As with anything in life, a solid plan and realistic goal usually results in success. I see too many men going into the gym without any direction, plan, or goal. Overweight people think they need to run on the treadmill for 5 hours a day. Curlbros think that doing every variation of biceps curls will get them huge. I say you need to set strength goals, have a plan, and commit to it.
Now, if you’re an untrained newbie and tell yourself you’re going to be deadlifting 1000 lbs by December you’re not being real with yourself. You have to make sure that your plan is going to fit in with your life, is realistic, and get your ass into the gym.
One way I like to keep my lifting on track is to set PRs (Personal Records) goals that I want to achieve. In June I really wanted to get my overhead press above 120 lbs. It was the weakest of my lifts but also one of my favorites to do. Just last Monday, I pressed 120 lbs for 3 reps. Not anything impressive to an experienced lifter, but I satisfied my goal. Now I want to get it to 140 lbs by January.
Having a Plan
Having a goal is one thing, having a map to get there is another. You should be first, making time to lift. There is a guy who has way more shit on his plate than you that still has time to train. One hour should be sufficient for most people. If you have a busy schedule, you can lift while the world sleeps.
Part two is actually using a solid training program. I say all novice lifters should be doing Starting Strength or Stronglifts 5×5. From there you can choose what your training goals should be. Do you want get into powerlifitng? Do you want to do a bodybuilding contest? Do you want to enter a strongman competition? These are going to be different for everyone but once you answer that question, you can find hundreds of programs that meet those goals. I believe the best program is one you enjoy that will get you in the gym every week. At the end of the day, no matter what program you’re on, if your diet is on point and you’re lifting heavy/consistently you’ll get bigger and stronger.
The truth is, when weight training, you’re going to hit failures and plateaus. This is normal and it shouldn’t discourage you. If you’re stalled out at a certain weight/rep on any lift, adjust your diet, work on accessory work to help that muscle group, and get enough sleep.
The best part of failing a lift is when you finally break that plateau. I’ve written before that the mental aspects of weight training are directly equal to the physical. It helps you with staying on task, committing to greatness, and the satisfaction of pushing yourself beyond the limit.