As the year ends, we want to plan for the future but also look at the past. It’s time to reflect on lessons learned and goals accomplished.  Here, I (Dupi) decided to revisit my training logs for the year and see how far I’ve come. 

Reflecting on progress is important in number ways:

  1. Celebrate the Victories.
  2. Learn from the Shortcomings.
  3. Say good bye to the past and start the new year Stronger Leaner Faster!

Overall, I’m excited and happy to report, that statistically this was successful year in terms of “gains”.  The numbers achieved in 2017 are summarized below.  In the final notes, I’ll also share the lessons learned.

BTW, photos (exception deadlift) were snapshots of the videos made for these new personal best numbers.  Hence, photos are not the best of quality but the mood though…

My Goals for this year where:


Goal: Squat a plate each side (135lbs)

back squat goals

January 2017 numbers were:

Back Squat: 115 lbs x 3 reps

Front Squat: 105 lbs x3 reps

December 2017 numbers are:

Back Squat: 145 lbs x 3 reps

Front Squat: 115 lbs x 3 reps

Results: A new personal best of 1RM @145lbs.  Squats improved from 115lbs to 145lbs, a gain of 30lbs.


This wasn’t a major goal as I love Deadlifts and it’s probably one of our favourite exercises at S&S.  The focus of the deadlift was not only increase in strength but also in technique.

January 2017: 155 lbs x3

December 2017: 185 lbs 1RM

Results:  Increase was approximately 20lbs in weight (due to difference between 3RM to 1RM), but my overall technique has improved as well.

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Clean and Jerk

Goal:  Jerk 85lbs

2016 was a year of Cleans for me as I really worked on the technique and numbers but put little to no effort on the Jerk as the movement scarred the heck out of me.  Well 2017, it all came around full circle as I knew that the progress of this exercise lies within my ability to produce force vertically.  The jerk is an intimidating component and I had to challenge myself.

clean and jerk

January 2017: 65 lbs for x2 reps

December 2017: 85 lbs for x1 RM

Results:  And, what a challenge it was!  My goal was to do a quarter each side on the female bar (35lbs).  Done for 1 RM, total gains of 20lbs!  The exercise was also a power jerk, engaging shoulders in a greater degree than a traditional split jerk catch position.


This has always been a scary lift for me, probably more so than the Jerk.  To tackle this goal, I had to improve my technique, understand transitions and maintain my body tight throughout the movement. I started with power snatches, and then slowly and steadily increased my overhead squat descent after the catch.  My goal was to pull and catch the bar in the full bottom position (overhead squat), stabilize the bar and get up with it.

January 2017: 35 lbs bar only x 3 reps

December 2017: 65 lbs x 3 reps

Results: Incredible! As I finished the year with 65lbs Snatch for 1RM!  Gains of 30 lbs!!!

snatch goals

Push Press

My vertical push was weak as I never worked on it.  As well, to improve my Clean and Jerk I needed a strong upper body push ability, and hence increase numbers and technique in this exercise. 

push press goals

January 2017: 35 lbs used to Push Jerk it (push press was hard)!

December 2017: 75 lbs for 1 RM

Results:  This was another major gain in terms of technique and numbers of 40 lbs.  An even greater improvement was my technique.  Pushing the bar upwards overhead was a difficult proposition, as I didn’t fully engage my lower body within overall exercise.  Well, 2017 was year of the power, and hence Push Press is one of the power exercises, it became one of the main development goals.

Bench Press

By end of 2016, my upper body strength was lagging behind.  In 2017, horizontal push also needed a major overhaul.  The way to get better at something is to practice it.  So, my program was modified incorporating greater volume of this movement, which included more push-ups and bench press.

January 2017 numbers are:

Barbell 45 lbs 5×5 (a standard barbell)

December 2017 numbers are:

75lbs x3 reps

Results:  Bench was a major improvement with gains of 30 lbs.

Push-ups are coming along with 8 continuous reps.  But, I still need to practice my technique and strengthen the core. 

bench press goals

Final Thoughts

This post was a summary of comparing improved intensity numbers in the gym for 2017.  I wanted to record how far I’ve come and the impact these achievements had on me and my life.  I don’t have any special talents, nor am I dispositioned for a particular trait.  I am a regular person, a wife, a mom of two kids with everyday busy schedules and responsibilities.  I walk the same streets, eat the same food and breathe the same air as everyone around me.

But, this year (2017) I’ve done something different.  I made a few goals, and weightlifting is one of the simplest goals to envision, as improvements directly reflect the weight added to the bar.  And, I thought to share the 2017 results with others as proof that when you set your mind at something, clearly define your goals, make a plan and execute—the results not only come, they often surpass your expectations. 

I’ve learned many things about me in 2017 by regularly attending the gym. But, the gym specific lessons were:

  • Don’t be shy.  Trying something, no matter how unrealistic it may seem at the start, the only way to truly know the answer is to begin these personal challenges by placing one foot in front of the other – one training session at a time.  We must create a thought in our mind, a belief that we are possible, if we are to transform our dreams into reality.
  • Sometimes goals are singles, and sometimes they are made up of sub-goals.  For example, to improve my squats this up coming year, I noticed that my technique was breaking down after a certain amount of weight on my back (135 lbs).  I had to look and see what I was missing.  It turned out to be trunk stability.  To fix that, I needed to work on my core and internal stability —Valsalva breathing.
  • Improving subparts in one goal, may also benefit another goal progress.  For example, by working on my core strength for squats, also improved my upper-body strength and helped with gains in push-ups, push press and bench press exercises. 
  • We may not always succeed the first time but, this is not a failure by any means.  With each attempt, you learn things, about yourself and your abilities.  Applying such feedback information and trying again creates greater improvements overall.  This was the story of my squat, clean and jerk, and snatch progressions.  At the end, try and try again.  Persistence wins the day, as each comeback makes you stronger and delivers gains!

Next year is an exciting year for the S&S team (Dupi and Vic) as we have some new personal goals to accomplish—details coming soon!  As far as training is concerned, Victor will be spending this week finalizing our 2018 Macrocycle and putting it on paper.

When goals are clearly defined, written down and broken down into achievable steps, the execution becomes a lot easier. If you are interested in technique improvements, making gains—our goal of relentless pursuit of Stronger Learner Faster—be sure to try any of our free training programs posted here or, for $10 only, pick up a well planned training routines.

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