Goals are important. However, GOOD goals are measurable and use hard numbers.
When I first joined the gym just under a year ago, my goal was simply “to get stronger”. As a newbie to strength training, I had no idea what I should aim for. Instead of hard numbers, I used a time frame. I made myself accountable on this blog and gave myself 6 months. Then I posted my results with pics. My progress motivated me, not the numbers.
After a lazy month travelling around to Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas, I needed new motivation. “Getting Strong” for Muay Thai training in Thailand was my new goal. But after a month in NYC, I decided to abandon Thailand in favour of a once-off offer for a US graduate visa. (Moving back next Monday! Yeah!)
I found myself with no gym goals. The result? My training was awful. I started going to gym only twice a week. Sometimes just once. I was too distracted with partying, getting laid, and living the New York lifestyle.
When I got back to Ireland after four months, I found myself fatter and no stronger than when I left. I decided to make up for lost time. I wanted something to aim for before my first year of training had ended. I needed goals with numbers. And so, I scoured the internet for a template.
Here’s what I found:
Novice goals from Stronglifts:
1.5x Body weight squat makes you intermediate.
Bench press you own weight.
Then aim for a 300lb squat and 400lb deadlift.
Within two years of consistent training on a decent routine, the average male should be able to progress to the following levels of strength (1 Rep Max):
Strength Goals: Intermediate (within 2 years)
Bench press: body weight x 1.2
Chin-ups or pull-ups: body weight x 1.2 or 8 reps with body weight.
Squat: body weight x 1.6
Deadlift: body weight x 2
If you want more detailed goals on more exercises, I also recommend checking out these charts on strength standards.
So after all my research, I found some consensus and came up with 4 reasonable, achievable goals for beginners. These are also my first year goals. They are based on your 1 rep max (1RM). If you prefer measuring your strength with more reps, use this 1RM calculator to estimate where you stand.
LEVEL 1: (1st Year)
GOAL 1 : Squat 1.5x your body weight
GOAL 2 : Bench your body weight
GOAL 3 : Deadlift 2x your body weight
GOAL 4 : Perform a Muscle up (If you don’t know what that is, click here. It’s fucking hard.)
So there you have it.
Last week, I smashed Goal 1 (I did several reps at this weight!) and achieved goal 2. I’ve also performed a muscle up on occasion—but literally just one. I’ve still haven’t plateaued on my dead lift and should reach 2x my body weight in the next two to three weeks. All goals should be reached by my first year’s end. I’ll post all of my results in the coming weeks.