T Nation

Stazmatix - My Journey with Starting Strength


#1

A little background on me to “personalize” things a bit:

I’m a 27 year old man, and for the last 10 years, I’ve been incredibly inconsistent with any sort of working out. I was your “skinny lean” athlete, a whopping 150lbs at 5’9 when I finished high school. I would always lift consistently for 3-4 months, and then stop, whether it be for summer break or sport season (track & football). After leaving high school, the “on” phases got shorter, and the “off phases” got longer. So here I am, having lifted once in what seems like the last 12 months. After being indecisive about where I wanted to go with my journey, I’ve decided to forget about the “oh, I can design myself a routine” shit, and just use the tried and true methods already out there. Step one for me is Starting Strength.

Beginning Stats:

Weight: 180lbs
Bodyfat: 19% (3 site caliper)

Waist: 38.75" (this shocked me, as 34" used to feel ‘fat’ to me)
Arms: 13.75"
Calves: 14"
Chest: 40.5"
Forearms: 11"
Thighs: 22.25"

Starting Lifts:
Squat: 225lbs
Deadlift: 275lbs
Overhead Press: 75lbs
Bench Press: 135lbs

Update (2/26/2016)
Squat: 335lbs (Goal: 405)
Deadlift: 355lbs (Goal: 405)
Overhead Press: 105lbs (Goal: 135)
Bench: 165lbs (Goal: 185)

Before really getting an understanding of what to expect on this routine, I was hoping to get a little recomp in, adding a little muscle mass, losing a little fat, chipping away over the next six months or so. Doesn’t seem like that’s a common thing for those on SS. So, I’m getting my mind away from those ideas. I would still like to lose some bodyfat, albeit maybe not anywhere near the 1% per month I was hoping for to begin with, so I may get some walking in on the non-lifting days

I know my biggest challenge will be getting my nutrition on point. Meal prepping and really being on point with this stuff will be new to me, but I understand it will be huge, especially as the weight on the bar climbs.

Ultimately, my goals are to get to around 180-185 at 10% bf or so, with primary focus on strength/explosiveness (Strongman/Powerlifting is super interesting shit). Here’s to hoping SS is a great first step! Will post starting lift #'s and Day 1 photos tomorrow (Monday)


#2

Day 1 Pictures: http://imgur.com/a/AAqM3

Squat 225lbs 3x5
Push Press 75 3x5 (Could have done 85, but I’ll catch up in an “A” workout or three)
Deadlift 275 1x5 (Body had no problem, grip - even staggered - wasn’t great)

I’ve been working on cleaning up what I eat, getting ~2700 calories in. I’m aiming for about 375-400g carbs, 180 or so g protein and around 50-60g fa on lift days. Will drop a few carbs on off days. If I’m not getting enough to eat, I’ll ramp it up.


#3

Weekly Update:

1/28/2016
I follow the warm ups provided on the Starting Strength App. I’ve found this useful for a log, a reference, and a quick and easy way to time my rest.

All weights are working sets as suggest (35 for squats, press and bench. 15 for Deadlifts)
Squat: 235lbs
Bench: 135lbs
Deadlift: 285lbs

My grip seems to be the biggest hurdle in Deadlifts. Even with alternate (I’m going to be alternating my alternate grip to avoid imbalance).

Also, the rest time is tough. I’m so anxious to start the next set, I get restless sometimes. Thank god for the timer.

2/01/2016
My third workout should have been 1/30, but gym closes at 7pm and I go as a guest on my moms account. But, got the workout in today, and will just consider this day 1 for this week.

Squats: 245lbs - that rest (7minutes) came in handy. Third set was actually easier than the second.

OHP: 80 - resisted the urge to jump to 85. 80 was still fairly easy. But hey, can’t complain.

Deadlift: 295 - my grip was awesome today. Normally I start to alternate once I hit mid 200s, but I was able to do double overhand for my 255*1 final warmup. Switched to a right hand over/left hand under grip for my work set, and pulled it with ease. Felt great.

Eating enough will be focus point. Trying to clean things up while getting enough nutrients. Hopefully, over this routine span, my bf% can drop a point or two.


#4

Got my Wednesday and Friday workouts in, and will stick to this so next update should have all three days.

2/03/2016

Squat: 255lbs - I still feel awkward with the 7 minutes of rest. I’m making sure I’m looking around to see if anyone wants to use the rack, as there’s only one in the gym. With that much rest, would be silly not to let someone work in if they want it.

Bench: 140lbs - For some reason, I had 145 in my head. Glad I’ve got the SS app to remind me/be my log. Didn’t struggle, so I’ll keep climbing with this.

Deadlift: 305lbs - used double overhand for all my warmup sets again. Grip felt good, but had to reset & swap the top hand after my 3rd rep on the work set. I can see my grip is going to be an issue.

2/05/16

Squat: 265lbs - This is as high as I’ve gone in years, and could very well be a PR. I squatted 315 in HS, but I make no promises that it was proper depth, or even parallel. So, I think from here on out I’ll just call it a PR. Initially, though, I realized I was pushing off too much from the balls of my feel. Wasnt sure if I was, or if my shoes made it feel that way. Took my shoes off, which felt a LOT better, and more balanced.

OHP: 85lbs - Nearing a PR here, as I remember using 85lbs in the past, but can’t recall anything over 90, and quite confident I didn’t use anything on the 100s. 85 felt fairly easy, though.

Deadlift: 315lbs - Grip killed me here. I had to reset after each rep, and ended up only getting 4 reps. So, I’m going to find my straps, and go after 315 again. To keep working my grip, I’ll try and pump out what I can without straps, then reset and strap up. Would be nice to get back to HS #s where I was able to pull 365 without straps (@150).

I’m sleeping a lot. Sometimes more than I plan to. Helps when I’m unemployed, but I’d like to change that so I can save up before moving back to Huntington Beach. Eating hasn’t been a problem, especially since I haven’t really had any silly cravings. Fortunately, my mind has taken this “food is fuel” approach, so I look at everything as a piece of the puzzle so to speak. Only two weeks in, so I’m not bored of tilapia, chicken breasts, baked potatoes, rice, and fruit yet. Would like to learn which vegetables I like and add some of those in, as well as some more dead animals for varieties sake. Decided to up my calories to 3,000, as the SS book suggested 3,500 for guys ~20%bf.

Tomorrow, I’m going to start walking on my off days. Low effort, hopefully doesn’t interfere with recovery, but still gets me up and moving. Wouldn’t mind chipping away at the excess over the next couple months. Would make things easier in the next stage (post SS) as I add some conditioning.


#5

Update:

2/08/16

Squat: 275lbs - Finally needing spotter on my last sets, still grinding em out. Considering everything from this point forward a PR due to lack of depth in HS

Bench: 145lbs - Nothing special here.

Deadlift: 315lbs - narrowed my grip and widened my stance. Not sure if its quite sumo, but if it is, it worked great. Grip felt strong, and the pulls were easy.

2/10/16

Squat: 285lbs

OHP: 90lbs

Deadlift: 325lbs

2/12/16

Might have been a little rushed. Gym closes at 9 on Fridays, and I didn’t remember until I got there at 8:15. Shortened my warmup a little, and I think I suffered for it.

Squats: 295 (2 sets of 5, 1 set of 4) - last rep of the last set, I got stuck at the bottom. Ended up having to drop off the weight. Felt a tightness/pain in the outside of my hip, more toward the glute. Didn’t feel like a pull, just more a really uncomfortable tightness.

Bench: 150lbs - dropped the rest time, as I was trying to at least test Deadlifts today. 2-3 minutes rest between sets was still good for me today.

Deadlift: N/A - Ran out of time. Going to see how I feel tomorrow, how the hip feels after a good morning stretch and a decent warm up, maybe give the Deadlifts a quick try tomorrow.

At this point, I think I’m going to add in the Power Cleans. Going to give 295 one more crack on Monday as well, and if I can’t pump out all three sets, going to reset. If I remember correctly, that’s “drop down 5lbs and then have only 5lb increases”. Since my goal for squats were to hit 315, that would still let me hit that goal in a couple weeks.

In terms of diet and rest, everything seems to be going well. I’m getting ~3,000cals/day, around 1g protein per lb of bw, and about 3-400g carbs/day. On non-lifting days, I cut back a little on carbs (maybe a potato or two less, or maybe one less cup of rice or something) but still aim for that 2700-3000cal mark.

Rest, I wouldn’t mind sleeping though the night better. I wake up once or twice, usually to pee or some weird house noises. Head back to sleep, and typically get a total of 8-12hours depending on the day.


#6

2/15/16

Squats: 295 - That weekend of rest helped a lot. Pumped these out no problem.

OHP: 95lbs

Deadlift: 335 - Did this one conventional. Had to reset my grip after a couple of reps, but got it easily enough.

2/17/16

Squat: 305
Bench: 155
Power Cleans: 95 - The weight was easy, but the movement is still awkward for me.

2/19/16

Squats: 315 - setting PRs in every workout now. Love it.
OHP: 100lbs - Again, setting PRs every workout.
Deadlift: 345 - Sumo. Grip is much stronger in sumo, the hand position must make a big difference. Maybe it’s the shorter ROM leaving less time “holding” the bar. Either way, I’ll continue to do double overhand conventional for my warmup sets.

Measurements: 2/21/16

Weight: 183.6 (+3.2lbs)
Waist: 38" (-.75")
Arms: 14" (+.25")
Chest: 38.75 (-1.75")
Forearms: 11.25 (+.25")
Thighs: 23" (+.75")

Measurements seem a bit…off. Thighs measurements change quite a bit depending on whether I’m flexing, seated, putting weight on that leg, etc. So I’ll just have to make sure I’m doing things exactly the same each time. So, I’ll take these measurements with a grain of salt. Even though my quads definitely feel and look like they’ve grown. Idk about 3/4 of an inch though.


#7

Updating a little earlier than usual, as today was a noteworthy day.

2/22/16
Squats: 325lbs - had two spotters, one tapped the bar on my final rep of my final set. It was enough for me to feel, but I felt I was already grinding the bar up when I felt it, so I counted the rep.

Bench: 160 - having to dig a little deeper now, so progress is nice. 185 is my PR, but with atrocious form, so I’ll be happy when I get to 170 w/ good form!

Deadlift: 355 - Had a friend lifting with me. I should have done Power Cleans, but it was easier just for me to go through deads with them. Plus, I love deads, so, I jumped at a chance to do em.

2/24/16 - Woke up this day feeling generally fatigued. Legs were a little tighter than usual, felt a little more tired than usual on my daily dog walk. Tried to fuel up and felt a little better come gym time, but overall didn’t feel energized. And it showed.

Squats: 335 - Only completed my first set. On set #2, my spotter gave me a little help on the final rep. So, I completed 1.8 sets. I think if I make sure I’m rested and refueled for Friday, I should be able to get all three sets. If not, then I’ll have a weekends worth of rest before hitting it for the third time.

OHP: 105 - Elbow felt a little goofy after squats, but didn’t interfere with my press at all, that I can tell. Completed my sets.

Deadlift: N/A - Was going for 365. My body was tired, my mind wasn’t all the way in it, but I was going to give that 365 a go. Until the staffer at my gym came over and told me I couldn’t deadlift. I know the rule, so I didn’t really argue, but this guy also didn’t know what a deadlift was until this week (he tried to stop me from doing power cleans, called those Deadlifts).

So, now I have to make sure I can A. Rest and recover, and B. Sneak those Deadlifts in, as he might be watching me at this point.


#8

2/26/16

Squats: 335 - Got all my sets and reps. On my final set, final rep, I was grinding it out. I had passed my usual sticking point (inch or two out of the hole), and bar speed was very slow. My spotter says he gave the bar a “tap”, as he described it, but told me he didn’t assist so I should count the rep. With that being said, I think I’m grinding these weights enough that I’m going to drop my increases to 5lbs now. Either way, I’m still setting PRs every workout! Also, need to adjust how I hold the bar. Started having elbow problems. Watched a Rippetoe video addressing this issue, so I’ll be making some tweaks to how I set up/where I have the bar.

Bench: 165 - My elbow was a bit annoying, but I got my reps out easily enough. Closing in on my PR of 185, but that was in HS with very poor form. So, it would be nice to meet that with much improved form.

Power Cleans: 100 - Still getting used to the movement. The weight isn’t bad at all, but I’m going to have to focus on the catch. I have a tendency to want to catch it in my hands, and then set it on my shoulders. Got better as my sets went along, especially as I got more speed on the bar. Gave me more time to “get under it”.

I’ll take pics tomorrow AM. Maybe I’ll see some growth in the legs, as I feel it’s obvious to my eyes.

I did go out to the bars on Saturday night. First time in almost two months that I’ve drank. Didn’t sleep much, didn’t eat as much as I should have, and obviously drank. Hopefully Sunday and Monday (day) I can make up enough ground to come into the gym ready to go. Also, might have to find a better way to sneak my Deadlifts in if they stop me tonight. Can’t keep missing my favorite lift.


#9

Have been really lazy with my progress updates the last couple weeks, but here I am.

*I feel I stuck with my 10lb jumps too long. Stalled at 340, reset to 305, and stuck with 5lb jumps. 335 was the last weight I completed, and when I got back to that weight (3/18), I decided to make 2.5lb jumps, as it was a slow moving weight.
*I was having some big elbow issues from squatting. Followed advice in a Rippetoe video, and it only got worse. Caused me to epically fail on OHP last week.
*Bought 1.25lb plates

Well, since I’ve missed time, ill just pick up from yesterday’s workout:

3/20/2016
Squats: 337.5 - Last rep was a real brute. Squatting this heavy 3x/week is taking it’s toll. With that being said, I think it’s time to add that light day. Not sure if I’m doing Front Squats or 80% of 5RM for regular squats yet. Also, I went back to my original grip on squats and took a tennis ball to my infraspinatus. Zero elbow pain today. Hope this continues!

Bench Press: 185 - I’m doing 2.5lb jumps now, but today felt pretty good. This is a PR, and I’m now benching my bodyweight. Looking forward to that day I top 200, as its definitely going to happen this year (hell, maybe even this spring).

Power Cleans: 125 - Finally starting to get the form down. Biggest problem was with me catching the bar in my hands. Getting better, even though I have the occasional “half catch” thing going on.

Pull Ups: 12.5lbs - Added these a week ago. I’ll likely do them every B day (or whatever day this is), alternating between weighted sets of 5 and sets of AMRAP (up to 15, then adding weight).

Overall, today (yesterday) felt pretty damn good. Each workout is a PR now, and I’m doing 2.5lb jumps on everything, including Deadlifts. So, 387.5 is the goal on Wednesday. 385x5 was my PR, so everything at this point is a best. Going for that 405!