Archives For year in review

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!

Personally I like Chinese New Year better than the regular new years.


Super markets have bags of rice on sale, I get money from my parents (still!) and it just seems more festive and exciting even though I have no idea what’s going on.

But that’s not until February 10, 2013, which will be the year of the Snake.


Jackie Chan Snake Style Kung Fu

Anyways, today is the last day of the year, so it’s time to review how my year went in 2012, and make some goals for 2013. For reference, here is my review of 2011 that I wrote last year.

One Word To Describe 2012

  • Progress (same word I used last year).
  • I would have described it as “wasps”, but they only invaded my basement in the summer time. I hate wasps.

5 Greatest Things That Happened In The Past Year

  1. I’ve gotten stronger in the 4 major lifts:
    • Squat: 440 lb to 510 lb (+70 lb increase)
    • Bench Press: 319 lb to 355 lb (+36 lb increase)
    • Deadlift: 500.5 lb to 540 lb (+39.5 lb increase)
    • Overhead Press: 220 lb to 255 lb (+35 lb increase)
  2. Competed in a powerlifting competition (one of my goals I wanted to accomplish)
  3. Wrote a few blog posts and product reviews (another one of my goals I wanted to accomplish)
  4. Published a bunch of videos of my training. I think that my videos have inspired others to lift weights and get strong. I know that watching others lift and hit PR’s inspires me.
  5. Became proficient in the reverse grip bench press, and unracking the bar alone even though I've read this was supposed to be difficult to impossible to do without a spotter (don't believe everything you read on the internet, folks!)

3 Great Lessons I've Learned From Last Year Are

  1. Whatever you focus on, grows. And whatever you don’t focus on, does not grow. Unless it’s mold or something like that.
  2. Simple = Effective. I’ve been doing my own variation(s) of the Texas Method all year and still have been experience great results. I get the feeling that as I get stronger and start hitting more plateaus, my training my need to become a little more sophisticated. But right now, everything is working fine and I’m not the type of person who fixes what is not broke. Not only is my training simple, my diet and supplementation and rudimentary as well.
  3. If it hurts, don’t do it(when it comes to injuries. Hook grip deadlifts on the other hand…)
    • On a related note, if it hurts and you do “do it”, figure out how to turn lemons into lemonade (see below).

If I Could Do Things Again Last Year, I Would Do These 3 Things Differently

  1. Training through pain. I somehow strained a muscle in my lower back around the spring. I could still work through the pain, but it progressively got worst and worst and came to a point where my low bar back squat was aggravating my back every time I squatted. Eventually I had to stop doing it. Turns out this was actually a blessing in disguise, because it gave me the opportunity to try out a back squat variation (high bar) that was not painful (up to 3 reps), but actually improved my low bar squat. In other words, it forced me to squat with a high bar position, and the strength I gained from high bar squatting transferred over to the low bar squat.
  2. Write more consistently. I’ve written more on my blog this year, but it’s been inconsistent. Need to figure out some sort of blogging schedule, and stick with it. Just like a weight training program.
  3. Read more books. I didn’t read as consistently as I would have liked.

One Word To Describe 2013

  • Consistency

Goals For 2013

As far as lifting goes, my goals are:

    1. Squat: 510 lb to 550 lb (40 lb increase)
    2. Bench Press: 355 lb to 380 lb (25 lb increase)
    3. Deadlift: 540 lb to 600 lb (60 lb increase)
    4. Overhead Press: 255 lb to 280 lb (25 lb increase)

This looks attainable. How do I plan to do this?

Simple really. Stick with my current training program, and microloading with fractional plates.

I figure if I could increase my PR’s by 2.5 lb per month on the OHP and bench press, and increase by 5 lb per month on the squat and deadlift, then my 1RM would increase by 30 lb for the OHP and bench press, and 60 lb for the squat and deadlift by the end of 2013.

I’ve set my goals a little bit lower than the projected gains for all my lifts (with the exception of the deadlift) just in case I get injured, run into plateaus or something else.

Other goals:

  • Compete in a couple of powerlifting competitions.
  • Apply goal setting, planning, executing and reviewing to other aspects of my life
  • Write and read more consistently.
  • Don’t get injured.

Have a safe and happy new year!