T Nation

Shattering Old PR's with 5/3/1


Jim, a sincere thank you; from Hilliard, OH

As a little guy, 5'9, 170lbs, I decided it was time to make a change. I was tired of being "small". 5,000 clean calories a day for 8 weeks and your 5/3/1 program saw astonishing results. Granted not all was muscle, I realize this, but I tracked my numbers daily and my weight increased to 196 lbs while bodyfat increased from 7.2% to 9.2% at it's highest. I've since scaled the cal's back in weeks 9-12, down to maintenance 2,800, and I'm hovering around 190lbs at 8.7%. I have been lifting for four years now and I've never experienced gains like this. I got a late start in the iron game, as I am turning 30 this month. I was 150 lbs at age 26.

Deadlift 1RM was 360 raw. That is now 405x3.
Bench 1RM was an embarrassing 225 raw. That is now 225x5 & 255x1.
Squat 1RM was 315 raw. That is now 335x6.

I know at my weight my totals are not impressive by any means, but they are a start and I am extremely happy with the progress. Thank you for your contribution to the weight lifting world and putting your ideas on paper.

This new found success has me motivated enough to try competing. I'm going to get my feet wet for the first time on October 31st in Springfield at the Ohio State Powerlifting meet. I have no clue what I'm doing but I figure if I don't challenge myself I'll never experience anything worth while so I'm just going to "dive in" head first.

A sincere thank you for sharing 5/3/1 with the rest of us.

Before and after pics.........170 lbs is in white, my avatar is at 190 lbs.


This is awesome progress and I'm very appreciative of the support - you have no idea. A big THANK YOU and CONGRATULATIONS from London, OH. Keep up the good work.

"I know at my weight my totals are not impressive by any means, but they are a start and I am extremely happy with the progress."

Also, never down play your lifts - everyone's lifts are small (or big) to someone else. I never judge a person by their lifting or how strong they are. You can judge a lifter, but not a person. The resolve and execution to get shit done is what is important.


Thank you for the reply and the congratulations. Coming from the Founder of 5/3/1 himself, that is really inspiring to me. I had never looked outside the box concerning my totals until you offered your advice. I printed your reply and hung it on my fridge as a reminder.

I've got my female training partner on the program as well. She's 5'6, 150 lbs, 16% BF and has worked up to a 285 lb raw dead lift and a 245 lb squat. I got my cousin in Youngstown on 5/3/1 and he shared it with a buddy of his and now a handful of their gym rats are using it too. I directed him to the EliteFTS website to buy the e-book after I got tired of answering his questions.

While I have your attention, a couple quick questions.......#1, what happened to the lifting belts on EliteFTS.com? I went to purchase a belt yesterday and they are gone! I ended up getting one from APT. A double prong, 4mm. I am assuming this will be a good belt? I was using a Dick's Harbinger (junk, I know) and it was time to upgrade. I also purchased a powerlifting singlet for my first meet in October. #2, any advice on how to prepare for my first meet?

Seeing as your only 20 minutes away, maybe one day I can shake your hand and thank you in person.



you are not 8.7% BF in your profile pic


Nice progress Viets.

Check out Apostate's log in the Training Log forum. He has quite a bit of experience and he's using 5/3/1 leading up to his recent competition. I'm sure he'd answer some of your questions. Also, drop any questions in the big 5/3/1 thread, Jim or someone else will likely offer input.

pf, you are most likely correct, however as long as his measurement device and person doing the measurements were consistent the %'s should be comparable, which is more important than accuracy of a single measure.


I'm using a BMI scale so you are probably correct.


Thank you Ruggerlife for seeing the bigger picture, although I understand PF's stance where my information could be misleading. That was never my intent. I knew the BF% probably wasn't 100% accurate but it was showing some sort of progress whether it was up or down. When I doubled my calories and started putting on some mass, the BF number grew as the scale went up, which gave me the feed-back that allowed me to adjust my macros and monitor my progress.

Also, thank you for the advice on Apostate's log. I will check it out.

I used the formula below and it's telling me I am at 27% body fat and that doesn't sound right at all? I'm terrible with a caliper, my readings were all over the place (need more experience) so I ditched that all together. Does the formula below look or sound accurate. I gave an example of my calculation at the end. I'm having trouble believing I'm at 27%.

For Men:
there are two measurements that are required:

Measurement 1: Bodyweight

Measurement 2: Waist Girth (measured at the umbilicus)

1) Multiply your bodyweight by 1.082. Add the result to 94.42. Once your calculation is complete, save the number. Ã (Bodyweight x 1.082) + 94.42=Result 1

2) Multiply your waist girth by 4.15. Once you get this result, subtract it from the number obtained in step 1 (ie: Step 1 result-Step 2 result). The result obtained after the subtraction is done is your lean bodyweight (your weight if you had no fat in your body at all). Ã Result 1 - (Waist Girth x 4.15)= Lean Body Weight

3) Finally, subtract your lean bodyweight from your total bodyweight (Total weight-Lean Bodyweight). Once you get the result, multiply that number by 100. Once you get the result divide it by your total bodyweight. This final result is your percentage of body fat. Ã ((Total Bodyweight - Lean Bodyweight) x 100) divided by (Your Body Weight) = Your Percentage of Body Fat.

Example for Viets:
I weigh 190 and I have a 39 inch waist (measured at the umbilicus). Therefore, step 1 is (190 x 1.082) + 94.42 = 300. Step 2 says that my lean body weight equals 300-(39 x 4.15)=139. Finally, Step 3 says that my body fat percentage is (190-139) x 100) divided by 190= 27%.

I am astonished if this is true.


I would not worry about the formula, because it is not going to be accurate. You need either a skinfold test done or use a scale that converts electrical resistance into a BF measurement--it will give you a rough estimation, but more accurate than the method you are describing.


Good work man. I'm running this program for the 2nd time and loving it so far.

Keep up the lifting!!!!


Perfect example of thinking too much.


Congrats on your progress. If you want to track body fat, I would suggest a Tanita scale. They are "fairly" accurate if you follow the instructions and will allow you to track your progress.



THANKS jjackrash! Appreciate the congrats. I'm working hard in and out of the gym. Going to try and make the 180lb weight class by October 31st with minimal muscle loss, so the scale will come in handy. Good lookin' out.....