Strong Lifts 5x5

Started April 28 on Stronglifts 5x5. Old school strength training that gets results.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 38

Week 6 day 3

Upper Body workout. Had a very good UBWO. Gym was kinda busy so went back to Dumb Bell press and flys for my chest work out. Very pumped by the strength gains I have seen in the last 5+ weeks. My super set was with the same weight I used to do for my 6 rep set.

Last time I did dumb bell press (which was only 2 weeks ago) on my 6 rep set I used 50lbs dumbbells and only got 5 in with a supreme effort. Yesterday I pumped out 6x55lb with no issues. When I started this challenge my 6 rep set for lying tricep extensions was 12.5 lbs per hand. Yesterday after 5 sets of Dips I did extensions for my second exercise of the super set for 12x 15lbs per hand.

Seeing the visual changes in my body is great, but seeing the weights go up and myself getting stronger and stronger each week is equally as motivating. It is allowing me to push myself harder and with more focus in the gym. To really test my mental strength to push past what my mind thinks I can do and prove to myself there are no limitations. To really reach for that elusive 10 and be honest with myself if I haven't reached it that session. To try even harder the next day.

Ate my 6 clean meals, but the timing was a bit screwy. I was called for jury duty selection starting at 9:30 with no food or drink allowed in the court room. So I ate breakfast a bit earlier than normal and my 2nd meal MRS Shake at 9:15. I wasn't selected for the jury and was out around 11:30. But eating early threw the rest of the day off. I ended up with a 4.5hr gap between meal 4 (3:00pm) and meal 5 (7:30pm) as we do our gym session at 6pm due to Cathy's schedule this week.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 36 & 37

Week 6 days 1 and 2.

Did our measurements on Sat morning as we always do. Waist down another 1/2 inch, man boobs down another inch.

Had a great leg work out. Squats are still killers. Upped the weight on my calves a bit. It was another UFC night. Went down to a different pub this time. Was very nice to see a grilled salmon dinner with salad and steamed veggies on the menu. Had that with 1 light beer. Another great night for my motivation level to select the right foods even when out instead of saying screw it and ordering a burger and fries or something deep fried.

Cardio yesterday. Legs were still sore from Saturday but unlike last time they warmed up nicely and didn't cause me any problems. Pounded out a new distance at 2.79 hitting 14 as my high point in min 19.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 33 and Day 34

Week 5 days 5 and 6

Been a busy but good couple days. Had a good UBWO on Wednesday. Feeling the switch in exercises for sure. Very good Cardio yesteday. Legs felt much better after a couple days rest and was able to push out a new distance record for myself.

Eating has been good and clean. Lots of Chicken breast. Had my weekly Salmon dinner. Need to eat more veggies though. With the hot weather of late I tend to be getting most of my veggies from green salads. Peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, cucumber that kinda stuff. Need to get more leafy veggies like spinach and things like broccoli and cauliflower. Starting to cool down now so hopefully that helps me make the change.

Week 5 in the books. Looking back, maybe not my best week but still a pretty good one. Need to find that next level of intensity in the gym next week. Almost 1/2 way done. Time is really flying.

Free Day time. After last weeks big lasagna dinner out on free day need to really keep this one down to a dull roar. Stay away from the sweets, a reasonable dinner, thinking Sushi as I have been kinda craving it all week. I'm going to try for the next 6 weeks to really curtail free day. Even though I am seeing weight and inches loss every week and gains in strength, the 2 forward one back I saw last week shows what over doing a free day really does. Been backsliding on the Diet Soda a bit as well, not crazy but 1 can a day with dinner. Going to go back to iced green tea and try and cut it out completely again.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 32

Week 5 Day 4

Cardio time again. My legs were still very sore from the changes to my LBWO. Quads were screaming at me almost right away when I got on the treadmill. Major gut check but I got my 20 mins in and was not far off my record pace. Fo9r all the pain, it was a big mental boost to push through it and still get in a good run.

Ate my 6 clean again. Not much to report on that front. Pretty routine now. Don't even need to look at the clock anymore. My body tells me when its time and usually it is right.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 31

Week 5 Day 3

Lower Body today. Was a great workout. Switched up some exercises, went to Squats on the Smith Machine for quads. Lunges for Hamstrings and standing raises for Calves. Really felt the change especially in my quads. First time since week one my legs were really sore afterwards and into the next day. Cardio is going to be a killer the way my legs feel right now.

Ate my 6 clean. Very proud of myself that through 4.5 weeks I have stuck with the nutrition plan and authorized foods. No cheating so far other than my free day. Could be interesting next week as I have been called to jury duty. It I get picked for the trial it could be challenging to get my proper meals in on time. Pretty sure I'm not allowed to break out a protein shake mid trial.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 30

Week 5 Day 2

Had a very good cardio session. Pushed my Distance to 2.75

Went over to my Mom's house on Sunday afternoon as my nieces and nephews were up visiting. Had a nice BBQ with the family. Stayed away from the wine, which normally me and my Mom would kill a bottle or more between us. Had 2 Molson 67's the whole night. One nice thing about being an ex chef is I do the cooking for the family gatherings. We had roasted sweet potatoes, BBQ Chicken and green salad with lots of veggies in it, green beans and some Sauteed prawns as an appy. All cooked with minimal oil, no butter or anything. Skipped desert and special coffee. The nice thing was even though I changed how I would normally cook for the family (without telling them), everyone still loved the food.

I haven't told the family that I am doing the BFL challenge. Most of my family lives about 3 hrs away so I only see them every couple months at best. I want it to be a surprise when I walk into my sister's place in Oct for thanksgiving and blow them all away with the new me.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day 28 and 29

Week 5 Day 1

After free day I was very happy to start week 5. What a weird thought, I was excited to get back to eating clean and working out after only 1 day off. Started the day like we do every Saturday. Took our Measurements and as it was end of the first month took our pictures again.

First the measurements.

Day 1 Day 28
Weight 245.4 232.4
Neck 17.75 17
Shoulders 53.5 50
Chest 48 46
Waist 48 43.5
Hips 46.5 44.5
Thigh 25 23.5

Hit the gym for UBWO. Good workout. Changed some exercises and really felt it. Ate my 6 clean and got all my water. Was feeling much better by then end of the day, flushed out the rich food from free day. All in all a great start to week 5. Seeing the improvements in my pictures and measurements really helps with the motivation.

Week 4 Day 7.

1 Month complete. 1/3 of the way done. Had a good free day. Went out for Dinner and a movie with Cathy. Went to an Italian place, enjoyed some of the yummy bread, a ceasar salad and lasagna for dinner with a glass of red wine. Didn't eat all the lasagna but made up for that with the bread for sure. Had some popcorn and chocolate at the movies. Felt like a bloated whale by the time we got home!

My god I don't miss that feeling. Finding rich food affects me much more than it used to. My body does NOT react well to it after only 1 month of eating clean. But then, that was part of the reason I wanted to go out and partake this free day. To remind myself of how shitty I used to feel all the time. It was a good lesson for me and one I will be remembering next Friday on free day.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 25 and Day 26

Week 4 Day 4 & 5

Next couple days are going to be pretty short entries. On holidays this week so not much time to spend on the computer.

Cardio Day. Had a great run. Upped interval speeds again. Total Distance 2.68
LWBO Yesterday. Good workout. Pushed my leg press to 270 and leg ext to 240. Switching things up next week to Squats with leg press for super set.

Ate my 6 clean on both days. Going to track my calorie intact closely next week. I don't think I am eating enough calories each day. I have a feeling I am hovering around 1500ish.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 24

Week 4 day 3

UBWO. It didn't feel like it was a great workout.. Wasn't quite as focused as previous ones.

I didn't feel like I hit my 10s this time. Did up my weights on chest,back and triceps. Pushed out 50lbss for my 6 rep dumb bell press for my chest. Slowly but surely working my way back to what I could life in my 20s. Still a long way to go but getting closer. Did pull ups again for the back. Man those are killer. I like it though, feels like it works more of the back than rows or pull downs.

Ate my 6 clean meals. Switched it up a bit and had a Protein Shake for my post gym meal instead of whole food as we where running behind schedule .Cathy had a doc's appointment after work and we didn't get home from the gym until 7:30pm.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 23

Week 4 day 2

Cardio day. Not a whole lot to talk about. Upped by speeds again by .1 or .2 for each step of the intervals and focused on really pushing through each minute to get the most of out the work out. Ended with a 2.63 distance and sweated buckets.

Ate my 6 clean, got my water. Starting to feel much more fit. While I can see the changes happen I actually feel better than I look quite yet. I feel and move like I'm down 25 or 30 lbs not 12. I compare it to how I felt when I was on the low carb diet I did 2 years ago with no exercise component. The magic of weight lifting and intense cardio is just so amazing. Ya I lost weight on that other diet, but my body didn't feel any stronger or more fit. If anything I felt weak and kinda washed out.

With BFL, every day my body feels stronger and more conditioned. Combined with a proper nutrition plan, it truly is like turning back the clock.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 21 and Day 22

Week 4 Day 1

My body felt a million times better after have a day off from the gym. Its more like about 40hrs off when you get right down to it. Got to bed early on Thursday and Friday and got lots of sleep, which helped as well.

Lower Body Workout this day. Hit my legs harder than I previously had. Not more babying the legs. Quads especially were great. With the weight of the machine did 370lbs on leg press for my 6 rep set and 300lbs leg press + 140lb leg extension for my super set. Really felt the burn in them for the first time.

Ate my 6 clean meals and did my mental exercises. Its funny, in a weird way eating my clean meals is easier than free day. It is so routine now that I don't even think about it. I find I have toi think more about eating on free day, what do I feel like etc than my normal days. While it may get boring further on eating pretty much the same food every day takes guess work out of it.

Took our measurements this morning. Going to save posting all the stats till end of week 4 is done but so far down a total of 14.5 inches off my body. Lost another inch off my belly last week! Taking our pictures again at the end of this week. Really looking forward to see if the changes are visible. Cathy says she can easily see the changes just looking at me. More importantly she sees the changes in my attitude.

Week 3 day 7 Free Day.
Free day on Friday. Went pretty well. Kept the "free stuff" under control. Ate my normal meals in the am. Had a turkey sandwich on a bagel for lunch, couple slices of pizza for dinner and 1 light beer. Kept that under control much better than last time. As well I bought thin crust which surprisingly had 120 fewer calories per slice than normal pizza. Lttle bit of ice cream for dessert and some popcorn.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 20

Week 3 Day 6

Last day of week 3. Cardio day! Prior to a little pep talk from the wife I was not fired up as I have been. As I said yesterday the body is a bit sore and beat up. That said I got my ass to the gym and gave it my all once I was there. Upped my intervals and over all distance again finishing at 2.61 miles.

But more than the new distance, this was a mental victory for me. Yesterday was the first time so far that I got the "i don't feel like going to the gym" feeling. In the past that would mean skipping a work out. This time with a little help from Cathy, I looked that feeling in the face and beat it down.

Tried on the 6 week size 38 goal pants this morning. Not nearly as tight as they were even last week and pretty close to fitting right. Weighed in this morning. 234.3 lbs. Not quite as big a drop on the scale as the first two weeks, but just trying on those pants first lets me know the scale doesn't tell the whole tale.

Down 11 lbs in 3 weeks is nothing to sneeze at and with the changes I am starting to see in my body its been great! My traps and shoulders are starting to show up again as well as my triceps. Noticing a big improvement in the chest area. Starting to see the underlying muscle and lose the "man boobs".

Free day today. As with the last 2 the only goal of the day is keep it to a dull roar. One free meal, a light beer or two and maybe some popcorn while watching a movie. Cathy asked me yesterday what I wanted for my free meal tonight and I couldn't tell her. Not from being overwhelmed by wants but the exact opposite. I'm not having a special craving for anything in particular like OMG I need some Pizza tonight or a big juicy burger with all the trimmings.

Well that's week 3 in the bag. Motivation level 9 from seeing changes start to show up! On ward into week 4!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 19

Week 3 day 5.

Upper Body day. My favorite! The gym was very busy for some reason so had to adjust on the fly from the routine we had panned. Switched to Pull-Ups and Dips on the assist tower or what ever you call it. Was a great burn and really showed me after next week I need to switch up the routine. My muscles have definitely started to adapt to the exercises I was doing. My arms were jello after wards as I really pushed from some 10's today.

Ate my 6 clean. It is really just becoming normal routine now. Not really even thinking about it. For the most part I can make my meals tasty and enjoyable, but even when they aren't it's becoming no biggie. I seem to be moving to a place where food is fuel for my body not a security blanket. If it doesn't taste fantastic, oh well. Is it a portion of quality protein and carbs, with some veggie. Ok, good, eat it.

Cardio tonight then a much needed day off. It's not even the food freedom so much as giving my body a good day of rest. Feeling a little beat up after this week. Still have lots of energy but having really focused on reaching for 10's in my training the body is sore. Two good nights sleep with no workout will do me great.

Hard to believe 3 weeks are up. 1/4 of the way through already.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 18

Week 3 Day 4

Cardio time again. Had a good run, sweating buckets by the time it was over. Really feeling great after a good run now. Pushed my distance to 2.58 miles.

Ate my 6 clean and got all my water in again. Feeling very good about the food part of this challenge. Almost 3 weeks done and no cheating at all. Feeling energetic and not hungry between meals. Not craving sweets nearly as much as I thought I would. Mixing in a chocolate meal replacement shake in the afternoon has helped with that I think but more so I am coming to realize the sweets were more habit than anything. Once I detoxed off the sugar I find I don't miss them. A little ice cream is a nice treat on free day, but not something I need on a daily basis.

Overall Week 3 has been a great week so far. My workouts have all been top notch, really looking forward to the gym and Upper Body today.

A shout out to any of the BFL forum goers than may drop by. You guys are great!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 17

Week 3 Day 3

Lower Body day. Had a good work out but still struggling to find my "10" doing legs. I think I am still holding back and under estimating how much my legs can actually lift. I know part of it is not wanting sore legs to affect my Cardio days, but I need to get past that. Went back to the Captain's Chair for my main ab work. That thing is the Devil, but man it is a huge mental pump when I can get the sets in. Finished my superset with crunchs on the swiss ball.

Ate my 6 clean again today. Food cravings at a minimal. The internal changes are really happening for me. I feel much better than my outer body shows yet. Tons of energy. Feeling much stronger and my muscles are starting to firm up. It doesn't show a lot yet but when I flex a muscle I can feel it is much harder than it was previously.

Noticed a big change while doing yard work this last weekend. No sore back after trimming and cutting the lawn. Can't wait for the outer me to catch up with the inner me.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 16

Week 3 Day 2.

Cardio day! Back when I tried and failed at the 12 week challenge years ago I dreaded cardio day. Hated it. Cardio was the first days that I started to skip on the way to stopping altogether.

Flash forward to now. I am really starting to get into Cardio day. I'm loving pushing myself to run farther and faster each time I get on the treadmill. Yesterday was a great run. Busted through the 2.5 mil mark in 20 mins! My BPM was lower again despite the increase in speed for each interval. Overall a great 20 mins on the treadmill.

Have to make an effort to get to bed earlier on work nights. Was after 11pm last night and despite my best intentions did not get up in time to take Sadie for her walk before work.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Random Thoughts about this journey.

UFC117 was last night and I am a big UFC fan. Normally I head down to the casino sports bar to watch the fights as paying $50.00 for a PPV is kinda steep. I almost decided to rent it at home to remove myself from the temptations. But after thinking about it for the whole day I decided that's a bad move. This is Body-For-Life, not Body-Remove yourself from life.

So I headed down to to watch the fights. I was a bit dismayed when I looked at the menu as it was pretty limited. Mostly all my old favs and not much in the way of a healthy choice. In the end I ordered the grilled Chicken Burger, minus the ham and swiss mayo etc they put on it and a tossed salad. Took off the top bun and ate the chicken with the bun bottom and my salad. Had 1 Molson 67 then diet cola and water after that.

One thing I am finding is for BFL to be successful for me long term, I need to challenge my old self imposed boundaries and habits. To place myself in challenging circumstances and summon the mental strength to meet those challenges. Be it eating right, getting to the gym or pushing for that 10.

Years ago when I attempted and did not finish the 12 week challenge I looked at it primarily as a physical challenge. Maybe age has finally blessed me with the wisdom I lacked back then, but I realize now, this Challenge is 90% (or more) mental.

While every meal I choose to eat clean, every rep on the weight bench and ever mile I run on the treadmill is obviously good for my body, The real benefit is in my mind. Every one of those things builds my confidence just a little more that I can do this.

I feel like somewhere, deep inside, my mind is the proverbial 98lb weakling that used to fold under pressure and make a lot of bad choices. Well, he's no Arnold yet, but it sure feels like he has put on some muscle in the last couple weeks


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Day 14 and 15

Day 15. Week 3 day 1.

Did our measurements this morning. down 2" in waist. Pretty much everything else the same. Shoulders are up a little bit, starting to see some muscle growth there.Took some 2 week pics. No huge changes but definitely some changes. Stomach and love handles smaller for sure.

Did our normal Sat morning running around. Shopping and misc errands. Restocked on good nutritious food. Lots of chicken as always, cottage cheese, yogurt etc.

Hit the gym around 1:30 for upper body workout. Had a great workout. Pushing 45's for my dumb bell press 6 rep set. Shoulders up to 27.5. Triceps and Biceps the same as last week but felt a bit easier today. Should be able to up the weight on them next week.

Felt good to get back to clean eating even though I didn't go crazy yesterday. Going out to watch UFC117 tonight at the pub. Good test of my will power. Feeling pretty confident that I can pass up on the crap.

Day 14 Free Day #2

Stuck to pretty normal eating through the day. Had some Chinese food and a couple Molson 67's for dinner but kept it in control better than with the pizza last week. Filled up mostly on Won Ton soup and stayed away from deep fried food. Had a little ice cream later in the evening and some light popcorn while watching a movie. Felt good. Ate enough to quiet any cravings but not so much I had a belly ache or felt like crap in the morning.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Day 13

WoW, end of week 2 already. Time she is a flyin'. At the start of this 12 weeks sounds like a long time, but once I wrapped my head around the fact that time is going to pass no matter what I am doing, why not invest that 12 weeks in the best way possible for my health.

Cardio yesterday was fantastic. New highs in speed for each interval and overall distance for the 20 mins. 2.48 miles. Closing in on my 12 week goal of 2.5 miles already. Is 3 miles in 20 reachable? Don't know until I try!

236lbs this morning. Down 9 lbs so far. We will bust out the calipers and tape measure on Sat morning again. Doing measurements on the day AFTER free day is a little extra motivation for me not to over indulge on free day. Keep things clean during the day with a small free meal tonight.

Overall a great week. Hit all my workouts and ate clean all week. Onto week 3!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 12

Things trucking along nicely this week. Ate my 6 clean again, drank lots of water. Stopped in to see my Mom yesterday and walked into a house smelling oh so heavenly of freshly baked buns. They had just come out of the oven and looked and smelled oh so good. Talk about childhood memories rushing into my head. I resisted, but had to sit outside on the patio while I visited, the smell was breaking down my walls!

Note to self, only visit Mom on Fridays when I can have a nice warm bun fresh from the oven!

Lower Body yesterday. Had a good but not great workout. Time to up the weights a bit on quads and calves.

Working on getting up 1hr earlier to take Sadie for a walk every morning. She loves it and we do half walking, half light jogging for about 45mins. Maybe a mile, mile and a half of light cardio. Gets my heart rate up a bit and kinda stokes the inner engine for the day. Weather is just so beautiful seems a shame not to get out and enjoy it before work.

That's all for today. Motivation rating 8.5. Resisting those fresh buns gave me a lot of self confidence that I can control the food not the other way around!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 11

Week 2 Day 4

Cardio day today. Another great run. Pushed my last set to 8.5 9.5 and finished with 11mph. It feels like with every session it gets shorter. No longer counting the seconds at the top end of every interval.

Ate 6 (well 5 at the time of this post, 1 more at 9:30) clean meals today. Feeling great, lots of energy. Starting to notice small changes. My size 42 pants fall down without a belt and the size 40 are feeling more comfortable. Face starting to slim a bit.

All and all motivation very high. No bad food craving this week so far. Even starting to like the taste of salmon. Down 7 lbs so far. 235lbs is in site for end of this week or sometime next week. Looking forward to taking some end of week 2 pictures to see if there is any difference noticable.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 10

Week 2 Day 3

Upper Body Work Out Day. Always my favorite day at the gym working the upper body. Starting to see my strength improve. Last week on my dumb bell press I had to have some help from Cathy to finish my last 2 reps of the 6x 40lb rep. Today pounded it out with no help and followed it with 12x30 then 12x20 for the dumb bell fly. Both up 5 lbs from last week! Biceps up 2.5lbs on the 8 and 6 rep sets and 2.5 lbs on the super set reps as well.

So far so good with eating clean today. Just finished my MRS for my 4th meal. I am really feeling so much more energetic now eating clean and hitting the gym. Almost to the point of stir crazy if I don't have something to do. Food cravings are pretty much nothing so far this week. My desire for hitting this program hard is much much greater than my desire for sweets.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 9

Day 9

Cardio day today. Cardio is another much talked about topic on the BFL forums. Is 20 mins enough, should I do more, can I do 40mins of slow instead of 20 mins of HIIT and on and on. At least one new topic a day about cardio shows up.

I personally don't get the confusion. The 20min HIIT cardio is well laid out and easy to understand in the BFL book. How to do it and reason for doing it this way. I think where people struggle is the "Intensity" factor. They think they are hitting a 8 or 9 but in reality they aren't pushing themselves. I know when I get done I don't want to even look at the treadmill until its time for another session.

Every session I am pushing myself harder and faster and farther. Today's "10" was a 9.5mph min 18 followed by a 10.5mph min 19. Up another .5 from Thursday which was up .5 from Tuesday. Total distance was 2.42 up from 2.34. I think I experienced for the first time "runners high" around 17.5 mins today. I fell into my tunes and the rhythm of my breathing, it was like nothing existed but me, and the treadmill a part of me was kinda disappointed when min 19 ended. But only a small part, the rest of me was covered in sweat!

The amazing thing was when I was done not only had I run farther again this session, but when min 19 was done and I went into cool down my heart rate was 163BPM. Last week at the end of the set I was 175ish. So not only farther and faster but more efficient as well.

Finally tracked down a set of body fat calipers so Cathy and I will do that this evening. Another day of eating clean and drinkin my water. Feeling very energetic and pretty damn pumped after the Cardio today.