Day 71 – 8 Week Results

The time has come for me to take a break from lifting. My body is in desperate need of some extensive healing and stretching. The timing couldn’t be more perfect though. Friday I’m on vacation, Monday I’m working from home and next Friday my gym will be closed for graduation. Trying to shove a lifting session in the middle of all of that is probably not worth the effort. So I will spend the next 11 days stretching, resting and doing a bit of cardio.

So now is the time to check the numbers and evaluate my progress.

Starting numbers as of April 1st. Three sets of five for all lifts (3 x 5)

  • Squat: 135
  • Bench: 160
  • Dead: 195
  • Press: 70

Latest numbers as of June 3rd.

  • Squat: 225 (+90) 67% increase
  • Bench: 205 (+45) 28% increase
  • Dead: 265 (+70) 36% increase
  • Press: 115 (+45)  64% increase

Looking at these numbers I have to say that I’m pretty impressed. I remember a time ten or twelve years ago when I was *about* this strong, but I wasn’t doing squats or deadlifts. So it might be valid to say that I’ve never been stronger! That’s amazing to me and something I wasn’t even expecting!

Obviously these types of gains cannot progress forever and I’m sure that I will eventually switch to a 3 day split. But for now I plan to continue the StrongLifts progression and finally add in the desperately needed barbell rows every other workout.

The common advice is to deload by 10% on all lifts after a week off, so this is where I will be starting on June 15th:

  • Squat: 200
  • Bench: 185
  • Rows: 155*
  • Dead: 240
  • Press: 95

Regarding rows, on my first day back to the gym I will increase the weight every set until  5 reps becomes difficult and that will be my work set weight for the next session.

Whew! That’s a lot of number crunching. And I haven’t even mentioned my diet yet!

It goes without saying that I’m hoping to stay on target with my macros during the week off from the gym. My new numbers (200/150/50) seem to be working well for me (so far at least). The next few days will be fraught with temptations – 3 birthday parties and a trip to Atlantic City – so I need to stay focused and plan around these calorie bombs!

I’m not sure how often I will post to this blog. 2 or 3 times at least just to keep myself accountable. Here’s to the next 8 weeks!!

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Day 28, Disappointed. Clearly I need to step it up!

Today officially marks 4 weeks since I started this program and I’m not happy. The scale has not budged (although it went down and up and down and up a few times). My measurements have dropped a bit, but not enough for me to be excited. The only thing that has really changed is my strength stats. My deadlift is higher than ever and I’m in a position to hit 200 on my squats by the end of the month.

To make matters worse, I decided to go clothes shopping today for new jeans which was a horrible experience of depression and self loathing. In suburban America when the marjority of people I see in the clothing stores are either as overweight as I am or worse (or much worse!) I need to know who the fuck is buying slim fit 32 inch waist jeans? I’ll tell you who… NOBODY! And this is why out of the 15 pairs of pants I tried on I could only find one brand/size that fit and only 2 pairs in the whole store.

So tonight I’m wallowing in self-pity, guilt and a bag of sweet tarts. Tomorrow starts my 24 hour vacation and I would have been much happier to have seen some weight loss progress before going. But I’m not giving up, that would just be silly. The real challenge now is to try to figure out what I’m doing wrong and step it up over the next 4 weeks. The two things I can change immediately are:

1. Reduce my calories slightly. Not by a lot. The really problem is that I cheat too much. If I had actually stuck to my macros religiously over the past 4 weeks I’m sure I would have seen some weight loss. But the reality is that I haven’t been super strict.

2. Adding some steady state cardio on off days is a no brainer. The weather is nice and I work in a major city where there is no shortage of interesting places to walk through.

I will be pondering this more over the next 48 hours, but I think this is a good start.

Day 7, Week 1 Results

Busy weekend. Hardly had a chance to transfer any of my thoughts to this blog. Week 1 was a success all around. I logged all of my food and didn’t cheat. Only yesterday did I eat after my feeding window (pretty much out of necessity to hit my protein macros). I’m still obsessing over the proper workout routine, but more on that later.

Most importantly, the week 1 results:

  • Weight: 206 (-4)
  • Waist 2″ below navel: 40.5 (-0.5)
  • Waist at navel: 38.5 (-1.5)
  • Waist 2″ above navel: 36 (-1)
  • Chest: 41 (no change)
  • Neck: 15.5 (-0.5)
  • Arm: 14.5 (-0.5)
  • Leg: 23 (-1.5)

Basically, I shrunk just a little bit, everywhere. That’s fine with me.

Back to the workout. I think I’ve decided that the 3 day split is too advanced for me. I still have a lot of work to do on squats and I need the practice. So I’m switching back to a novice Starting Strength routine. The programming will be taking from the Practical Programming book and is set up as follows:

Workout A:

  • 3×5 – Squat
  • 3×5 – Overhead Press/Bench Press (alternating)
  • 1×5 – Deadlift

Workout B:

  • 3×5 – Squat
  • 3×5 – Overhead Press/Bench Press (alternating)
  • 3 sets pull ups to failure

For the first 4 workouts that include pull ups, I will probably use the cable pull down to see how heavy I can go for 5-7 reps and then switch to pull ups. This seems like a realistic schedule to fit in to 50 minutes.

Much more to think and blog about but I have to get some sleep if I’m going squat tomorrow.