I am a 45 years old, 6 ft tall, 190 lbs. I have always been active but as life gets in the way, more on and off active the last 10-15 years.
In high school, I was 205 lbs and could bench 350 lbs and squat 400 without too much training on squats. I lifted on and off after college, starting at 23 years old until I was 30 but never more than 2-3 months at a time with years in between.
Fast forward to now, 45 years young. 3 years ago, my doc told me I had mild hypertension (125/90) and wanted to put me on meds. I refused and started running, dropped 10 lbs (200 down to 190) and got it under control (120/80). I quit running last year and forgot about my blood pressure. 3 weeks ago, I discovered 5x5 and within 3 workouts, I was hooked.
The last year I have done nothing but pushups and a few curls with 25 lb dumb bells. At the end of week two on 5x5, I was doing 245 x 5 for bench and similar for squat (my legs are a weak point). I focused hard on protein 5-6 times per day and gained 7 lbs in two weeks. And that may have been my problem. I have always gained muscle easily when I wanted to. But, I also have a family history of mild hypertension starting in middle age. After two weeks of 5x5, I had mild, but constant headaches. i checked my urine and it was clear and I drank 3/4 gallon to one gallon water per day.
After week two, I had some minor skin surgery and they took my blood pressure before starting. 160/110.! I didn't believe it so I bought my own cuff and stethoscope. Sure enough, pretty consistently 145/105! Ouch. Have been off of weight training for 1 week now while healing from skin surgery but still headaches persist and high pressure persists.
I have read numerous testimonials about people on a 5x5 program and dropping blood pressure dramatically in 12-18 weeks. In most cases, these people are likely sedentary, overweight individuals who get in shape, drop fat, etc.. In my case, I was 6ft tall, 188 lbs with a muscular build when I started 5x5 and I gained 7 lbs in two weeks.
What reports or experience does anyone have with people starting heavy resistance training and having this kind of weight gain in 2 weeks? The increased fluid volume alone from 7 extra pounds could create hypertension in my case. But I hate to quit because I feel great after only 2 weeks on 5x5 (except for the headaches of course). My body fat is around 15% so I can definitely lose some there and that could help. But, if I gain muscle too easily, and vascularity does not come along with it, I fear I will only make my blood pressure worse the longer I go. What experience or advice do you have for me?
I am considering going to a 3x12 program because exertion under oxygen deprivation seems to be the key to lowering blood pressure long term. And I have to say that during the two weeks on 5x5, I never really got out of breath during a work out. So I am seriously questioning whether this is the healthiest program for me. Maybe I need to stick it out longer? Maybe the dramatic rise in blood pressure is transient???