I’d like to thank you for creating the most effective program I have ever done. In a world littered with Bosu balls and zumba, you have cleared a path for me to finally reach the goals that I’ve had for years (which don’t include anything involving bosu balls or zumba).
I bought the 2nd edition of one of your books that was released in 2013–I don’t remember the exact title of it, but during a point in my life when I’m spending a few hundred dollars on textbooks every semester, it’s one of the only books that I think I’ve ever been happy to spend my money on. Near the end of the book, you included some “before and after” examples, for lack of a better term. Personal records from people that had used 5/3/1. Honestly, I thought those people were specifically chosen because their results were impressive. I didn’t really think everyone could improve that much that fast, but I figured since I already bought the book, I’ll try out 5/3/1.
My entire freshman year of college consisted of me going to the gym 6 days a week and doing way too much volume with absolutely no inkling of progression in any form. At all. Halfway through the year, I stayed with a friend at Ohio State and went to the Arnold in Columbus. That weekend was so fun that I still remember my numbers from my workouts while I was there in early March. That was essentially my peak of freshman year, and I hit 4 sets of 8 at 245lbs for back squats. Back squats. Yes, I’m serious. The next day, we benched, and I hit 185 for a set of 12, and proceeded to do drop sets down to 135. I don’t know how many reps I did that day for flat barbell bench, but it doesn’t matter. I was making no progress. I had no plan, no purpose in the gym, and I had given up on having goals because I had been “training” for months with nothing to show for it.
Today (September 28), after almost 3 months on 5/3/1, my bench PRs went from 235x4 to 230x10 and 245x8. Squat PRs went from 275x5 to 280x10 and 295x8. Deadlift PRs went from 300x1 to 345x7 and 365x5. Less than 2 months into my sophomore year, I’m making my freshman self look like a little b*tch. I love it.
I really can’t compliment you enough on not only 5/3/1, but your philosophy in general. That joke about bosu balls is partly true in the sense that there’s too much BS in the fitness world. You are the human incarnation of Occam’s Razor. You simplified everything for everyone who takes the time to understand 5/3/1 (which is not enough people. Their loss.) You also took the razor to nutrition. Eat good, whole foods with plenty of protein and carbs. No “eat 8 meals a day,” “cut THIS out to get huge,” none of that. I’ve been following that advice since I started 5/3/1 and it’s showing. A ton.
I’ve never made progress like this. I’d never actually looked forward to squatting before. I didn’t know how simple it really was until I said F it and gave 5/3/1 a shot. But like a lot of people, lifting weights is what I love to do. Not making progress was causing me to lose the passion that I have for what I love to do. So Jim, I want to say thank you again for 5/3/1. You quite literally gave me a program that gives me enough confidence and happiness to deal with the highs and lows that you experience when you’re 20. It’s not a mushy “thank you,” it’s a bro “thank you.” You are absolutely the man for thoroughly presenting a simple philosophy that is just scary effective. God bless you man. Long live 5/3/1