Thursday, January 3, 2013


How many times have you seen/read something like this question?

"I weigh 160lbs and just deadlifted 405.  Is that good?"

You can pick any number for either weight, it's not important.  Just the general inquiry of "are these numbers good?"  Maybe this even came from you at some point.

What is the goal of this question?  Honestly.  What could the outcome be here?  If the answer to the question is "Yes", does this mean you get to strut around the gym now and tell all your friends you have good numbers because the internet said so? If the answer is "No", will you go home and slit your wrists?  Will you finally start pushing yourself in the gym?  Why weren't you doing that in the first place?

It simply seeking validation from strangers, plain and simple, and it's a sign that something is lacking in your training.  If you are so desperate for feedback that you need to seek out the approval of strangers, you are not progressing.  You should be charting your progress in a training log, and if you own a mirror and some honesty, you should be able to see if you are making progress in your physique.

Some exceptions may apply

Furthermore, this question always takes an inevitable turn.  Someone, offering a great resource, tells this person to compare themselves to powerlifters (or whatever sport would be appropriate for the lift) in their weight class to get an idea of where their numbers stack.  This is met with resistance in the form of "I don't want to compare myself to competitive lifters, just other people.  I have only been training for X amount of time."

So now, we want to see where we stack up compared to others who aren't even competing against us?  This would be akin to walking through the street and occasionally sucker punching people to validate your boxing skills.

Undisputed heavyweight champion of the block

 If you want to see how you stack up, put on some gloves, get in the ring, and scrap.

Lets be honest with ourselves here.  If we have to tell people our numbers, we f**ked up.  If you are making good progress, people ask you how much you lift.  If you are not making good progress, people ask you IF you lift.  If you have to tell people that you train because it is not blatantly obvious, your numbers are not "good".  A man with good numbers stands out among other people, a man with average numbers blends in (hence the term "average").

Want to know when your numbers are good?  When you no longer have to ask.


  1. Went through this EXACT scenario hours before reading this. Was asked if x routine was "good enough." Perfect article.

  2. Glad you guys both enjoyed it.

    Blitz, gotta love that experience. Definitely a future rant in the making for me. Honestly, the more I train, the more I realize that the program itself isn't nearly as critical as the effort.

  3. "This would be akin to walking through the street and occasionally sucker punching people to validate your boxing skills." Loved this part

    1. Glad you liked it. I always joked with my friends about "surprise boxing matches", haha.

  4. "why weren't you doing that in the first place?"

    Because I wasn't competing.

    "Why weren't you competing?"

    Because I wasn't strong enough.

    "Why weren't you strong enough?"

    Because I wasn't pushing myself hard enough... Because I wasn't competing.

    And so on, it goes.

    When you have infinite time to achieve your goals, it will take infinitely forever. When you have three months, you'll either find a good program or start troubleshooting your own training to try and force your body to grow faster than it should be able to.

    By you, I mean, myself. And by troubleshoot, I mean I knew there were several deficiencies in the program I was doing, and so I'm making changes to it in an attempt to address such defieciencies. But I'm an idiot and don't know what I'm doing other than busting my ass to force it to work.

    It's also been some of the most fun I have had since stepping into the gym because whether the program succeeds and by how much I will have learned to work hard due to it all.

    Sorry, I know this is an old post. Decided to read this thing all the way through and just gaining new insights from it all.