T Nation

Do Meatheads Dream of Iron Sheep?


Edited on 12/12/14 to update progress, goals and challenges

Current stats:

Male, 35 years old. 290 lbs. 6'00" Roughly 35% bodyfat, just a guesstimate. Down from 320-330 to start 2013, unsure of bodyfat then but certainly 40+%. As of this edit I am in my 16th month of barbell training.

I began barbell training in September 2013 using a 5x5 system. From March to September 2013 I did some unstructured dumbbell work, water aerobics, mind-numbing elliptical work and plenty of unproductive bicep curling. Prior to that I did a lot of sitting on my ass drinking beer for over a decade.

On Oct. 13, 2014 I took up 5/3/1, doing a 4 day upper/lower split and continue to run this program.

Lifting numbers:

Squat: Best single of 465x1, best 5/3/1 PR set of 375x7
Deadlift: Best single of 565x1, best 5/3/1 PR set of 450x8
Bench Press: Best single of 300x1, best 5/3/1 PR set of 230x9
Strict Press: Best single of 200x1, best 5/3/1 PR set of 155x10

I have never used a lifting belt (which is something I should probably change) and I do not use straps or gear of any kind with the exception of loose knee wraps on heavy squat sets.

Lifting Goals for 2015:

No specific numbers, I just want to continue getting stronger overall and continue having fun with lifting weights and self-improvement. I will probably do some max testing in the spring of 2015 to see where six months of 5/3/1 have gotten me. I think a bench in the low 300's, a squat over 500, a DL around 600 and a press of 225 are realistic for me to hit, but I'll just keep training hard and see where I end up.

Current Diet:

On a good day I am eating 2400 to 2500 calories with macros in the following neighborhood - 270g Carbs, 250g protein, 60g fat. On a bad day I will drink 1500 calories of New England's finest craft beers and then eat more food than I should.

Diet Goals for 2015:

Do what I did in 2014 a little bit better and keep myself in slow, steady fat loss territory while preserving strength.

Challenges: Consistency of diet, consistency of avoiding alcohol, especially high-calorie craft beer. Do more conditioning. Do more mobility work.

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to read and comment on my log. I appreciate all of the support and encouragement.

Best regards,



I'm glad you decided to log over here. Welcome aboard.


Thanks for the suggestion to create one. Coming to T-Nation has been a real eye-opener for me and I've already learned a lot. I may even get some pictures of my progress up this weekend.


You are on your way to being a whole different person. Keep up the hard work and never, ever quit. I'll be following along.



A success story in the making, no doubt.



Its not a sprint its a marathon.

Keep posting


Friday 4/11/14

Front squat


This was my best 5x5 work set lift, having completed all five reps on all three work sets of 225 for the first time.

Close grip bench press (hands about 12 in apart)


Romanian Deadlift


Bent over barbell row


Barbell curl

Shoulder feels really good.


I find that comment mind-boggling.

Do you seriously believe that a 315 squat and 235 bench in only 7 months of training is SLOW????????


I think that's just the point. OP is off to a GREAT start. Derek's point is that this is a lifelong pursuit and that OP should keep his eye on the long-term AS WELL AS those short-term achievements.


cavalier, I think you misinterpreted Derek's point. OP is off to a GREAT start and Derek knows that. His point is that this is a lifelong pursuit and that OP should keep his long term goals in mind.

OP is one of the most positive-minded new posters I've seen and I have no doubt he'll continue to make great progress :slightly_smiling:


cav, with a 300lb adult that should be teachable withing about six hours, w/o any training history



After being on here for more than 12 years I have seen a lot of people come and go. Same thing in the gym. People get great results, then taper off then quit. Making a lifestyle change, in exercise, diet and longevity takes daily grinding out reps and the mental will power to eat and drink correctly.


That's exactly how I took your original comment. The whole "mental willpower to eat and drink correctly" is certainly my biggest challenge. I've been in this for over a year now and I am not even halfway to my goal, at least when you measure it by the scale.

Getting to the gym consistently is my strong point. I'm already chomping at the bit to get out of work and lift. Strength is damn addicting, especially for someone who has gone through his adult life being fat and weak.

I've also wondered if I should think about taking my foot off the gas with pushing strength, but my body feels great and I keep getting stronger. I haven't missed a workout all year and am probably due for a bit of a break. I figure life will give me a few de-load weeks as summer approaches.

Until then I suppose I will listen to my body, and not the guys in my gym who tell me deadlifting heavy once per week is too much, especially when I don't see them deadlifting at all.


Bingo. Listen to your body. The more hardcore crowd might tell you to throw caution to the wind and just try to PR every damn day, but IMO there's a bit of a misperception that some of us "commoners" tend to have: many of the best athletes aren't killing themselves in EVERY SINGLE WORKOUT, but rather they bust their butt in workouts when that is called for and, likewise, they back off when their body tells them to do so.

twojar, as I alluded to once on your other thread, you'll learn when to leave a rep or two in the tank and when to really "go for it" on the big days for a PR. I've expressed that I tend to err on the conservative side and leave a rep in the tank rather than pushing to failure on most exercises. Everyone's mileage will vary, but progress is made over weeks and months and years; any single rep is not likely to make or break your training. That's my take :slightly_smiling:


Monday 4/14/14


345x1 - First time squatting over 315
365x1 - 1RM PR

Back to 5x5 next week, will try 385 in a month or so

Bench press


First full 5x5 @ 230 since deltoid strain in Feb, ready for 235 next week

Lat pulldown


Weighted situp on decline bench


DB Shrug

Pec deck


Have some videos of squat and BP I will post as soon as I master the technology.


Congrats on going past 315 on the squat!

I know you know this already, but don't get too caught up in 1RM testing just yet. At this stage, the most valuable use of singles is to prove to yourself that you can handle a heavier weight so when you're ready to do work sets over 315, you've already handled the weight and removed the psychological barrier. Once again, congrats!


I never thought of heavy singles like that. I have just been caught up in testing my limits lately. I think it is wise to think of heavy singles in your way, and I may put off 1RM testing for a few more months. It sure is easy to get caught up in max effort lifting with the noob gains building strength quickly. I should probably stick to 5x5 and see how far I can ride that horse.

Thanks for the eye-opener.


You don't have to totally exclude singles or 1RM testing; just make sure that you don't start making every other workout a testing session for a new max! Retesting your max once every 6-12 weeks is probably fine, but more often than that and you might sacrifice valuable days that could have been good solid "volume" days just to see if your max went up.

Heavy singles are fun and have their place. They're especially good for breaking that mental barrier (a few months from now, you'll have no problem slapping that extra plate on top of three big ones because you've already done the weight).

Just don't lose sight of the main "work" in the program :slightly_smiling:


I'll readily admit that I am a video whore. Love watching other people lift.

Great job on the squat PR.


Here's a video of a bench press work set of 5 reps at 230. Any and all feedback is both welcome and encouraged.

Once my GF figures her phone out I should have vidoes of my squat up for review.