I just finished up another cycle of my current training program, so now is probably a good time for a training montage to cover what I have done so far.
Like Bruce Wayne, I lacked the will to act when I first started down this path. Actually, part of it was willpower, and part of it was knowledge. The point is, I was trying to lose weight, and not lose fat, which was my real goal. I was doing this with an extremely low calorie diet and varying amounts of cardio training. I say “varying” because I jogged sporadically and called it an improvement from before, when I had no physical activity at all.
As I read more and more material about fitness, I realized that focusing on diet was not enough, and that I needed to take the exercise part of the equation more seriously. My exercise sucked because I had no plan – no tracking, no consistency, and no progression. I was also convinced that instead of cardio, I should switch to weightlifting for better results. So in January of this year, I bit the bullet and paid for a gym membership in the first time in my life.
At first, I followed a bastardized version of Mark Rippletoe’s Starting Strength program. I did the same lifts (squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press, pull-up, power clean) and used the same progression pattern (add five-to-ten pounds per lift per two-week cycle), but did the sets in a Reverse Pyramid Training (RPT) order instead of the regular Pyramid Training (PT) order. In order words, I started with my heaviest work set and worked my way down to lighter sets instead of starting low and building up. The theory behind RPT is that PT robs you of some of your strength in the first sets so you are unable to work at full capacity at your heaviest set. This program worked well for me for about two months, until I hurt my back in the middle of March. I realized afterwards that RPT is for more advanced folks who had perfect form, because for a beginner like me, I was much more likely to hurt myself on RPT than PT.
In April, I started Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program, and followed it exactly. (The “Big But Boring” variation.) This program is also based on the same major lifts and a PT set order, but the progression pattern is based on your previous lifting performance and it has periodization built-in, so I like it a lot more. It also helps that I have made more progress on this program while not hurting myself.
That’s enough words, here are the numbers:
(Around end of January)
- Deadlift: 85 lbs x 10 reps (113 lbs 1RM)
- Squat: 95 lbs x 10 reps (127 lbs 1RM)
- Bench Press: 75 lbs x 10 reps (100 lbs 1RM)
- Overhead Press: 40 lbs x 10 reps (53 lbs 1RM)
- Deadlift: 225 lbs x 3 reps (238 lbs 1RM)
- Squat: 180 lbs x 5 reps (203 lbs 1RM)
- Bench Press: 165 lbs x 2 reps (170 lbs 1RM)
- Overhead Press: 105 lbs x 3 reps (111 lbs 1RM)
I am practically twice as strong in every lift! But for those of you who are not interested in weightlifting, here are some more numbers for you.
- 193.4 lbs
- 12 7/8″ Arms
- 42 1/2″ Waist
- 42 1/2″ Hips
- 22 5/8″ Legs
- 173.6 lbs
- 13 5/8″ Arms
- 38 1/2″ Waist
- 39″ Hips
- 22 5/8″ Legs
Sadly, the progress in this department is not as drastic as I hoped it would be by this point. (Thus my questioning of whether I should be Batman this Halloween.)
WARNING: Links to semi-clothed pictures to follow!
My before and after pictures are not that good, either. The simple truth is that I still have a lot of fat to burn through. What you cannot see, though, is that much of the fat in the first picture has been turned into muscle in the recent picture. It is just that the muscle is still covered by yet more fat. I can tell that things are happening, though, because besides my increased strength, I also have reduced jiggle.
Still a lot of work to be done, I better get back to it.