Hello everybody! I am new to the forums and seeking some direction on where I should go next with my weightlifting program. I would also like some help as far as where I should be categorized as a lifter, based on my strength and time lifting; beginner or intermediate.
My program history is as follows:
2 Months: P90X and endurance cycling (I was underweight if anything, but was fooled by marketing)
1-2 Months: Fitness Model Workout - RC26 (I was an uninformed noob)
6 Months: Practical Starting Routines for The Drug-Free Trainee - Casey Butt, Ph.D.
1.5 Months: How I Finally Got Muscle to Grow - Amit Sapir (I think I stopped because I wasn't gaining the way I expected, or was too burned out)
1.5 Months: Six Week Program - Jonnie Candito
Since I have started lifting, I have managed to gain 28lbs, bringing my bodyweight to a fluctuating ~185lbs at 6ft.
Since I am in the processing of re-testing my 1RM this week, I can only give you an idea of where I am at the moment. Amit's programs definitley boosted my lifts, but at the start of Candito's my lifts were as follows: 205:B/255:S/295:DL. I think my Dl may have been skewed, because I tested everything on the same day. As far as increases on Candito's my projected 1RM for squats was projected at 285, but I hit 315 for one when testing last night following "How to Warm Up for a One-Rep Max - Tim Henriques". I will have to follow up with my other lifts later in the week.
My ultimate goals are aesthetics, but I would like to maintain a level of strength as Candito's program has really sparked that interest in me. I want to look big, and be strong. I'm looking for what I should be doing for my next plan, something that will meet these goals. Have I missed my chance to do a 5x5, since I started with a 3X8 program? Should I be doing a focused strength program, or body-building one?
Plans I've considered as of now:
Strong Bodybuilder Program - Amit Sapir
The Texas Method - Mark Rippetoe
Ice Cream Fitness 5X5 - Jason Blaha
PHAT - Layne Norton
Westside - Louie Simmons (After some research, and without access to bands or chains, I've decided this plan may be too advanced at this point in time)
Any input would be much appreciated! I would place myself in the beginner category, as I just recently hit a year of training, and may have used up my newbie gains. What should I be doing if aesthetics are my ultimate goal, but am intrigued by the idea of moving more weight? Is a combination possible, or are they opposing goals?