T Nation

STRENGTHQUEST!


#1

What's up everybody? Thanks for dropping by my log. I'm doing this as more of a personal thing, but anyone that wants to stop by, feel free and drop a line. I am always open to suggestions and have no problems accepting (good) advice.

A little about myself to get us started:

Age: 27
Sex: M
Location: DC
Years Training: Newb for all practical purposes (starting all over again)
Height: 6'5"
Current Weight: 241
Bodyfat: ?? (Was 14.5% on 15 May 09)

Anyways, I want to get back to the way I looked in college. I was a collegiate athlete (JV Basketball at Virginia Tech) so I was into the iron then and was in awesome shape until around 2nd senior year of college when I let boozing and shitty eating, along with little exercise, begin transforming me into the fat slob I had become. I am very pleased with my results thus far since restarting working out in February, and I hope to carry that momentum to reattain the lean body I used to have.

I started 1 February at 265 lbs! I started getting back to the gym doing mostly cardio since I had a broken rib at the time and managed to get down to about 250 by the middle of March. It was then that I kick started my goals in with a run on the V-Diet. I had pretty good success with it and ended up losing about 18 lbs a good amount of fat. That is the before and after picture here. I was about 235 lbs there.

That ended in April and I sort of spun my wheels for a while trying to figure out where I wanted to go. I did Waterbury's Summer Project for a couple weeks, but was just getting too fucking skinny fat for my own liking, so on 1 June I decided to give Starting Strength a run. I'm really liking it and have made good progress thus far (logs to come).

I will be following Berardi's PN principles to help fuel my workouts. My workouts days will be higher carbs and my non-workout days will be only carbs from veggies. I usually go boozin one night a week, but I'm going to try and cut back on that or at least be smart about the type of alcohol I drink (straight liquor vs sugary mixers & beer). With that, I will also try to keep my diet in check during the weekend to keep to 90% adherence. My weekdays are pretty good, its the weekends that I tend to let go to shit.

I promise to do the following in this log...feel free to call me out if I start fucking up:
-Stick with the program I have chosen until my gains stop
-Post my workout logs weekly
-Post progress pictures every 2-4 weeks
-Be honest with myself and you
-Accept advice & criticisms positively

Alright, lets get started....


#2

Here is a current pic for reference. This is after 5.5 weeks on Starting Strength. Looks like I have managed to put some weight back onto the 'ol gut. I realized it was happening, just wasn't sure the extent until seeing side by side pictures.

I started back up with HIIT energy systems work this week. I will probably be doing it on Tuesdays & Thursdays (workouts are M/W/F) with maybe a V-Burn challenge on Sundays. It all depends on how I feel after my workouts. I think I'm enough of a newbie that I can keep up the HIIT while still putting on muscle and keeping the gut in check for a while. I better take advantage of that now while I can! Or am I off base here?

BTW, my HIIT is sprinting the straightaway of a track, walking the other 3/4 and repeating for 15 minutes. Plan to up the time as my conditioning improves, but right now it is ass....


#3


Forgot the pic


#4

Side pic....god damn


#5

Starting Strength - Week 1

Monday - 1 June 09 - Workout A
Squat: 185
Bench: 185
Deadlift: 275
Dip: Body

Pretty good workout. Working on form with squats since I hadn't done real squats in a while, and they felt pretty good.

Wednesday - 3 June 09 - Workout B
Squat: 195
Military: 115
Pwr Clean: 115
Chinup: 45(7)55

I started out the program subbing military presses for standing shoulder presses. This changed at week 6.
I have an injured left shoulder that really limits the weight I can shoulder press
I had never done power cleans before so didn't know what weight to start at.
Chinups were assisted w/ the machine. I'm still too heavy/weak to do them properly. Missed the first set (only 7).

Friday - 5 June 09 - Workout A
Squat: 225
Bench: 205
Deadlift: 285
Dip: Body

I went up a lot in the squat since I felt comfortable with my form.

Overall, Week 1 was a lot of fun on Starting Strength. I felt like I worked really ahrd during my workouts.


#6

Starting Strength - Week 2

Monday - 8 June 09 - Workout B
Squat: 245
Military: 125
Power Clean: 135
Chinup: 55, 45 (6)

Went up another 20 lbs on Squat. Felt good.
I started militarys off with 135 and couldn't get it for 5 reps on the first set. Scaled it back down to 125 and had no problem.
Power cleans were good.
I only got 6 reps on my second set @ 45 lbs on chinups.

Thursday - 11 June 09 - Workout A
Squat: 255
Bench: 215
Deadlift: 295
Dip: Body

Late meetings at work Wednesday so I did it on Thursday. All the lifts were good.

Saturday - 13 June 09 - No workout
I missed the 3rd workout on Week 2. Don't remember why.


#7

Starting Strength - Week 3

Monday - 15 June 09
Skipped. Fuck

Wednesday - 17 June 09 - Workout B
Squat: 265
Military: 130
Power Clean: 145
Pullup: 40, 45(6)

Good lifts. Missed my second set of pullups at 45 again. Nearly puked trying to get rep 7. But I did more than last week, weight wise, so making progress there.

Friday - 19 June 09 - Workout A
Squat: 275
Bench: 225
Deadlift: 305
Dip: Body

I slipped my grip on Deadlift and barely got the 5 reps in. I am still able to grip the bar with a pronated grip but need to start working with alternate grip once weight starts going up more.


#8

Starting Strength - Week 4

I started loaded creatine this week but couldn't really tell a difference in my workouts yet. My bodyweight jumped from 235 up to about 241 though.

Monday - 22 June 09 - Workout B
Squat: 280
Military: 135
Power Clean: 155
Chinup: 55, 50 (7)

Still missing the last couple reps of chinups. Feeling like I'm about to puke makes it nearly impossible. Hopefully as I become stronger I won't have to strain so hard.
Power cleans were really hard for some reason.
I got a spotter on military to give me a handoff and that made a huge difference in the stress on my shoulder.

Wednesday - 24 June 09 - Workout A
Squat: 285
Bench: 230
Deadlift: 315
Dip: Body

Struggled on the first set of bench and then got a spotter for handoff, which made the other sets easier.
I hit the deadlift pretty easily, even though I jumped more than the normal 5 lbs. I just wanted to get the 3 plates on there.

Friday - 26 June 09 - Workout B
Squat: 285
Military: 140
Power Clean: 160
Chinups: Didn't do

I had left my log book at home and had to work out at my work gym this day, so I fucked up my squat number. Couldn't remember if it was supposed to be 285 or 290, so I lowballed it and ended up doing the same as I had Wednesday.
I ran out of time for chinups because my ride was leaving.


#9

Starting Strength - Week 5

Monday - 29 June 09 - Workout A
Squat: 290
Bench: 235
Deadlift: 320
Dip: Body

Good workout. Didn't really struggle with any of the lifts.

Wednesday - 1 July 09 -
Friday - 3 July 09 -
I was a lazy fuck this week. I just didn't make the time to plan to go to the gym after work and on vacation. I have corrected that and will make sure not to slip.

So only one workout this week. Yeah.


#10

Starting Strength - Week 6

Started incorporating HIIT work on Tuesday/Thursday this week to keep my weight in check (or even lose BF, ideally). I will not hesitate to stop though if I feel like it is impacting my strength gains.

Monday - 6 July 09 - Workout B
Squat: 295
Military: 145
Power Clean: 165
Pullup: 45, 40 (7)

I finally missed a lift tonight in the military press. I only got 4 reps on the 3rd set. It could have been that I was out of the gym for a week, or just a bad day, or shoulder issues. Not sure. Gonna give it another try Friday and assess from there.

Other lifts felt good.

Wednesday - 8 July 09 - Workout A
Squat: 300
Bench: 240
Deadlift: 325
Dip: Body

Finally broke 300 on squat. That was fun. Weight went up pretty easily.
I slipped the grip on my last deadlift rep and dropped it at 4. Was using pronated grip, going to start using alternate grip from here on out. It was good while it lasted!

Ok, that is my log so far. I am really happy with the progress I've made, even after skipping some workouts. But I am completely dedicated to this now and am going to see how far I can get on this program making newbie gains.

Feel free to direct any critique my way.

-Nate


#11

STARTING STRENGTH - WEEK 6 - Day 40

Friday - 10 July 09 - Workout B
Squat: 305
Standing Press: 135
Power Cleans: n/a

So I got to my "Health, Fitness, Tennis, & Socialization" Club (I think calling it a gym would be too generous) at 1930 only to find out that they have moved to summer hours and close at 2000 on Fridays. What the fuck is that? I thought summer hours meant places are open later, not closing earlier. Fuck this gym. I am moving next month back to Virginia, so my time here is thankfully limited. But still, very huge pain in the ass.

I usually warm up with about 5 minutes or so on an elliptical to get the blood flowing, and make sure that my form is good on 4 or so warmup sets before starting my working sets. But since I only had a half hour, I didn't have time really warm up properly and kind of rushed into my workout.

My squats were fine, but I decided this week to quit bullshitting and do the standing press instead of military. I was reading up on it and there are a WHOLE lot of benefits to doing the standing press vice military, including core strength, so that's what I will be doing from here on out. I scaled back from the 145 I was doing on military and tried 135, which went up pretty easily. Not exactly sure on my form though. And since I didn't get a chance to warm up properly, I'm going to have to wait till next time to correct it. Will be reading in the meantime. Didn't have time to do power cleans since the fucking gym closes at 2000!


#12

Random Thoughts & Discoveries for the day

I took some time to go through the Starting Strength Wiki today:

Lots of good info there for keeping people from fucking up, especially since the book isn't exactly the best layout I've ever seen. I wish I had read it 6 weeks ago!

I discovered that the power cleans are actually supposed to be 5x3 instead of the 3x5 I had been doing. That's what I get for using some fucking template as my basis. Its just that the book itself is so cumbersome to go through and actually find the info. I still don't know where the sets/reps ranges are in the book, but I trust the wiki is correct.

It also directly addresses adding in assistance exercises (like the chins and dips I had been doing), and recommends against them unless progress stalls. Again, fuck the template I was using. I'm dropping the two of them for now to concentrate only on the Big 3. The wiki also talks about the benefits of ab work after the workouts, so I'm going to start throwing in 3 sets of some type of abs. Probably some cable crunches one day, ab machine one day, and plank holds the other.

Also going to drop the HIIT as recommended in the wiki. I really just want to concentrate on my strength here and building the most muscle properly. I don't want to fatigue my body and hinder recovery. I will try to keep the body fat in check by assessing my photos and manipulating calories as needed. I will do the daily NEPA walks performed on the V-Diet. This along with the metabolic increase I am seeing from the actual program should be good enough to keep it all in check.


#13

Nutrition Thoughts

As I mentioned in my first post, I have been following Precision Nutrition over the course of my diet. Yes I fuck up on weekends pretty often, and I'm not 90%, but I do nail my weekdays nearly 100%. Most of my meals are recipes directly out of Gourmet Nutrition. I take an hour or so each night to prepare all my meals and supplements ready for the next day. This is a time consuming process, but overall I know it's worth it.

I want to do a carb cycling type diet with high[er] carbs on my workout days and minimal carbs on my off days. With Starting Strength this would be high[er] carbs MWF and low carbs Sa/Su/Tu/Th. I just don't see a need for a moderate carb day with the type of workouts I'm going to be doing. Using the metabolic rate calculator in CT's article on Carb Cycling, my daily caloric expenditure is around 3773 kcal/day. Using his recommendation to eat at about 10% above that, I will need to take in 4150 kcal/day with about 360 g protein and 271 g carbs on low days and 450 g carbs on high days.

I finally got a chance this weekend to make a spreadsheet of all the calories & macros going in. It turns out that my average daily calories thus far are only about 3400!! I couldn't believe that I was eating nearly 700 calories a day below the recommendation.

This is not necessarily bad news as I like to eat, but it really was an eye opener. That is close to 5000 calories a week I am missing out on, which is close to 1.5 lbs a week! No wonder my only weight gain so far has been when I loaded creatine. Its really amazing that I have even been able to keep up my strength gains with that far below the cut line.

My plan is to start drinking a couple glasses of milk and eating 4 or so tbsp of peanut butter a day to make up the defecit. I know another solid meal would be the best option, but I really just don't have time to cook all that much more or to eat it! Does anyone have any advice on this?


#14

Good seeing you using SS man. I did SS for about 4 weeks after finishing up the V-Diet, but then my lower back and hips (IT band, gluteus medius) were burning out from all the squats. I moved on to Big Beyond Belief (there's a huge thread on it in the Bodybuilding subforum). Basically, I'm working out 6x a week but only for about 45 min a day, compared to 90 min when I was on SS and took much longer rest periods and did more warming up. Pretty much got rid of squatting and deadlifting altogether, but I still squat once a week and recently stuck in straight-legged deadlifts (also once a week).

I've managed to take pictures every 2 weeks, but there really hasn't been too much of a change. I plan on posting my pics every 6 weeks, which is after every complete cycle, so expect one next Sunday!

Good to see you moving up the weights! My squat numbers also exploded, mostly from getting comfortable with the movement. I started with 185 and finished at 275 4 weeks later.

I'll be sticking with my current program (BBB) for at least 13 more weeks before doing anything else. Like you, I realized that without having a solid base, I'm either going to look fat or skinny fat. Hopefully, I'll be in a good position to do a 12-week cut in the winter (alla CT's Get Jacked Fast) so I'll look unresistable come my final college spring break.

Oh, and more more thing. If I can make 6 workouts a week while working full-time, you can make your 3 workouts a week. None of that "got too lazy" bullshit :slight_smile:


#15

Some may disagree with me, but I wouldn't even worry about all this carb-cycling stuff until you can get your diet down. Keep it simple. 1.25-1.75 grams of protein per lb of body weight (or maybe 2g per lb of lean body mass), lots of veggies, good carbs (oatmeal, fruit), healthy fats (olive oil, nuts, cheese, fish oil), milk, and whey protein. I'd also cut off carbs after 7pm or so unless you work out later in the day, in which case you should cut off carbs after your post-workout meal.

That's basically my diet. I do have the occasional questionable meal (hamburger) and drink, but my diet for the most part is pretty clean. Seeing that I've steadily been gaining weight and my numbers are going up, I think it's working.

Also, seeing that you don't have hawt abz right now, I'm sure the extra fat you're carrying will take care of any caloric deficiencies.

However, if you think you'll benefit from having a very strict eating schedule, then by all means do it. I just know that from past experience, that hasn't been the easiest thing to do for me. Bottom line - don't overthink it :slightly_smiling:


#16

Thanks for stopping by Joe! Hope I didn't guilt ya into it haha....nah man, I appreciate the advice. Glad to see you are still making good progress. I can tell you've been putting in the effort from your picture in early June. Looking forward to the 6 week mark.

Good callout on the lazy! Thats mostly the problem, but right now I am commuting close to 3 hours a day and working 9 hour days, so that is such a huge pain in the ass. Once I do that, go to the gym, and make my meals for the next day I literally have zero extra time. Can't wait to move closer to work!

Also appreciate advice on the nutrition. I don't think my original post on it was very good. I'm not really trying to carb cycle and hit the macros exactly the way CT had lined them out. Basically just want to eat carbs on days I'm working out and not on days that I don't. What I've done is eat mostly the PW meals from Gourmet Nutrition on my workout days, with emphasis on more carbs at breakfast, and then just eat the ANYTIME meals on my off days. Pretty simple.

My main concern is just getting in the calories and protein. Carbs will take care of themselves.

Unfortunately the "no carbs at night" thing doesn't work for me, because of aforementioned commute. I usually workout around 8, so my post workout meal is usually around 9:30-10. Not a lot I can really do about that for now! At least they're going to a good cause haha


#17

Starting Strength - Week 7
Good week workout wise. Little late posting, but here it is. Hit all my lifts again this week and am really loving the gains I'm making on this program:

Monday - 13 July 09 - Workout A
Squat: 310
Bench: 245
Deadlift: 330

Squat notes were: Set 1 - Easy, Set 2 - Medium, Set 3 - Hard. I guess that's how its supposed to work.
My second set on Bench was slooooooow, but I was able to recoop and pounded the 3rd set.
Absolutely destroyed the deadlift. Decided to jump 10 lbs instead of 5 for next workout. I feel that this lift is getting the strongest out of all of them.

Wednesday - 15 July 09 - Workout B
Squat: 315
Press: 140
Clean: 185

Squats were strong.
I tried 145 for first set of Press and only got 4, so backed it off to 140 for the next set. Hope to make some progress here because my shoulders are definitely my weakest body part.
Cleans were easy. I realized I had been doing wrong set numbers (3x5 vs the proper 5x3), so I corrected that and used heavier weight since it was two less reps. I felt like I was getting a lot of explosion. Definitely a fun exercise to do.

Friday - 17 July 09 - Workout A
Squat: 320
Bench: 250
Deadlift: 340

Squats were good. Nailed all my sets with no problems really. Got a form check from the one personal trainer in my "gym" that actually knows what he is doing and he said my form was excellent with great depth.
2nd set of Bench was hard, but recooped again for the 3rd set. Not sure why the 3rd set ends up being easier than the 2nd.
Deadlift was 10 lbs heavier but still felt good. I am still using an overhand grip (vice alternate) so its good grip strength is not yet a limiting factor. I have a feeling that this will change sometime in the next month (hopefully not, but realistically) so I'm going to have to prepare for that.

Overall, an excellent week. I finally got my nutrition program set up too so that's a plus (more to come in next post).

I am in the United Kingdom for work all of Week 8 so I'm going to have to find a gym here near the hotel. Anyone know of any good training facilities in Bath?


#18

More Nutrition Thoughts
I realized last week that I had only been eating somewhere around 3200 calories a day for the past few weeks, and since my maintenance is roughly 3700 kc, I obviously needed to make a change. I've added in a couple higher calorie shakes and am using olive oil and peanut butter liberally at meals. I've gotten it up to around 4100-4200 kc a day, with the majority of my carbs coming on my 3 workout days (346 g/day) and lower carbs on nonworkout days (162 g/day).

I've got a post about it over in the Nutrition forum, but I am disappointed it didn't get many hits. If anyone would weigh in on it, I would greatly appreciate it!. Here is the link:

http://tnation.tmuscle.com/free_online_forum/diet_performance_nutrition_supplements/weigh_in_on_my_mass_diet


#19

Starting Strength - Week 8

I was on travel in the UK for work for the week and it completely fucked my sleep and eating schedule. I felt like complete shit the entire time I was over there. I was getting about 3 hours of sleep at night and sleeping liberally throughout the day after my work was done. Only got one training session in, and it was a pain in the ass at some shitty YMCA with no free weights. Did my workout on a smith machine like device that also moved back and forth in addition to up and down. Not a bad piece of equipment, but definitely no substitute for the real thing.

Tuesday - 21 July 09 - Workout B
Squat: 320
DB Press: 60.5x2
Clean: 193

Substituted DB press for military since I couldn't stand up in the "power smith rack".

So yeah, Week 8 was pretty much a failure.

Making some gains on the scale though after upping my calories a bit.


#20

Bodyfat
I got my bodyfat measured at the gym tonight using a 7 point caliper reading. I came in at 13.7%! I am very happy with this because I am about 0.7% less BF than I was in May, but 11 lbs heavier. A lot of this is water from loading creatine and I'm sure I have more glycogen in my muscles, but 11 lbs of LBM in 2.5 months is really awesome IMO. It definitely makes me want to work harder and regret missing some of the workouts over the past couple of months. Always room for improvement.

15 May 09
Weight: 235
Bodyfat: 14.5%
FBM: 33.87 lbs
LBM: 201.13 lbs

28 July 09
Weight: 246
Bodyfat: 13.7%
FBM: 33.67 lbs
LBM: 212.33 lbs