In may of this year, after returning from Myanmar, I had lost a lot of weight – and not in the good way. I had been training, maybe 1 or two times a week, during the month I was gone – which normally is adequate, to keep me somewhat in shape during holidays. But the lack of protein in their diet just made it impossible for me to keep a decent shape. Of course seeing the country, was of way higher priority, so arriving home in a bad shape was just part of the experience.
But back home I decided to get back in shape fast. I had lost some muscle mass – which needed to be put back on. Especially my back and arms had been robbed some of their fullness and volume.
I am a big proponent of using bodyweight and gymnastics, and strongly believe that being used correct, they can add a lot of muscle as well as strength. But when it comes to tracking changes over time, and using progression to put on muscle and strength, the easy way is just a good ‘ol barbell routine. Keep it simple.
I wanted it to revolve primarily around deadlift and strict standing overhead press. To challenge myself, I needed to set goals exceeding prior accomplishments. I had deadlifted somewhere around 220-230 and I had strict overhead pressed 100kg.
Therefore my new goal was to reach 250kg deadlift and 110kg strict overhead press. And this should be done this year.
My initial thought was to do it before new years, but as my training partner pointed out, for which I also made some goals, on his behalf; perhaps is was better to have the strength-challenge done before the month of December where every weekend is packed with christmas parties. Therefore the finishing line was set to be late November/ start December, which is right where we are at now.
I used Jim Wendler’s awesome simple 5/3/1 template for deadlift and strict overhead press, whereas the rest of the program consisted of exercises and rep-ranges designed by me. The 5/3/1 template is just such a nice tool to track progression and challenge yourself from workout to workout – I highly recommend it. As a note; start quite low on the weight. The calculations are based on 90% of your 1 rep max. But don’t be afraid to low-ball a bit on that one, then you can keep moving forward for way longer. A good rule of thumb will be, to make sure you can do around 12 reps, in the first week of the first cycle on the rep-out(yeah it gets kind of technical, but people who are interested and research the 5/3/1 will know).
Now in a few days, my partner and I, will try to reach our goals. We had the final heavy cycle, last week and are deloading this week. The big day will probably be monday next week. I am pretty confident that both me and him will reach our goals or – “our” – be it “my goals”, since I set his as well, to keep him in the fire. But no matter what, the journey has been awesome. 6-7 months of progression, working towards this goal, having it in sight every week. It has made me stronger than ever, given me back the lost muscle mass and just made it fun to train.
Of course I will do a follow-up on whether I accomplished what I set out to do – which I am certain I will. But the takeaway here is actually not whether I do it or not, it is the goal-setting itself. It has given me a mountain in the horizon to walk towards. A destination that always made itself present on the horizon, giving guidance whether I walked straight towards it, strolled of to either left or right or perhaps had to go a bit backwards, in order to get there.
Goals are important. It is important to have something to measure your decisions against. A guidance that will allow you to decide whether what you are about to do will help you get closer to your mountain.
These strength-goals are just one part of my goal-setting. They fit together with other parts in my larger picture of where I want to be in 5-10 years. I have goals for my business, my personal life etc. Not radical in any way, but they help me remember where I am going. It also enabled me to reach goals on different domains, thereby transforming what could have felt like failure on one domain into victory in another. I could have had a bad day with my business, but during training I break a personal record – then at the end of the day I can focus on the success of my training rather than the bad day for my business.
Perhaps I will share some goals at the end of the years as well, but if you are on your way to reach some goals, tell me about them or if you think goal-setting is all stupid, I would like to hear your arguments as well.