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When we were weaker once, and young

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With a nod to the book and movie 


Newbies on the Warrior guild often say "I'll never be able to do what you guys do".  Well, very few of us started on Nerd Fitness squatting 300+ and all the other stuff.  We started out 'weak' and have had to work our way up.  I want this thread to be encouragement for those just starting  out.  I'd like "accomplished" lifters to post videos, screen shots of workout logs, etc that show where we started.


Edit to add stats:  I'm 53 years old, 6' and range in weight from 225# to 250#.


I'll start.


Wildross squatting 195# (pretty shakily) in October 2011 Edit: Bad bar position, not deep enough, too fast

A set of 6 at 225# from September of 2011 Edit: bad bar position, bad arm position, not deep enough, in running shoes


Most recently, here is me doing 405# September, 2013


Deadlifting 215# in October, 2011 Edit: Bad bar path  Funny, I still have the red and blue towel.


Deadlifting 429# in July, 2013


The point is, YOU can get stronger.  We understand that there are differences in size, genetics, etc.  But you can apply yourself and do what you don't believe is possible (right now).

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I don't have any vids of my weak sauce but here's a link to my workout log when I first started out in 2011. Its pretty funny looking back.


Squat - 240

Bench - 225

Deadlift - 295




And here's a link with video of my current maxes.


Squat - 523

Bench - 363

Deadlift - 551



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Here's a link to my very first battle log, where we all kept our workouts back before challenges were how they are now and the main focus.




I was using Stronglifts as a template, though I don't talk about it much as it wasn't pupluar on the forums yet. It's funny seeing myself struggle with 105 lb overhead press, I forget where I started and how far I've come at times. Remember, I'm somewhere around 255 lb here, so 105 lb is 40% of my bodyweight.


Here's my first form check from a few months later. I had been lifting for 3-4 months at this point I believe.



And here's my progress over time, updated a few months ago. Needs another update soimetime soon.



All of my challenges, except a few that were lost in the server transfer, are in my sig.

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Hmmm I have some: 


Here is an image of the first page of my first workout log book 





For those who cannot read engineer chicken scratch some of the things listed are DB overhead press at 20lbs, I failed a set of 10 reps at 25lbs. I won't even tel you about my squats or bench since my form was crap. At this point I hadn't even begun deadlifting yet and when I did a month later it was 135lbs and made me almost pass out. I was so excited the first time I out deadlifted spezzy. 


And for reference here is me a little less than 2 years later deadlifting 495lbs 





Ignore the scary face. It happens. 



Like widross said we all start somewhere. 

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My 1RMs from last year:

Deadlift: 60 lb

Squat: 120 lb

Bench: 110

OHP: 50

11 months later:

Deadlift: 234

Squat: 186

Bench: 173

OHP: 118

Please hold me Nerd Fitness, these starting stats are real I swear, I used to walk slouched because my muscles could barely take my own body weight. My deadlift has quadrupled and my OHP doubled, but it was literally like my back and my legs had muscular dystrophy... am I going to make it, NF? Am I going to reach 300 lb deadlift for reps? ;A;

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Please hold me Nerd Fitness, these starting stats are real I swear, I used to walk slouched because my muscles could barely take my own body weight. My deadlift has quadrupled and my OHP doubled, but it was literally like my back and my legs had muscular dystrophy... am I going to make it, NF? Am I going to reach 300 lb deadlift for reps? ;A;


Yes, If you keep eating and lifting you will certainly make a 300lb DL for reps.

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Thanks for posting this. I'm ~5 weeks into Stronglifts, started with the bar, impatient to lift more weight, but it is really inspiring seeing how far you guys have come, starting at a similar place to me in some cases. Makes me excited to do my puny 165lb deadlifts tomorrow - I'll be at 2 plates before Halloween!

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This is a really good idea, WildRoss. Adding mine, though I still consider myself an advanced novice at best.


12/1/11 is the first day I started tracking. As you can see, I was doing light weights, high reps, and way too many different arm exercises. In retrospect a waste of time, but at least it put me on the path to swoledom.




I started going to the gym with my dad and my youngest brother, who were doing Dan John's Mass Made Simple program to get the little bro ready for football season (sidenote: Highly, highly recommend it for younger guys looking to add some serious muscle mass. It's a tough program, and hard for people with slower recovery, but really effective). On Jan 29, 2012, my dad convinced me to try the barbell complex part of the workout with them. I did 3 sets of 1 rep each at 40 lbs. Which eventually turned in to me doing the full workout with them, because it was way more fun than what I was doing.


Finished that program, and on April 3, 2012, started Starting Strength:




As you can see, some of my numbers have improved a lot (Deadlift), while others are coming along much more slowly (Overhead press). One of my biggest issues has been consistency of training. I took a lot of that first summer off, only getting to the gym once a week, I also haven't been very consistent end of July and August of this year. Here's hoping my Nerd Fitness challenge will get me back on a regular schedule.

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Oh man, I can't find any videos from back then, but I found my first battle log. What a shit show I was back then, just a hodgepodge of random exercises for the first month until I finally started following Starting Strength. 


From what I can see in the first weeks here(8/2011), my working weights looked like:

Squats: 225 5RM

Bench: 155 5RM

Deadlift: 250 5RM


I spent probably a year on SS and then ran a few cycles of Texas Method and a shortened cycle of Smolov Jr. By the time I switched over to CrossFit training(6/2013), my working weights looked like:

Squats: 345 5RM

Bench: 215 5RM

Deadlift: 385 5RM

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my older stuff's not showing in My Content but i can definitely tell you i was kitten weak when i first started and was terrified of going into the tiny little weights room at my college (highschool age, i'm a brit) for months, even when i did bite the bullet all i did was the typical curl, bench, raises sort of workout, i actually recently binned an old workout sheet of mine and it's genuinely shaming for me to see lol for a long time i also always wore a fleece when training due to my immense shame at my own body (skinny fat with moobs)


(the following weights may not be accurate and are more than likely much lower, my memory sucks, i had just got into reading Men's Health/Fitness at this point too)

after a while i found out about deadlifts (horrific form) and did them with the EZ bar that we had (only bar in the gym) and once i'd got past 100kg (it was much easier to deadlift with an EZ bar than a standard straight bar) i also discovered 'cleans'... and tried to do them with 90kg, yeah i barely got it past my hips and i don't know how i didn't throw my back out


i spent around 2 years at that titchy little gym, even started 'training' my friends and making the aforementioned shaming workout 'plans', after that i joined my local leisure centre gym which actually had a squat rack (i couldn't walk properly for 3 days after i used that for the first time) and of course i'd learnt not to go past parallel and to not let my knees go past my toes as any other avid Mens Mag reader would. due to my affinity with said magazines i also found it impossible to stick to a plan, literally bouncing around plans every 2-3 weeks, maybe 4 if i really liked it, i managed to get up to a 150kg poor form, belted deadlift, screwed my shoulder up with a 90kg bench (which led me to proudly say that i do weighted dips instead of bench, got up to a horrendously shaky half rep with 40kg somehow) and could barely ohp the bar


after a year of this (on my own) i started training a friend who i worked with, i may of started on these forums by that point so i had a vague knowledge of Starting Strength and my lifting gained a bit of rigidity, partly due to trying to teach my new protege, my memory fails me at this point (apart from once trying to squat after a night on the town where i didn't remember how i got home and made me have to take the 2-10 shift i was due to be on as sick)


but after around a year, maybe less, the leisure centre got a new venue with a bit more space for the lifting of heavy things, around that time i also rushed a deadlift (the tweak) and after a week of did a very deep squat (the pop) and screwed up my hip which stopped me squatting for around 8 months and deadlifting for about 1month (it had become my pet lift at this point and was obscenely in love with it), this led to a big de-load which broke my heart, i participated in the first Midwinter Muscle Madness (as started by Andygates) whilst here and managed a 115kg squat, 100kg bench and 165kg deadlift (good form finally) i was also able to overhead walk and clean and push press 70kg, the overhead walks were sue to me reading Chaos and Pain (NSFW) and that also led to me playing around with the likes of 2-hands anyhows and 1-handed snatches, as well as getting me to start doing heavy singles and triples


almost 2 years ago i started at my current gym, where i've gone through various programs that i'd made myself, it's a hard habit to kick (i've still not fully got rid of it either, but i like a bit of chaos in my training ;) ), but i stick to heavy basic lifts with a few variants, bodyweight or bodyweight+ with the odd bit of assistance work for good measure depending on what my arbitrarily chosen goal is that monthish. 


over the years i've had plenty of goals, from getting abs (which i kinda have and love but it's not a goal anymore, just a way of gauging BF%), to getting big to the ones i currently hold of: bodyweight ohp, 3xbw deadlift (long way off but i got 2.6 at the last NF meet), a squat that lines up with my deadlift as i still have trouble with it due to my hip and to gain a bit more good weight (@77kg i still look like i barely train if i wear a loose t-shirt, possibly due to little arm development... meh)

oh and i also want to get a 100kg ohp sometime in the future and go to the old leisure centre and pull it off in a gorilla suit (at peak hours obviously)


anyway here's me now, around 12kg heavier than i started with a 150kg A2G squat, 107.5kg paused bench, 195kg deadlift and 70kg ohp @77kg, 5' 10.5"

2013 09 27

P.S. it may be light outside when i took that pic but i'm so pasty i glow when it's overcast :tongue: it's a bugger for showing definition though :/
TL/DR: was weak, was an idiot for a long time, now fairly strong, yet still doing stupid things ADMIRE ME! ;)
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thanks they're my pride and joy :D, they're the only bit of me that have actually got legitimate compliments lol (well my best mates GF likes my arse :tongue:). i'm pretty much the opposite of the bench/curl brigade, most of my training goes on my back half (deadlifts, rows, chin/pullups and the odd clean) and i ohp more than i bench unless i'm a month away from one of our meets (which is why it's barely moved since the Summer Showdown), i also squat low bar so my quads are a bit naff and my hamstrings overpower the lift, as you might be able to tell from my video for the Fall Brawl 

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I LOVE this thread.  So much. Whenever I'm at my gym, watching these guys bench 225# or squat 300#+ w/ proper form and feel some kind of way fighting with 135 and 180, then think to myself, these guys didnt walk into the gym the first time pushing/pulling this amount of weight (and if they did walk in benching 225 with ease they should be doing a lot more now!).


This thread just reinforces that thought process.


Plus its awesome to see what some of you guys/gals look like. and how deadlifts with proper form and ankle socks can be brutal on your shins @bigm

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Hahahah, yeah. I have a tendency to scrape my shins when DLing, snatching, and cleaning. I can't grow leg hair on my shins anymore. :)

Umm I was pretty shocked to see your photo, I thought you would be a lot bigger but then I noticed the blood on your shin and I thought, ah these numbers are in no small part due to good form by the looks of it.


I'm learning the lesson at the moment that guys in my gym (I don't mean you) that clearly look smaller and weaker than me can lift more because they have better form. It's humbling but it's a good lesson to pay attention to my form more than my strength and the weight I am lifting.

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i have no idea of my bf%, never had it checked, i think anywhere between 10 and 13%? its harder for me to tell visually due to being so white, everything just blends in lol that doesn't bother me greatly now, i use it as a gauge to know when to spot being such a fatty and eating too many carbs  :tongue: (he says as he eats his fourth (english) biscuit... don't worry this is a rarity, i'm full of cold and bits of tendonitis so i'm being slobbish)

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I don't have a long story to tell.

This summer alone when I finally deiceded to get back to true lifting my weights have shot up tremendously. I'm grateful to have had a solid base but still there is a vast imporovement. 


DL pre-May: struggling with a 185 DL. 


September 22:  very VERY ugly 285. 


And I went from 2-3 pull ups to weighted sets of pull ups. 


it takes time- that's the biggest thing people forget- time. The truly biggest hurdle to overcome next to the voice that says it's easier to sit and do nothing- is the time ti takes to get there.


If you can defeat THOSE two things- you WILL be a stronger better faster version of you. :D

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Umm I was pretty shocked to see your photo, I thought you would be a lot bigger but then I noticed the blood on your shin and I thought, ah these numbers are in no small part due to good form by the looks of it.


I'm learning the lesson at the moment that guys in my gym (I don't mean you) that clearly look smaller and weaker than me can lift more because they have better form. It's humbling but it's a good lesson to pay attention to my form more than my strength and the weight I am lifting.



I get that all the time. It's a running joke that I am a bean pole. The best thing about not having the mass as some others do is you really focus on form way more than anything else.

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This is a great idea for a thread! I'll see if I can find some videos.


I, too, feel like an advanced novice - my numbers are not really that impressive.


When I first started lifting seriously (early 2012), I started out soooo light.


squats: 35 lbs

deadlift: 55 lbs

bench: 45 lbs


When I was at my strongest this summer, 


squats: 145

deadlift: 200

bench: 105


(These are working weights, not 1 rep maxes.)


I even took 6 months off late last year to finish college. I'm 5'3", female, and when I started lifting I was around 135. Now I usually hang out around 150 (mostly muscle I think, haha).


Here are some early videos:


squat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baoluH6gCo8

OHP (before I knew how to do it properly): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBOOVnP3ORg

deadlift: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHQOZ44Ydzw


Here is my 200# deadlift from earlier this summer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsW7Vf9oXAE


I still have a LONG way to go, but I feel great about the progress I've made!

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When I first started playing with the lifts I still worked out in a local YMCA. One of the first times I ever tried overhead squats I worked up to 95lbs in the squat rack and lost control and dumped one on the pins making as much noise as you'd expect this would make. A "trainer" who was "training" a client doing quarter squats in the smith machine nearby looked at his client and said, that's not how you squat. With that single comment I went from being embarrassed to convinced I was on the right path.


To this day I'd like to see that trainer walk into my gym so I can show him how "not to" overhead squat.


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