I apologize in advance for this long-winded post. This is basically a description of what I have gained from T-Nation in 2006, and a request for comments on setting some goals for 2007.
I’m 29, 6’0", 220 lbs, 21% BF, work a desk job, go to school at night, and am usually able to get into the gym 3x / week.
From 2002-2004 I ran a lot and lifted 3x10 on a 3 day split with small weights. I went from fat to skinny-fat. In Summer 04 I broke my arm and stopped lifting.
In Fall 04 I started lifting tiny weights again. In December 04 I broke my arm again, but though it just hurt due to cold weather and that I should stop being a puss. In February of 05 people started telling me my arm looks funny, and in March it was diagnosed as a non-union of the distal radius. I didn’t lift again with any regularity until January of 06.
2006 - What T-Nation did for me
- Jan 06-Start reading T-Nation. Doc cleared me for lifting again. Started 5x5.
- Mar 06 - 197 lbs @ 18% BF, 38" waist.
- Summer 06-5x5, then WS4SB, then TBT
- Oct 06 - 220 lbs at 21% BF. Began table push-aways.
- Nov 06 - BP 5RM is 185lbs. SQ/DL 3 RMs both @ 275 lbs, possibly more, but form gets shitty. 8 neutral grip pull-ups @ body weight. Arm x-ray looks good.
Over the course of the year I added several good habits. These did not happen all at once or overnight. It has happened in fits and starts, but thanks to T-Nation I did the following:
- Started logging workouts.
- Eat natural PB instead of JIF.
- Add whey protein to everything.
- Started doing DLs and squats.
- Pay much more attention to peri-workout nutrition
- Figured out that switching exercise programs does good things.
I am not happy with my bench progress. I think the lack of intensity stems from fear of wrist failure (rolling forward and dropping the bar, breaking the radius again, or even just being too sore to lift at the next workout). Will I be cheating myself on grip/forearm strength if I use wrist wraps at such pussy weight levels?
Squats / DLs - Time to add a belt? (I promise not to wear it when curling.)
Diet / Weight - I’ve proven to myself that I can add muscle mass. The poor muscle/fat gain ratio can be summed up in one word: beer.
2007 - Goals and New Habits
Jan-May Goals: I want to lean out by my May 27th wedding. (If I lost zero muscle mass 12% BF would put me at about 195. I may need to rethink how far to take it or pick a different metric such as waist size.) Key habits to focus on are more protein w/ every meal, more vegetables, and fewer high-cal beverages (beer). I also need to start keeping a food log at least when starting out w/ fat loss, and probably again when starting muscle gain.
As for exercise, I will alternate between 10x3 full body and 5x5 3-day split every 6-8 weeks, possibly with a Meltdown training thrown in for good measure.
My goal for the big 3 from January through June 07 is to just maintain and work on form.
June-Dec Goals: I will begin eating big again in June while shooting for a better muscle/fat ratio than this year. I will move BF monitoring up to monthly. Exercise program will probably alternate every 6-8 weeks between WS4SB, TBT, and at least one other undecided program. I need help figuring out what is a reasonable bench goal for June-December (beyond don’t get hurt). Squat and DL goals are to make a run at 3 plates for 5 reps for both lifts before the end of 2007.
Anyway, thank you if you read this far. Basically I am looking forward to any input on whether these are reasonable goals and whether I should focus on adding any other habits to reach them.