Anvil or Hammer


Posted in Goals by Mike on April 16, 2007

I’ve put some stuff in writing but not a ton. I’ll try to be fairly complete here. Comments are welcome

Guidelines – These are vague ideas that drive my goals but are not really quantifiable.

  1. Live a normal life – I have no interest in being on such a strict diet or training schedule that I can’t take my wife to the movies and have some popcorn with her or go camping with friends and have a beer.
  2. Remain active into old age – even older than Chris Rice 🙂
  3. Make myself healthier – rather than gain a lot of weight and go for max weight ever, lose some weight but still train to the things I like.



By age 40 (2019) – see my 100 X 40 list, this idea is stolen directly and with permissions from Chris Rice. These will become refined with time


By age 30 (2009) –

  1. Bodyweight of 225
  2. Waist (thickest area between hips and ribs) < 40″
  3. 10 consecutive pull ups
  4. 32K 10 minute snatch test >100
  5. Deadlift 600lbs
  6. Squat 500lbs
  7. Sandbag clean and press 300lbs
  8. 20 reps squat 315

This year (2007) –

  1. Bodyweight 235
  2. Sandbag clean and press 250lbs
  3. Standing press 250lbs
  4. 5 X 5 squat 350
  5. 5 consecutive pullups
  6. 32K 10 minute snatch test > 80
  7. 24K 10 minute snatch test > 125

Those actually came much easier than I expected. Although when I look at them I realize that I am not really doing a great job of pushing certain ones. For the time being I am trying to do what I can in preparation for the May strongman contest. That means that I want to do sandbags and low rep stuff in the immediate term. After that it is my intent to focus on losing this weight. 

To answer Stephen’s question precisely. I’m trying to lose weight to get healthier. It’s something I have needed to do for a long time but I was resistant to the idea I was/am fat. It wasn’t until I trained with Dan and Luke and saw myself on video that I realized how fat I was. I remember, a year and a half earlier, arguing with my nutrition professor that my BMI of 41.8 didn’t necessarily mean I was unhealthy and I believed that, despite my 42″ waist pants starting to be a little too tight. I had finally given up on the idea of getting back in the 30’s of inches because I didn’t think it was all that important. I threw out the old pairs of size 38 pants when I moved from Colorado.

I remember reading that guys with waists over 40″ were, correlatively, more ill than guys with less than that. I remember being able to grab a big old love handle on either side of my belly without trying. I did all this believing, completely, that I was big but healthy. The video pointed it out to me that I was wrong. I also realized when my dad was dealing with his cancer that his body wasn’t any different than mine, both short and stout. His body fat was a drag on his body and health too. It didn’t kill him, being fat, but there certainly seems to be a correlation between low general health and cancer. 

With losing my father to cancer and losing my aunt to cardiovascular disease all in a year I am realizing that I have to get more fit. That stuff will kill you. I have an advantage though. I like to workout. Unfortunately I like to go heavy. I’m trying to take advantage of my desire to lift heavy and get strong and steer it toward my need to lose some weight. So, were I kinda mumbled and grumbled about bodyweight in the past, I’m serious about it now. I don’t post it as much because I am intentionally going about it the slow way. I weigh myself almost every day. I initially thought that if I got down to 235 I would be a fit as could be. I’m now realizing that I was fooling myself. 225 is a nice number and it does drop me into a lower weight class in strongman so I’ll take advantage of that. So I’m shooting for 225. It’s a debate to me as to whether that is enough. I figure I’ll never know if I don’t go there and then decided. I was about 200 – 205 coming out of high school and wearing 34″ jean. So I doubt I’ll get below 200 anytime in the near future. It’s not my goal to get abs or look good with my shirt off or anything. 

Beyond the weight answer, you pretty much had me pegged. I don’t have the mental fortitude to do this for the rest of my life if I don’t enjoy it. Challenges are fun and they make you own up to your own weaknesses so I think they are a powerful tool in the arsenal of training. Competition is the same. I’m never gonna be a professional athlete, I’m not committed enough but I can have fun training for amateur competitions, there will always be another competitor training to push me. Chris Rice suggested on the Farm Strength boards that we should all compete twice a year and I think that is a great idea.

I also think that if you need 6 months to a year to get ready for a competition you are doing something wrong. Why are you training week after week if, when someone says they are having a competition next month, you can’t show up and at least perform? No you won’t be at your absolute peak but most of us miss our peak when it comes to planned competition.

While I’m at it

Goals of

  1. Post no less than 5 times a week
  2. Achieve 50 individual readers
  3. Become a resource to someone


2007 Goals of

  1. >200 individual readers
  2. >10 in house bloggers
  3. >20 fed blogs
  4. <250,000 technocrati rating
  5. Using affiliations and ads to pay for itself and anvilorhammer (pay out of my pocket for all this)

 So lads, lemme have it.

For those of you slackers such as myself, I expect to see it in writing, this week, send me a link if you it.:-)



24 Responses to 'Goals'

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  1. Scott Styles said,

    I’m curious, what sort of numbers does this calculator give you?

    I think the level of strength your are talking about maintaining is pretty high for the goals you have listed. A 600lb deadlift isn’t good for the body any way you cut it.

  2. Chris Rice said,

    What I’ve been thinking about is close to what I think you’re trying to say/do. Crossfit is too endurance oriented for my goals but I like the concept – so I need to come up with “Chrisfit” – a strength/ endurance program instead of an endurance/strength program. I think by simply reversing the ratio of heavier training to interval endurance work in Crossfit with some climbing workouts as a part of the program, I can get close to what I want. You might consider a body fat percentage number goal in there somewhere – I think it’s a good indicator of the success of a weight loss program. Keeping your lean muscle is truly a big deal and the only possible way you’re going to do the big lifts you have down here. Keep it up – and keep some time open in October for Seneca – surely it won’t rain us out again.

  3. Mike said,

    I don’t really know what a healthy percentage is but 10% sounds good. so I put that in and got 203. Working backward I got that my current BF is 23%. It looks like my year end goal will bring me to 20% and my two year goal to 17%. According to what I could find, healthy male bodyfats range from 5% for the super lean athlete (not me) to 17% for the health couch potatoe. 15% seems like a common number which puts me just over 215. Maybe that’ll be my three year goal.
    You’ve expressed concern before about my approach. I won’t lie, my knee jerk reaction is “Well, he’s wrong!”. But, it’s jsut knee jerk. Once I get over my ego, I want to know more. Tell me why you feel that a 600lb deadlift is just bad. No doubt, it stresses the body but that is what you train for. A 600lb deadlift is considerably less of ann accomplishment than a #3 close or lifting the blob. Is it because it hits the whole body?

  4. Mike said,

    Chris, I am looking forward to hitting Seneca again. Rain or no, it was fun and I’d do it again, although given the choice, I’ll take no rain.

  5. Scott said,

    Mike, this is great. You’ve inspired me to actually write down a few of my own goals (I’ll post them once I work out the plan of attack for each).

    I agree with Chris on the Crossfit thing (it is more of an endurance/strength mix than a strength/endurance one), but it still has some great ideas.

    Nice levering work on the vid, btw. I love that stuff.

  6. Mike said,

    Glad I could be of service, and Stephen for that matter for asking it originally.
    Crossfit is…interesting. I don’t hate it, I’ve just never quite fallen in love. I have considered trying it out for a month or so this summer but I think it’s the idea of working out on someone else’s schedule that keeps me away.
    Thanks on the levering. I’ve done some but not a lot. I have a 10K sledge here at home that has never, ever been levered from anywhere near the end.

  7. Scott Styles said,

    You must have a big frame, I get 174lbs from that calculator at 10% BF. And that’s generous, given that my wrists and ankles seem to have gotten bigger as I’ve gotten heavier. I expect they’ll probably get smaller to some degree as I drop weight. I’m also no where near my max potential for muscle or strength.

    I like the direction you are going with specifically writing the goals up and working towards them. The majority of them line up well. I don’t think you’d do terrible to use exactly what you have written, I just think you’d be putting a lot of energy towards things that don’t align with your primary goals.

    So why do I think what I do about the strength goals?

    Taking the body to extremes just tends not to be good for overall health and longevity. 600lbs is a lot of weight, just like running 26.2 miles is really far. In both cases, the stress exceeds what the body is able to handle over a long period of time. There are a lot of former athletes out there that have a hard time doing anything due to the stresses their bodies experienced while excelling at their given sports.

    With heavy lifting, you are exposing your joints and your circulatory system to major stress. Any uneven loading on the joints due to any sort of imbalances is multiplied by the massive weight. The blood pressure spike that occurs is also huge. Over time that causes the heart to enlarge and the blood vessels to thicken.

    You are already strong. Let me repeat it – You are already strong! I think that skews your perspective as to what good is. 600lbs is 80lbs heavier than the Hoffman gold standard for 198+ bodyweight:

    That is at the edge of human performance. Sure there are freaks who take it even further, but how many 600lb deadlifters are really out there? I guess other than raw strength for the sake of raw strength, I don’t really see how shooting for that aligns with the goals you have listed. I can certainly see the appeal of the raw strength, but it seems like a focus on maintaining the strength you have at lower body weights would align more closely with what you say you are trying to achieve.

    Grip work just isn’t comparable in effort to deadlifts. If it was, I probably wouldn’t do it. I do think some of the training methods I see being used on the Gripboard are setting guys up for problems with their hands and wrists later in life.

    From what I’ve seen of Crossfit, I don’t like it. The emphasis on moving quickly from exercise to exercse, but using really light weights, doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I’m sure it’s hard, but I don’t understand how it trains the individual towards anything other than being good at Crossfit. I think a strength endurance focus makes a lot more sense, and it’s where I see my workouts going this summer with the kettlebells.

  8. Stephen said,

    I think the path you are currently on requires no justification or rationale. My question didn’t arise out of urge to pursuade you to look at goals — just an effort on my part to understand more about what you’re doing.

    Goals are a particularly big deal to me because I’m rapidly approaching 50 years. While I’ve always been fairly fit, it wasn’t until I was in my late 30s before I became devoted (actually fanatical) about training and meeting goals. And, it wasn’t until I reached my various limits of strength and athleticism in my early 40s that I began noticing a small but perceptible drop off in my ability to recover from intense workouts, and heal from minor injuries. Alas, in order to maintain my fitness and achieve improvement in areas I’ve had to adopt what you would probably describe as an “abnormal” lifestyle. I’ve am required to employ a lazer-like focus on recovery, nutrition and periodization. Improvement for me now requires daily sacrifices and an almost monk-like existence. (more about my goals and pursuits later…I have to go earn some bread).

  9. Mike said,


    Your post did get eaten by my spam monitor, I fished it out. Thanks for dropping me an email to let me know. It’s a lot of typing and some really great stuff, I’d hate for folks not to see it.
    I probably do a big frame, it tends to run in the family. My father and uncle where both considered to be contenders to get into the NFL. My father didn’t make the cut, my uncle had the opportunity but passed. They would have been linemen.
    I think I’ve seen the list before but I always forget about it. I need to spend some more time with it. There is little doubt I’m into the range of strength for strength’s sake. That and it’s fun. *If* I keep competing at things like strongman, I have to do heavy lifting for that reason too. You simply can’t lift weights like a normal human and do that stuff. That constraint alone tends to limit my enthusiasm. Still it’s the idea of progression.
    That said, there is value in trying to work your (read “my”) weaknesses. That is, doing more things like yoga and that. The issue I always run into there is, why. Why stop doing something I enjoy for the sake of something I don’t but should do.
    This is kinda the balancing act of my programming. This is why my goals and guidelines don’t always line up. I like to deadlift heavy. I don’t like to jog. Still, I need to lose some weight. Deadlifting is not good for losing weight. jogging is (maybe).
    I agree about the stresses. There is a matter of how much the body can take. I still stand by the notion that this is why you train up to it. For example, a 40K kettlebel snatch. Hand that to some guy walking down the street. Watch him jack himself up, yet, with some training, you can do it for reps. How much is too much? How much is not enough? I really can’t answer those questions. If I can, I”m gonna become a celebrity trainer and start a TV show called “Hard Gainer” or some such.
    To be honest, the idea of a 600lb deadlift doesn’t frighten me, it enlivens me. The idea of closing the 3 scares the crap out of me. It think there is a lot of perspective in there.
    Still, you make some very valuable points. Probably the biggest, unintentional, on is that I need to get a pretty thorough physical done. I haven’t had one since I started this business. It’s time to get poked and prodded.

    I didn’t take it as you asking me to justify myself, I just thought I would take advantage of the opportunity. I need to spend more time on reflection than I do.
    The idea of employing a “laser like” focus is sometimes appealing and sometimes not. Sometimes I think things are holding me back, crapping my style, I often find when they are lifted, I needed those brakes built into my life, that’s when I overdo it. Still, I could use a little more focus, especially on recovery. If you have too much free time you can read back in my blog and find that eh recovery bug has hurt me more than once.
    I’ll be interested to hear more about how you handle your recovery and nutrition. If you have any desire to have a log like this to let us all follow along, let me know. I would be happy to make the arrangements.

  10. Scott Styles said,

    If one of your goals is to continue to compete in strongman, I see the value of the heavy lifting more so. I think dropping a weight class is a smart direction to be heading. The degree to which you enjoy the heavy lifting isn’t something I’d really factored.

    Also, having a better idea of a your background, 600lbs is probably a heck of a lot less weight to you than it is to me. For me, I envision 405 as an upper limit, no way it will happen, but maybe someday it could, deadlift. So 600lbs is just an enormous amount of weight, to me. You probably have to adapt less to get to a 600lb lift than I would to get to 405.

    Funny about the grip stuff, a #3 close seems more attainable to me than the deadlifts and squats you are already doing. I think a lot of strong guys that have no practice on the grippers overrate them. Specific training makes a huge difference. I suppose the same could be said about my perspective on the deadlift…

    I figured since I’ve been digging into your goals, that it was only fair I put mine up for everyone to see, so here they are:

    As far as the jogging, I think it’s terrible exercise for someone that isn’t already lean. It’s high impact and yields mediocre results. Running 3-6 miles a few times a week used to be my primary method for managing weight. While the distance came easily, I looked and lifted like an endurance athlete. Already being a small guy, that was the exact opposite of what I wanted. Managing weight through strength training and diet is working much better for me this time around.

  11. Chris Rice said,

    Stephen – at 50, you will become a “Geezer” – it’s an honorable title for those few of us still training hard when our peers are sitting on the couch watching others have fun.

    “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” Sachal Paige

  12. Mike said,

    Chris, Does Stephen get a shirt too?

    I took a glance at your goals. I’ll definitely have to take a further look at them. I remember seeing most of them. I think you’ve got some tough ones too. The 1/2 body weight kettlebell snatch still blows my mind.

  13. Chris Rice said,

    Heck Mike – I haven’t even bought myself one of those shirts yet – I keep forgetting to do it. I was also supposed to tell Doc what I want on the back of mine.

    It’s funny how different people look at “what is big weight?” according to what we can do personally as well as what the people around us can do. While I can easily see you doing a 600 DL at 250# bodyweight, it’s going to be quite a lift at 210 or 215# bodyweight. As usual, it’s the balancing act between the desire to lift bigger and bigger weights and the desire to be fit and lean that gets us. I still kick around wheather to weigh 185# and climb really well or weigh 207# so I can do better lifts and still lift as a 94K in Olympic lifting. So I end up in the middle – not very strong and not that fit but a little bit of each – I can live with that I guess.

  14. Scott Styles said,

    It’s the same goal list I posted on my workout thread in the Gripboard, just cleaned up. The 1/2 BW kettlebell stuff and BW barbell stuff are the goals that will require me to get significantly stronger, opposed to just lighter.

    There is a good chance they will push into next year. I may need to get my weight down around 160 to reach them with a 36k KB. My freshman year of college I was in the upper 130’s for awhile (stupid running), so at 160 I should stay reasonably strong.

    I’d be kinda interested to know how many of those goals Chris Rice can hit right now. I bet it’s most of them.

  15. Chris Rice said,

    Scott – I just went thru them real quick but quite a few, most I think – close on a few others. Not going to make it to MGC but I am going to BBB and GGC this year. The advantage I have over you and Mike is I’m so thin that lifts in relation to BW work out pretty well for me. Now Mike’s list is way over my head on many of those goals – I have never been strong enough to do a lot of those numbers – some of course but the big lifts are plain too much for me, even when I was younger.

    I’m in Track and Field mode right now on my goals lists – I’ve made 3 so far – the shot, discus, and standing long jump. 100 – 200 – 400 meters to go along with high jump and long jump – probably do a few other “test type” things like VJ and box jumps just to see what I can do. The goal is to make the 90th % rating from Dale Harders book – “Strength and Speed” – this is based on age group numbers from Masters Track and Field I think. I’ll post all my numbers when I’m done on the Dartboard thread. I’m doing these tests with no training for them – the whole point of it is to see what my normal day in and day out training allows me to do – I’m not looking forward to the 400 at all – I hate puking but I know I will. I’ve been neglecting my cardio and especially the high intensity work so it should be ugly. Just have to pay the price and do the best I can.

  16. Stephen said,

    Your assistance with developing a log would be much appreciated.

    When it comes to recovery, I have a tendency to cross the line a few times a year and pay for it with a cold or a muscle strain. I’m still learning to recognize the signals — the big ones for me are: loss of motivation with nutrition, sleep problems, and deviating from planned workouts. Because I train year around I try to back off intensity and volume every 4th week. When I’m in a consistent groove with my lifts (3-4 days per week) I back off for 5-7 days after about 12 workouts. Recovery includes flexibility, massage, extra sleep, lighter weights.

    I’m 47 years old. I’m 5’7″ at 170lbs at about 12% body fat. Over the past 20 years I’ve maintained body fat at 12-15% while varying my body weight between 160 and 195. My athletic pursuits have included 5k/10K/marathons, triathlons, cycling, powerlifting, bodybuilding, and currently track and field sprinting.

    2007 Goals
    Deadlift 415 (Progress 325 in 10/06; Currently 390)
    60meter sprint 7.85secs All American Standard for 45-49 (Ran 7.93 in 1/07 )
    100meter sprint 12.30 (12.73 in 7/06; 12.62 in 1/07)
    Body Fat 10% @ 165lbs

    2008 Goals
    Deadlift 495 (3 X BW)
    60Meters @ 7.70 (Qualify for finals at Masters Indoor Nationals)
    100meters @ 11.9 – All American Standard 45-49 Age Group
    200meters 24.50

    Example of average day diet:
    Breakfast: 1 banana, 4 strawberrys, 8oz soymilk, 2 tblespoons of flax seed, 6 hard-boiled egg whites

    Snack: Herb Tea, Apple

    Lunch: Muscle Milk Protein Pudding (20oz protein)
    Dessert: 2 chocolate covered strawberries

    Snack: Peeled grapefruit

    Dinner: 2 hard boiled egg whites; stir fry steak, peppers, onions; 1/2 cup of refried beans; herb tea
    Dessert: 1/2 bowl of ice cream

    Snack: 1/2 cup of sunflowers seeds in the shell; small apple

  17. Chris Rice said,

    Stephen – you have much more diet dedication than I do – my hats off to you! Even though you’re only a youngster at 47 – your times in the sprints are super. I had a little speed back in HS but haven’t done any running for years for various reasons – mostly too many other hobbies and not the best knees left now at 58 after 33 years of carrying mail. I’ll let you know what times I achieve when I try a few here before long. Should be pretty sad I figure.

  18. Scott Styles said,

    Chris, I figured you could do most of them.

    Stephen, sounds like you’ve got a thing or two to teach us, get that log setup. Your diet looks extremely clean.

  19. Mike said,

    If Stephen doesn’t object, I would like to make his blog the first blog under the TrainingSyndicate umbrella. That means it cost younothing, I will build a fully functioning wordpress blog for you. All you have to do is blog at your leisure. you can take whatever added control you like, I’ll handle basic maintenace unless you want to control it. It will be syndicated on I will set it up as a subdomain (I hope) so the address will be something like where blogname is whatever Stephen would like.
    Unfortunately I am wrapping up a nasty week at work so I would not expect to have it finished until Saturday.
    Stephen, feel free to email me.

  20. Stephen said,

    Mike: I’d be honored to blog on TrainingSyndicate. Having others observations of my training helps me remain focused and vigilant about what I’m doing. I’ll email you later today.

    Chris and Scott: Thanks. As far as diet, yesterday was a pretty good day. I’m just glad someone didn’t leave a plate of cake or cookies near me, as I’m frequently tempted to eat almost anything. I’ve found it crucial to stay away from bakeries and any menus with milk shakes.

    Most of what I do in training I’ve learned from others or researched — I’m happy to share everything. I’m always looking for new methods and ideas – which is how I found this site. I firmly believe diet and nutrition requires more discipline than any other training variable. Lifting weights, sprinting and competing is pure fun and joy. Depriving oneself of things that taste good can be miserable. I try to keep the diet simple and a competitive event itself. I mainly eat meat, fish, fowl, fruits, vegetables and seeds and a few nuts. I’ve almost eliminated grains and dairy from my diet. I supplement almost daily with protein powders and puddings. I’ve reduced alcohol intake to a couple beers or glasses of wine a month. To keep a sharp edge and put things in perspective I throw in a 24 hour fast once or twice a year.

  21. Chris D said,

    I’m a bit behind on this one, but I just wanted to comment that the goals seem admirable…I especially like the one about “living life and enjoying it”. This has been a struggle with me. yes I want to be lean, but I also want to enjoy my life and not worry a whole lot about what I eat. Although I am cleaning up the diet somewhat.

    I’m intrigued by crossfit as well and I think I might give it a go this summer, perhaps. At least some of the exercises. We’ll see. I’m also getting some strongman implements that might change my focus.

  22. Mike said,

    …after what’s the point if you hate every second after….

    Interesting that none of us have really give Crossfit a run.

  23. Chris Rice said,

    I’ve never drank the kool aid but I’ve done workouts very much like CrossFit for years when training for climbing and the mountains. There was a time in my life when endurance far a huge part of my workouts – and I did HIIT long before it had a name.

  24. Mike said,

    That all makes sense. I was talking with my brother-in-law about the Gym Jones stuff. It was simlar to thi conversation. I’d like to do some of that but with a little less endurance focus.
    There is a time for that but the timing has to be appropriate.

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