T Nation

5/3/1 to Elite.

After just smoking a 405lb squat, wearing a belt, wrist wraps, and APT single ply convict knee sleeves…not to mention my max schaff syndicate vans…i am officially starting my quest for a Raw “elite” total based on these standards:


in case that link somehow dies, for a male 198’er: 1471 lb total; 220: 1551 lb.

my weight right now is 204lbs, and i am slowly losing some fat. (thanks HOT-ROX!)

my intention is to do this about a year from now, so i will round that out to October 2010. Although, i make no attempts to hide the fact that i am a big fan of Jim Wendler. His ideas and training methodology have helped me greatly improve my performance. On that note, one thing he has said that i have to constantly remind myself is that this game isnt a sprint; better to progress very slowly but stay in the game for the long term, than try and progress much too quickly and end your lifting with injuries. i paraphrased. point being, if this doesnt happen by October 2010, im not going to cry about it, ill just keep working at it. and for that matter, when it does happen, i will not just be done, ill keep pushing myself for more.

i havent lifted in a meet before, and i do realize that gym lifts /= meet lifts. sometimes lifters hit a great number in training then nerves or prep or whatever gets them and they cant hit it in the meet, sometimes they blow their gym lifts away getting amped by the crowd.

another note: i do lift for “ME” but i think it would be cool to lay it all on the line at a meet (or several meets). i was never a great athlete overall, but perhaps this is my time to shine. plus, when im in my 70’s it would be cool to have some videos to show my grandkids, just in case my knees are shot and im moving pretty slow by then.

i dont think ill make this a daily log, or perhaps if i do ill just post the work sets for the day or something like that.

today went like this:

few sets of crappy powercleans

245 x 3
280 x 3
315 x 3
365 x 1
405 x 1

those that know 5/3/1 could deduct that 315 was 90% of my training max, 350lbs. Squat is my worst lift, because it is the one i have most neglected. Since February of '09, i have followed the structure of 5/3/1 probably 99% of the time. i say 99% because i can recall once i cut the squat workout of wave 2 to give me a little break before going into wave 3, and recently i scrapped the last two workouts before deload to head straight into deload from feeling burnt out.

and, as of right now my big 3 are 405 squat, 330 bench, 520 deadlift. according to rep max calc’s i am capable of more on the squat, and i have done more on bench, but its not going “awesome” at the moment, 520 deadlift was a month ago, and training is going well.

there you have it.

thanks for reading if you made it this far.

Sweet. Training log bookmarked. Don’t know if you saw my reply on facebook, but yes I’m still 5/3/1. I’ve been coasting and lost a lot of weight. Now I’m ready to change gears again.

yea man, i saw it, and posted back!

Some very nice lifts! How old are you?

Thanks! 24 right now.

training first, personal reflections of some personal stress at the bottom:

well, i currently have a small pain in my elbow. it actually happened squatting the other night, as i took that 365lb single before the 405lb. as i unracked the 365, i got a sharp pain in my left elbow area. im not sure exactly what happened, perhaps i unintentionally pushed up a little bit when i was taking it out of the rack?

anyway, didnt make for a great military press day. it was a dull ache yesterday, wrapped it with an ace at work off and on throughout the day, the compression and warm seemed to keep the ache away. today it felt pretty good at work, flexing and extending my arm trying to put it through a range of motion to note discomfort. felt pretty good.

the pressing actually even went ok:
5/3/1 day (75,85,95%)
150 x 5
170 x 3
190 x 6

but after the pressing my intention was to do 5 sets of dips with a 45lb on the dip belt, supersetted with 5 sets of supinated barbell rows. as i set up to dip, my left tricep just felt very weak, so i slowly lowered myself into the first rep and i could feel that i had no strength in the tricep, so i cut the dips.

did my barbell rows, then i decided to finish the lats with a few sets of “standing cable straight arm pulldowns” i forget what the hell to call them, but a pullover only standing with a cable machine. i wasnt going super heavy on these, but at the end of each set there was a sharp pain when i let go of the bar.

so, a small set back. ive had this happen before, i dont know what the fuck it is, it’s annoying, but it’s usually fine within a week or two. i went to the doctor’s office to get it checked out a few years ago, must have been the first time it happened, and they werent able to tell me anything, found nothing wrong, and essentially just told me not to lift heavy. fuck that. that will always be the doctor’s answer for injuries/pains brought about by lifting heavy.

go to a doctor and tell them it hurts when you breathe, and they damn sure will figure something out, or at least attempt to. other than during a bad doc’s office joke, they wont tell you to stop breathing. however, go in with an injury sustained from lifting, and you better believe that jackass will tell you to stop lifting. oh well. not an option, ill figure it out.

instead of deadlifting on friday like i planned, ill take an extra day, deadlift on saturday, and then bench on monday if this hasnt gotten worse. im hoping it will simply get better, but my plan if it AT LEAST hasnt gotten worse is to still bench, but not go all out for the reps on that last set, just get the prescribed and get out.

long winded, but who gives a shit?

took Dave Tate’s “Under the Bar” to work with me today. without going into real specifics, i work at the U.S. Capitol in a “team” environment. a couple people in the team are not really being team players, and everyone else has been getting pretty pissed off about it. the past couple weeks have been especially miserable, as it has just been constant complaining, gossip, tattle-tail bullshit. its been getting worse, but i suppose i feel like the last two weeks i just broke, and gave into all the BS, got in on the shit-talking, etc.

anyway, enter “Under the Bar”. i bought and read this book originally a few months ago, and remembered that it was very thought provoking for me. its a quick read, but there are several points throughout the book where something would hit me deep, i would close the book and just think about it for a while. anyway, i may just keep bringing this book with me to work. This job isnt something i plan to stay at forever, hopefully not more than another year, and i think having this book with me every day MIGHT just be that little extra that i need, to help me stay positive. i know it worked today. when the shit talking started several times, i just told people that i wasnt getting into it, that i had a new outlook, etc. in fact, at one point several people were ganging up gossipping, and trying to get me into it. i put a big ridiculous grin on my face and just kept saying to them “turn your frown upside down!” which im sure was annoying and/or cheesy, but oh well!

i am hoping to accomplish something that Dave talks about in the book, which is essentially have my attitude rub off on them. i know that i have the ability to lead, sometimes directly, and other times more indirectly, simply with my actions instead of words, and that is my plan here. even if i fail at that, i will remain positive in my own thoughts.

a quote taken from the book that really helped me out today:

“If you are not where you’d like to be–or at least on your way–then the first place to look is attitude. The most important thing to keep in mind is that YOU choose your attitude in response to any given situation.”

im sure this will take on even more meaning for me later, but right now it mainly hits on my overall situation, and the specific situation at work. i am not where i want to be, as far as my job. my goal is federal law enforcement, at a high level of training. right now i work amongst federal leo’s, but im not yet one. my job is boring, and sometimes i dwell on that. sometimes i cant imagine staying there for the next 6-8 months, at least, that i will likely be there. my attitude in this regard is poor. i could have it much worse. at least i have a job, i get paid well, i am safe, i have my health, etc, etc, etc…the negative thinking has allowed me to be what i despise- an LPAB. Little Pussy Ass Bitch. fuck that.

the quote then hits on the specific situation with the shit talking at work, because as i said earlier, i let it get in my head, and bring me to negative town. well negative town is not a place i like to be, so im done with going there. all these other dipshits at work can get on board with me to positive island, or they can miss the fucking boat!

30 min jog tonight for conditioning/police academy training, whenever the hell that happens! thats how i roll.

I’ve had the forearm thing before (probably ~ 2 yrs ago was the last time) and it usually just went away on its own; I did find that a little grip training helped speed up the recovery.

BTW, I noticed you’re in the Maryland/DC area. If you’re ever looking for a place to train sometime, I’m out in Northern Virginia and have a decent garage gym setup.

thanks man, i live just outside of annapolis, md, and i work in DC. i cant say im in VA much, but i will definitely take you up on that offer sometime, if for no other reason than you were nice enough to offer.

hitting the gym in about 3 hours. deadlift 5/3/1 today. 450 is slated for my last set. thinking 450x5 is what id like to hit. nothing crazy, just enough to keep moving forward. weight is down to about 203lbs. psychologically, i hate losing weight, but it was time. i keep getting to a certain point and then going overboard with the eating, with a mix of just too many calories and bad calories. i should be able to get to 210 and beyond without having a bit of a double chin, as of yet ive been unsuccessful. so ill get down to maybe 190 or so and work back up.

i havent attempted to lean out or bulk up since before i started 5/3/1, and from the success ive had so far with the program, i think ill have a lot more success next time around.

well, shit training session.


from about 2:40 and after today was incredibly negative. fiance bitching at me about some shit, blew up at my mom because i was pissed after dealing with fiance, etc. im still pretty fucking pissed.

my head just wasnt in the game in the gym. im at an extreme level of stress right now, and its all coming to a head and i cant figure out a healthy way to deal with it. as long as the fiance stays away, i will have the house to myself tomorrow, hopefully that will help.

it sucked, as i stated i had 450x5 in mind for today. when the 450x1 was so hard i got pissed. i loaded the bar with 545 and said fuck it, im going to pull this or im going home with an injury.

i couldnt even break that shit off the floor. two more workouts and im going into deload, so as far as the gym is concerned, ill be ok. with the other shit, i know ill also be ok, just feeling a lot of negativity right now.

plans for my 5/3/1 bench day and squat day, which should be mon and wed, are to just go in and get the prescribed reps, i dont intend on pushing the last sets this time. i will do assistance, but even that i may scale back. today i didnt even do assistance, ill probably get in tomorrow and do some abs, low back, etc.

been walking around with Dave Tate’s “Under the Bar” pretty much no further than arms length away, as there are parts of the book that help me take a positive perspective. it does get hard though, especially when trying so hard to remain positive, you really notice how negative others can be. life goes on…

welp, did my bench tonight.

i only planned to go for 1 rep. spotter joked that it looked very easy for me and to let him know when i was going to challenge myself. i guess thats good.

using a close grip, index knuckles against smooth part of bar.

did (lightly) weighted dips after this. 4x12 turned into 12, 12, 11, 10, 5. felt like i was going to puke so i decided i could call it a night and do lat and maybe rear delt work tomorrow, push squats til thurs, as my hips have been killing me.

ive started running again, dont know if thats whats up with the hips, usually sleep on my side, but always waking up with sore shoulders ive been attempting to sleep on my back, perhaps thats involved, etc, dont know- doesnt matter, just need to get it sorted out.

keep going with this, it’s become my new Alpha log

ha, will do man, sorry, didnt see you had commented.

my hips have been oddly sore, i need to find a baseball or lacrosse ball around my house and start working on them. theyve been worse at night, i guess end of the day, tired, etc. ive been putting “mineral ice” aka something similar to icy hot on them pretty regularly.

because of this, i skipped my 5/3/1 squat day.

i was planning on just doing a normal deload this time, 40,50,60% 3x5. instead i skipped the deload. may turn out to be a dumb decision, but my order of Surge Workout Fuel showed up 3 days earlier than the Fedex ship notification said it was going to, and i just couldnt help myself.


*ive definitely done better than this, 175x9, 180x8; but i dont think its terrible at this point. i always wear my belt for the last set, and im at kind of an awkward fit right now, having lost a little around the belly. the next tighter notch definitely fits, but im not sure if its too tight. ive been going back and forth between the tighter notch and the one ive been at for the past few months, i think i just need to commit to the tighter one, as im losing my tightness that i should have just before i push the weight up. i imagine something along the lines of squatting the weight up, as if the buckle of the belt is the floor, and as im lowering the weight back down, im loading back up like a spring, getting ready to push off the floor (the buckle) again. to be clear here- this is what i IMAGINE, im not actually bending my knees or anything like a squat, not doing push presses, etc.

working for the govt, i have columbus day off. i had to take the day after off as well for an exam with a federal law enforcement agency, so that already gave me a 4 day weekend.

Thursday at work killed the positive attitude that ive been trying to take. This fucking guy that i work with has just become so blatant about not doing his job and not giving a fuck who it affects, that i couldnt help but get pissed.

here’s the story: my job requires radio communication. we are not armed, we are not undercover agents, etc. we wear suit and tie and carry hand-held radios, but we do have the “surveilance kit” aka Jack Bauer earpiece set up available to use with the radios. This clown will rock the earpiece, which makes us all look like idiots when people realize that we are not special agents like this guy is trying to pretend around the Capitol. so just to fuck with him, off and on throughout the day, we will click the “talk” buttons on our radios, which makes a clicking noise in his ear. he bitches about it to our manager and manager decides to have a talk with ME. not the whole team, ME.

Manager is generally a good guy, hes only 4 years older than me, so during breaks we bullshit a lot, talk about stupid shit, etc. And i do realize he’s my manager, so i do my best to separate the “manager” from the guy that i chat with on breaks.

When he pulled me aside thursday, i had had enough. i asked him why he was so concerned with the little embers the escape the fire, (aka radio clicking) when the fire itself is blazing out of control (this Donk that is constantly VERY late to work, does not fulfill his duties at work, just a piece of shit) and by the end of the conversation he basically had backed down and told me i was right about everything i was saying.

i later overheard a conversation between my manager and upper management. i didnt hear everything, but thats because i had heard enough to know that it was not my business to hear, and to remove myself from the area. basically though, my manager is trying to fire the guy, but upper management doesnt want to have to go up the chain and make waves…

had some emails with my manager after i had left, and bottom line is that he and i are good. also, he and i both know that this job is just a stepping stone for me. so i took Friday off as well, give me a 5 day weekend, clear my head, get back in there next week with the right attitude.

lesson learned: there are plenty of dipshits in this world. many more than there are people that actually do the right thing, do what they are supposed to do. life is too short to get caught up in the bullshit. i dont know this guy outside of work, maybe he really does just generally suck at life, and this is the best he can do. regardless, getting caught up in that bullshit IS NOT the best that i can do. im a strong(er) person than that.

im sitting down at the tattoo shop in about an hour to get some ink that ive been putting off for a while. itll be my third, so im not running out on impulse to get a tattoo because i think itll make me feel better. ive only been holding off because of money, and it happens that i can get some work done without breaking the bank. tattoos are just one of the many things i use for motivation, so while im not getting this done because of this idiot, or anyone else for that matter, it will help as a reminder to me to keep my eyes on my goals, not to get caught up in the little bullshit along the way.

i wasnt “supposed” to workout today, according to the tattoo artist. said i could fuck up the tat if i ripped scabs and that gyms are generally really dirty, etc. well, ive been keeping it pretty well lubed, so at this point it hasnt scabbed yet, and the gym being dirty thing…cant really argue there.

anyway, tat seems fine, its my quads that suck!

i think im going to start including accessory work

deadlift day:
415x5…not thrilled

*foam rolled:
glutes, front hips, IT bands

Back extension 3x10
planks 3x60 sec, front, right, left

normally i would do some good mornings or at least pull-throughs or something, but i opted to just do minimum low back/abs because i did not want my fresh tattoo coming in contact with the bar, nor did i want it really coming in contact with the rest of my torse which now had chalk all over the place.

my hips have been pretty sore/aching lately, but i dont really think thats the main problem with my deads lately. im not breaking the bar off the floor with much force, and im almost positive it is due to insufficient quad strength.

because im pretty sure i know what the problem is, i did not sit in the gym and cry, just need to step it up on squat day and really burn out the quads after my main lifting. thinking front squats 5x10.

*foam rolling- i was doing this somewhat regularly earlier in my 5/3/1 quest. stupid me, i dont think i wrote that in my log book, so it would be tough to say whether there was a direct correlation to lack of foam rolling and increased hip soreness and deadlift starting to stall/regress, but i can only imagine really making it a regular thing will help.

not pissed today, so no rants about anything. test tomorrow for a federal law enforcement position, feeling a bit unmotivated with it though, ive heard some horror stories about hiring process taking FOR-EVER, and it seems to be the norm. had some thoughts that it really wouldnt even be worth it for me to start the process, because surely i could get something else going before the long one panned out. oh well, ill go take the test tomorrow and just see what happens, best i can do, and its not like its going to hurt me. The alternative would be to not take the test, therefore i wouldnt need the day off work. not quite ready to end my weekend and go back to work, so i might as well just go take it.

Nice log so far bro!! Keep the work in…Are we gonna se those tatoos??

yea if you want i can post some pics on here when its done. right now the outline and about 1/3 of the shading is done, finishing it on saturday, so towards the end of the month it should be all healed up and looking how its going to look, ill get a pic up then. it isnt so huge that it required two sessions, but it would have been a 5 hour tat, i suppose thats why he broke it into two sessions. i plan to get my back covered in the next couple years, im sure at some point throughout that ill have to sit for 4-5 hrs at a time.

26 minute run. my hips love me.

bench tonight, stay tuned.

well, everything was el-sucko tonight. this will probably end up in a rant…

285x4…4!? 4!? what the fuck?!

pissed, i went on to dips and pullups. not much to say there, felt like shit, didnt get much done.

let me say, that i think it’s pretty fucking obvious that i did the wrong thing by skipping the deload. i have been pretty pissed off lately, pretty irratable, sleeping like shit, etc, etc. i should have seen the signs, and in fact i did, but it was a case of “cant see the forest through the trees”. i should have de-loaded, simple as that.

been really frustrated with my work situation lately, took a couple days off giving myself a long weekend, thought i felt better, but im right back in the crapper. tonights workout was pretty damn obvious that i should have done the deload. in fact, this week’s workouts were all good indicators. none of my numbers were where they should have been.

anyway, aside from the fact that i should have done a deload instead of jumping into another cycle, id like to talk about Surge Workout Fuel, the protocol that is supposed to be followed, etc.

let me preface this by saying that about a month ago i started drinking 1.5-2 scoops of Surge Recovery 15 minutes before my workout, and another 1.5-2 scoops during my workout, per the logic of the new protocol. granted, there were several components of the protocol “stack” that i was not using, but taking the Surge Recovery before and during respected the logic of the new protocol (in case you’re not aware of what im speaking of, search “questions on peri-workout nutrition” or go to CT’s forum, itll be one of the threads near the top). So, taking the Surge Recovery before and during, there were definitely points in my workouts where i felt like absolute SHIT. all of a sudden i would get hot, cold sweats, etc. Now, this should not be mistaken for pushing one’s self too hard in the gym, ive definitely done that before too, i dabbled in HIT for a few weeks and there were a couple workouts where i literally had to run out of the gym to puke in the street because i knew i wouldnt make it to the bathroom. so, i know the difference between pushing yourself hard and puking, and something just not sitting well inside and making you feel like shit. The Surge Recovery before/during definitely had its moments like that for me.

now, fast forward to today, or i should say, starting this past Friday, Oct 9, my first workout with Surge Workout Fuel. The whole protocol involves FINiBARS and Casein Hydrosolate (sp?) but for lack of funding, i opted out of the FINiBARs, and have substituted whey for the CH. the reason i feel this still respects the protocol and is acceptable is because i generally will eat dinner, then hit the gym about 1.5-2hrs later. so, while im not having the Fin-bars before, i am having a whole meal! money-wise, i cant do the bars. even if i could, it would be too much right after having had dinner. so i am doing:

60 min before workout: 2-3 Alpha-gpc
30 min before workout: 2 scoops Surge Workout Fuel
15 min before workout: 2 scoops Surge Recovery
During Workout: 1 Scoop Surge Recovery
15 min after workout: 40g whey
90 min after workout: whole food meal

again, this respects the logic of the protocol. the carbs are all before and during the workout. if anything, the biggest thing i am missing out on is the fast absorbed Casein Hydrosolate after the workout, but again, AFTER. my Gripe is how i am feeling during my workout- I FEEL LIKE SHIT! i feel fucking bloated, burping the whole time, it’s ridiculous!

how the fuck can i have a productive workout if i feel like shit?!

this is brought up in the peri-workout thread, and the standard answer has been “youre using too much water mixing the drinks…”. Well, i really cant see how i would use much less water than i am now, and still have these drinks be considered drinks. For one thing, i dont like the taste of the Surge Workout Fuel at all. i bought the lemonade, and if anyone has had the old school lemon cell-tech, it tastes pretty similar to that, with an extra kick of funk at the end. it is bearable, and if it really produces like the claims say, then fuck it, its worth it. but damn, 2 scoops in 8oz of water is sick enough, and there’s already little particles all over the shaker bottle that i have to add another gulp of water and shake around to get. i cant imagine how nasty this stuff would be if i mixed it with less water and had to slurp it down as a syrup!

then, like i said, 15 mins later, 2 scoops Surge recovery with 8-10oz water, then 15 mins later im in the gym sipping on another scoop.

somewhere along that line, my body fucking hates it. i dont know what to do, and clearly im fucking pissed about it. and the thing is, the answer ill get is “if you dont like it, dont use it” and/or “use less water”. clearly, id like to reap the benefits of this stuff. at the same time, at some point “use less water” is going to turn into “mix it with just enough water to make a paste and eat it with a spoon” and at that point, it wont be worth gagging this shit down.

either way, i think im going into deload, perhaps even an extended deload. i feel like a dick because i skipped out on my 5/3/1 squat day last cycle, and now im realizing that i NEED to deload immediately, and the next workout was squats again! i think im just going to have to deal with that, but im also thinking of starting next cycle with squats, then just doing this order: squats, mil press, deads, bench; as i have been doing this order: mil press, deads, bench, squat.