Greetings T-Nation. I am an on-and-off lurker, and a first-time poster. My story is probably a common one, to my embarrassment. No matter how mundane it is, though, I am frustrated and disappointed. Attached is a picture of myself taken approximately 15 minutes ago. That, my friends, is the result of 8 months of lifting weights. 8 months.
I’ve had people tell me I look bigger. I do, I won’t pretend otherwise. But it’s rather difficult to not look bigger when your starting point is 155 lbs at just over 6 feet. That I am making progress is not something that disappoints me; that the progress I have made pales in comparison to the progress I could have made, should have made, frustrates me beyond words.
My story starts in December of 2011. I had spent around a year running roughly 6 days a week. Actually, 13 days of every 14, as best I could. I also did some stupid ab routine I made up a dozen times a day. Yeah, a dozen times a day. I was that guy. Winter was approaching, however, and I didn’t like the idea of running outside every day in the Canadian winters. Or, at least, that’s what I told everyone. The reality of the situation was I was tired of being scrawny and weak. I guess I didn’t want to admit what everyone surely knew anyways, but no matter. I marched myself to the nearest gym, bought a membership, ordered SS, and before I knew it, I was off to the races. My starting numbers were (unsurprisingly) hilarious. I think I managed to squat 125, bench 105, and deadlift 135.
By the end of January, I was squating 240, benching 135, and deadlifting 265. Unfortunately for me, and this time I will allow myself a degree of sympathy and understanding for my failings in the weight room, I contracted some variety of lung infection and spent two weeks in bed. All together I think I ended up having to write off most of February for lifting. Starting back up again was frustrating - I tried using weights that were too heavy, stalled almost right away, and had drop weights to where I should have started anyways but a week later. Things went smoothly until mid/early April, when I was able to squat 260, deadlift 280, and bench press 150. I tweaked my back and had to drop weight on a lot of stuff. To this day I’m not sure if I tweaked it in the gym or at work. It could have been either. Since, I’ve had difficulty getting my numbers back to where they were. I was close in late June, but one of my knees got beat up running and I had to lower the weight on my squats/deadlifts to compensate.
Sounds like a ton of excuses, doesn’t it? That’s all I see. I’m not mad at anyone or anything but myself. I’ll excuse the February situation, but my performance since has been abhorrent and I’m not afraid to take responsibility for my failure. Moreover, I must not be eating enough. As of right now, I weigh 172 pounds. My goal in December was 185. I’ve failed utterly to meet that, and it drives me crazy.
So, T-Nation, I’m here to explain what I want to do, and I’m asking for advice from the more experienced posters here how to maximize the benefit of my time with weights towards that end. I am a vain son of a bitch. If training is running a race, my objective is to run the damned thing, but the reason I’m doing it, the dangling carrot motivating me, is that I want to be able to look in the mirror and say “I look fan-****ing-tastic.” Call me narcissistic, I don’t care. That’s what motivates me. Granted, you can be damned sure I’m laughing to the bank about all the other great benefits that come with lifting. They’re by no means a write-off in my book. The other thing that drives me is going to the gym and seeing other people using more weight for more reps and knowing there is not a single good reason on this earth why I couldn’t do as much or more than them if I apply myself to it. I like being good at what I do, and so far, I’ve done myself a disservice.
So, T-Nation, like every single other one of you, my goals are to:
- Get bigger
- Get stronger
- Look great because of it
that’s it. Plain, easy, simple.
So far I’ve done Starting Strength. Was that the right choice? Is that the right choice going forwards? I’m not planning on powerlifting any time soon. I understand now that SS is more of a strength-based program, rather than a size-based program. Might I be better off doing some kind of split?
I’m trying to eat roughly 4000 calories a day, should I bump that up too?