T Nation

18 Months to States

After a long retirement from a glorious lifting career (i.e. I never made it to anything resembling a serious competition), something in me wants to close that loop.

Compete in a state level Strongman contest and not zero everything. We can do better than that… not finish last haha

The obstacles:
Have a young son
Have a busy career (office job)
Studying (post grad)
Wrong side of 35
10kg overweight
Weak and out of shape
Poo mobility
18 months to do it

Hmmm, that’s reasonably depressing. Anyway, focus on the positives: so far eating and exercise are right on point. I’ve had breakfast and first training sesh is tomorrow haha

I’ll try update before bed…


On the cards for tomorrow: Deadlifts, circus db and farmers. I can’t remember when I last did the dumbbell but I remember it being awful. Farmers were also not my friend, we shall see.

Today was about eating right and making sure I did some moving.

-3x eggs, 3xbacon, carrot, spinach, butter, cheese, apple
-Stirfry (3 chicken thigh , brocolli, onion, carrot, mushroom, 1/4 cup rice, soy)
-Nuts, greek yoghurt, banana
-steak, cauliflower, sweet potato, olive oil

Light Stretching
Walking (30 min)

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Deadlift 10x3x120kg
Circus DB 5x2x30kg, 10x30kg, 1x40kg
Farmers 1x30mx75kg, 3x30mx95kg

Deadlift was “speed” work. 120 felt about right but I’ll be over the moon if my max near 200kg let alome 220/240. Did feel rusty AF

Circus DB was better than expected but 40kg felt HEAVY. I was mainly just trying to get my hips and drive right, meh.

Farmers was probably my highlight. This was 15m one way then back. I felt pretty quick carrying close to 200kg. I was expecting to be in poor enough condition to die with 150kg after 15m.


  • Organic granola with whole milk, 2 eggs
  • instant chicken noodles in 500ml water (post workout)
  • Chicken pie with salad
  • Lamb cutlets (5) with mushy peas

Not awful, not great. The challenge is not to eat the packet of chips my kind better half bought tonight. Maybe stretching can distract me.

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Warm up
A1. Front Squat 5x60kg 5x67.5 5x77.5 5x67.5 5x77.5 3x80 1x85
A2. Reverse Fly 10x10x5kg plates

B1. Dips 1x10 4x5
B2. Leg Raises 1x10 4x5

Walk - 45 min

No band yet so I’m going with good old flyes. Front squats felt like arse. Twingy right knee after set 2. Living to fight another day crossed my mind but I decided that I’d rather be the silly old man that goes home injured in week 1 than not get within 100kg of where I need to be haha By the end, the knee didnt feel too bad an 85kg was solid and fast, lots in the tank. I think I’ll get a belt though.

Dips is where being away from the gym caught up with me. The first set of dips was fast. I jumped right into set 2 after leg raises and hit a wall after 3 reps haha Finished with sets of 5. Just need some time.


  • muffin and coffee
  • chicken 300g, rice 1/2 cup, soy and sriracha
  • stew (350g chuck, potato x 6, carrot x 2, butter, flour, onion, peas, garlic, passata, herbs, green beans, olive oil )

Breakfast awful. I actually had no breakfast but picked a poor choice from a cafe while walking my son.

Lunch, lack of veggies…

Dinner… happy with this meal, tasted great, enough for lunch tomorrow.

Might have some eggs for a bit more protein before bed.

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  • eggs x3, bacon x3, carrot, coffee
  • stew leftovera from yesterday
  • yoghurt and fruit
  • bolognese (300g beef, carrot, onion, garlic, celery, passata, stock, olive oil), pasta 125g

Walk 20 minutes

Benching tomorrow.

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I think this is a positive for Strongman no? :smiley:

Haha Unfortunately, being 100kg/225lbs and approaching 40 is a different ball game than being 20 or even 30 - especially on the joints.

It’s also shitty comp wise. I either put on 5kg and compete against guys who will have 20kg on me or fight it out with the strongest weight class in my state.

Thanks for dropping by!

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Warm ups
Jumps x 10
A1. Close Grip Bench 5x60 5x70 5x77.5 5x70 5x77.5 3x80 3x87.5
A2. DB Row 10x5x40kg

B1. Good Morning 2x15x50kg
B2. Triceps Press 2x50x15kg

I was at the gym at 4am for this one. Bench and rows went well but the Good Mornings sucked ass. Holding the bar was painful on the shoulder so I limited the weight because the bar began rolling.

After the circus db, I decided I have the athleticism of a new born horse, so jumps are in to improve that area.


  • banana
  • instant noodles in 500ml water
  • coffee
  • protein bar
  • chicken wraps (chicken breast 300g, 2xwraps, avo, salad, tomato, cheese)

Just awful today. After the gym, I showered, ate a bunch of noodles and prepared for a presentation. I didn’t notice I was running late. By the time I had the chance to have breakfast, it was nearly lunch so I just waited - I figured I’d end up buying crap.

Ofcourse, meetings got in the way and I didn’t get lunch. I had a spare protein bar, so i downed that.

Dinner was good but too low on protein, well everything, today.


Warm up
A1. Press 5x42.5kg 5x47.5 5x52.5 5x47.5 5x52.5 2x60
A2. Pull ups 20 total

B1. Back extension 50 reps total
B2. Lat raises 50 reps total

I may move to 2 days per week training plus a strongman session. Good that I can still pull up but I did feel it in my elbows a bit.


  • instant noodles plus 500ml water (post workout)
  • organic granola plus milk + coffee
  • sushi 6 slices fish + 3 rolls (plus a shit ton of soy and fake wasabi)
  • slice carrot cake
  • yoghurt + fruit
  • steak 300g and brocolli plus turkish bread & dips

I managed to run out of time again even with a pre-4am start. Doesn’t seem to matter what time i get up, I run late haha I’ll need a strategy to deal with this as missing breakfast or a cereal aren’t great options.

Pretty happy with the rest, I had an afternoon tea that involved cake - I’m not trying to get on a bodybuilding stage so I am okay with this.

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Box jumps x 10
A1. Deadlift 5x100kg 5x112.5 5x127.5 5x112.5 5x127.5 1x142.5
A2. KB Swings 8x6x24

B1. Neutral Grip Incline DB Press 2x25x15
B2. BB Biceps Curl 2x25x12.5

Man, that first superset gassed me! I had some old guy come up to me and tell me guys “our age” should take it easy. Talk about a whack to the ego haha I thanked him and thought I’d rather die on this platform right now than take it easy.

The lesson for the day is don’t try wipe your forehead at the top of a DB bench press. That thing can get it’s own momentum and fall away from you very quickly haha The press felt super awkward with the neutral grip - I was pretty unstable with it. I was never a great log presser so hoping this helps.


  • noodles, 500ml water (post workout)
  • egg x3 bacon x3 cheese salsa carrot apple
  • coffee
  • chicken sandwiches
  • chicken shepherd’s pie + green beans (chicken, stock, onions, mushroom, peas, corn, garlic, greek yoghurt. Topping: sweet potato, olive oil, milk, yoghurt - mashed)

Chicken shepherd’s pie is a great way to make the usual chicken + sweet potato thing interesting.

Glad to see someone new entering the strongman world.

You’ll definitely want to drop to the 200 class if you can. You’ve got 18 months, so it’s not something to worry about at all yet, but eventually you’ll want to be there, or even the 175’s if you can make it happen.

You mentioned ‘the wrong side of 35’ a couple times, but not how far on the wrong side. If you’ll be 40 by the time you compete, you can do masters division, which would be very favorable.

Alternatively from all this, you could enter as a novice, which may very well be your best option. This is the option I would take if I were you IF you don’t cut the weight and aren’t at Masters age.

best of luck, feel free to tag me in your log if you’ve ever got a question you think I could help with. I’ve done a few shows, and I won my last one, so while I’m not an expert by any means, I’m generally competent in the sport, lol.

Thanks flipcollar, definitely hoping to draw on the knowledge around here.

I’ve been to what I guess you guys would call regionals in the past and had my arse handed to me. Sadly no masters where I am, and I’d just miss out age wise.

Deadlift 12x3x120kg
Circus DB 5x2x32 1x10x32
Farmers 3x30mx100


  • Organic granola with milk
  • Instant noodles w/500ml water
  • Egg x3 bacon x3 cheese carrot
  • Sausages x3 brussel sprouts/bacon/garlic/onion/mushroom/butter

Strongman, sausages, brussel sprouts! I felt like a proper man haha

Movement (Sunday)

  • hill “sprints” 10x30m
  • playground: jumps/dips/pull ups

A1. Front squat 5x62.5kg 5x67.5 5x77.5 5x67.5 5x77.5 3x85
A2. Pull ups 15 reps

B1. Press 5x42.5 5x47.5 5x52.5 5x47.5 5x52.5 3x60
B2. Pull ups 15 reps

C. SLDL 100kg x 25 (rest-pause)
D. Dips 25 reps (rp)
E. Preacher curls 25 reps (rp)

I have to admit part of me was hoping for a big rebound this week amd whilst I was stronger and didn’t run out of puff so easily, it wasn’t the noticeable difference I’d get even 5 years ago.

Anyway, the chips will lay where they lay. This is what the 2 gym days per week version of last week looks like. Clocked in at just under an hour. Jumps move to my "athletic " days. This is a far better setup for my lifestyle.

Pull ups were bothering my elbows today. Neutral grip bothered them the least, so I stuck to that rather than varying.


  • pankcakes, berries, maple syrup
  • sushi (unagi, salmon, tuna + scallop nigiri)
  • protein bar
  • ice cream

Felt ill around dinner time, scarfed a protein bar, tried not to vomit. Slept until 9:30pm, woke up feeling better and ate ice cream haha

to come…

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Today was quite awful:

Warm ups
A1.Deadlift 5x100kg 5x112.5 5x127.5 5x112.5 5x127.5 3x142.5
A2. Kettlebell Swings 8x8x24kg

B1. Bench Press 5x60 5x70 5x77.5 5x70 5x77.5 3x87.5
B2 DB Rows 10x5x40kg

C. DB Bulgarian Split Squat 2x10kg (rest pause)
D. DB Press 2x15kg (rest pause)
E. Triceps Pressdown 2x20kg (rest pause)

Split Squat was awkward AF. This was mostly about not falling over haha.

Last night, I did a bodyweight circuit. It went like this: jumps, fatman rows, lunges, push ups. 3 rounds. Again, fairly awful.

Some walking involved plus eating okay without being great.


To be honest as someone who retired from lifting and just got back into it,you have a decent strength base to build on and you’re not completely weak either! What was your strength level like at your peak?

Thanks man. I always cringe when guys talk about what their best lifts were but since you asked haha (time may have added some kgs :stuck_out_tongue: )

Front squat - no idea as I never really trained this and I only do it now because when I got under the bar for the first time, my shoulder did not like it at all. Squat at 205kg or 215, can’t remember which
Bench - 132.5
Press - 90
Cheater Deadlift - 255 (straps, hitch, etc. Failed 260 so many times!)
Log - 115 (that’s a strongman 115 so somewherw between 105 and 125 haha)
Stone - 150 to 1.3m (I actually sat down and passed out after this and cannot remember it at all but I’m told I finished the lift haha)
Farmers - 120 for 30m

All gym lifts - I sucked on the day :frowning: Looking at this, I would say I have lost 30-40% of my strength in the past 5ish years.

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A1. Front Squat 5x55kg 5x65 12x72.5
A2. Pull ups 5x3

B1. Press 5x35 5x45 9x52.5
B2. Pull ups 5x3

C. SLDL 3sets x100kg (rest pause)
D. Dips 3sets xbw (rest pause)
E. Preacher curls 3sets x whatever (rest pause)

Happy with my front squat today. In the end, my upper back gave out rather than my legs, pull ups in between sets probably didn’t help that out. I had to go with all neutral grip again due to elbow irritation.

Feeling less gassed each session which is good. I have an extended vacation comimg up, so juggling with whether I leave the gym behind or do some training on the road.

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Those are sone decent lifts! Hopefully you can regain that strength ,which i think you will with a bit of hard work! Which you are putting in already . keep it up mate.

A1. Deadlift 5x100kg 5x112 9x120
A2. KB Swings 5x8x24kg

B1. Close Grip Bench Press 5x60 5x65 9x75
B2. DB Row 5x5x40kg

C. Bulgarian Split Squat 16kg x 25 reps (rest pause)
D. Standing DB Press 15kg x 25 reps (rest pause)
E. Triceps Pressdown 20kg x 50 reps (rest pause)

I think I had a bit more in me with the deadlifts but resetting between reps is a bitch haha

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Off to Singapore for 6 weeks. I’ve decided to spend the time doing bodyweight stuff inbetween enjoying myself. Interested to see if I come back stronger or if it all goes to hell - all being 3 weeks of work haha