Where's the right place to post a transformation story and a question about progress?
I have one - it's about a 30yo guy starting something for the first time in his life, with zero previous experience, and realising an undiscovered passion - lifting heavy stuff. I owe a huge amount to T-Nation/TMuscle for the success I've had so far. I'm going to assume this is the place and start writing something, and I'm prepared to shift it elsewhere if required...
I am undoubtedly transformed, and clearly addicted to progress. But, for the first time in exactly 598 days (I keep details), I experienced what I would simply call failure to progress.
My passion is strength, and I had lived for 29 years without realising it. I have a thing with numbers and I am driven by the small but steady incremental advances of kilos to the bar (kilos, pounds, whatever... I'm aussie). And after almost 2 years, my desire to progress is as strong as ever. The recognition of walking away from lifting the heaviest thing that's ever been on your shoulders in your life is indescribable (not something I'm sure I have to explain to you people). I'm absolutely hooked. And for 598 days I felt nothing but the pain of hard work and the occasional mind-blowing high of hitting a record... until last week. For the first time since I started all this I failed to hit a PR. And I was gutted.
My focus from the beginning has been the back squat, with deadlift and bench being very much secondary goals. I'm a short-arse 5'5, 71kg guy with chicken legs and have gone from the very beginning squatting body weight (teenage knee injury problems and hip flexibility to name two issues) to my personal best of squatting 125kg (275lb) for 2 reps. This was achieved in about 18 months, all completely naturally, with nothing but a squat rack, Bill Starr's Intermediate 5x5 routine, and a big diet of whole foods (not to mention a religious adherence to Rippetoe and Kilgore's documented instruction on form). I hit that PB in April 17 this year, day 458. My long term goal is to hit two times my body weight by the end of 2009.
Four months on, I tried to hit a new PB - 130kg - and didn't make it. Not even close. I was gutted.
I've spent the last week wondering why, and also what the next step might be. (I live and train around the avoidance of the infamous plateau, and I hope all this won't be written off as such.) I have a feeling my core strength is letting me down, and I know I've got a lot more work to do on both my hip and shoulder flexibility... but at the same time I can't help but feel that the newbie gains are a distant memory, and reality is hitting me like a barbell in the head, and this is as good as it gets.
I had never touched the iron before in my life and I can't shake the feeling that, at almost 31 years old, I left it too late.
I'll briefly note two things worth mentioning:
I have a 12 month old son who, despite 12 months of sleep deprivation (he wakes 3 times a night, every night, still to this day) I've still managed progress, with adherence to the workout schedule, good diet, and a fantastically understanding wife.
I've had strange lower back "feelings" for the last 3-4 months that I would classify as weakness. There's no real "pain", although the doc misinterpreted "weakness" as "pain" and ordered CT scans. The results are on their way next week, but I'm 99% certain the scans wont reveal anything.
I'll post a pic of my outward transformation over the last 18 months (upper body only, if it means anything... not too keen on showing balls in undies shots) and a video of a form check at 110kg (243lb) for comment.
And at this point I'd just like to know people's thoughts on what's going on. Is it an age thing? Have I gone as far as I can with my natural abilities (which is what I'm really starting believe)? I've done all this completely on my own so far - countless hours in the home-made gym - and I get the feeling some outside help would benefit me, especially with my particular situation (age and lack of previous lifting experience).
Has anyone else gone through something like this? I'd love to hear about it.