T Nation

A Beginners Goals

I am in my twenties and just recently got married. I thought I was getting a good workout in my little gym with my personal trainer little did I know that was not really getting me anywhere. My husband has introduced me to the world of Olympic weightlifting and body building and I have fallen in love.

I have been learning about Olympic weightlifting, body building, and nutrition for about 2 months now. I am very excited about all the possibilities that I have been opened up to. My husband and I workout together on the weekends or whenever our schedules allow, but now I want to take it further. I have set some goals for myself, I hope they are realistic, and I want to do anything in my power to reach them.

I have set up my workout schedule and I am going to document my diet and my physical activity on a daily basis with a blog that I have set up online. My major goal right now is to build muscle. I am hoping that by posting on this forum I will get some good feedback and ideas to help me achieve my goals. You can fallow my daily progress at

The Goal
By March26th I want to be able to:

  1. Run a mile in 8 minutes
  2. Overhead Press 65lds 5 times
  3. Front squat 75lbs 3 times
  4. Deadlift 165lbs 1 time
  5. Row 65lbs 5times

The Game Plan
I already know that deadlifts are very challenging for me. I have a very weak upper back and my lower back fallows suit. So If I am going to achieve my goal of ripping 165lbs off the floor with good form I am going to have to focus a lot of my efforts towards strengthening my upper back. I also have a lot of trouble activating my glutes.

My ass and my hips are very weak and they don’t quite understand how to work just yet, so I will be focusing a lot in that area as well. The rest is just about building strength and muscle and taking care of my body.

Sun- Overhead press
Mon- Romanian deadlift
Tue- Mile
Wed- Rest
Thur- Deadlift
Fri- Row
Sat- Front squat

There are a few things I want to include on a daily basis:

  1. Foam rolling
  2. Sit-ups
  3. Push-ups
  4. Stretching
  5. Glute activation exercises
    6.Body weight squats
  6. Read one article on T-Nation

Breakfast- 2 eggs, 2 turkey sausage links or 2 slices of Canadian bacon, fruit, 1 bread thin w/ peanut butter.
Lunch- Can of tuna or turkey sandwich, carrot sticks, apple, nuts
Dinner- lean protein, lots of veggies
Snacks- Lara bars, fruits, veggies, turkey jerky, peanut butter, almonds
supplements- fish oil, calcium, digestive enzymes

The only dairy I have in my diet is cheese. If I have a turkey sandwich I will have 1 slice of organic cheese on it. The only bread I have in my diet is my 1 in the morning and for the turkey sandwiches.

Nice work, getting motivated to do this. Good luck!

Why limit yourself to only 1 heavy exercise per day? Surely you can press and deadlift on the same day, or squat and deadlift on the same day.

Also, don’t neglect the bench press if you are trying to increase your overhead press.

Are you doing any accessory work?

I only put one heavy lift per day on my schedule because I wanted to make sure I wasnâ??t going to set my goals to high and then get discouraged, with work and everything I donâ??t have too much time on the week days. I usually end up doing more then what is on my schedule, which always makes me feel good. I havenâ??t been doing much bench pressing or accessory work, although I realize I need to. I work out at home in our garage we have a bar and 230lbs of weight, we havenâ??t been able to get dumbbells or kettlebells yet. I have access to a gym, it is quite a drive, but I can probably make it there 2 to 4 times per week. What accessory work would help me achieve my goals? Is there anything I can do at home? Also I know I should give my muscles time to heal, but how much time can I do the same lift 3 times a week or more? I want to make sure I am building my muscle up and not breaking it down.

[quote]AuburnAddiction wrote:
Also I know I should give my muscles time to heal, but how much time can I do the same lift 3 times a week or more? I want to make sure I am building my muscle up and not breaking it down.[/quote]

Well, you have to break it down to build it up. Stress the system and then let if adapt. That’s what the rest days are for. If you don’t rest properly, then you will bump into overtraining.

As for doing the same lifts three times a week, many beginners have had success squatting M/W/F. AS LONG AS you take the recovery days seriously.

And in your first post you said “My ass and my hips are very weak and they don’t quite understand how to work just yet.” I would say the best exercise for getting your ass and hips to work together is the barbell back squat.

Good luck! Keep us up on your progress.

Today I went out to the garage to see how close I am to reaching the goals that I set to meet on March 26th.
Here is how I did:
Goal- Press 65lbs x 5
Today- 55lbs x 5
Goal- Front squat 75lbs x 3
Today- 65 x 3
Goal- Deadlift 165 x 1
Today- 135 x 1 (was hard!)
Goal- Row 65 x 5
Today- 65 x 5 I kicked this goals butt! I need to bump that up.
This last week has been really great for me. My glutes are starting to activate when they are supposed to, which means my form is getting better. I am getting the hang of pushing through my heels. I am starting to feel really comfortable with the weights in my hand, and my hunger to rip heavy shit off the floor is definitely getting stronger. Also my Flameout and Metabolic Drive bars showed up today and I’m way happy about that.

From one beginner to another:

Your body can recover faster than you’re giving it credit for. I second tiburon’s advice that you try adding a few more things to your schedule that are built around your main lifts so that you can maximize your gains.

The goals that you’ve posted will be utterly demolished if you do this. You’re already going to meet most of them in the next couple of weeks, but you’ll blow past them if you add in good accessory work that will add to your goals.

Just doing the main lifts and ‘random stuff’ as you put it isn’t going to help you as much. If you want the help to figure that out, you’ve come to the right place.

Do take pictures now, and on march 26th. It’ll be awesome to see the changes if you do things right. And then you’ll get to share with us as well.

What type of accessory work would you suggest? I can probably get to the gym 3 times a week and then work on my Olympic lifts the other days of the week. If I am driving 50 minutes to get to the gym 3 times a week I want to make sure I am getting the most out of it, so what will benefit me the most?

What exactly do you do on your sun/mon/thurs/sat gym days?

If you let us know that, someone who’s allowed to give advice will chime in!

This is my schedule right now:
Mon. Romanian Deadlift
Tue. Mile run
Wed. rest day
Thur. Front squat
Fri. Row
Sat. Deadlift
Sun. Overhead Press
I would be able to go to the gym for accessory work Mon/Wed/Fri. I would like my new schedule to look something like
Mon. Accessory
Tue. Mile run, Romanian Deadlift
Wed. Accessory
Thur. Front squat, row
Fri. Accessory
Sat. Deadlift, overehead press
Sun. Rest day (my husband and I always go on a 6 mile walk on sundays)
I just need help knowing what accessory work will help me with the bigger lifts I am doing. If you know of some articles that will help I would love to read them, and I would love your advice as well.

I think 6 days a week in the gym isn’t particularly necessary. I’ve gotten strong going three, with the occasional fourth. I think starting with less days, and adding more as necessary, is a better way to go about it. You want to do the least amount of work necessary to get strong.

I honestly really really like the basic 3x5 & 5x5 programs floating around the net for beginners. They work wonderfully well. The high frequency of doing the exercises lets you become more comfortable with them quicker. And doing 5 reps can prevent form issues resulting from fatigue. I myself have gotten strong on them, as well as others I’ve personally helped. There are also some good success stories using these programs all over the net.

I also recommend you follow an already written program by an experienced coach, and absolutely not design one yourself. Following a pre written program will allow you to see how your body responds to lifting, while avoiding screwing things up completely. A program tailored specifically to you, would, of course, be optimal, but you have to learn what works well for you first.

Popular programs include:

westside for skinny bastards (article on this site)
madcows 5x5
stronglifts 5x5
starting strength
5/3/1 (article on this site)

Search the web for more information on all of them. I highly recommend either stronglifts 5x5 or starting strength. I also think it’s definitely worth buying the “starting strength” book; the exercise descriptions in it are fantastic! There’s lots of “how” AND “why”.

I also think your lifting goals are seriously very easily obtained. Aim higher. You’ll be surprised just how strong you can be!

So here’s what I think you should do: pick one of the above mentioned programs. Commit to it 100%. If you half ass it, or switch programs all the time, you’ll get nowhere. Don’t do anything else but that program for at least 3 months, and don’t read about other programs so you won’t be tempted to switch. Focus on adding weight to the bar as fast as possible (imperative!). Eat lots of protein.