2014 Year In Review And Goals For 2015

December 31, 2014 — Leave a comment

2014 has come to a close and Chinese New Year is just around the corner (Thursday, February 19, 2015), which will be there year of the GOAT!


2014 Goals – Recap

I got 4 out of 6 goals I set out for myself for 2014:

Low Bar Squat: 550 lb to 600 lb (+50 lb increase)

High Bar Squat: 520 lb to 550 lb (+30 lb increase)

Front Squat: 420 lb to 455 lb (+35 lb increase)

Reverse Grip Bench Press: 400 lb to 440 lb (+40 lb increase)

Overhead Press: 265 lb to 280 lb+ (+15 lb increase)

Deadlift: 570 lb to 600 lb+ (+30 lb increase)

Note: the first deadlift training session this year was in APRIL.

I revised my lifting goals after breaking a few of my initial goals:

  1. High Bar Squat: 585 lb
  2. Front Squat: 475 lb
  3. Overhead Press: 300 lb
  4. Bench Press (Regular Grip): 405 lb

Out of these updated, more difficult goals, I only achieved the front squat of 475 lb.

In total, I hit 197 PRs this year based on a count of Youtube videos where the title shows a "RM" (repetition maximum). Not bad!

Also, looking at the number of PRs I completed over the year, the 2 lifts that really stick out for me are the low bar squat and deadlift. These are the 2 lifts that I have trained the least frequent in.

I suspect that the progress made on these lifts were supported by high bar and front squats. There's definitely a carry-over effect (at least in my case) of the more torso-erect, greater ROM style of squatting to the low bar squat and deadlift. But I still needed to train those 2 lifts just to get used to the movement again in order to utilize my full power (for low bar squats, needed to get into the grove again since the movement is different than high bar squat, and for deadlifts, I needed to build up grip strength and pain tolerance for the hook grip). I mentioned this before, but ideally in order to improve on these lifts, higher frequency is warranted. Still made OK gains though.

Get a 1500 total in a meet (not sure what competition I'll enter yet. All the ones I'm aware of are a little too far for my liking)

Didn't do a full meet this year. There wasn't a full powerlifting meet being held locally like last year, but I did enter a bench only meet in the Summer, where I benched 400 lb in competition.

Get more articles published

Not as many as I had wanted. Actually the problem with this goal is that it wasn't even specific in terms of number of articles.

I did publish a few (only listing the ones that have meatier content):

  1. How To Front Squat with Straps on T-Nation – January
  2. My Take on Supplements - June
  3. One Exercise Per Day™ - July
  4. How I Hit PRs All The Time And How You Can Too - July
  5. One Weird OHP Trick - August
  6. A Very Important Letter To My 14 Year Old Self – September

Get more jacked

Well, I'm 220 lb now, without even trying. I think I was about 210 lb last year.

One Word Picture To Describe 2014


3 Greatest Things That Happened In The Past Year

  1. Became a DAD!
  2. Figured out how to consistently get a little bit stronger everyday without expending too much time or energy.
  3. I learned a couple of weird tricks that helped me lift more weight. Specially, in the overhead press and squat.

Goals For 2015

  1. Low Bar Squat: 585 lb to 620 lb (+35 lb increase)
  2. High Bar Squat: 570 lb to 600 lb (+30 lb increase)
  3. Front Squat: 475 lb to 500 lb (+25 lb increase)
  4. Reverse Grip Bench Press: 420 lb to 440 lb (+20 lb increase)
  5. Bench Press: 390 lb to 410 lb (+20 lb increase)
  6. Deadlift: 600 lb to 660 lb (+60 lb increase)
    • I'll need to deadlift more frequently if I want to reach 660 lb.
  7. Sumo Deadlift: 550 lb to 600 lb (+50 lb increase)
  8. Overhead Press: 295 lb to 315 lb (+20 lb increase)
  9. Write a book and publish it on Amazon (“Muscle Sphere Secrets”, “One Weird Trick To ______”, or something else).

I also want to maintain a bodyweight of 220 lb. Don't want to get too big or else it'll be hard to cut to 90 Kg (~198 lb) for a powerlifting competition, and I'll need to buy new clothes too.

Somehow, I feel I'm destined to become a muscle sphere if I keep making gainz, whether I like it or not.

Anyway, see you next year!

John Phung

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Ever since I started taking strength training seriously, I was bitten by the Iron Bug. Then it burrowed under my skin and laid eggs in my heart. Now those eggs are hatching and I... the feeling is indescribable.

Quick Stats
Height: 5'4" on non-squat days
Weight: 200 lb 210 lb ~220 lb (FOREVER BULK BRAH)


  • Texas Method: March 4, 2011 - April 28, 2013
  • Smolov Jr for Bench Press: June 4 - 22, 2012
  • Starting Strength: Nov 29, 2010 - March 4, 2011