When you are successful, you question ‘was it good enough,’ when you don’t meet your goals you are sure you/it wasn’t good enough. I totally get being competitive and pushing the limits, but at some point isn’t it ok to just be the best you can be on that day?

  15. I suggested doing the 100 Day Burpee Challenge at my box to kick off the new year and now the end is finally in sight – today was day 91 so I’m so close! I haven’t missed any days and I’m super excited to wear my “Survivor” shirt come April 10th, have fun!

  16. Congrats on reaching your goal!

    I believe both types of goals are important for different reasons. If there is a time when you’re feeling down and need a confidence boost, a safe goal is needed. On the other hand, a goal that really pushes you and puts you out of your comfort zone is necessary to show you just how awesome you are!

  17. I have a Reebok gift card and was thinking of buying those pants! Do they run pretty true to size? 90 Burpees a day…that’s a lot of Burpees for the month of April. I’m sending you high-fives from Jersey. Good Luck! 😉

  18. I think you should be very proud of how you did. To be honest, I don;t know much abut Crossfit but by reading your blog I am learning more and more. Maybe you could do a post where you define what everything is? Like I have no idea what a Burpee is other then what happens to me when I eat to much dairy!

  19. 90 burpees a day is a lot, but I think I could do it. I might join in on this one! I think setting safe goals is good at first especially when learning something new and then you can work your way up!

  20. Girl – I totally agree with setting the bar higher!! I wish T2B were easy for me. I can’t do them at ALL! Haha my core needs a LOT of work. My skills were getting better during the open too – until this silly ankle mishap. All my skill work needs help. FYI I LOVE those pants! I need Reebok to hook this teacher up 😉

  21. The TTB were the easy part for me too! After 13.2 and struggling mightily through 75 pounds, I set a super low goal of 19 for myself on this one. I just did not think I was capable of getting that weight up more than that. I split jerked and dropped every time and I ended up with 39! Talk about selling myself short. I was just telling someone today that the Open has been amazing for me. It has forced me to try the prescribed weight, when I would have normally scaled it back, and I have more than surprised myself. It has taught me what my body is capable of and to not underestimate myself. I will still scale during RFT WODs (I don’t want to hurt myself!) but now I know what I can do. Great experience for me!

  22. My mind definitely limits me more than my body. Recently I’ve found that if I’m buddied up with someone fitter or being watched by the instructor at my military fitness class, I can ‘miraculously’ run that bit faster or push out those extra push-ups I know I would have told myself were impossible if I’d been alone. I used to be a solo exerciser but now realise I need the group to keep me going and keep me working harder. It works!

  23. We did the 1000 burpee challenge, each person did 1000 burpees in a 2hr time limit & raised money for charity…something about trainers being obsessed with burpees, they love them!!! I think might join your daily burpee challenge, trying to shift some extra kilos!

      1. How are your burpees going? I have been doing 90 per day but increased to 100 today (even number…lol). I actually find them hard mentally, so today I did the 100 burpees plus found my rhythm & best way to keep motivated. I think doing in lots of 10’s works for me but how do you push thru the burpees mentally & what is your thought process?
        Told my trainer I was joining your challenge…he was rapt since burpees are his absolute all time favourite.

        1. Good! I’ve averaged 100 per day so far. I usually break them up into sets of 10 or 20 over the course of the day to get through them all.

          1. I’m just doing in one hit, I can do 10 in 45 sec, 15sec rest and a 1 minute rest half way…that’s way I can pretty much complete within 12mins and keeps me motivated to get thru. Off I go to bust out my daily 100 🙂

  24. Wow that is very ambitious on the burpee front! I think it depends on what the goal is and what happened the last time you may have set a goal for something similar. If you far exceeded the goal then I think a stretch goal is wise. If you missed the goal by a lot and it made you very discouraged then I think it is better to start easier and ease yourself in. I think all goals should try and stretch you a little bit otherwise they aren’t really goals 🙂

  25. Your form is perfect. Congrats on 13.4. That’s a great score. i always make safe and reach goals when I run races.

  26. I have never set athletic goals before I signed up for the CrossFit Games Open. And I set my first goal, to NOT be last in the World and to get a score on every Open WOD.

    This goal is what gave me the strength to snatch 75lb in 13.1 and to have the confidence to attack a 95lb clean and jerk this week! I usually do the Open WOD the morning after it is announced, but this week I really wanted to get T2B, so I worked on them Thur & Fri. I finished the first 3 C&Js in less than a minute then headed over to the bar. I had about 10 people cheering me on for 6 minutes, but I just couldn’t get those toes up. One time, I actually had 1 foot touch. But now I know what I need to do for next year!

    I intended to set some goals for 2013, but I ran into the same problem, safe vs reach. I have no idea how hard to set them! I don’t want to set them so safe that I have them done by June. But I don’t want to make them impossible. CrossFit Open has really allowed me to see what I am capable of, and after next week, I think I will sit down with one of our AWESOME coaches here at CrossFit Acadia and have them help me figure out where to go from here!

    My score on 13.4 was 3… grr

  27. It is so hard to know what goals to set! My goal was to get into the round out 12, and I barely did – 37 reps. I felt afterwards like I could have gotten at least one more rep, but I decided not to retest and just be proud of how I have progressed since last year.

    Nice work – 60 is such a great score!

  28. This is a really interesting thing to think about! I think it’s important to find that balance of something that will push you, but is attainable. I sometimes set my goals too high, and end up disappointment. But at the same time, I think it’s healthy to push ourselves out of our comfort zone to see how much we can accomplish.

    Great job meeting your goal!

  29. Great Job! I so much preferred this workout over the other open workouts. I got two less reps than you, but I felt the exact same when I was finished. I thought that I should of set my goal a little bit higher. I really wanted to retry the workout because I knew I could do better, but you’re right just move on, but remember for next time! Good thing I’m not going to the games…haha yea..riight.

  30. I absolutely LOVE that you are always working to improve your performance! And not just with Crossfit. You ROCK!

  31. I think the 80/20 rule could apply here (just like with food and fitness) when it comes to reach/safe goals. Setting reach goals that challenge (and scare you just a little!) make life more interesting, but can be overwhelming if those are the only goals you set.

    Great job on surpassing your goal!

  32. I think I do the same thing sometimes with selling myself a little short in setting (fitness) goals. I tend to underestimate what I can actually do, and since I don’t like to fail, sometimes I think I shoot too low. I think it’s great how you accepted that you beat your goal and moved on in this case (because that’s important!) but I agree that sometimes setting reach goals can be good for us too! Thanks for putting this into perspective; I’m definitely going to start setting more reach goals from now on. 🙂 Congrats on 13.4!!

  33. Tough question!! I usually set attainable goals because I hate the feeling of failure and know I’ll push myself through anything to reach my goal, which can be really unhealthy! Ok, so I want those pant, but i also want the shorts that @Fitnessista showed on her blog recently… love love love them!!

  34. Burpees are a huge weakness for me. My lack of upper body strength makes them hard. Thanks for the inspiring idea to do 90 a day. I wonder what benefits might happen after a month?!

  35. How awesome that your husband can be so honest with you…that’s the kind of relationship I want. He is always pushing you to make you better, and you do that for him. I think you had a good goal, but there is always that part of your brain that thinks you could have done more if you smash the original goal.

    Different color workout pants are SO fun. I need to get away from boring black more.


  36. You totally make me want to try crossfit. It looks a bit intimidating but the pic posted of you handling those weights were definitely inspiring.

  37. I loved this workout. Just looking at it made me feel as if I burned a few calories.
    As far as “safe” vs. “reach” goes, I think the former can serve as a prereq to the latter. I often set what I know are very safe goals in order to encourage myself by completing them. When I complete the “safe” goal, I challenged myself on the spot to “reach” for another goal. I know I can solidly bench a buck fifty, 8-12 reps, 6 sets. I start with that and mix it up with a few reverse presses, or curls, lower rep and higher weight, vice versa, etc. Or I start with half hour of jogging at 3.6, which is super easy stuff. Once done, I tack on another 15 minutes at reduced speed. So I think there’s advantages to both mindsets and even a combo of both.

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