Strong Lifts 5x5

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

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Back at it.

So hit the gym yesterday after a week off. While ruminating over future goals, sticking with 5x5 for now.

Squats- 255lbs Deloaded a bit after the week off. Focused on form, nice and deep, good hip drive etc. Felt good to get under the bar again. While it was lighter than where I left off, still a good amount of weight and felt it after wards.

Bench -160lbs. A slight deload (5lbs). Again focused on form. Still a good amount of weight for me being only 5lbs under my current max for 5x5. Had to work for the 5th rep on the last two sets.

Rows 135lbs - Slight deload, wanted to test the elbow a bit and see how it felt after the week off. Still not 100% but pretty close.

Added in 3x5 of body weight dips and just because I hadn't done them for months did a couple sets of dumb bell curls. I was actually quite amazed at how much stronger my biceps were considering I hadn't done a single curl for 3 months. Had no problem curling 42.5lb dumb bells with solid form where my prior best was maybe 32.5. I probably could have gone heavier even but my elbow did complain a bit at the motion so didn't want to push it.

Overall a good session. Dentist appointment Wednesday afternoon so going to have to miss the session, but will hit the gym on Thursday, take Friday off then get back into my old routine of Sat/Mon/Wed for weights.

One Year!

So, last week ended up being an unscheduled but needed week off from the gym for a couple reasons. After flaming out in the last workout of week 11 I felt a need to give my body a bit of a rest. The nagging injuries were starting to pile up a bit and I wasn't giving them the rest needed to heal.

I also decided to head out for a bit of a spur of the moment camping and fishing extended weekend with some friends. Headed out to a beautiful lake near Merrit on Thursday and spent the weekend having a blast. The fishing wasn't great (caught a couple nice trout with long stretches of no action) but the relaxation coupled with lots of beer was a nice break.

It also gave me a bit of time to reflect on this last year. July 24th 2010 is when I started this journey to get fit. It was seeing pictures of myself on my 38th birthday that really hit home to me I needed to make some positive changes.

So it's been one year since I started getting serious about getting fit. My stats July 24th 2010

34%Body fat.
Tight size 42 pants
2xxL shirts

My First workout was upper body and my god was I weak. I maxed out at 6 reps of 40lb dumbells for chest and I was shaking to get all 6 reps. My squats max was 6x 100lbs (on the smith machine). Shoulder press was 17.5lb dumbells.

Stats July 24th 2011.

Comfy size 36 pants
Large shirt.

Bench 165lbs, Squats 270lbs OHP 105lbs Deadlifts 275lbs.

Now alot of the strength gains have come in the last 3 months doing SL5x5. I plateaued on the BFL pyramid back in Feb I would guess. I wan't making much gains between then and when I started Strong Lifts at the end of April. Now maybe I wasn't pushing myself as hard as I could due to boredom after 9 months of the same workouts and an abundance of cardio I don't know. What I know is the new routine gave me the motivation to really hit the weights hard.

Overall I am happy with the progress over this last year but not satisfied. I find myself a bit conflicted as to my goals going forward. One part of me wants to continue on with reaching for strength goals. 300lbs squats. 400lbs dealifts, 200lb bench. The other part of me wants to lean out more. Shoot for around 185lbs at ~12%BF. Visible abs and all that. I just don't know that the two goals can be obtained in conjunction. Can I go into a caloric deficit and continue to make strength gains. Can I lean out without adding cardio back into the equation?

Is it better to continue on with chasing strength gains or is it time to switch gears, maintain what I have gained and do a cut phase for 3 months?

I read and read and read and educate myself. Split routines, 5x5 type programs, different diet plans etc etc etc. It is over whelming at times. I find myself really at a cross roads and unsure what to do. A bit frustrating to say the least. While I know it is not out there, there are times where I wish there was some magic 8-ball to answer all my questions. I think I know enough to set up my own program and diet plan. I know what does work for me, but is it the most efficient? Is there a better way to skin the cat?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Week 11 W/O 3

Last session of Week 11. Squats, Bench and Rows.

Right from the get go I knew today's session was not going to be great. I had family coming into town for the weekend, a ton of things to get done and my focus was all over the place. I contemplate skipping all together but went.

Bench 165lbs. Last chance at 165lbs before deloading. Did bench first and got 5x5. Didn't really have to dig for it until 4th rep of 4th set. Felt very good to be on the edge of a deload and push hard to get the weight and move on.

Squats 270lbs. This is where my lack of focus hit. Warm ups where fine and did 3x5 at 270lbs but my head just wasn't in the game. I had the strength for the weight but I don't know, just no drive to push myself that hard. Dropped to 250kb for the last two sets.

Rows 145lbs. No problems here. Form felt good, elbow didn't hurt to bad.

To beat myself up over not doing my squats I added in some dips at the end. Prior to starting Stronglifts I could not do an unassisted body weight dip so I was curious to see if that had changed considering I had done no tricep specific lifts in almost 3 months. Much to my surprise I pounded out 3 sets of 5 @210lbs body weight, they were hard but not overly.

So despite the squats sucking, I left the gym feeling not bad about the session. I'm a bit pissed at myself as not doing 270lbs 5x5 means redoing that weight. But, on the flip side, if someone had told me before starting I would take my squats to 270lbs without missing at a weight or deloading I would have said no freaking way.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How to burst your bro-ego in 2mins or less

Week 11 W/O 2 Captain Legs?

Second Sessions of week 11. Squats,Deadlifts, Overhead Press.

Squats 265lbs- Warm ups 5x135 5x185 3x225.
Form felt better through out all 5 sets. Going to have to video myself to do a form check. Looking the mirror it looks like I am hitting parallel and with the safety bars set just slightly below parallel for me everything seems fine, but having a video will tell the tale.

Over Head Press 105lbs - Warm Ups 5x45 5x 65 3x 85

Missed on the OHP press today. 5x5x4x4x5 So frustrated by this lift. Seems every weight increase is going to take 2-3 attempts to get it. I took a bit longer break (3mins instead of 2) between the 4th and 5th set and got the 5 reps (really had to push for the 5th) on the last set. Maybe the break is the key. Also like Bench I think I will try doing OHP first before squats.

Deadlifts 275lbs- Warm ups 5x135 5x225 3x250
5x275lbs. Just gonna stop and enjoy that for a second. Hard to believe less than 3 months ago I had never done a dead lift. Heavy, hell yes. Had to psyche myself up for the lift. Little Metallica blasting on the IPOD and really focus on my form. At this weight bad form =injury. I think the hardest part as the set went on was grip. Even with a mixed grip it's a lot of weight to hold and the tennis elbow I have going on doesn't help my grip strength with my right hand.

So, as questioned in the post title, is there such a thing a Captain Lower Body? The polar opposite of most "bros" at the gym that focus most of their time on upper body. Is it a bad thing? I keep progressing at squats and deadlifts but my upper body lifts, Bench, OHP and even rows a bit, I struggle. I don't know if it's a normal thing or not to be able to squat 265 and DL 275 but fail at 105 on OHP? 165lbs on bench seems very light compared to my body weight.

Going forward I'm going to change up the order of my lifts. Start with the upper body stuff, then do squats and see if that makes a difference doing them before gassing myself with heavy squats.
Also think I need to make sure I'm doing the ancillary exercises, chins, dips etc. It's been kinda hit and miss on doing these.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Week 11 W/O 1

First session of Week 11. Squats, Bench, Rows
Skipped my session on Friday to give my elbow a bit of a rest. Seems to have paid off as it it feeling much better. Not 100% yet, but better than it was.

Squats - 260lbs. Legs seemed to have benefited from the extra time off as well. Got all the reps in although I wasn't totally happy with the last 2 reps of set 5. May keep it at 260 for one more session.

Bench - 165lbs. 5x4x4x4x4. Didn't get 165lb again but much better than last time. The plan was to do bench first and see if that makes a difference but being Monday, bench was lined up with all the "bros" doing crappy assisted half reps. Had to laugh, watched these two guys, early 20's on the bench while I was doing my squats. Had about 185lbs on the bar. Right from the first rep the spotter was helping the guy make the lift, and the guy continued for 5 reps like that. I think the spotter was getting more of a workout than the guy actually on the bench.

Rows-140lbs This is were the rest for my elbow paid dividends. Last week I couldn't even do the warm ups without my elbow screaming. Yesterday, no problems.Did get a bit of a talking to from one of the staff about making to much noise dropping the weights. Told her I was doing Pendlay rows and that is kinda how it goes with them, she's was "what's a Pendlay row"? Le sigh. this is one of their personal "trainers" if you can believe it.

Followed up lifting with 15mins of good cardio on the eliptical. If there is one thing I do kinda miss it's running 3x a week like I was doing. Kinda sucks knowing after working so hard to get to a 27min 5k I have lost that level of cardio over the last couple months. I know it's contradictory to my current goal of getting stronger to worry about it and be running 15k+ a week but I do miss it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Week 10 W/O 2

2nd workout of week 10 Squats, Bench, Rows

Squats 255lbs. Warm ups 5x135 5x185 3x225. Got all 25 reps at 255lb work weight. Form felt good. Had to work for the last 2 reps of sets 4 and 5.

Bench 165lbs. 3x5x4x3x3. Ugh. Had to set up in the power rack and the bench press was busy. Didn't expect to have so much problems with 165 after punching out 160lb last session.

Rows - Had to skip rows completely. During warm ups for rows, the elbow that has been bothering me flared up and I just couldn't do the motion without pain. Decided rather than risk hurting it even more to give it a rest.

Squats aside a pretty disappointed gym session. Last week during this workout I did bench first as the squat rack was occupied and hit 160lbs with no problems. I had no problems doing squats after bench, but wondering if doing the heavy squats first is taking to much out of me. I know I was pretty blasted after them yesterday when it was bench time. I'll switch it up again on Monday when it's time for the bench press workout again and see if it makes a difference. Even though not working the chest during squats, the energy output is pretty high for me at the weight I am squatting.

Considering taking Friday off and giving my elbow 4 days off to see if it helps it recover a bit. Hate missing a session but I'm afraid if I don't give it a chance to recover I'm going to end up missing more down the line. Getting older sucks.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Week 10 w/o 1

First Workout of week #10. Squats,Overhead press and Deadlifts

Squats- 250lbs. Increased my warmup sets a bit. 5x135 5x185 3x225. Got all my reps at 250lbs. Was a bit nervous as 245lb felt very heavy on Friday, but once I got under the bar 250lb felt pretty good.

Over Head Press 100lbs - Got all my reps at 100 after missing at this weight last time. Focused on my form, elbows forward at the bottom position, smooth motion up, torso under bar at the end, chin tucked. Also, after watching a couple more videos, narrowed my grip a bit.

Deadlifts 265lbs - Increased my warmups a bit on this one as well. 5x135 5x185 3x225. 5x265 was heavy but got them all. Overhand grip for warmups, mixed grip for work set.

All in all it was a great session. Made sure I got plenty of food and rest on my off days and it seemed to make a difference. All the lifts felt easier than they did last week even though they were heavier. What a rush to hit the 250lb benchmark in squats!

Weight 212lbs. Up about 7lbs since I started. Waist measurement is still the same so not to much fat in that I hope. My legs are almost a full inch bigger in the thigh than when I started and the biggest surprise, arms are up .5" without doing a single curl!

I did enjoy myself this Canada Day long weekend. Went to a BBQ on Saturday, drank some beers, ate some ribs etc etc so will have to see where my weight is again at the end of the week. I would still like to get down to about 190lbs at ~15%BF so need to clean up the diet and go back into a caloric deficit if I want to get there. May impede my gains in weights a bit.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Week 9 W/O 3

Last workout of week 9.

Squats 245lb. Got all 25 reps but damn it's getting heavy now. Really had to fight for the 5th rep in sets #4&5. Little light headed after those sets.

Bench 160lb. I am officially confused. After being no where close on 160 last bench session, nailed all 25 reps this time. Felt like my form was good and only the last rep of the last set I really had to work for.

Rows 140lbs I was pretty gassed by the time rows came around today. Got all 25 reps but my form left something to be desired. Was coming up a bit at the end of the sets. May leave it at 140lbs again for next time rows come around with the focus on cleaning up my form.

All in all another great week. New PRs on every lift.

End of week 9

Deadlifts 255lbs
Squats 245lbs
Bench 160lbs
Rows 140lbs
OHP 95lbs (missed on 100)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Some great web sites that cut through the Bullshit

One of the great things about this last year's quest to getting fit has been the knowledge I have picked up by doing some research. It can be an almost herculean task to sift through all the BS in today's multi billion dollar fitness and diet industries. During this time I have found a couple very very good blogs and sites that I enjoy reading and following.

What I love about these sites is they are a middle ground, sane no Bullshit approach to fitness and nutrition. Which frankly are few and far between on the internet. Discussing nutrition is worse than even politics and religion it seems. Every new plan or fad or whatever seems to attract almost cult like followers that firmly believe what they do is the ONLY way to loss fat or whatever. It is just a crazy crazy thing. There are people out there injecting HCG derived from the urine of pregnant women thinking it helps them lose weight.. Yes that is not a typo. People do batshit CRAZY things to try and lose weight. We live in a now now now society and nothing reflects this more than the diet industry.

So, I wanted to share some websites I have come across that promote sanity in diet and weight loss. No quick fixes. Just proven methods that work given commitment and a reasonable time frame to shed fat and get fit.

For a sane approach to tailoring a diet plan that will work for YOU.

Building a workout routine for YOUR goals. Be it fat lost or gaining muscle or a bit of both

One of my favorite all around fitness and health blogs.

A no bullshit approach to looking good naked.

Strength Training Basics

Strength Training for the more advanced lifter

Have a look at those sites and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Week 9 WO 2

Second workout of week 9. Squats, Overhead Press and Deadlifts.

Squats at 240lbs. Really working now to complete the reps and sets. Still haven't missed yet on squats. I would love to get to 300lbs without having to deload. It's hard to judge for me what my old PR was as I always did squats on the Smith machine prior to starting Stronglifts and never went to parallel. I'd guess somewhere around 160lbs.

Overhead press at 100lbs. Missed reps on the last two sets. Got 5x5x5x4x3. OHP continues to be my hardest lift to consistently make gains on.

Deadlifts 255lbs. Warmups 135,185,205. Breaking the 250lbs mark! Did my warmups with overhand again then switched to mixed grip for the work set. I was nervous getting over the bar a bit as 245lbs was an effort last time but got all 5 in.

Little bummed that my upper body strength is lagging so far behind my lower. OHP and Bench seem so far behind what they should be. Oh well, just have to keep working at it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Start of Week 9

Started off Week 9 with Squats,Bench,Rows day.

I had company all weekend, the weather was fantastic and I admittedly did not get the recovery I should have over the 2 non lifting days. My nutrition was off (way off), drank a bit to much wine and didn't get nearly enough sleep.

So, anyways got back onto routine yesterday and hit the gym even though I was feeling a bit wrung out from the weekend.

Squats 235. Got all my reps and sets, but had to work for the last reps for sure.

Bench Press was disappointing. 160lbs sets of 4x3x4x4x4. No where even close and had to really push to get the 4th rep in each set. Not sure what the problem was as last week I got 155lbs and it felt like 160lb shouldn't have been a problem. I thought maybe I might come up a rep short in the last set, not miss in every set.

Rows, great. Form felt solid and the lift felt better having a 45lb plate a side instead of having to stack weights to make up the height.

Skipped the post lifting cardio. I was blasted after the workout. Weather is nice again today so I'll take the pooch out for an extra long walk tonight. I am kinda missing my runs I used to do on non lifting day before Sl5x5 but my legs just can't recover for 3x squats a week if I do them anymore.

Right Elbow has been bothering me for the last week. Hopefully it will pass with some rest today.

Friday, June 24, 2011

End of Week 8

Worked out early this morning as I have company coming for the weekend. Last workout of Week 8. Lets just say shit's getting serious now. 230lb squats, 245lb Deadlifts. 95lb Overhead press.

Squats went very well but really starting to have to work hard late in the sets. Reps #4 & 5 of the last two sets required some good effort and I had a good sweat going after the first set. Don't think I am at the point where i am going to miss reps yet though.

Overhead press remains my hardest lift. The improvement in my form has helped alot and I got all my sets and reps in, but it still requires the most effort. Shoulders were really feeling it after the first couple sets. The odd thing though is set#5 felt easier than sets 3 or 4. In both 3 and 4 I struggled to get the 5th rep and felt my form was not as good as it could be, had a bit of back arch. Set 5, i don't know if it was mental or what but didn't struggle nearly as much to complete the set and my form felt much better.

Deadlifts are getting heavy. 10lbs a session is starting to push the envelope a bit. Warm up sets were 135, 185, 205 again with 1x5 at 245lb for the work set. Found out through some reading I should have been using overhand grip not mixed to help improve my grip strength so I did that for my warmups but had to switch to mixed grip for my work set. At 205 I could feel my grip starting to breakdown on the 4th and 5th rep and even with alternating I could feel it in the last rep. Grips is probably going to be my limiting factor on the lift. Definitely going to have to do extra work to improve my grip strength if I want to get to 300lbs and beyond on DL.

All in all a great week of workouts. Double dead lift weeks are killers but so easy to find the motivation to hit the gym when every time I go I set new PRs. My nutrition was better this week. Stayed out of the sweets and got lots of clean food and protein.

Sleep seems to be a problem though. I go to bed early, around 10-10:30pm but can't seem to sleep much past 5am. This morning it was 4:30am and I was wide awake. With the work I am putting my body through I would like to get 8hrs min.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

When to offer advice?

For the most part this last year I have not paid much attention to what goes on around me at the gym. I have the ipod blaring and focused on what I was doing. Since I broke 200lbs on squat, I have had to move my rest time between sets to 2mins. This has given me some time to kinda observe the goings on in my gym.

Needless to say some hilarity has ensued. I'm left just shaking my head at times at what I see. In particular there is this one guy. I'm sure every gym has him. There is no question the guy is strong and maybe he knows something I don't but for the life of me I can't figure out what he is doing. To give an example. He slaps 3 plates a side on bench press, then does 2-3 reps with MAYBE 1 inch of total movement.

Again, I couldn't even move 3 plates a side on bench or get it out of the rack, but everything I have seen and read tells me he would get more out of it by cutting back the weight and doing a full and proper rep. Now to each his own, but what I see is the young guys in the gym following his lead. Way to much weight with horrible form doing 1/2 or less of the full movement they should be for the lift.

The next thing I have noticed is the horrible personal trainers. Now, I work out at the local YMCA. So the staff are not what I would consider "experts". But still, they give one an one training as part of the programs available. I was doing my after lifting cardio and watching this one guy "train" an obvious total new gym member. Guy in his early 40's, very out of shape. He had this guy standing on one of those half ball things hooked up to those rope things they hang from the roof that seem to be the lastest workout craze doing all sorts of funky things.

I'm watching this and thinking to myself, way to complicate shit. Take that guy over to the free weights and teach him basic exercises. Now, I hardly expect him to show the guy squats and deadlifts, because well, they are not "sexy" enough. But hell, at least show him a basic split on the machines or something. The first thing I thought of when I saw this training session is that picture on the 5x5 report of a trainer with some poor schmuck doing squats perched on a swiss ball.

Now, I am not one to ever offer advice in the gym. It's rarely appreciated unless someone actually asks for it. It is hard though to watch the young guy doing bicep curls with 40lb dumb bells who is swaying like a tree in a hurricane to move the weight. I so want to go over to him and explain how he would get so much more from the exercise at say 25lbs with proper form than what he is doing, or hell ditch the curls and come do squats with me.

On a good note, and what kinda prompted this rant. After I finished up my squats yesterday I had a young guy, maybe 20-21 approach me. He commented on how deep I was squatting with the 225lbs and asked didn't it hurt to handle that much weight with no sissy pad. So, I got the opportunity to explain and show him the low bar squats and how to place the bar so you didn't need a pad. Then gave him the web address to Stronglifts and outlined the program. So hopefully a new convert to old school lifting.

225lb Squat Benchmark

Well, got my 225lb Squat yesterday, first try at that weight. Big rush getting under the bar with 2 45lb plates a side. It was hard but not overly so. Never felt like I wasn't going to get the reps in or struggled to get out of the hole. It actually seemed to get easier as my sets progressed.

Also pounded out 155lbs on the bench after missing the last rep last time. Again hard but much better than last time. Didn't struggle to get the 4th &5th reps in the last two sets like my last attempt at this weight. Very long way to go on bench to get where I want to be.

Rows were good at 130lbs. Have a ways to go on that exercise before I stall. Between those and dead lifts my back is putting on some noticeable width. My wife actually mentioned it when I got out of the shower last night how much wider my back is getting. Part of that I'm sure is I've lost much of my gut and love handles over the last year, so I'm getting a more tapered V shape.

For myself, I'm just happy I am finally developing visable traps. All year I did shrugs after shrugs with nothing, then 8 weeks of overhead press, deadlifts and proper rows and they start showing.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nailed it!

orkout #1 of week 8 and last chance to get 90lbs in over head press or time to deload. Happy to say I nailed it. It's amazing to me the difference a couple days makes in how a body can gain strength and how important technique is.

Last week in try#1 at 90lb I starting struggling near the end of the 3rd set and really had to push to get the 5th rep. Then in sets #4 & 5 i couldn't push out that 5th rep and struggled in both sets with the 3rd and 4th.

Try #2 Better but still had to really push late in set#4 and couldn't get out the 5th rep in set#5. Form was better than last time late.

Try#3 Pushed out the 5x5 at 90lbs, not easily but not a struggle either. As I pushed out rep#5 of the 5th set I felt I could have probably gotten out 1 or 2 more reps. My shoulders were feeling it for sure but not at the failure level of the previous attempts at this weight.

Form was much better again and that may have something to do with it. I think previously I was brute forcing the bar up instead of using technique. After missing last attempt I did some review on proper Overhead press form.

Here's the link to proper form on the OHP

and a video

Some key points I wasn't doing properly:

  • Shift Torso Forward. Once the bar reaches forehead level, shift your torso forward. Continue pressing the weight overhead.
  • Head Forward. Your chin should almost touch your chest when the weight is overhead. Look forward, not down.
I wasn't shifting my torso forward at the midpoint of the lift. I was tilting my head back so the bar could clear then back to a neutral position, but I wasn't getting my entire torso forward under the bar. It felt like I was pushing more from my pecs than my shoulders.

My finishing position wasn't right because my midpoint position wasn't.

Those two fixes to technique, world of difference in the feel of the lift. We will see how it goes moving forward, but I think fixing the technique will prevent stalls for another 10-15lbs I hope.

Liked the change in the Dead Lifts to progressively loading my warmup sets. After the last warmup set of 205 felt better prepared for the 235lb work weight set.

All in all it was a great work out yesterday. One of the best of the last couple weeks.

Monday, June 20, 2011

End of week 7

Wrapped up week 7 on Friday. Ended on a bit of a disappointing note. Didn't quite manage to get my 155lb bench press. Ended up 1/2 a rep short on set 5. Just couldn't push it up the last couple inches. Not worried, I'm sure I will get it on Wednesday.

Pretty much my own stupid fault. Got busy at work and didn't get a pre-workout meal in. Hadn't eaten for almost 3.5 hrs by gym time. So after 5 PR sets on squats at 215lbs I was pretty gassed for bench. Felt great through the first 4 sets but just lost it in the 5th.

Struggling a bit with the nutrition. For some reason having a problem kicking the sugar again. Always a struggle for me, my sweet tooth.

Week 8 starts today with Squats (of course) Overhead press and Deadlifts. Little nervous about the OVP. If I miss 90lbs today means time to deload. I was hoping to get at least 100-110lbs on OHP before worrying about that. 220lbs on squats, on Wednesday I will be shooting for 225lbs or 2 plates a side. Not sure why but every time I get to put on a full 45lb plate it is always a rush. It's like reaching the next level or benchmark.

Deadlifts are starting to get very challenging now. Up to 200lbs I was doing 3 warmup sets then 3 work weight set. Since 200 I have been doing 3 warmups at 135 then 2 at work weight. Now at 235 I think I will change it up to 3 warms ups and 1 work weight (as suggested in Mehdi's book) but progressively load my warmups. 135/185/205 them 235.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Week 6 Stonglifts 5x5

Into the 7th week of my Stronglifts 5x5 routine. It has been going so great. I have reached new personal bests in every catagory. So much fun hitting the gym knowing that each workout I am setting new personal bests.

Yesterday was 2nd workout of week 7 and here are the numbers:

Squat 215lbs
Bench Press 155lbs
Deadlifts 225lbs
Overhead Press 90lbs**
Barbell Rows 125lbs

Overhead press is definitely a struggle for me. I've been at 90lbs for 2 workouts now. First I managed sets of 5,5,5,4,4. and it was a supreme effort in sets 3,4 and 5. Yesterday was better 5,5,5,5,4 and didn't really hit the wall until 4 reps into set 4. I also found it easier to get the bar going off the rack. Last week at 90lbs I had to cheat and push press a bit to get the bar moving off the rack. using my legs and hips a bit. Yesterday my form was much cleaner.

I knew out the gate this lift was going to be the hardest for me and the one I would hit the wall on first. After the problems I had last year with shoulder impingment, that muscle group was the very under trained compared to the rest of my body. During my BFL challenge and the months after, I couldn't do any over head lifts without extreme discomfort. My shoulder only really started to feel back to normal in February where I could do over head lifts again. But, they are getting stronger,just going to take some time.

Nutrition hasn't been the best the last 3 weeks. My beloved Canucks went on a long playoff run right to game 7 of the Stanley Cup. Which, sadly they lost last night. This resulted in lots of pub nights with the boys watching the game. To much beer and hot wings etc. I don't regret a minute of it. It had been 17years since they were last in the Cup Final and if that taught me one thing it is enjoy the run, who knows when or if I will get to experience it again. I didn't miss any workouts and made sure I got my protien each day. Only put on a couple lbs. Given my goal right now is to put on some muscle and gain strength not overly concerned with it.

Now that hockey is done, time to get back on the wagon and back to eating properly.Time to cut out the junk again and start up my food log. I'm setting my nutrition goals at 2500 Kcals per day with a minimum 200g of protein.

Training wise I am sticking to the Stronglifts 5x5. I've cut out almost all my cardio. Training 3 days a week with the 5x5 routine with 15-20mins of elliptical afterwards. No training at all on off days. Just taking the dogs for a walk. Doing heavy squats 3x a week, my legs especially need the recovery time. I tried going for runs on off days, but quickly stopped. The 5x5 rountine is proving to be great at getting my heartrate up and a good sweat going. Especially now that I am over 200lbs in the squats and deadlifts. By the 3rd set of squats I am sweating like I have been running for 15mins.

All in all it has been a great 6 weeks. I've never felt stronger. Other than the OH press none of the lifts feel like I am close to hitting a wall yet. I was very happy on Monday getting under the bar for a 150lb bench press and pounding out the sets of good clean presses. While the last couple reps of sets 4 and 5 required an effort, it wasn't close to feeling like I couldn't get them out. Definitely a pump hitting a personal best and knowing there is much more in the tank still.

Looking forward to the next 6 weeks. Getting my nutrition back on track is going to be of the utmost importance if I want to keep making gains. Can't grow stronger without stoking the machine with proper fuel.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Stronglifts 5x5

Realized it has been awhile since my last blog entry. As April came to a close I decide it was time to evaluate and refocus on what I wanted out of my journey back to a healthier me. I broke the 200lb mark finally and it seemed a fitting time to take stock.

Physically and mentally I am in the best shape of my life. My clothes fit great, my wife thinks I look fantastic and I get great compliments from all my friends and family. For the first time in a very long time I don't feel self conscious about how I look. I no longer agonize over clothing choices trying to find that shirt or whatever that hid my flab.

At the same time, after almost a year of the same workout routine, I was finding it boring. I had plateaued in the gym. I looked much better, but I stopped getting any stronger months ago. For many people that maybe doesn't matter, but for myself, what's the point of lifting heavy objects over and over without getting any stronger? I'm a happily married almost 40 year old guy. I'm not into the pretty beach muscle to attract the women, I want to be strong.

So, I went looking around for information on strength training. Not body building, but pure strength training. What do football players or strong men competitors do to get so strong? I came across things like Bill Starr's Madcow 5x5 and Mark Rippetoes' Starting Strength books and many other pure strength training programs. Man what an eye opener! No more split routines and endless reps of curls and extentions. Down and dirty old school lifts to build real strength.

So after doing some research I decided to follow the strength training program from

Nice simple to follow 5x5 across routine. Squats, deadlifts,bench press, overhead press and barbell rows. I won't get to indepth, if anyone is reading this and is interested, hit the stong lifts website and download the program for free. But, to give a summary, two workouts that you alternate. 3 sessions a week starting at an ego humbling empty bar and adding 5lbs to each exercise every session (except deadlift 10lbs per). Each exercise you do a couple warmup sets then 5 sets of 5 reps of the same work weight.

Workout 1
Barbell rows

Workout 2
Overhead Press
Deadlift (1x5 not 5x5)

That's it. Done. No bicep curls, or calf raises or tricep pushdown etc etc. Just raw, compound power lifts.

I spent a lot of time reviewing videos from top strength trainers to make sure of my form. The first weeks I swallowed my ego, started with the empty bar or minimal weight and just focused on form.

I have to say it has been great and revitalized my efforts at the gym. I am getting back to where my 6 rep sets were using the BFL pyramid but the difference I feel is amazing.

I can feel these lifts are having an effect already. I had never ever done a dead lift before, nor free squats in the power rack like I am now. I live in that power rack now.

What's great is the vast majority of the people at the gym are as clueless to this amazing piece of equipment as I was. I almost never have an issue getting on it.

As I approach back to where I was in weight on the bar for my may set under the BFL routine, the difference in starting from scratch again and working on my form is really paying off. I feel like I am getting more out of each lift with proper form and lighter weight than I did before. I take bench press for example. For my 6 rep set (BFL) I was doing 6x 135, but to be honest they were not 6 great reps. I wasn't touching the bar to my chest, my elbows were out of position and I was lifting my ass. On Sat my 5x5 for bench was 120lbs. But I did 25 great 120lb reps and I didn't feel like I was near to my max. I know I have a ways to go before worrying about plateauing or having to deload.

Squats 3x a week are truly killer and I love it. I get a rush getting under that bar and working hard. Like Bench Press form and focus is the key. I was doing ~180lbs x6 on the smith machine, but those 6 squats were horrible. Maybe half way to parallel, the smith machine doing the balancing, no hip explosion. Ugh, I look back and just shake my head. I love the low bar position that is recommended and I feel the whole body lift in my squats now.

Dead lifts are amazing. What a pump. Just something primal in getting over a bar and lifting like that.

Overhead press has been an eye opener. My shoulders lagged behind everything else over the last year with the injury I had. I started with just the bar on this exercise and it has been the hardest one for me and I think will continue to be so. I really feel it afterwards.

One last thing that has really been a mental boost. Pullups. While it's no big thing, I can do 3 unassisted pullups now. Sounds like nothing, but considering less than a year ago, there was no way I could do even one. hell I was struggling doing them with 200lbs on the assist machine, which meant I was pulling up 50lbs.

The program does not espouse doing cardio as legs especially need the recovery time doing squats every second day. That said, losing body fat is still a focus for me so I have not given it up completely. I have backed away from doing HIIT though as my weights have gone up. I have switched to just going for a nice 30min jog with my dog a couple times a week. As the weather keeps improving I'm going to start riding my bike to and from the gym for my cardio along with taking the dog for nice long walks daily.

So my workout week now looks like this:
Sat Weights
Sunday Jog
Monday Weights
Tuesday jog
Wednesday weight
Thur-Fri off.

I feel I need those two days of nothing to let my body recover for the next week. Especially as I progress and the weight on bar keeps increasing.

Nutrition wise, I haven't changed much. Still eating 6x a day and keeping it clean. I have upped my kcals to 2300-2500 a day from 1700. Gotta eat to build muscle, no way around it. I'm not looking to be a fitness model, I'm looking to be strong, real strong.

Here is a blog from Stronglifts to kinda explain what I mean by that. I know that the muscle I am looking for will come as my lifts increase.

So what's the payoff so far? Well, since I switched my training down another 4lbs in two weeks. Which is what I was losing under the BFL program. Another 1" of my waist as well. Even though I have upped my calories significantly and dropped of much of the cardio I was doing. I can only surmise this will continue the weights climb. These compound lifts, even at the starting light weight, require a tone of energy output as well as muscle recovery.

So sitting at 195lbs right now. I really don't want to drop much lower than 185 at the lightest. The goal now is to maintain my body weight around 190lbs while continuing to drop my body fat %.

It's been a great couple weeks. I have the fire back to hit the gym and hit it hard and after so long on a pretty restrictive 1700 kcals a week, not being quite so strict and eating a bit more is a nice thing as well. It feels like I have turned to corner now from being an obese guy obsessing about losing fat. It's a new chapter with new goals. Short term my goals are to get progressively stronger and work away that last 5% or so of body fat.

My long term goal is to enter a power lifting competition around my 40th b-day next July. Lofty but I think obtainable. It's something to shoot for, and if there is one thing I have learned over the last almost year. Gotta have goals.

Going to have to think on renaming the blog.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 50,51

Week 8 Days 1 and 2

Week 8 starting off pretty well. Had a very good LBWO on Saturday. Left the smith machine behind and went to the squat rack for my squats. Dropped the weight a bit and really concentrated on my form without the added stability of the smith machine. Went well and really felt the difference doing free squats and working them nice and deep.

Had a solid run yesterday just off my best pace. Switched things up a bit in the last interval and did 1min sprint (10 mph) 1 min rest (6 mph) 1 min sprint 1 min rest. I liked the added sprint at the end, really felt like I was pushing hard for that 10.

Eating was not perfect. Still maintained a caloric deficit just not the cleanest of carbs this weekend. Had some pasta and a small serving of ice cream on Sunday. Oh well, not going to worry about it at all. Overall my calories were where they needed to be and I got my 200+g of protein each day. After doing the research I have been over the last couple weeks looking beyond this challenge I am coming around the idea "clean eating" may be just a touch over the top. In the end a caloric deficit is the goal along with getting enough protein to feed lean muscle growth. I really do wonder if the body can tell the difference between different carbs. As long as you are aware that some carbs are quite caloric dense and take that into account in portion size.

UBWO today. Looking forward to it. Wrist is feeling a bit better.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Day 48,Day49

Week 7 Day 6

Cardio day again. Had another solid run 2.26m right on my personal best. Weigh in this week at 204. So looking end of week 9 or so to break 200lbs. Going to be a stretch to hit 185, but that goal weight was a a lofty goal. Time to move past the scale weight and keep focusing on inches lost, strength gained and overall how I feel. I think I will skip weighing myself from now until end of week 12 just to surprise myself.

Week 7 Day 7
Free day today. After skipping free day last week and doing some extra cardio, need the break today badly, both physically and mentally. Not going to go crazy, just enjoy some foods I have been craving in reasonable portions. Had some peanut butter on toast with my eggs this morning, was so yummy.

Starting to really get into some research on where and how I want to progress after this 12 weeks is done. So much info and so many different views on nutrition, exercise routines etc etc. I've decided diet is like religion and politics. People get so wrapped up and behind what they believe is the truth. Paleo diets, low carb, no carb, intermittent fasting, blah blah blah blah blah. The list goes on.

I know I have been the same at times with the BFL lifestyle. It works for me so I can get preachy at times. Need to work on not being so single minded on it. Quickly coming up on the 1 year mark. Time to try and expand my knowledge and try some new things. I'm never going to let myself get that fat and heavy again, so I am not afraid to try some different ideas after this challenge to see what works for me. I know BFl does, so at worst I can always come back to it.

Found one great website that I have been working through called JCDFitness. Tons of great articles there, still working my way through them all. This one in particular caught my eye

It just so makes sense. I think that this is where I am going to start on the nutrition front after this cycle. God, to be able to reach that place of blessed flexability compared to the regiment I have been doing. I know from my 4 month break between cycles, I have the ability now to be less regimented but still maintain my body weight.

A part of me wants to just stop this cycle and switch over, but no I made myself the promise I would finish, I am seeing good results again and I want to see this through. It is more from a mental stand point. No being a quitter! It's only another 5 weeks. It will be done before I know it. Plus, on the vanity side, I really love seeing the body changes in the last 4 weeks.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

BFL Group bites the dust

Well, looks like the Feb28th group is down to two people now, me being one, who are still going strong. Kinda sad, but not unexpected. There is a reason 5% or so of those who start the challenge finish it. Takes a lot of mental toughness to complete.

Sadly I have also noticed many of the long time members of the forum seem to be drifting away as well. Oh well. 5 weeks left in this cycle for me, glad this blog, my own motivation and the support of my family,friends is all I need.

Already looking ahead to what I will do after this cycle is done. Not going to turn my back on the nutrition aspect or way of eating, but I am going to explore new training methods. I don't want to be one of those guys that looks strong, but isn't.

I'm going to set some new goals and pursue some real strength training. Stumbled onto a web site called and downloaded the ebook. Some very interesting stuff about how to achieve real strength. Basic barbell compound lifts that are tried and true for over 60 years. Bench press, deep squats, deadlifts,barbell rows and over head press. No curls or tricep extensions or any other isolation exercise. Just old fashioned power lifts to gain strength.

Looking forward to getting started on it. Over the next 5 weeks I have left in this cycle, I am going to incorporate these exercises into my BFL routines and work on practicing my form.

Day 47

Week 7 day 5

UBWO day. Wrist still bothering me so did what I could. Felt like I kinda "bonked' today on my bench press. Just didn't seem to have the strength to lift. That said I was also concentrating on my form a lot after watching some vids on proper bench press form. Looks like I may have been cheating a bit. No worries, I think I will cut back the weight for a week or two and just work on improving my form.

Switched up my routine a bit on other exercises. Looking to toss out almost all isolation exercises and go back to the basics of solid strength training with barbell compound lifts. Overhead press for shoulders, deadlifts and rows for back, bench press, squats etc. Once this 12 week challenge is done I am going to give Stronglifts 5x5 a try. While I am more than happy with my weight loss results on BFL, I want to improve my strength now. Give me some news goals to chase like a 200lb+ squat 200lb bench etc.

Eating was fine. Little hungrier than normal. Been a bit of a haul since last free day. Going to have to be extra careful tomorrow not to over indulge. My body is definitely ready for a day off. No exercise at all planned for free day this week.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 46

Week 7 day 4

Cardio day again. Knocked it out of the park with my run today. Shattered my previous best with 2.25m in 20 mins. Really felt great all run. I was a bit worried before I started after doing legs and going for that bike ride last night, but after 3-4mins they loosened up nicely and weren't a problem. I hung my motivation poster right infront of the treadmill prior to my run, and man did that ever work. Really let me focus on why I was working so hard on the treadmill.

I've been weighing in every day this week to track my progress when not taking a free day last week. Looks like I am gaining ground on the lost week. 205 this morning with two days left this week. 199lbs by end of week 8 is back in sight.

UBWO is going to be a bust again today. Wrist is still causing me problems. No word from the Doctor yet, but hopefully today. No way I can do any curls, even bench press may be an issue. So sucks as I was looking to work in some new exercises but don't think the wrist will take it. Just have to keep doing the best I can I guess.

Eating was clean. Ran it through my log on prevention and tracking along. 1679 cal 50-33-17 for the break down.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 45

Week 7 Day 3

LBWO day. Had a great workout, although the gym was a bit busier again and couldn't get on the squat rack. Went to leg press as my back up. Continue to see gains there each time I default to it when I can't do squats. Loving the new Hammy curl machine. Worked in my sets of incline situps and added a 10lb plate to up the intensity. Also worked in a couple sets of the old Captain's Chair while waiting for the Hammy curl machine. Finished of with my normal 3 sets of my ab routine.

There are times when I step back and take stock of where I am now compared to where I was and it blows my mind. I remember my first LBWO back in July 2010. I have tripled what I can lift with leg press and calve raises and almost doubled my squats. I remember I could barely even do a set of 12 on the captains chair and not a single incline sit up. Yesterday I did 4 sets of 15 incline sit ups, with extra weight, and 3 sets of 25 on the captains chair just as a time filler. Then 3 more sets of my ab routine after.

So, got home after my workout and ate dinner. Then Cathy decided that it was such a nice evening we should go for a bike ride. Ended up doing around 15k in about 35mins. Needless to say after a good LBWO earlier my legs were screaming when it was all said and done. The first part was no problem, it was downhill most of the way, the way back not so much. On a good note though, even at the good pace we were setting, cardio wise it was no issue. I was never really breathing hard, although I did break a good sweat on the uphill parts on the way home.

While I'm not sure I will repeat the process on LBWO days, the added activity is a welcome addition to my normal training routine. Anything to get more active, burn more calories and get my ass off the couch in the evenings. I mean, at the end of the day, this journey to a fitter healthier me is to get out and enjoy life more, not look good sitting on the couch watching TV.

Summer is almost here and I am damned determined to enjoy this summer out doors engaging in life. I look back on the last 10 or so years and think man, I wasted some of my best years doing nothing. Sitting inside ashamed of how I looked. I live in a beautiful city that is an outdoor paradise in the summer. Beautiful lakes and beaches, hiking and biking trails, golf courses etc etc. I haven't been to the beach in 10+ years due to how I looked. How sad is that.

What a waste. Not this year and NEVER AGAIN!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day 44

Week 7 Day 2

Went down to pay my Doc a visit regarding my wrist as it is just not getting better. After playing with it for awhile, doesn't think it is tendonitis. Sending me for xrays and a blood test.

Cardio day and had a fantastic run. Broke the 2.2mile mark in my 20 min HIIT. Not sure if it is obtainable, but shooting for 2.5m in 20 mins for the end of this challenge. Just have to keep pushing myself beyond what I think I can do.

Eating was clean with no cravings. Starting running my meals through the Prevention food log again to track my calories and their breakdowns. The avg for the last week was 1700 cal, 49% protein, 33% carbs (21g of fiber) 18% fats. Pretty much right where I want them. Not quite the 40/40/20 split as talked about in the BFL book, but this is the breakdown I found successful for my first challenge. Each meal is around 300 cal. Breakfast and my 6th is a bit smaller at ~250 and my 3rd and 5th (lunch and dinner) around 320.

After this 12 weeks is done, I may tweak things a bit and shoot for the 40/40/20 for a couple weeks to a month and track the results.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 43

Week 7 Day 1

UBWO day. The tendonitis in my right wrist still hampering my UBWO, especially triceps and biceps. Still overall not a bad workout. Have to be happy that I did the best I could under the circumstances. Bit of a bummer as UBWO are my favorites.

Free day was good, kept my eating clean, no free meals or beer. Went for an extra run, not HIIT but just a steady pace for 2.5 miles.

Took the bike down and got the tires filled and bought Cathy a helmet. Looking forward to doing some rides in the evening with her.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Day 41

Week 6 Days 6-7

So here we are 1/2 way through the challenge already. Hard to believe. Time is just a flying. Little disappointed in my weigh in this morning. Those 5 lost days = no weight loss on the scale. I happened to weigh in on Wed last week at 207lbs and this morning 207lbs. I guess on the bright side no weight gain either. It was unavoidable, but still kinda bummed. I was targeting 204-205 for my 1/2 way mark which would have me on track for 185lbs for my finish weight. I think the big cause of not losing was not so much what I ate during those days, but what I drank.

I am skipping free day today. Not having those extra couple pounds to shed after free day should help catch up a bit. Just because it interested me, I have tracked the free day results over a couple weeks. My free day is Friday. Weighing in after free day usually resulted in a scale weight of 4-6lbs more than my Friday morning end of week weigh in. By Mon or Tues morning I was back to my pre free day weight, then continue to drop through to Friday morning. Consistently 1.5-2lbs every week. So this week with skipping the free meal and a couple beers it will be interesting to see the results. I tend to counsel people who live and die by the scale to not weigh in as it seems to really affect them emotionally. For myself, I have gotten past that. I look at it in a more scientific way. I find it interesting to see how small tweaks change my results.

Anyways, Cardio day yesterday. I was really motivated to finish the abbreviated week strong. Upped my Lv9 intensity to 8.5mph and really pushed it hard. Finished my 20min HIIT with a record distance of 2.19miles. Continued on with a light jog to 2.5 miles at the 23:25 min mark. Cut it back to a walk, then decided to ramp it back up and see what kind of time I could put out for a full 5k (3.1miles). I really have no idea where I found the juice to do it. Physically I was exhausted and being LBWO was yesterday, my legs were pretty gassed. But, the power of the mind is amazing. Dug deep and pushed it. Hit 5k at 27mins 42sec. Man was I pumped.

So, it's not free day today. ;). The sun is shinning and it's Friday. Great combination! The plan is to eat clean like a normal day. I did buy myself a protein bar for my 3pm meal to combat any cravings for sweets. Going to do 30mins of a just a easy jog this afternoon and if the weather holds maybe a nice easy bike ride for 5k or so, we'll see how the legs hold up.

On a great note, I have officially run out of "goal clothes". Spent some time this morning going through the closet trying on clothes from where I started last July down to what I used to consider my "skinny clothes". I find it so hard to believe I used to wear those 42 jeans and they were tight.

The last semi goal pieces of clothing I had were a pair of dress pants and a couple Tshirts that were still kinda tight after my first challenge. They have gone from little tight, to fitting, to loose over the last 6 weeks.

Still a ways to go to reach my final goals, but more than ever it feels like it is with in reach. So very excited to see what happens over the next 6 weeks and beyond. I'm looking forward to not just the pictures in May at the end of this 12 weeks, but taking some shots on July 24th, the 1 year anniversary of my journey to a fitter me.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day 40

Week 6 Day 5

LBWO day. Like yesterday's run, it felt great to get back in the gym and move some weight. Gym was quiet and got on the smith machine for some killer squats. Finished with leg press for the super set. Man, my quads felt like jello afterwards. Upped my weight on all lifts for every muscle group. Up to 230lbs for 6 reps on my calve raises and 180lbs x6 for my squats.

Worked in my incline situps between squat sets and swiss ball crunches in between my calve sets. Finished my abs off with 3 sets of my normal ab routine - Leg up crunches,oblique crunches and leg lifts.

All in all a great workout. Got a good sweat going and really felt like I pushed hard.

Got my 6 clean meals in, hello chicken breasts, I did miss you. I wouldn't be surprised if my poster isn't hanging in every chicken farm in the area. Honestly a little surprised by how much I missed my BFL routine considering it was only 5 or so days. Feeling very motivated to make up for that lost time .

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 39

Week 6 Day 4

Wow the last week has been something else. Last Wednesday on the way to the gym I got a phone call from my sister that my 96 year old Grandma had been admitted to hospital and the Doctor's outlook wasn't good. Basically the call was get your ass here as fast as you can. So headed to Chilliwack, normally about a 3hr drive away. Made it in 2hrs 15mins. She was till hanging in when I got there thank god. Over the next couple hrs, to the doctor's amazement she kept getting stronger. We had family flying in from Ontario the next day, everyone just hoping she would hang in until they got there.

Long story short, she just kept getting stronger. By Friday (after a couple nights of me and my sister sitting bedside through the night) the Docs told us she was out of danger for now and stable. What a relief. In the end spent 5 days down there with what turned into an impromptu family reunion. Being the chef in the family I did a whole lot of cooking let me tell you. 3 meals a day for 15-22 people.

Missed 4 workouts which sucked and while I made an effort to stay away from the junk as much as possible, didn't get my 6 meals in each day. Also drank to much wine. So the week was pretty much a write off. Happily when I got home and weighed in on Tuesday morning, hadn't derailed myself to bad. No more weight gain than a normal free day would have given me, but losing that week has probably made breaking 200lbs by week 8 a long shot.Also, all that chopping and cooking aggravated my wrist injury.

Back into the routine yesterday. Had a fantastic run. New distance record in my 20min HIIT and 2.85miles for the 30mins including cooldown. Felt great to get on the tready and forget about everything else for a 1/2hr. As much as I hated losing that time, it seems my body is thankful for the rest. I had been struggling a bit before this all happened, feeling a bit tired and beat up. Yesterday, felt very fresh and strong during my run.

Feeling much better and more energetic this morning as well after a couple good night sleeps in my own bed and getting all my water and 6 clean meals.

Going to pass on my free day this Friday to try and get back on track for my goals. No free meals and going to work in a cardio session instead of taking the day off. Will make for a long week next week, but I had a good break so shouldn't be an issue.

On a very positive note, because I left in such a hurry I really didn't pack for such an extended stay. Much to my surprise, I was able to borrow some clothes from my Brother-in-law and they fit. I couldn't believe it! Grabbed a coat of his size medium and bam! fit no problem! What a great feeling!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 32

Week 5 Day4

Cardio day. Had a fantastic run yesterday afternoon. Really pushed it hard and slightly beat my best time. I find I am recovering much faster now than I was previous. My heart rate gets up nice and high, especially in the last interval set, but within a min drops right back down to just moderate. Within a minute of that last interval and pushing for my 10 I am my breathing is back to almost normal.

I pushed my interval speeds to the following this week

Lv 6 5mph
LV 7 6.5mph
Lv 8 7mph
Lv 9 8mph
Lv10 10mph

One more run this week where I will leave it there, then push them up a bit again next week. Just trying to decide where to put the increase. Do I up the interval speeds or slightly increase my L6 speed.

Eating was clean again. It's a good thing I like chicken breasts. Happy with myself this week. I've increased my veggie intake to where it probably should have been all along. Cutting out starchy carbs pretty much completely now outside my oatmeal for breaky. Eating fruit for my carbs and lots of veggies.

It really feels like I have conquered my food demons over the last 8-9 months. While I still enjoy my free day goodies they are a reward for hard work. It's taken awhile to really get to the point where food=fuel. To put behind me the boredom food and emotional food.

Heading out of town this weekend. It's my niece and nephews 18th birthdays. Need to figure out my plan. The party is Saturday night so I will take my free day then. Just have to organize my workouts. I can do my run on Sunday when I get home. All depends on when we are going to hit the road. If we go Saturday I may get up early and hit the gym for my LWBO before. Big chunk of the family haven't seen me since I finished my first cycle. So kinda excited in that regard.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 31

Week 5 Day 3

LBWO day. Hit the gym but sadly couldn't get on the squat rack. Did leg press instead. Was quite happy with the leg strength increase over the last month. In between challenges I was doing leg press when I actually did a leg day (which was few). When I got on there yesterday I decided to really push it and see what i could do. Topped out at 650lbs for my 6 rep set just over 100lbs better than what I was doing. Finished with my 12 rep set at 500lbs which was my close to my 6 rep set previously. Then jumped on the leg extension machine for my 2nd exercise and pounded out 12 @ 160lbs, way better than previous. It was hard and my legs are feeling it this morning, but what a great feeling to see the increase in strength. Made Cathy laugh last night as I would flex my legs at her as I walked by.

Eating was clean. Really enjoying having some cantalope as my carb with my 5th meal instead of a starch like rice or a sweet potato. Gives me that feeling having a desert and really cuts out any sweets cravings in the evenings.

Thoughts on the Weight loss industry.

Gym was a bit busier again now that spring break is over but not to bad. Almost 4 months since the influx of New Years resolutioners back in Jan. Like most people, best of intentions but lost interest or motivation pretty shortly. So, overall the gym is getting back to normal levels.

I often wonder how many of the people that flood gyms each Jan in the best intentions of getting in shape are still going 3 months later. I know in the past I have been one of those people. I also wonder how many gyms would be able to stay in business without those people. Every year thousands and thousands of people join a gym, go for a month or two, then end up continuing to pay monthly fees for a service they no longer use. We all know how gyms set up memberships and how hard and costly it can be to cancel, especially if you signed for a multi year program to get a better monthly rate.

They play on our own mind tricks. You want to get in shape, but stop going to the gym after a month or two. At the same time, keep paying in the weird hope that by maintaining and paying for a gym membership it will motivate you to go.

In many ways it makes me mad. There are so many ways various companies prey on overweight people's desire to lose weight. Those infomercials with the latest "ab roller" gadget guaranteed to give you the rock hard 6 pack of the model in 20 easy mins 3x a week. The magic pills, fad diets etc etc. Weight loss is a mutli billion dollar business and for all those billions of dollars spent, North America gets fatter and fatter every year.

The problem with these weight loss companies is that it is not in their financial interest for you to be successful long term. They are structured in such a way that you can lose weight on them, but once you are "done" the weight comes right back over a period of time. Prompting you to go back on their program and pay to lose the same 20lbs over and over and over.

I know I shouldn't be, but I am amazed at the comments and questions I get about my own weight loss. Many friends,customers and acquaintances have asked me how I lost the weight that I have. Weight watchers or Atkins they ask me. Or what pill,/drug etc I used. It seriously astounds me that almost to a one, none of their first thoughts was simply exercise and proper nutrition. It is such a testament to our culture. Quick fixes please, the less effort the better.

So, I find myself in a position of being a outspoken fitness advocate. Which coming from where I was not even a year ago is surreal. I explain no magic pill gave me an 100% increase in strength, no diet plan increased my cardio to the levels it is at today. I of course tell them about the BFL challenge, but also things like PX90 or Tom Venuto's "Burn the fat feed the muscle program".

Along with the fitness I explain you can't out exercise poor eating habits. Encourage them to really educate themselves on proper nutrition. It's funny, I have a friends wife who lost a significant amount of weight on Atkins last year, which while good for her only made my buddy increasingly cranky from carb withdrawl. I talk to her about Atkins and ask her if it helped her fitness at all. Can she run a continuous mile? Well no, but look how much weight I lost. That's great, but physically you are not in much better shape than you were 40lbs heavier. Already she is putting on the weight she lost.Long term a low carb diet is almost impossible to maintain when you add to that the fact that she probably lost a significant amount of lean muscle, it makes keeping the weight off even harder. She is firmly in the clutches of YO YO dieting.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Days 28,29,30

Week 4 Free Day,

Enjoyed my free day on Friday and very happy with myself. Cleanest free day so far this challenge. Still felt like I quieted my cravings but didn't over do it. The body sure needed the day off from the gym. I remember from my first challenge that it was around this time that my body started to feel a little beat up. Man I wish I was 25 again. I feel like a new man compared to this time last year, but the realities of 38 kinda suck. The old bod just does not recover near as fast as it did back then.

Week 5 Days 1 and 2

Start of the second month. Had a great UBWO on saturday. Gym was so nice and quiet. Only like 4 people over on the weight side. The wrist is still bothering me a bit. Felt not to bad prior to my workout but was damn sore by the end. Going to have to tape it up for extra support I think. Pushed up my weight on the bent over rows and think I have it dialed in now for that exercise. Switched to decline press from flies for the second exercise on chest. On a good note the shoulder seems to be full healed. Not having any pain doing shoulder presses.

Cardio yesterday. Solid run right on my best distance for my HIIT. Improved to 2.75 miles over the 20 min HIIT and 10 min cool down. Part of me wonders if I really am pushing as hard as I can during the HIIT. It feels like it, but after 2-3mins of walking after wards I can push it up to a jog again. So not sure If it's a matter of not pushing hard enough or just a fact that I am constantly getting in better shape so that I can recover faster.

Eating was good and clean this weekend. I did have a protein bar yesterday afternoon which I haven't in awhile. But, it did the job. Settled a sweets craving I was having while still providing the nutrients I needed.

All in all a good start to the week.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 27

Week 4 Day 6

End of another week and the first month of this challenge. Cardio day and when I stepped on the treadmill I was really lacking the motivation. Started my run and by the end of the first interval set my mind was already playing the "man you worked hard enough this week" card. Really had to dig down to find the mental state I needed. Happily I managed to find it and finished of the week with a great run. Right on my best distance and really felt like I hit my 10.

Weigh in this morning. 208.5 lbs. Down 1.3lbs, which is under the 2lbs per week I look for but I have to accept that as I get closer to my goal weight, the harder it is going to be. Also have to recognize that I took my free day one day later than normal and had more than a few drinks that night, which I normally would not do. Booze and weight loss do not go hand in hand.

So, it is what it is. 11 lbs down in the first month. More importantly, seeing gains in my strength and cardio and losing inches. Clothes getting looser again. All in all a great first month. My motivation remains high and my resolve like iron. I will hit my goals, there is no other option!

Free day today and it will be pretty clean as penance for over doing the booze last week.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Days 25 & 26

Week 3 Days 4 and 5

Had a great run on Day 25 pretty much right on my personal best. Went out for lunch with some family but made sure to pick a good menu choice and avoid the fries,burgers etc.

Very good LBWO yesterday. Loving spring break, the gym has been quite slow. Did my squats and calves. While I was doing that, the staff wheeled in a new hammy curl machine. Finally! Previously the only hammy curl machine they had was over in the circuit and was hard to get on. They got it set up just as I finished my calves and went to ham strings, so that worked out well.

Eating has been fine, had some chocolate cravings but nothing to bad. Just added it to my list for Friday.

Wrist is still a bit sore but not as bad as it was. Couple more days to rest it before UBWO on Sat, so hopefully it will be fine by then.

Little sadden by the group on the BFL website for this challenge. It wasn't big to being with but now only about 4 posters still updating on their challenge regularly. Just goes to show how mentally hard it is to really cross that abyss and make the lifestyle changes needed to stick with the challenge.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

DAy 24

Week 4 Day 3

UBWO day. Had a sore wrist all day, not sure why don't remember doing anything to it. Still had a great workout. Upped my weights on bench,shoulder press and tricep pull downs. Still fine tuning in my weights for the barbell rows for my back. Went Walmart and bought a pair of these for a whopping $3.00.

The BFL routine is great for many things, but it does seem to kinda miss some of the smaller muscle groups. Want to increase my forearm/wrist/grip strength. So figure a couple of sets of these every night while watching TV should fit the bill.

Eating was clean. Not even having cravings anymore. Lots of energy and sleeping great. Spring is finally here so time to start my morning jog with the pooch again. Nothing crazy 2-3Kms at a easy pace. First month almost in the books. Looking forward to measurements and 4 week pics.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Days 21,22,23

Week 3 day 7 Week 4 Days 1 &2

Had a great weekend. My sister and brother-in law were in town. So great to see them. Took my free day food wise on Saturday. Had a couple drinks but overall kept the food in good control. Went out for dinner and had burger and ceasar salad.

Enjoyed my day of rest on Friday from the gym. Hit it hard Saturday morning with a good LBWO. I love going to the gym on the weekend mornings, so nice a quiet. Have my choice of equipment. So, got on the smith machine for squats and calve raises. Upped my weights on squats and really concentrated on good form. Nice and deep. Really felt it after.

Had a good run yesterday. Not quite my best but happy with it, especially considering I was out the night before. Worked up a really good sweat.

All in all a great weekend. Felt good to be able to easily find that balance of this challenge and living life. Looking forward to a strong focused week. UBWO today, always my favorite.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 20

Week 3 Day 6

Cardio day and last workout of week3. Usually the last workout of the week I'm pretty pumped to give it my all and finish the week on a high note. Yesterday not so much. Just couldn't find that extra gear for the last interval. But on the other hand I'm also a bit confused why I was berating myself last night about it. Hit 3.30KM in my 20mins which,prior to starting this cycle, would have been a personal best and still probably in my top 3-4 runs.

So why be upset? I've been thinking it over during my coffee this morning trying to figure that out. I guess in the end, I was/am disappointed with myself for just not being able to push through and beat my previous best. Since starting this second cycle I have been able to achieve that mental state needed to really push myself and yesterday I didn't. It bothers me because "ok" isn't good enough.

If I want to reach my goals I need to toss ok out the window. Am I being to hard on myself?Maybe? But no on else is going to do it. I've watched Biggest Loser in the past and thought many a time, man it would be nice to have Gillian yelling in my ear and pushing me. How much easier would it be to have that kinda motivator. But in the end, does having that really help a person? If you need a Gillian to motivate yourself to push beyond your preconceived limits, what are you going to do when you don't have her?

Anyways, week 3 in the books. Weigh in this morning 209.8lbs. 10lbs down in 3 weeks. Not to shabby. Nice to break out of the teens for sure. If everything keeps on should break 200lbs around week 8. Very excited about that. Been a long long long time since I have been under 200lbs.

Free day today. Need to do a better job of not over doing it. First two free days I have not been happy with my self control and I think it is holding me back a bit on the weight loss. Both weeks it has taken me until Tuesday to get back to pre-free day weight.

Need to do better today.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 19

Week 3 Day 5

UBWO yesterday. GYm was surprisingly not busy when I got there, which was nice. Got on the bench press for a change. Why my gym only has one is beyond me. By the time I was 1/2 way through the gym had filled up again and had to improvise and switch up the routine based on available equipment. Overall a great workout. Making constant progress in shoulders now that the injury has healed and finally seeing some gains in biceps.

It's kinda funny watching different people doing curls. You can tell the experienced lifters from the new people pretty easily. The experienced guys are lifting lighter than you would think by looking at them, but with perfect form. Elbows tight, no body movement, slow up and slow down. The newbies or young guys just trying to show off are lifting heavy, but with horrible form. Swinging their bodies to get get the weight up, elbows moving all over the place.

Eating has been good all week. No slips. Have cut out pretty much all starch carbs this week. No pasta,rice,bread or sweet potatoes. Getting my carbs mostly from fruits and veggies. About the only starch I have had have been these great bagels Cathy found at the store. Really thin, imagine a bagel with the middle cut out so it is about as think as a slice of bread. 160 cal, 25g of carbs, low fat, low sodium and lots of fiber. Makes for a nice chicken breast or tuna sandwhich for lunch.

All in all a very positive week. Clothes are getting looser, making gains in strength and cardio and not having any craving issues. One more run today to close out this week. Hard to believe end of next week is a month down already.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 18

Week3 Day 4

Cardio day. Decided to hit the gym for my run instead of my treadmill at home. Found at all treadmills are not the same.My Tread at home is in miles, the one at the gym in Kms. I knew that and converted the interval speeds accordingly. So I found it a bit odd that it seemed harder on the tread at the gym than mine at home. I really had to push to use the same speeds. No incline on either so that wasn't the issue. IDK, not really complaining, had a great workout, was sweating buckets and really had that "hit my 10" feeling after wards. The last time I ran at the gym prior to buying a home treadmill in Dec, my best there was 3.20kms in my HIIT session. Hit 3.45kms yesterday, so either way great improvement.

Eating was fine. Cutting out the protein bars for a couple weeks. Sticking to shakes and whole foods.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 17

Week 3 Day 3

LBWO yesterday. Was ok but not great. Had a headache when I got to the gym. Pushed through it to get my workout done but not able to put out my best effort.

My sister and her hubby are coming to visit this weekend, so moving my free day to Saturday, food wise anyways. I'll still take Friday off the gym.

Eating no problems. Need to plan a bit better but getting my 6 clean meals in. Other than the headache yesterday, feeling great. Clothes getting a bit looser, lots of energy. Spring seems to finally be in the air. Looking forward to some warmer weather and getting out for my walks with the pooch and bike rides in the evening.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 16

Week 3 day 2

Cardio day yesterday. Had a great run, new best of 2.2m in 20. Felt like I could have even pushed a bit harder.

Time change has me all messed up. Had to force myself to eat at my normal times even though everything was an hr earlier than normal. Oh well I'm sure it will only be or a day or two.

No deep thoughts or much to write today. Monday blahs.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day 15

Week 2 Day 7

Had a good free day on Friday. Didn't go overboard on the food. Had a couple slices of pizza for dinner and man did it make me feel like crap after. Its amazing how quickly your body gets used to clean eats and how badly it can react to high fat and salt food like pizza. Did get out for a nice long walk with the pooch.

Week 3 Day 1

UBWO yesterday. Good workout especially arms and shoulders. Hit my 10's there. Doing bent over rows for back and its funny, while doing them I felt like I wasn't pushing enough weight at all, but later on and this morning I sure can feel it. Must be hitting the muscles in a new way.

Ran down to Walmart to buy some more workout clothes. Man did it feel great to bypass the XXLs and XLs I used to always try on first and go right to Larges. Even tried on some mediums and they are very close to fitting. I bought one medium top to use as a goal. I want to be fitting it by week 6 at minimum. I couldn't tell you the last time a medium anything fit me.

This journey isn't a vanity thing for me, it is all health driven, but I can't lie. If feels great to go and try on clothes and see them fit me so much better. Went to Moores as well and tried on a couple suits/sport coats. I hardly recognized myself. Instead of the the big baggy suits I have worn, the ones I tried on were fitted and sleek. Felt like a million bucks.

Obviously not going to drop a couple hundred bucks on new suits right now, not with another 20lbs or so and a couple more pants sizes to drop, but when I get to my goal weight look out credit card!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 13

Week 2 Day 6

Great HIIT run yesterday. Upped the interval speeds again and punched out my best distance yet. 2.15miles. Man if felt great hitting min 19 having already beat my last best. Feels better to be finding that focus again to really push myself.

Weekly weigh in this morning. 211.6 down another 2 lbs last week. Pretty much right on with how my last challenge went. If I can maintain 2lbs a week for the last 10 weeks puts me at 28lbs for the 12 weeks and beyond my target of 195lbs. Wow, feels weird just writing that. 195lbs. I haven't been under 200lbs since probably grade 10-11. Hard to say as I was so ashamed of my weight in high school I rarely ever weighed myself. I don't even know how much I weighed back then. It will be interesting to see how the weight comes off as I approach closer to that goal weight. They always say the last 10lbs are the hardest to lose.

Anyways, it was a great week overall. Had a couple instances of temptations with food and one with skipping a workout and overcame all of them. Cathy again is giving me huge amounts of support and encouragement.

Free day today. Need to do a bit better than last week on keeping things under control and make sure I get out for a nice long walk with the pooch. Weather is finally stating to warm up (fingers crossed).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 12

Week 2 Day 5

LBWO yesterday. Good lifts. Upped my weights on both the leg press and leg extensions for the super set. Little disappointed I couldn't get on the squat rack for my calves. Had to use dubbells, which is fine, just feel like I can give them a better workout the other way.

Hit he abs hard again. Leg up crunchs, twisting crunchs for the obliques and leg lifts. Followed the BFL pyramid except each "set" included all three exercises x the number of reps. Was quite a workout, first time abs have had me sweating. Think I will stick with that routine for a couple weeks.

Leg Up Crunch
Twisting Crunches
Lying Leg Raise (I do it just on the mat)

Eating was fine. No cravings. Got my 6 clean in with lots of water. Got that old energy level back. I hope the weather turns soon. Just sitting around in the evening is starting to bore me. Feel like I should be up and doing something, going for a walk or bike ride. Find I don't really relax until 1hr or so before bed when I have my last meal. Then my body seems to relax. I sure don't have any issues falling asleep. 5mins after my head hits the pillow I am out. But the evenings, man I can't wait for spring.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day 11

Week 2 Day 4

Cardio day yesterday. Upped my low point interval speed by .5mph and really pushed in the last 5 min set to reach 2.11 miles or 3.4kms in 20 mins. A new personal best! I'm sure that on Thursday I can improve on that. Finding a groove in my running again, hitting that spot in the last set where I am running on mind power not muscle power.

Starting to realize the plateaus I was stuck on in both weights and cardio were self imposed. That it was my mind telling me I was pushing as hard as I could. Funny how the mind can kinda play tricks like that. My conscious mind want's to be in the best shape of my life for by 39th B-day. My subconscious mind seems to love telling me hey that's good enough. You ran hard, worked up a good sweat. I'm onto your games brain, just know that I'm watching you.

Had a food gut check last night. The wife brought home some little twinke like cakes for her sister. Those devilish things sat on the counter all night calling to me. Found myself rationalizing "oh one bite won't hurt anything". Reality, it probably won't. Other reality, it won't do anything to help me reach my goals either. Pulled out my motivation card and walked away from them. Very proud of myself to turn away from the temptation. Added them to my Friday list, we will see if I still want them come Friday.

So after beating back the twinkie demon, got my 6 clean meals in with lots of water. Energy levels nice and high, sleeping like a baby at night.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 10

Week 2 Day 3

UBWO yesterday. Was very much looking forward to it as I only get one this week. Did some research and picked a couple new exercises for my back and shoulders.

Bent over Barbell rows for my back

and Arnold Press for my shoulders.

Feeling that this morning for sure! Got to keep shaking things up! Also tried some new ab exercises. Feet up crunchs and side planks. I will say, side planks and regular planks are about 10 million times harder than they look.

Busted a plateau on dumbell curls yesterday which felt great. One thing I have found doing the BFL routine is by the time I get to biceps, they have gotten so much work with the rest of the upper body they are pretty burnt. Its is the one muscle group that on their own I have seen the least gain in. By that I mean the weights have not gone up as much as other body parts. Now I know they are way stronger than they were and because of the work they get doing other body parts and I can't just judge on the isolation sets alone. That said it was a huge pump to see an increase yesterday with hitting 35lbs for my 6 rep set and 25lbs for the last set of 12 curls and 12 hammer curls.

Eating was by the book 6 clean. Drank lots of water. HIIT cardio today. Gotta shoot for another record!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Day 9

Week2 Day 2

First gut check day of this challenge. Did the normal Sunday chores and such and had a short nap Sunday afternoon. Woke up around 5pm and really didn't feel like doing my HIIT. Just one of those days. Laying there trying to rationalize to myself that missing one workout is not the end of the world. Pulled out the old ace in the hole and focused on my goals and what I want to achieve this cycle. Gave myself a swift kick in the ass, got my workout clothes on and went for my run. Ended up having a great run, set a personal best for distance in the 20mins.

Gotta give it up for the Rocky Theme song once again pushing me through that last min and a half to reach for that 10.

Eating wise everything is going well. Getting my 6 clean in everyday. Sugar cravings are gone. My body is back into the routine in that regards, that sugar is only a Friday thing.

UBWO today, so looking forward to it. Ony get one this week so gotta go hard!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day 7 and 8

Week 1 day 7 Week 2 Day 1

Free day yesterday. Not much to report, kept the eating down to 1 free meal and some popcorn. Was nice to get a day of rest for the body.

Had a great LBWO this morning, really pushed things. Legs were jello by the time I was done. Alos had a good ab workout. Lots of incline sit ups and swiis ball crunches in between leg sets.

Did the weekly food shopping and running around. Stocked with lots of approved food for another week.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Day 6

Week 1 Day 6

End of the first week. I forgot how fast time flies doing this. Finished with a pretty good run. Not my best ever but pretty solid.

Weigh in this morning 213.6. Down 6 lbs from start weight. My start weight was a bit skewed as it came after 2 straight weeks of being sick with no exercise. Also I knew I was starting the program on Saturday last week, so Friday had a bit of a no holds barred free day ;). Even so, solid start to the Challenge. I know this challenge is going to be harder than the first to shed the pounds.

I haven't been below 200lbs for 20 years. Even in my 20's when I was in pretty good shape I was around 205lbs. I lost what I call the easy fat in the first challenge. I was so overweight that even a moderate change in diet and exercise would have sparked results. To hit my goals this time I am really going to have to push myself but I also have the advantage of experience. I've done this before, I know what foods to avoid and what my portion sizes are.

I'm very happy that it appears I have another great group of people to correspond with on for this challenge. I hope that more of them stick it out than my last group that started huge and ended up with around 4-5 of us that made it to the end.

Weekend Ho!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 5

Week 1 day 5

UBWO yesterday. Always my favorite! Had a great workout. Upped my bench press by 10 lbs on the 6 rep set which is always a pump. First time in awhile I was sweating pretty hard by the time I was done. Also did shoulder presses for the first time without pain since injuring myself early in my first 12 week challenge. Felt great to be able to lift and work my shoulders like normal. Getting old sucks. 5months to rehab that injury.

Need to do some research and find some new exercises for back, well really for all my muscle groups I would like to find some new stuff to shake things up.

Eating was good, 6 clean lots of water.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 4

Week 1 Day 4

Cardio time again. Hit the gym very fired up even though my legs were quite sore from yesterday's LBWO. Really want to push through this plateau I have hit in my runs. Don't get me wrong, I still feel like I am hitting a 10 on most runs, but I have been stuck at the 3.3KM in 20 mins for awhile now. So yesterday I was determined to push past that.

Sadly didn't work out so well. Went out way to fast in the first two 5 min intervals and ended up flagging near the end. It was a great workout, I was sweating buckets, but ended up with a worse time than normal. IDK, good thing or bad thing. I think I sure shocked my body into something it hadn't felt for awhile. Maybe I am focusing to much on the distance instead of process. Going to have to let that wash around in my brain for a couple days.

Eating no problem. Got in my 6 clean, lots of water and no cheating. Starting to feel that great boost of energy from eating clean and hitting the gym everyday.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day 3

Week 1 Day 3

Great LBWO yesterday. Really pushed my legs for the first time in quite awhile. During the time between my first challenge and starting this one, if there was a work out I would skip it was legs. Not sure why but that's how it went. So, I had the jello legs for sure after yesterday's workout and sitting here this morning I can sure tell I worked them hard. Which is fantastic!

Had my 6 clean meals, surprisingly no real cravings for sugar at all, which is always my weakness.

It's one thing I love about this 12 week program. For some reason when I get on it and do the things that set me up for success, write in my blog, do my food diary and post on, mentally I just get in the zone. Where during the time I'm not on the challenge I give into temptation at times, when I am I can just flick that switch and say no. My will power seems so much higher when I have my goals set, know Cathy will be taking my measurements every week etc.

Looking forward to my run this afternoon. Yeah, I know from experience it is going to be a struggle with the post LBWO legs. But, it's all part of it. Pushing through that and still reaching for my 10's!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day 1 and 2

Kicked off my challenge on Saturday. Hit the gym for a great UBWO. Felt very good to lift some weights after 2 weeks away with that cold. Got my 6 clean in and so far managed to turn that sugar switch back off.

Had a great run today. One of the best I have had in a couple months. Man, was I missing the focus that comes with being on a challenge. Sure I went to the gym almost as much as I did during my 12 challenge but I realize I wasn't pushing myself nearly hard enough.

Off to a good start!

Got my Ace in the hole ready to beat back any temptations. Very pumped and excited to see how hard I can push myself this time and chase that elusive 6 pack. Looking forward to being in the best shape of my life before my 39th b-day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Well, it's been a week and a half and finally kicking this cold. Ugh did that suck. Went for a run on Sunday and it was ok. I was still feeling kinda blah but it was doable. Going to lay off the weights for the rest of the week and just go for a couple runs.

Looking at starting my challenge on Feb 26th. Should be finishing up just in time for summer. Looking forward to the first summer in a long time not feeling self conscious about my weight.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Houston we have a problem

Well, looks like we are going to have a week delay in getting our next 12 week challenge started, Came down with a wicked cold this weekend. Got in a LBWO on sat but couldn't run at all on Sunday. Today pretty much just working the couch. No appetite, and no strenght at all to do an UBWO

First time I have been sick in over a year. sucks.

Oh well. just have to wait it out I guess and hope to feel better and get going next Saturday. Back to the couch I go.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wonders Never Cease

Been awhile since my last blog. Nothing much happening to write about. Keeping on keeping on as it were. Hovering around 210lbs. Hitting the gym 4x a week or so and eating clean around 80% of the time. Caught myself more than one reaching for a cookie or some other snack and sadly gave in at times.

Overall happy about being able to maintain my weight and healthier lifestyle, while at the same time knowing deep down that the last month or so I could have been reaching for my long term fitness goals instead.

So last night after getting home from the gym my wife pips up during dinner and asks me if we can do another 12 week challenge together. To set the stage here is a picture of my wife from New Years

As you can see, it`s not like she is in bad shape! Far from it. Back in the fall when we did the first 12 week challenge, she was very supportive in the fact she did it with me. 6x a week at the gym, we never missed a workout. But at the time she certainly wasn`t sold on the program. Like many people who have maintained a healthy lifestyle their whole lives, they have a hard time accepting 12 weeks can make such a dramatic change.

By the end of the 12 weeks, she was much less skeptical after seeing the changes I made, and now a couple months later even less so. She was afraid, and rightly so, that I would do the 3 months then fall right back into my old habits, I certainly have gone on fitness crazes in the past and not been able to maintain it.

So, even with seeing me stick with this lifestyle for 6 months, I hardly expected her to want to do another challenge with me. While she stuck with it through the end, she found the 6x a week schedule a bit much. But here she was asking to do another 12 weeks.

So here we go. Day 1 of 84 starts on Saturday with measurements,pictures etc. And I will be firing up this here blog for my daily record. I found the accountability of it, even if no one ever reads this, was a big help in keeping me on track.

I am dubbing this challenge Destination 6 Pack!

Friday, January 7, 2011

2011 Week 1

So the first week of the New Year is in the books. Off day today after a pretty good week getting back into the swing of things at the gym. Got all my workouts in and it felt great. Somewhat amazed at feeling the muscle soreness again after only taking 2 weeks off over Christmas.

Eating wise not completely happy with my week. Missed a couple meals and dipped into things I shouldn't have a couple times. Need to find that motivation to get back to eating clean and detox the sugar.

Overall I give the week a solid 9/10 on workouts and 7/10 on nutrition.