Tuesday, March 15, 2011

First Workout Using Strong Lifts 5x5

Before I get into the workout, let me let you know where I was at prior to starting the program.

A few months ago, after watching my weight balloon up to about 20 lbs higher than where I like it to be, I started dieting. Whenever I diet I always like the way my clothes fit me, but hate the way I look.

I am skinny guy. I embraced the fact that I was skinny as a child. My wrists and ankles are razor thin. I have narrow shoulders. I just don't have a big skeletal structure with which to work. However, I have a great metabolism and even when I think I am heavy most people look at me like I am nuts when I say I need to lose weight.

So I dieted down to my playing weight, roughly 165 lbs. But once again hated how I thin I was. I have also been a weakling. Barely able to lift my body weight. Let me rephrase that. My upper body strength has always been average. But my lower body strength has always been below average. In fact, in the early 90s I worked out with a female coworker for a little while. As is the case with women she couldn't compete when it came to arm, shoulder, and chest exercises. But my weakness really showed itself when we went to the leg press. She buried me. It was embarrassing.

So I started to incorporate weight exercises into my routine, as well as trying to fit in as much cardio as my schedule will allow. Schedule is always an issue. With a young family, full time career, and a household to maintain, more than a few minutes a week is a strain. Cardio just requires too much time (on top of other exercising), is boring, and you see little visual results from it.

I am 6'1" (actually about 1/4" over that), and weigh 167 lbs as I start my trek through the Strong Lifts 5x5 program.

If you don't know what the Strong Lifts 5x5 program is, click here: http://mysl55log.blogspot.com/2011/03/what-is-strong-lifts-5x5.html

So week 1, day 1. I enter Powerhouse Gym and it is slightly before the after work rush. I go to the squat rack where a huge man is squatting 135lbs. Turns out that is his warm-up. After he does a set I remove the weights and do my first set of 5 with the just the bar. I then help him load the bar back up to 165 lbs, and watch him do another set.

It goes back and forth like this until I am finished with my 5 sets of 5 squats. I move on to bench press. All 3 benches are in use. Gym is really filling up now. I can feel the burn in my thighs. (I told you have I very weak legs.)

Finally a bench press comes free and I snag it. Using the 45 lb. Olympic bar I do all 5 of my 5 press sets, resting about a minute between each one. I then go over to an unused bar and load two 10 lbs weights on it for my barbell rows. I repeat the 5 sets of 5 to finish.

Afterward my body was a buzz. Never have I worked the entire body so thoroughly. My legs are beginning to stiffen, but not overly so. Not like when I used to do leg presses. I drive the 5 minutes home and consume a protein powder, quick oats, and skim milk (meant to use whole milk! DOH) drink. I then do some light snacking on hummus, and wait for dinner.

Today (the next day) I have some thigh stiffness. Very little upper body soreness. I feel good and feel I could workout again today. Tomorrow will be day two, with squats, overhead presses, and deadlifts. CAN'T WAIT!

Dinner is a high protein venison (thank goodness for hunting!) casserole, with a pea, carrot, green bean, and corn medley.

A word on diet: after reading Mehdi's report I realized that I was dieting too much in the past to build muscle. From now on I am going to space feedings out every 3 hours, and incorporate at least one high protein source in with each meal. High calorie, complex carbs, and highly nutritious foods are the order of the day. I will blog here about what I do on a typical day moving forward.

I began to ready myself for this workout by starting the new, higher calorie diet, about a week before. It isn't how much you eat, it is what you eat that is important. If you don't hunt, I feel for you. Venison is high in protein. Try to makes friends with a hunter. Buy him a tag for next season and see if he will fill it for you if you also pick up the processing cost.

Also went pheasant hunting over the weekend so I have plenty of high protein meat there.

Deer > Cow
Pheasant > Chicken

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