5 Year Break... Starting Over!


I just started weightlifting again after taking 5 years off! I feel like a beginner again…but since I am older, my goals have changed. I am focusing on lifting for overall health.

Background information…

I started weight training in high school after experiencing being the victim of bullying…cliche right? Anyways, I was very skinny, with average genetics, but decent motivation. Little did I know, that I would eventually blow up, in which this hobby became an unhealthy addiction. I went on to college and competed in athletics, but continued to develop body image issues and mental health issues. As I was ending my college athletic career, I was diagnosed with chronic mono that never seemed to go away! After blood tests, I was deficient in almost all areas, which played a greater impact on me mentally than physically. I graduated, quit working out, and settled for a sub par job. I fell into the daily grind of work and the wrong kind of bar.

As a natural lifter, battling SSRI side effects and having a body very sensitive to supplements, I felt I needed supplements to workout…which lead to feeling defeated and quitting! I did turn heads in my town…with decent lifts including the raw 4/5/6, bench/squat/dead at 200 pounds body weight.Where I struggled most and fell was my issue of comparing myself to others. Also, the majority of the lifters I knew, started taking gear and competing.

Fast forward to today…

I started working out again! I am around 5 foot 9 and still around 200 pounds except my body fat sky rocketed! I am way more aware of my body…and I have had to use a different approach to lifting… After reading on T-Nation all the articles about less is more…and how to train like a natural lifter… I have decided to begin 5/3/1. This is the first time that I am doing a program with actual %. I used to get reamed before where I would lift/eat whatever I wanted…yet continue to make gains. My workouts in the past were high volume and intense…beating up my CNS. I would kill myself in the gym not realizing that the other people must have had better recovery or enhancements. Also, instead of force feeding myself every 2-3 hours…I have been listening to my body and eating whenever I am hungry! I am not counting macros…but paying attention to my protein intake… and have been backing off when my mind begins to get too obsessed.

Future plans

I am surprised that I am not too far off from the 4/5/6 again. Muscle memory even after 5 years seems to exist…as my workouts continue to get stronger…fast.
I used to get wrapped up in the SSRI and low T argument… or needing all the new supplements… or thinking “I may not even workout, If I have low T or are on SSRI…” Or “Everyone I lifted with back then is now on gear! I’m jealous…”
I plan to just focus on ME, MY lifestyle, and balance!

Good luck to everyone else out there!

Good luck man, sounds like a lot healthier way to live!

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I just finished my first week on my first 5/3/1 cycle!
This is the original 5/3/1 with AMRAP. For assistance work I am trying to hit each muscle group 2x a week with the 4 core lifts. 3 sets max for 8-10 reps on a secondary lift… with a few secondary lifts. I am focusing on less volume and trying not to overdo the assistance work. I love it that I can be out of the gym in an hour.

Diet wise I am listening to my body and eating roughly 5 meals a day. I am trying to hit at least 1gram of protein per lb of body weight. I am feeling thinner… but I am not binging food anymore. As long as my strength continues to grow… I guess I can’t complain.

Results from week 1: AMRAP set

Deadlift (conventional hook grip) 405x7
Bench - 255x12
Squat(high bar) - 335 x 12
Military Press - 155x10

I feel the best working out every other day… but I will bench/squat two days in a row… after dead lift I take off 2 days…

I feel overall good… I just finished my military press workout on my work lunch break… since the gym is closing for holidays. Felt pretty sluggish…also went out with an old friend who was in town for a few beers last night…first time in along time! Felt my press could have been better. Also with more reps…I want to work on keeping the bar close to my body and kneck…It seems to want to get away as fatigue sets in.

I am excited for week 2/3… I have read about people skipping deload for the first cycle…and going every 2 cycles… but I may just stick to the de load… since my body is beat to hell from college.

Maybe you should turn this into a training log? It’s handy to have something permanent written down and you can get some insight from other lifters on the site…

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Started week 2 of 5/3/1. Deadlift day. I messed up week 1 somehow and ended up with what was suppose to be a last set at 385 to 405… so week 2 was the same AMRAP at 405. Week 1 I got 7. Today I got 8. I’m excited for next week’s AMRAP at 430.

I trained earlier in the morning after just breakfast but felt good… I decided to go workout at a different gym today. Man my deadlift cardio Sucks! I was dying after the last working set.
After deadlift I hit:

3x8-10 weighted pull ups
3x10 one arm row
3x10 face pulls.
3x8 dumbbell curl
3x10 reverse curls.

Feeling good… ate a lot over the holiday break!

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Today will be my last overhead press workout of my first cycle of 5/3/1. I plan to de load after this! I deleted that phone app, read the 5/3/1 original PDF and created a Xcel worksheet. I enjoyed my 3rd week! I feel like my dead lift is my lagging lift…not exactly sure what I am going to do to get this up! I am thinking of incorporating FSL now… 5x5 but will go down to 3x5 if my body can’t handle it. I have been primarily working out every other day…sometimes doing 2 on 1 off, except after dead lift day.

Week 3 lifts AMRAP

Bench - 280 for 8 clean no grinding reps
Squat - 370 for good 7 reps, could have grinded an 8th. Slow controlled with good depth.
Deadlift - 430 for a tough 6
Press - I am going to be doing 175 today… I expect a high number of reps!

I squat high bar and dead lift conventional with hook grip. I thought about trying sumo…but am undecided.

Cycle 2 looks good! including adding the FSL…probably will cut back on the accessories a little.

I was skeptic of the program…and literally would wing it and train whatever years ago…but I now realize that smart training with a program is what produces results. I assume muscle memory is doing its job…5 years of doing nothing and my lifts are coming back decently! I am maintaining weight but feeling/appear skinnier? Maybe just my image… but overall feeling good.

I noticed I was eating a snack/meal too soon before lifting…and my best workouts have been when I wait to lift until a few hours after a big meal.