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Martinpanduh's Get Stronger Challenge!

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Hey rebels! For a super kaduper complete backgrounder on me, check out my last challenge: http://nerdfitness.com/community/showthread.php?2080-Martinpanduh-s-Rangerous-February-2011-Challenge! At any rate, I'm here again and rarin' to go. I think this is my fifth challenge already (could be wrong) but my challenge last month was definitely the most impressive.

Okay current stats:

Martin, 22 y/o from the Philippines. Former varsity, picking up where he left off after college-type deal.

Weight: 206lbs, Height: 5'10

Squat: 215lbs + bar

Deadlift: 205lbs + bar

Barbell Row: 75lbs + bar

Bench Press: 125lbs + bar

Overhead Press: 55lbs + bar

Pushups: 15x3 with perfect form

Chin ups: 7x3 with somewhat perfect form

Cardio Capacity: Recently increased my treadmill time from 20mins (10kph) to 26mins (10kph)

Goals for this challenge!

- Continue StrongLifts 5x5--definitely want to see my gains increase, I'm still having a "manageable" time with my 215lbs + bar squat so I think I have a long way to go. Definite milestone for me would be hitting 26xlbs + bar (equating to 300) or actually making 300lbs + bar! Same goes for the rest of the exercises

- Increase my bodyweight exercise capacity.

- Eat healthier (AGAIN!) because I need to lose a lot of bodyfat. Not even kidding, I can say I'm fit and all but I have a lot of junk in my midsection. I'm already maintaining a Paleo diet (and I love it and all) but it just isn't enough to keep the calories out. I sound like a broken record but I really need to make healthier decisions. Maybe I should keep a food journal?

In terms of life goals:

- I got a new job! I'm starting out as a brand assistant at this local luxury bag brand. It's a pretty small company, and it's like their first step in expansion so I'm excited to be part of the process. My life goal right now is just to do my best and see where things take me!

To be perfectly honest, I think I have my strength and fitness goals in check but my diet is seriously throwing a wrench in all of my progress. Do you guys have any suggestions on how to track my caloric intake?

Right now I'm taking one small step, enough chocolate + cheese this challenge. Calories I do not need.

Goodluck to everyone especially my future squad mates! Here here!

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Workout B today, I skipped last Friday (end of challenge BAD) but that was only because I ran out of time. What's a day anyway, moving forward!

Squat: 5x5 220lbs + bar (I did a total of 10 sets of 5 with varying weights, including warmup) getting harder and harder.

Overhead Press 5x5 60lbs+ bar (Total of 7 sets, warm up etc.) getting there.

Deadlift 1x5 210lbs + bar (Total of 3 sets, varying weights) grip is the only issue.

In between sets, I busted out some 3 sets of 7 chin ups, I could barely finish my last set. I don't know if it was the lighting tonight but my arms are looking more defined than ever. At least that's a plus.

Honestly, my biggest problem (no pun intended) is my midsection. I'm lucky enough to have a chest bigger than my stomach so it isn't protruding but I bet if I do a caliper test, all the fat will be located in my stomach. I'm not exactly sure yet how I'm going to solve this (diet duh--but should I increase cardio despite going heavy 3 times a week? I dunno if my legs can take it) but yea, that's my main concern.

Diet today went okay. I mean I'm sure it wasn't perfect but I didn't go for anything obviously bad like cheese or chocolate. Back to the grind on Wednesday, good luck to everyone this week!

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I think diet'll take care of the fat problem better than cardio, but that's IMO. Perhaps hill sprints instead? I've been reading up on them and it seems to be a better exercise to burn fat and increase work capacity (i.e. endurance) without injury...

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I think diet'll take care of the fat problem better than cardio, but that's IMO. Perhaps hill sprints instead? I've been reading up on them and it seems to be a better exercise to burn fat and increase work capacity (i.e. endurance) without injury...

The funny thing is, I think my diet is already pretty on point in terms of health-factor: I eat a lot of meat, absolutely no rice/bread/pasta, lots of vegetables etc. I feel springy, energized and light. But I think the calories I'm getting in are a whole different story, I eat chocolate more often than I should, cheese and butter on occasion. I think that's why the fat just doesn't want to go away.

At this point, I'm scared (and too lazy) to ramp up my cardio on my off-lifting days because my legs come out of my workouts pretty sore. I've read that jeopardizing the workout for the sake of cardio isn't advisable on my program. Yikes, conundrum. I think I just need to lower my calories. BUT HOWWW.

Thanks for the input!

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Workout A today. YIKES! Coming into this workout, I was sore as hell. My legs specifically were throbbing from the squats I did last Monday. I researched a bit online if I should still push my workout or give it a rest, turns out people recommend pushing through with it. I've read that pumping up the muscles will make the soreness go away faster, and you know what, they're absolutely right!

After my first set of light warm ups on the squat, I could barely feel the soreness. I got to continue my workout just fine:

Squat: 5x5 225lbs + bar (I did a total of 10 sets of 5 with varying weights, including warmup) YOWZA but I did it. I feel like I'm getting stronger here consistently. Amazing.

Bench Press 5x5 125lbs+ bar (Total of 7 sets, warm up etc.) STALL AGAIN! 5/5/5/5/2 Argh! But it's okay, will see if I can finally conquer it next challenge.

Barbell Row 5x5 80lbs + bar (Total of 7 sets, varying weights) thanks to the new technique, I love this exercise now.

In between each set, I put in a 3x17 push up circuit. After the failure during the bench, I could barely finish my last set. My arms/chest was smoke.

I checked my weight again just for the heck of it today, I'm now bordering on 206-208. What the actual fu. I'm going to see if I can have my body fat measured within this week and next week. I really need a serious gauge. How'd you guys do?

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Off day today, my legs are definitely less sore but my chest is on fire. Anyway, diet went pretty well today I must say. Made some decisions that I feel will impact my weight in the long run.

Breakfast--one large piece of sausage + hard boiled egg.

Lunch--Huge serving of broccoli + cauliflower (steamed) and two hamburger patties, homemade.

Mid-Afternoon Snack--bought a cup of yoghurt with jelly in it. 73 calories or something, not bad.

Dinner--Huge serving of broccoli + cauliflower again (steamed) and a steak.

Hope I stick to my no cheese, no butter, no chocolate goal. See if it has an effect! Cheers.

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Thanks Samantha!

Anyway, Workout B today:

Squat: 5x5 230lbs + bar (I did a total of 10 sets of 5 with varying weights, including warmup) I must say, mental visualization really helps me here.

Overhead Press 5x5 65lbs+ bar (Total of 7 sets, warm up etc.) feels great.

Deadlift 1x5 215lbs + bar (Total of 3 sets, varying weights) grip but I pulled through.

In between exercises, I dished out 3x7 chin ups. They were difficult but it gets easier every time, I gotta say. I think it's time to switch it up into some sort of pyramid exercise. Straight out reps get harder and harder with each increase.

Diet was okay too, it's Lent and it's a Friday. Meant I only had fish for protein, but it was good fish anyway.

One last thing, it's funny, right before I get under the bar for the squat I end up visualizing all sorts of crazy things just to pump up the courage to get it over with. And you know what it is usually? I keep getting a mental picture of Atlas holding the weight of the sky on his shoulders. I guess I'm supposed to be Atlas. CRAZY RIGHT??? I think I picked this up from reading the Percy Jackson novels, but it gets the job done for me hahaha. Total Nerdfitness.

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Hey guys, how was your weekend? I had an okay diet-wise, and then Sunday dinner we went to the restaurant and I just couldn't resist the cheese sticks. Curses but anyway I just chalked it up as a cheat meal. Once a week won't kill you, right?

Anyway I had workout A today: Gosh is it getting tough!

Squat: 5x5 235lbs + bar (I did a total of 10 sets of 5 with varying weights, including warmup) DEATH. I need to stretch out my rest times already, but frankly I'm surprised I just keep on going and going with the increments.

Bench Press 5x5 125lbs+ bar (Total of 7 sets, warm up etc.) STALL. I don't even know what happened. I think something's wrong with my grip technique. Anyway, deloading 10% on my next workout A session.

Barbell Row 5x5 85lbs + bar (Total of 7 sets, varying weights) went well.

I put in some 3x18 push up sets in between exercises. Wow is it getting tough, how are you guys doing? Goodluck this week!

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Congrats on the new job... and wow your workout schedule kicks ass mate... you truly are Olympian :)!!

Thanks bebe! But I don't think I'm even close to an Olympian yet haha. I SKIPPED MY WEDNESDAY ROUTINE, NOOO. It was inevitable, had no time on Thursday either so I altogether skipped it. It's okay, making up for it today.

At any rate, I did Workout B today!

Squat: 5x5 240lbs + bar (I did a total of 10 sets of 5 with varying weights, including warmup) amazing how after a significant amount of rest (let's say 3-4 days) I come back into the squats stronger than ever. Rest really does make a huge difference.

Overhead Press 5x5 70lbs+ bar (Total of 7 sets, warm up etc.) Already here! But I'm loving it.

Deadlift 1x5 220lbs + bar (Total of 3 sets, varying weights) crazy heavy.

Wuhoo, is it me or am I slowly inching towards my goal of 300lbs + bar squat? Wuhoo. Wish I could say the same for my pitiful bench press. Honestly, that's my worst exercise by far. I'm going to deload next exercises. Cripes.

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I missed my Monday Workout, so I'm catching up today! After a long-ass day at work, feels good to put in the time for exercise. Though I almost died under the bar earlier, it's okay I survived! Workout A today!

Squat: 5x5 245lbs + bar (I did a total of 10 sets of 5 with varying weights, including warmup) 5 pounds away from 250lbs + bar! IT WAS EPIC HARD. Gosh, it must've taken me 2-3 minutes each set just standing there with the weight on my shoulders, working up the courage to go down. It was incredible.

Bench Press 5x5 100lbs+ bar (Total of 7 sets, warm up etc.) Stalled last time and deloading now. I don't know, it still feels off to me. I need to research more on technique. I thought I had a good idea coming into it already but then it still felt shakey. Must research.

Barbell Row 5x5 90lbs + bar (Total of 7 sets, varying weights) went well again.

I'm scared for the my next workout attempting my 250lbs + bar squat, at this point in time, I have yet to stall on the squat yet. I don't think I'll stall next workout but who knows after that. Anyway, milestone nonetheless. How are y'all doing this week?

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Thanks for the encouragement guys, wuhoo I'm really feeling it now. Anyway, Workout B today and it was a super doozy. I finally made it to 250lbs + bar! It was intense. The spot where I lodge the bar on my back is still sensitive hahaha, but it's no big.

Squat: 5x5 250lbs + bar (I did a total of 10 sets of 5 with varying weights, including warmup) yowza, interestingly enough, it felt better than when I attempted my 245lbs + bar. This only means I'm going to have a bitch of a time next session. It's usually like that.

Overhead Press 5x5 75lbs+ bar (Total of 7 sets, warm up etc.) Crazy heavy but I powered through all 5 sets.

Deadlift 1x5 225lbs + bar (Total of 3 sets, varying weights) it is what it is, I tried it without using gloves this time though and I have to say it helped. My grip felt more manageable.

Hope I can squeeze in another workout between now and the end of the week, work is ramping up with two events on Friday and Saturday! Yikes. Good luck to everyone!

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Workout A today! Powered-through it! I was a little pressed for time so I couldn't put in some MetCon type of stuff as suggested but yea, I focused on my workout. Here's how it went:

Squat: 5x5 255lbs + bar (I did a total of 10 sets of 5 with varying weights, including warmup) Really starting to feel every muscle in my leg all the way up to my butt working each rep. It feels great (don't know about tomorrow morning though). So much closer to 300!

Bench Press 5x5 105lbs+ bar (Total of 7 sets, warm up etc.) Still don't get this exercise, still doesn't feel solid but it went okay.

Barbell Row 5x5 95lbs + bar (Total of 7 sets, varying weights) doing well.

All for now! How are you guys doing?

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Cripes! Okay so Workout A today and I stalled/failed on my squat, nooo. Honestly I didn't expect to get this far without stalling even once (yep, this is my first stall on the squat) and I can't say it doesn't feel bad. But onward we go. I feel though that this failure was more mental than physical, it was like I wasn't quite in the right mood. I dunno, I'd have to research/re-read the 5x5 guide to see if my weight is already eligible to move down to 3x5 or some other variation. At any rate:

Squat: 5x5 260lbs + bar (I did a total of 10 sets of 5 with varying weights, including warmup) STALL! I did 5/3/3/1/1 cripesss.

Overhead Press 5x5 80lbs+ bar (Total of 7 sets, warm up etc.) can't imagine how I'll do next time, this was crazy already.

Deadlift 1x5 230lbs + bar (Total of 3 sets, varying weights) tough on the grips but still doable.

After everything, I took KW's advice to heart and decided to go for something that slightly resembles the WOD of Crossfit/MetCon stuff. I tried to look for beginner exercises online but had no such luck so I decided to make my own for now. I did a circuit of 5 chin ups + 5 reps of the Bear Complex at 50lbs + bar for a total of 3 sets. I finished it all (rest including) at 8:49, just something for me to try and better next time.

It wasn't that hard though, thinking I could've gone heavier on the weight. I know I should increase my chin ups but frankly, at 5 reps I can barely make the last one. Cheers and onward we go!

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Skipped another workout last week, really didn't feel the energy after stalling on my squat. But made it all worth it today! I'm so pumped/dead at the same time if that's even possible. Workout A today:

Squat: 5x5 260lbs + bar (I did a total of 10 sets of 5 with varying weights, including warmup) SUCCESS! I can't tell you how hard it was though, I was barely making each rep after the 2nd set but I was making them. They key here was I slightly reduced the depth of my squat to just making parallel, as opposed to going for that deep deep squat. StrongLifts recommends just making parallel squats and I've discovered at the heavier numbers, you can't afford to go any deeper than that.

Bench Press 5x5 110lbs+ bar(Total of 7 sets, warm up etc.) Hoping that my technique is coming along.

Barbell Row 5x5 100lbs + bar (Total of 7 sets, varying weights) Heavy but pushing for it.

Afterwards, even though I was wiped, I struggled to come up with some kind of MetCon so I did 3 sets of 10 pushups + 5 reps of the Bear (50lbs + bar) and timed it. It was crazy, clocked in at 7:31. Still making it up as I go.

Hope you guys had a good weekend (I ate through mine/BAD!) and goodluck for the remainder of the challenge.

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