Atlas Hugged: On the Fat Side > Well Rounded

Back Story:
I’m the only one in my family that is fat and have been since I was 12. My fattest being around 23 when I was about 6’3, 340 lbs, and never worked out. I played football in high school, where I first started lifing, but quit until I was about 26 or so, and opted to get in all sorts of trouble.

The moment at 26:
I was sitting at my apartment on sissel ball at my computer. Of course I had the ball because I thought it would be an effort free solution. My back was sore. I have never had a sore back. I realized then that I would have a sore back and worse for the rest of my life. I had several things working for me, however:

  1. I was single
  2. I lived alone
  3. I had been athletic in the past and knew what was required
  4. I had no TV, internet, or phone at home > no distrations/excuses.

I decided to start stretching to ease the strain on my body. After a week or two, I decided stretching was pointless if my muscles aren’t warm, so I went for a 10 minute warm-up. After a week or two of that, I decided that I might as well extend the warm up another 10 minutes and make it a full on exercise session. Then I figured why eat that fast food meal that would undo all the work I did, and so on.

Initially, my routines consisted of bodyweight squats for cardio, sit ups, and push ups, and would move on to include burpees, bike rides, distance running, running drills, and so on. I drank too much then, and would often end my nights w/ some sort of fast food meal at 2 am.

I quit my job and started traveling the world, where the weightloss continued mainly due to the change in cuisine and the activity required in seeing new places. I made it down to about 275 before moving to the middle of the Pacific where I ahd more time to train.

My equipment consisted of a rusty bench press that adjusted to an incline press, a barbell, bar for pull ups, and a few rusty weights. I would run occasionally… sometimes up to 3 miles on dirt roads and hope that I didn’t get attacked by dogs, or do sprints. I hurt my back after not knowing how to deadlift and after that, I settled on a routine and educated myself.

Being big already, I found a routine, “Stronger, Faster, not Bigger” that was mainly geared towards people like baseball players that don’t need the bulk. It also worked because it was one of the few routines that didn’t require a squat rack. It worked: I did get stronger from newb gains and I slimmed down.

My diet cosisted mostly of vegetarian meals, as vegetables were abundand and awesome, and I ate meat about twice a week. Most of my protein consisted of beans or milk. I was seeking well rounded diet and it worked out

Evwentually, I had to get rid of the bench and ended up with a pipe and two wheel wells welded together that probably weighed around 75 lbs. I changed my routine to focus on complexes, vertical jumps, and running. The weight continued to drop and I ended up as low as 205. I ended up moving and having to give up the weight.

I had no weights. I focused on roadwork, push-ups, and sit-ups. I became a little complacent, slightly busier, got a serious girlfriend, and slacked a bit in my diet (more sugar). I started traveling again, this time in the western world. I indulged in some things I hadn’t had access to in a long time and my routine pretty much ended, as I was focused on living life. My weight ended up back at about 230 before moving back to the US.

Back in the US. I gained 10-15 lbs of fat within about two months. Halfway through, I began working out again… focused on burpees and other bodyweight exercieses. When that wasn’t enough, I threw in some cardio (punches, kicks, etc.), and the weight gain stopped. When it got warm, I walked or ran 3 miles almost every day for abotu 2 months and lost about 5 lbs. I then went back to school where I had access to my first real gym in years.

With access to a real gym, I began back with an adjusted Stonger, Faster routine, and got stronger, but started realizing how weak my squat was.
In August, 2011 my 1RM were:
235 dead
150 military
Bench 180
Squat 275
T-Row 120

I kept up a similar routine with a bit more focus on squats, but still a large focus on deads.

End of 2011 1RM:
165 shoulder press
175 clean
325 dead
300 squat
185 bench

I began to search for a different routine focused on strength and decided on SS. My upper body was still a little out of balance weak, but it always had been, so I didn’t stress it. I also got my diet in order and even gained access to a can of whey. Though, I continued to struggle with portion size. I rarely drank during this time and if I skipped a routine, it was because I was too busy with school. I tried track work a few times and hurt myself once due to hydration issues, I think. I would also complex about once a week. I maintained my weight around 245 from August through May, with some slight gain toward the end.

I haven’t maxed out since then, but in May 2012, my working sets were around

Squats 3 x 5, 300 lbs (I made 305 once, but was definately struggling for gains)
Deads 1 x 5, 295
Bench 3 x 5, 185
Overhead Press 5 x 3, 145
Clean, 5 x 3, 195

Since this time, I moved back abroad, where my diet has gone to hell. I have maintained my weight, but am sure I lost muscle. I have since focused on conditioning with body weight exercises daily, mostly from Convict Conditioning… currently:
Incline press 2 x 30, 1 x 30
Supported Squats 3 x 30
Fatman Pulls (more incline than I would prefer) 1 x 8
crunches 1 x 24, 1 x 25
I also run a couple miles a couple times a week and incorporate at least one big hill run/walk a week, or I do drills on the beach with heavy rocks/coral.

I have since joined a gym to help maintain strength and try to limit myself to twice a week. I am currenlty working with:

Squat, 3 x 5, 270
Bench, 3 x 5 170
Overhead 5 x 3 135
Dead 1 x 5, 225 (really took it easy)

Hate to see my squat take such a hit after all the work I put into it, but that’s how it goes. My current routine consists of:
Chins (pulldown machine)

Dead or Clean
Pulls (pulldown machine)

I also am continuing w/ the bodyweight and conditioning.

I almost forgot goals:
squat 1.5x bw
dead 1.5x bw
bench bw
overhead bw
1 full, unassisted chin-up

These are micro goals… on a more macro level, my goal is to plateau my strength on all lifts (basically, the end of SS), then maintain and focus on conditioning… gaining an equivalent sort of plateau. After that, then maybe focus more on power (not power lifting, but moving the weights faster) and maybe something like fighting or gymnastics to test the body… but i’m not getting any younger.

Breakfast and morning routine:
Still sore from Saturday’s workout, Sunday’s incline push-ups, and monday’s run.
1 grain PB sandwich
2 x 25 knee tucks
1 x 9 half squats, maybe I’m too used to weighted squats, but I keep feeling the tendency to fall back, so I have to lean way too forward with my arms out
2 x 4 straight bridges, my left inner tricep REALLY feels strained and ends up cramping whenever I do this sort of position. Perhaps I need to start doing dips or something to compensate.
1 more grain PB/banana sandwich
1 orange

Pumpkin & coconut milk
fried chicken thigh w/ stirfry veggies (too oily)

Coming off of nearly 10 hours of sleep and a vegetarian lunch, feeling great:

Squats 270x3x5
A month ago this was cake. I goodmorninged the first set a bit too much and didn’t go quiet deep enough on the second. I went up on the third with no prep and nailed it.

Bench 170x3x5

Chins on a lat pull-down at 140kg… I’m pretty sure the weight is wrong since I couldn’t even do 110 a month ago. Also tried doing a chin-up later in the day and stuck at halfway.

Woke up at 3:30 am… wack.

2 x 25 speed knee tucks
bw x 2 x 35, slow

Debating if I should lift today or tomorrow (want to go scuba diving, but weather might hold it up).
Listening to Serengeti - Cauc’s Remix



Pulls on miscalibrated machine

Might do some ab work yet today

Morning Session:
2x10 flat knee raises

lunch session, groggy all day:

Stood up w/ 275 and knew right away it wasn’t happpening today. Deloaded:
265x2x1, knew that wasn’t happening either.


Rough Today

Incline Push ups at waist
3 x 40 fast
BW Half Squat
1 x 35
1 x 50
Bent Knee Curls
1 x 10
1 x 15

Power Clean
132 x 6 x 3, thought I was doing 143, accidently did an extra set

Jogged a mile
Walked up steep hill 10 min.
1 x 10 Fatman pullups (slow)
Jogged 1/4 mile
3/4 in 2-3 min. intervals w/ long strides

Looking forward to resting the legs tomorrow and be ready for Saturday’s squat session

Leftovers from yesterday:

I might pull tomorrow morning but resting for sat. morning…

Woke up at 3 am for some reason… feeling kinda groggy, but forced it anyway:

Squats 270x3x5 (conservative, considering my last squat)
Bench 170x2x5, 1 x 4 (help on the 4th, skipped the last rep)
Chins on miscalibrated machine
1 Negative
Bent Knee Curls
1 x 16, 1x15

Complex w/ 66 lbs, counting down from 6,5,4…1 w/ just over 1 min. rest between sets
Dead, Bent Over Row, Romanian Dead, power clean, front squat, push press, back squat, good morning

15 min. swim in the lagoon

Bodyweight Half Squats

Morning Session
2x16 Flat Knee Raises

Lunch Session
135x5x3 (forgot what weight I was on… harder than last time)

270x1x3 – Was going for 5, but my back bent

My diet is confusing… I keep forgetting that I’m not eating for strength and I don’t need to consume protein every chance I get.

Incline Pushups 6" below waist

1 mile jog
Hill work

Fatman Pullups
1x6, 1x5

1 mile farlick

Woke up at 3:30 this morning, but managed to get in two more hours before work.

275x3x5, bad form on 2nd, good morninged it too much, bounced a bit on bottom at end. killed it on 3rd.

176x3x5, stuggled a bit on end of 2nd, killed it on 3rd… no bounce, but pumped quick.

Was reminded about overtraining today. A coworker came back from the chiropractor and had some sort of build up around the upper part of her spine that kept her from turning her neck and restricted blood flow to her brain. The chiropracter said it was from too much exercise and managed to get rid of it w/ something called an activator?

Her routine is she goes on a 1 hour walk on the beach in the morning and does BW work, does some sort of aerobics at lunch, and goes on another one hour walk on the beach in the evening w/ BW work daily. Seems pretty tame to me, but it is daily w/ no work, and she is a bigger girl, so her body might not be ready for the BW work if she hasn’t worked up to it and offers no recovery time.

no man is an island

Flirting with overtraining… no rest from yesterday, exhausted:

Power Cleans

Complex w/ 66 lbs, just over 1 min. rest between sets:
Dead, Bent Over Row, Romanian Dead, power clean, front squat, push press, back squat, good morning
3x8… first time doing it like this and of course it was hard: harder on my upper back than normal and my legs because I squated yesterday.


1 hour snorkelling, 30 min. walk on beach

Really sore all morning, even though got a decent sleep.

Scuba diving is great for recovery… moderate physical activity, cool water easing the body, low impact, deep breathing of enhanced air.

Went on a 5 hour hike… made it to about 580 m and back… was actually planning on taking it easy today, but life called.

Was going to try and squeeze in some deads and OHPs tomorrow because technically my gym membership is done, but I thought they might be slack… but I guess it’s not meant to be.

Focus on BW and conditioning for the next week.

Fighting off a severe cold and kind of winning… though haven’t been eating much besides fruit. Doing no training.

Had meat for the first time in 3 days.

Thought I’d mosey on over and have a look :slight_smile: I second the scuba for recovery and relaxing - nothing quite liek floating about aimlessly and weightless to chill you out, although I haven’t been for several years now. I also found shallow dives great for a hangover, too. Might try and get some in when the weather here in Kuwait cools down a bit.

Which corner of the world are you in?

I was in the South Pacific, but I took a week off from the working out to fight off getting sick, experience some final things, and move to a different country.

During that week I ate like shit because my housemates were throwing out a bunch of crap and I have this thing about throwing away (most food).

Still fighting off being sick and coping with jetlag, but I finally got in the gym yesterday:

260x3x5 deloaded quite a bit due to the circumstances above and I think I chose right.


Chin, finally on a properly calibrated pull-down
240 x .75 (I start in with the bar pulled down, so that’s going up and halfway down)
220 x 1.5
230 x 1.5

2 x 16 flat knee raises

I was kinda aimless with what to do routine wise, and some upcoming changes in life, but I finally narrowed it down.

I will be going back to SS w/ some conditioning for the next two weeks and eat low carb. I’m going to time my mile run this weekend because I haven’t done that in years, and I’m curious.

After that two weeks, I will be reverting from SS to a 5x5 version twice a week for maintenance and focus more on conditioning while it’s nice out. I will also switch over to a low fat diet and increase my carbs to compensate. I guess you might call this a cut?

As it gets cooler and wetter, I will go back to SS and milk what I can out of that before moving on to the Texas Method. That’s the plan anyway. We’ll see how reality pans out.