Strong Lifts 5x5

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

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Great Weekend

So, back from my weekend away. Had a ton of fun with my sisters and the families. Very nice to just relax for 3 days. No gym, no worrying about what I ate. While I didn't even worry about 6 meals a day or anything eating healthier is definitely become ingrained into my mind.

On the trip down, I stopped at a Mcdonalds around lunch time. Went in, looked at the menu, kinda stood there for a minute taking in the sites and smells then walked back out without ordering anything. Went down the street to the Subway and got a 6inch chicken breast on whole wheat, no mayo no cheese and enjoyed the heck out of it. I told myself before I left for the trip I would eat what ever I was craving with no remorse, but once I actually was in McD's I realized I wasn't craving that food at all.

So anyways, had a great time but as always it was nice to get home. To my surprise after a "free weekend" including some drinking and no exercise, one day after getting back my weight was the exact same as the day before I left. I fully expected to be a couple lbs heavier so it was a nice surprise.

Back to the gym this week. Nothing crazy. Had a good run on Monday and a good UBWO yesterday. Not as heavy as I was doing during the 12 weeks but it felt good to get back into the gym and work up a sweat. It was a bit of a revelation to me. I MISSED THE GYM! Never thought I would ever say that! I managed to not miss a single workout over my 12 weeks, and that took a ton of will power sometimes to drag my butt down there and give it my all. But now, even though the "challenge" is done I find even more motivation to keep going. hmm, motivation isn't even really the right word anymore. I crave the gym, not out of guilt but because I like the new me. I love how I feel both physically and mentally after a good workout.

Anyways, Going to go for a run today, then take 2 days off and start back into it full speed on Saturday.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Active Rest

So, middle of the first week post 12 week challenge. This week is suggested being an "active rest" week. Cut out the weights and dial back the cardio. Finding it very hard to do so, but I also haven't really been trying to hard to cut back.

I've been keeping my normal routine and hit the gym every day this week. I tried to dial back the cardio and just do a moderate pace jog instead of the HIIT. I'm finding steady state cardio like that very boring and really doesn't feel like I'm getting a good workout. ON Sunday I set the treadmill to what has been my level 7 intensity (9.5km/hr) and ran for 15mins with no rest. Yawn! Barely even worked up a sweat. So for the last 5 mins I did intervals of 1:15 at a lv7 and 45secs at lv10 for 5 intervals. That felt much more like it. Worked up a good sweat and got the heart rate up. Then finished with 5 mins at a fast walk for a total of 4kms.

On Monday I switched to an elliptical machine for 1/2hr of steady pace cardio and a light leg workout. Hit quads, hammies and calves but at a lighter weight than I had been doing.

Tuesday went back to my normal HIIT routine and speeds and yesteday did a light upper body workout. Today another HIIT session then going away for the weekend and taking a total break from the gym for 3 days.

I haven't changed my eating at all. 6 meals a day, lots of water and no junk. This weekend I am going to enjoy myself without going over board.

Next week will be similar to this week and then Oct 31st starting another 12 week cycle.

My goals for the next cycle:

Size 32 pants
Get under 200lbs.
Lose 20lbs of fat and 10% BF.
6 pack by Christmas
Gain another 10% in strength
Up my cardio distance by 10%.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Well here they are my start and Day 84 pics. We took them a couple hrs ago but I can't help just flipping through them with a huge smile on my face!

First the starting pictures.

And now the Day 84!

Day 84! FInal Measurments and Thoughts

Well here it is. 12 week Challenge Completed!

What a fantastic 3 months it has been. Physically I feel like I turned back the clock 10 years. Energy levels are the highest they have ever been. I'm lifting as much weight in the gym as I was back in my 20s and running faster and farther than I think I could back then. My initial goal was to increase my strength by 20%. In the end I nearly doubled or better my strength in all areas.

My blood pressure is spot on at 112/72 and resting heart rate is 77 BPM. Both significant improvements over when I started. Initially my Blood Pressure was getting into the danger zone. 138/90 and my resting heart rate was 96BPM. I wish I had have done a cholesterol test right before I started this so I would have a comparison. I know right now my cholesterol levels are

Total Cholesterol - 160
LDL - 102

and my doctor is very happy with the results of all the above.

Mentally I'm in a totally new place. My confidence has never been so high. The other day I was running out the door and my wife looked at me in my jeans and a t-shirt and gave me a whistle and a wink. I kinda stopped and looked at her and asked ":do I look so different?". She replied that even more than the change in my physique, I radiated a confidence in myself she hadn't seen since we first started dating so many years ago.

More than anything though, the fact I finished these 12 weeks without a single missed workout or any cheating on the diet has given me a sense of accomplishment I don't think I have ever had before. I gave it everything I had both physically and mentally and being able to look myself in the mirror and know that is a huge high point in my life.

Now the tale of the tape:

Day 1 Measurements:

Neck 17.5"
Chest 47.25"
Shoulder (girth) 53.5
Bicep 16.5
Forearm 12.25
Waist 48" Le gasp!
Hips 46.25"
Thigh 24.5"
Calves 16"
Height 71"
Weight 245.4lbs

Using the Body Fat F Calculator here :
34.76% BF
159.84lbs lean Muscle
85.16lbs Fat

My final measurements:

Neck 16.25
Chest 45
Shoulder (girth) 49.75
Bicep 15.25
Forearm 11.5
Waist 39
Hips 41.25
Thigh 25
Calves 16"
Height 71"
Weight 215.4lbs

Using the Body Fat F Calculator here :
164.72 Lean Body Weight
50.28lbs Fat

I am going to go get a professional body fat measurement next week as that one is not the most accurate. But for now, it is the same method as I used at the start so we will stick with it.

Net results.
35lbs of fat lost.
5lbs of lean muscle gained.
30lbs net weight lost.
11.5% drop in Body Fat
9 inches off my abdomen.
5 inches off my hips
2.5 inches off the man boobs er.... chest!

Some of the measurements are interesting. My thighs and calves stayed the same in inches but the difference in composition is quite amazing. From soft and flabby to muscular and getting defined. My arms as the same. Instead of 16.25 inches with a easily grabbed roll of fat both on top and underneath I end up with 15.25" of nice muscle.

I managed to hit every goal I set out in this 12 week challenge but one. That was fitting a size 34 pant. While I can get a size 34 on and done up they are still tight. I did reach a comfortable size 36 which is a big drop from a tight size 42! Shirt wise I went from a 2x extra large to a large.

I am wearing clothes I haven't worn for 10 years or more. What I considered my "skinny clothes" are now big and baggy. I am not going to buy anything new yet as I haven't reached my end. I am looking forward to some major shopping on boxing day though!

I still have a ways to go to reach my ultimate goals. I don't know what my ultimate weight goal is as I no longer really use a scale weight to define my results. Once I get my Body Fat tested by a pro I will be better able to judge where I am now, but I'll be shooting for 10-12% BF and a weight around 185-190 I think and a size 32 pant.

I would recommend the BFL program to anyone looking to make a change in their life. Both physically and mentally this program is top notch. It's simple to understand but not easy to do. It is a lot of hard work and requires disciple, but if you give it your all and commit to it the results are truly amazing.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Week 11 and 12

Well, today is day 83 of the 84.

Last week and this week have again been pretty busy and its been awhile since my last update.

Week 11 finished very well and Week 12 has been great also. End of week 11 weigh in and I broke out of the 220s weighing in at 218lbs. Leaving me 3 more lbs to drop in week 12 to hit 215lbs. 218 is already past my starting goal especially considering the muscle I have gained over this 12 weeks. According to our caliper and measurements (granted we are not pros at using the fat calipers) I am at 35lbs of fat lost and 7 lbs of muscle gained and have dropped over 10% of my body fat.

My workouts so far in week 12 have been very good. New highs in both weights and cardio. One more cardio session to go this afternoon and that will be 12 weeks complete. So proud of myself to have stuck with this program right to the end. No workouts missed and no cheating on the diet. Cathy as well has remarked on how proud she is that I stuck with it given my history of not following through on a diet or sticking with going to the gym for any period of time.

Of course, these 12 weeks are only the beginning of my fitness journey. I need to make the transition from the 12 week challenge to a life time commitment of eating right and exercise. I still have more fat to lose to reach my ultimate goal, so my efforts can't stop with the completion of the 12 week challenge.

I have already started to refocus my effort with new goals to reach for by year end and I think that will be the key to long term success of maintaining a healthy weight and body fat percentage. Continually updating and coming up with new fitness goals to chase

I will admit I am nervous. In the past I have not been able to maintain my weight. It seems like for most of my adult life I was either losing or gaining weight which I know is not healthy for my body.

. I haven't yet decided what methods I am going to use to continue on to my ultimate goals. A big part of me says why fix what isn't broken. The BFL lifestyle is working tremendously for me, both in the results I have seen and the simplicity it brings to the process. I am accustomed to the routine and schedule that we have been following for the last 3 months. Why not continue on? Use next week to write down my next set of goals and prepare for another 12 week cycle.

Another part of me though wants to explore other training methods. Maybe a change is needed to make sure I don't plateau. To mix things up to keep me focused and excited to hit the gym.

So I have some thinking to do and decisions to make over the next couple days. One thing I don't want to do is lose momentum before I reach my long term goals. So, while the challenge officially ends tomorrow and we will be doing our final pictures on Saturday or Sunday. One thing I'm not going to do it is revert back or slow down especially on the eating front. I'm going to enjoy my normal free day on Friday, then Saturday morning back into the swing of things eating wise.

If there is one thing I that has become routine for me over these 3 months, its that I don't need fast food or sweets on a daily basis. I don't feel like I am restricing myself on a day to day basis anymore. I enjoy my cottage cheese and berries as my evening snack just as much as I enjoyed ice cream or chips before. I see no reason not to continue on with eating 6 balanced meals a day and avoiding the junk and having a free day once a week.

As to the gym, I know there is this accepted thing called active rest the BFL community seems to follow. For myself not sure. I enjoy going to the gym and lifting weights. Am I going to go 6 times next week? IDK. Maybe for a week or two I'll cut it back to 4 times a week. Couple cardio session and a couple weights.

Stay tuned (that is if anyone is actually tuned in :) ), end pics will be coming this week end.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 74

Week 11 Day 4

Cardio day. Had a great run. Probably my best in the last 2 weeks. Set a new best distance which while nice was not the reason I rate it as my best in a couple weeks. It was great because mentally I was back in a focused state of mind which had been missing for a couple weeks.

After 2 months of this routine I found myself not pushing nearly as hard as I was when I started. I mean, yes over all I am pushing more weight and running farther that when I started, quite a bit more when you get right down to it. But I just wasn't pushing for that 10 like I really wanted it. I was more in a "that's good enough" state of mind.

It's kind of a funny thing when you get to this stage of the 12 weeks. I have hit almost all of my goals. I feel a million times better than when I started. While I still have a ways to go, I am so happy with the results it gets harder to maintain that drive and harness that extra gear to push for a 10 that I started the program with.

Its even more of a mental game right now that the first months were. To set my mind that I am not going to coast through the finish line but find my finishing kick and drive hard to the end of the race.

8 workouts and 10 days left in the first stage of my journey to better health and fitness. Need to make them the best of the bunch!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Week 11 Day 71,72,73

Start of Week 11.

Saturday was not good. Woke up in a cold sweat and had to rush to the bathroom to throw up. Not sure what was going on there, I certainly didn't over do it on free day. In fact it was probably one of the cleanest free days I have had. Felt like crap all day. Didn't hardly eat at all. After spending most of the day on the couch I forced myself to the gym in the evening to do my UBWO. Bad idea. No strength to do anything. After a couple sets of chest and arms packed it in and went home. Very disappointing as Upper Body is my favorite workout and I hadn't missed a single workout in the 10 weeks I have completed. I will have to make that one up next week.

Felt much better Sunday morning. Had a decent cardio and got backon track eating my 6 meals. LBWO yesterday and it was quite good. Really blasted the legs and feeling it this morning. Today's run should be a treat the way my legs feel right now.

Was doing some running around yesterday afternoon and stopped in at Walmart to try on some clothes. Grabbed a pair of size 36 and a pair of size 34 jeans to check progress. The size 36 fit quite nicely now and for the first time I got the button and zipper done up on the size 34. They were still very tight, but first time I could actually do them up! Maybe my last goal to reach of fitting a size 34 is still in reach!

Shirt wise down to a Large from a XXL. Tried on a couple mediums as well. but I don't think they will ever been on the cards for me just based on my shoulder width.

1/2 way through week 11. Only 9 more gym days left in the 12 weeks. Really gotta dig deep and push it hard to the end.

End of week 10

Man, life is getting to busy. Struggling to find time to keep this blog updated.

Week 10 ended well. Good workouts all around. Visited the Physio Therapist regarding my continual nagging shoulder pain. Chronic Shoulder Impingement is the probable diagnosis. So, have to continue to dial back shoulder exercises and stick with light weight side and front raises. No overhead lifting. Kinda sucks but the doc feels giving it rest with the stretching routine he gave should help.

No issues sticking with eating clean. It has become so natural to me now I really don't even think about it much. No cravings at all, so much so I struggled to figure out something for my free meal on Friday night. Ended up making some back ribs instead of getting take out or picking up a pizza.

The weigh in on Friday was a bit of a downer. Didn't really lose anything to speak of. But, that went away after doing measurements. Even without any weight loss, I dropped inches all around again. Good indication that I am building muscle. Really I don't care what the scale says as long as I continue to lose fat from my trouble areas, especially the gut. I've already lost 25 lbs of scale weight and close to 30lbs of fat in 2.5 months. Any faster and I would be losing muscle which I do not want to do.