Strong Lifts 5x5

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

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!