Thanks to T-Nation, I have a newfound experience with lifting. I have learned that I have been making a number of big-time mistakes that have led to very poor results for me (both in terms of not getting much stronger or getting any larger) - namely not eating nearly enough, lifting to failure all of the time and believing that I am hard-gainer.
I increased my food intake a lot about 4 weeks and, wow, what a difference (thanks to Dr. Berardi and others!). I am now putting on weight while my body fat has actually decreased some and the amount of weight I am lifting is going up and already beyond what I ever lifted before, all at the age of 41. I am already full squatting only 30 lbs less than my parallel squat max just 8 weeks ago.
However, I do have a question on intensity while lifting. I have been reading lots of articles and I see a fairly consistent message from Chad Waterbury among others and that is - don't train to failure all of the time, if at all.
Since I am used to training to the point of the last rep being do or die on every set, I am trying to figure out what level of intensity leading up to that point I want to go to.
Right now I feel that I am keeping one or two reps left in me when I rack the barbell on the last set, particularly in the squat and deadlift, but the first set or two are not overly taxing. But I am recovering faster and am ready to go again hard in 48 hours (something I couldn't always do before) and I am not feeling wiped out all of the time.
I am doing Chad Waterbury's Total Body Workout 3'x per week and am performing full back squats, wide grip deadlifts, chin-ups, cable rows, bench press and seated calf raises in each session.
How do I know if I am reaching a high enough level of intensity since I am trying to get away from maxing out every set of every movement.
Thank you for any advice.