Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Week 7....OUCH

Last night I started week 7 off with 135 lb squats, 90 lb bench presses, and 115 lb barbell rows.

The squats. They are starting to get difficult. The last rep on several of the sets I had to really struggle to get the weight up. However, I was really never in any real danger of not finishing.

The bench presses. Still doing alright on these. I can feel it in my arms and chest, but was never in real danger of not completing them.

The barbell rows. Danger! I came close to not completing all 5 sets of 5. It was hard work to complete and my form went to pieces on the last couple of reps of each set. I could feel myself raising up with the bar. I am seriously considering staying at 115 lbs on these until I can do all 25 reps with proper form.

If anyone reads this and has done 5x5, tell me what you think about my last statement.

The calorie and protein intake is still going good. I am finding that a busy schedule makes it more difficult, but I have done relatively well thanks to supplementation. I have weighed in at 178 lbs a couple of days, but need to maintain the 3000-4000 calorie intake daily.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Week 6 Workout #2 Complete

Last night I successfully completed Week 6's midweek workout. 125 lb squats, 85 lb bench presses, and 105 lb barbell rows.

I have continued to read Mehdi's 5x5 guides for form on the various exercises. I still don't feel I am going quite low enough in my squating. I think I may be stopping just short of parallel. Not sure about that just a feeling. I think my form is good on all other lifts. Even the deadlifting. Friday I will be up to 170 lb on the deadlifting. 160 lb was a lot of work on Monday.

I am considering doing GOMAD (gallon of milk a day). Haven't fully decided. Mehdi suggests whole milk and I am really trying to keep from gaining too much fat. The strength seems to be coming, I am sure the muscle building will follow. So I will have to think about it.

Other than that I continue to try to consume as many calories as I can. I have the meal replacement powder I mentioned in the last post. We'll see how that helps.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Week 5, Midweek

Last night I did the 2nd workout of week 5. 110 lb squats, 75 lb overhead presses, and 150 lb deadlifts.

The squats are certainly getting more challenging. Again I was never in danger of not finishing the 5x5, but I am definitely taking a 2-3 minute break between sets now. Amazing how little soreness and stiffness I am having now. Most of that is no longer in my quads, but in my gluts and hams. A little in my calves, though I'd love to feel it more there. I hate having chicken legs!

The overhead presses are now the most challenging to complete. Again I am taking about 3 minute rests between sets. But I can really feel it in my shoulder and chest today. I seriously may have to look into 1.25 lb weights in order to keep progressing.

The deadlifts are more challenging. Did 1x5 at 150 lbs without any risk of not completing it. But it is much more of a challenge than in the past. It feels good to pull that much weight, and hopefully the strength gains will make it so that I can continue to progress appropriately. With deadlifts in this program you add 30 lbs every two weeks (10 lbs per deadlift session), so in two weeks I will be at 180 lb.

Nutrition continues to be a battle, but I feel I am winning. I have found that supplementation is a must, though I am consuming as many calories as I can through whole foods. Still I picked up a box of 30g protein bars. They have 280 calories. Also, I am waiting on delivery of the meal replacement powder I ordered. I plan on taking that as a supplement on my off workout days (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday). At 14 servings per container that means it will last me a little over 3 weeks.

So things are progressing. I can definitely see changes in my physique. I am up to 175 lbs, about 13.5-14% body fat. But my 34" waist pants are still fitting so that tells me I am doing something right.

Also, I eat a baked potato every day. Usually about 3pm, this gives me some fuel in the tank for my workouts at 4:30-5pm. Yesterday at the gym I was waiting on my post workout protein shake (gym was running 1/2 off special on them), one of the employees who is fit and ripped was standing talking to someone holding a plate. He was asked what he just ate, and he answered "A sweet potato". That made me feel good, I am doing something right!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Exercise #11, Middle Of Week 4

95lb squats, 70 lb. bench presses, and 90 lb barbell rows.

Squats went alright this time around. Still concentrating on form, and getting at least parallel. Last squat of the last set was a bit of struggle as my muscles were fatigued. However, I powered through it and am anxious to try 100 lbs on Friday.

70 lb bench presses are no problem. I polished off the 5 x 5 of those without too much effort.

90 lbs rows were definitely a challenge. I was never in danger of not finishing the 5 sets of 5, but I could feel it especially in the last two of each set. I really concentrated on my form for the rows, trying to keep that lower back straight, and bringing those elbows out as I pulled the bar up.

Still making good progress. No more weight gain, but I it seems that second day of rest on the weekend is when I really make progress on the muscle building.

I am going to look into a good meal replacement supplement to try to up my caloric intake. I am leaning toward this one right now: Raw Meal

Friday's workout will be interesting, especially the 70 lb overhead presses. Those have been kicking my butt!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Week 4 Off To A Good Start

Week 4, first exercise of the week (yesterday): 90 lb squats, 65 lb overhead presses, and 130 lb deadlifts.

Two things that I have expressed concern about in the past: being able to do squats as the weight went up, and my form on the squats. Both of these things don't seem to be an issue! Though 90 lbs doesn't seem like a lot to people that do squats regularly, if you had told me I could do those 3 weeks ago I would have been skeptical. However, I powered through them with little issue yesterday.

On my squat form, I have really concentrated on it. Back straight, heels glued to floor, elbows back, shoulder blades and gluts squeezed, chest out. And I am going down much deeper into the squat than ever! I am excited to continue to build my strength through squats.

The overhead presses are concerning me a bit now. Only at 65 lbs, the last couple of sets are starting to be laborious. I think I will be okay to get through these into the 80 lb range, but am concerned about getting into weight above that. I guess I just need to trust the program and hope that my strength will go up with the weights.

On the dead lifts, I continue to concentrate on form. Even at 130 lb now they aren't really straining me too much. I will be interested to see at what point it gets challenging to do 1x5s on those.

Results are still good. I am up over 6 lbs without an effect on how my pant's are fitting in the waist. That is a great sign!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Week 3 Nearing An End

This afternoon I will do workout #9, completing my first 3 weeks of Strong Lifts 5x5. This time it will be 85 lb. squats, 65 bench presses, and 85 lb. barbell rows.

Wednesday's workout (#8) was a bit rough. I had my personal training session that came free with the gym membership on Monday. The PT put me through a fairly intense workout, including 200 lb leg presses. We worked on form for squats, dead lifts, and barbell rows at lower weights. But after 30 minutes of being pushed pretty had by her, I went and did my Strong Lifts routine.

Tuesday I was feeling it, especially in my legs. The soreness lasted into Wednesday and made my 80 lb squats more challenging than they otherwise would have been. However, once again Mehdi's advice to workout through soreness paid off. I felt better Thursday than I did Tuesday!

Also, the rewards are really starting to be noticeable. While I was impressed with the definition I was already showing after two weeks, this week I am starting to notice more bulk. My upper arms have more girth than they ever have before. My shoulders are even looking defined and bigger.

And my quads are bigger than they've ever been. Squats are the best exercise there is. I am looking forward to seeing how I do with them moving into higher weights. Another 15 lbs next week will put me at 100 lb squats.

Another thing I was surprised about was that the overhead presses are already getting more challenging. At 60 lbs on Wednesday, the last couple of sets were actually difficult. Again I will trust that program will work and as the weights go up with the overhead press, so will my strength.

Also I got an email from Mehdi. He is writing a squat guide and asked for input. I gave him my input. Look forward to that guide. Last week he emailed out a dead lift guide. That guy is good at this stuff!