My strength goals

Many of you will be totally uninterested in this post. Don’t worry, my feelings aren’t hurt.

Some of you, however, are just like my friend Jim. A great guy who routinely had trouble with personal discipline. Spiritual disciplines, keeping up with homework, getting work done to raise support to go overseas as a Worker. And then he started training with weights, and much of that changed.

Some of you can feel yourself getting close to 40 and know that your best contribution to Jesus’ cosmic scheme to heal the world will happen after your 50 or 60, if you live that long and your health holds up. So you’re looking to make changes to your life, but you’re overwhelmed by all the information google gives you, and you’re struggling to find a way forward that you can stick to.

And some of you have made New Years resolutions to lose a certain number of pounds of you, but you can sense that just being lighter won’t necessarily mean you’re healthier or more useful. So, you quit the fight every February, and the way you inhabit your body continues to negatively affect the way you inhabit your spiritual life, your relationships, your marriage, your family, your friendships and your ministry.

And some of you are dangerously riding a line where stress is going to push you into a seriously diseased state if you don’t start pushing back. Panic, fear, fatigue, depression, anger….stuff that everyone tells you is spiritual is hitting you broadside and your normal spiritual means of offsetting it are going nowhere.

And, finally, some of you want to be as strong as your dad was, so your son has a good reason to tell his friends that you can beat up their dads, and so your daughter remains so in love with you that she won’t settle for less than a Christified Brawny Man for a future husband, because that’s what her daddy looked like.

So, my fitness goals are all about strength. Why, you say? Why not cardio goals? Why not some kind of cross-fit workout of the month goal? Because strength is a skill, the foundational skill to human movement. If you get strong, your heart gets strong with you. If you get cardio-fit, it goes away in two weeks of not training and you’re still weak. Strength is much harder to gain and much harder to lose. And it makes your bones denser. And changes your internal chemistry, increasing the amounts of free testosterone and human growth factor in your system, reducing the risk of literally hundreds of chronic diseases, some of which are lethal chart-toppers these days. If you get strong – not ripped, shredded, pretty, but very strong – everything else either comes naturally or is easily added to that brick-house foundation.

For me, I have a two year raw strength goal, and a one year volume goal.

Before I turn 40 (2 years from last week) I want to be able to:

Deadlift 500lbs

Squat 400lbs, and

Overhead Press 200lbs.

And in the next year, using only those 3 lifts, I want to lift a total volume of 1,000,000 lbs.

That’s what I’m after. In a coming post I’ll tell you how I’m gonna get there, but now you know that this is what mean when when I say “Athletic physicality – StrongDad”. If I get this strong, I’ll be able to enter the second half of my life (God willing) positioned to inhabit my body and my assignments well. Better than if I were doughy and weak, at least. And my kids will have a dad that can show them a third way – not the appearance-worshipping neo-GrecoRoman aesthetic way to have a body, and not the couch-sitting, chronic laziness diseased way of having a body that the cultures they’re exposed to have been showing them. My wife, too, will have a husband who, though he still can’t reach the top shelf, can open the pickles, move very heavy stuff, scare creeps away with his raw physical presence, and have a back like a gorilla (I know, that one is aesthetic, but cut me some slack).

Join in this conversation. Anyone is welcome, ladies, and gents, I’d really like to hear from you.

What strength goals do you have?

How do you use your body to more fully inhabit the gospel and become most useful to the neighbor you want to love?

How has overcoming obstacles, illness, injury and the like made you strong in unexpected ways?

What’s your plan for becoming DadStrong?


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Thanks for these two posts! Am processing as a middle-aged woman who wants to be a faithful servant of the Lord and His people for as long as He gives me breath. Prov 31:17 comes to mind. Would love to hear any thoughts you might about specific physical goals for women!


My “strong” goal for this year is to run at least a 15k but likely a half marathon. There are other goals as well, but waiting to see where God will move with those.

As always, I enjoy your posts!