T Nation

Help Setting Philosophies Then Goals

Hi there,

I’m at a crossroad, feeling a bit directionless and want help formulating my thoughts/philosophies and then creating my goals (and then after that my actual regime).

My number one philosophy is to train in such a way that I can workout for the majority of my life. I think I can achieve this by doing yoga, not being fat and not doing anything to specifically to mess myself up. After this simple point, I struggle to set down what I’m trying to achieve.

If I just wanted to be very strong then it would be relatively simple to set goals and then create a regime to increase the weight I could lift. However, I want to become ‘better’ in multiple ways (see below for sports) and become a good all-round athlete. I don’t know what that means though, but I think it’s something like:

  • 1rm levels (the classic 2.5* BW for DL etc) – so absolute strength
  • 5k time
  • Calisthenic ability – as a by product, high levels of power
  • Flexibility/mobility

My initial thinking is that if you have ability in the above 4, then you’re a decent all-round athlete. If I can solidify my thinking around this, then I can start setting some goals that will show achievement in each area (that might mean working on all 4 at once or it might mean cycling between disciplines every so many months).

However, not at all sure that this is necessarily the best approach so would love some input/discussion around how best to think about this.

My stats:

  • 32 years old
  • Height: 178cm (5 foot 10)
  • Weight: 92kg (203 lbs)
  • 1 RMs
    • Deadlift 160kg (353 lbs)
    • Squat: 135kg (298 lbs)
    • Bench: 70kg (154 lbs)
    • MP: 55kg (121 lbs)
  • Bleep test: just below “Average” score – I’m a bad runner
  • Shit I like doing: Lifting heavy, running, crossfit, BJJ, cycling (just started), doing random BS fitness challenges.
  • Other relevant points:
    • I’m naturally bad at sports (co-ordination, tightness, turning circle of an oil tanker, no “flow”)
    • I was obese between 6 and 18. 44 inch waist! Lost a lot of weight and became stronger. Then lost too much weight and struggled to lift much. Now basically healthy

Thanks for your help,

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Are you willing to invest in reading material regarding to training? 5/3/1 Forever (and the OG 2nd edition) would be a good read.

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Yes. I always thought 5/3/1 was essentially a strength program based on that rep range, so I’ve already learned something. Does this book cover the philosophy around how to decide what being a good all round athlete means, as opposed to setting speific goals? Does it cover things like running (which I assume isn’t achieved in a 5/3/1 rep range) ?

His books are heavy on the ideas of training principles, and using those principles to determine your training philosophy. He doesn’t really wax poetic about philosophic decision making, not really his style, but it’s effective. There is an entire section on conditioning which includes running.

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The 531 rep range is a bit of a misnomer. When I run 531 programs, I rarely do sets of less than 5 and my best progress is typically with “plus sets” in the 8-15 rep range.