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Roldanis

From 0 to... (6 Months of Progress)

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So this morning when I was looking at my calendar I noticed I had just recently hit my 6 month anniversary of my lifting "career."  :triumphant:  So I decided to take a moment to look at what I've achieved and what I've learned along the way and maybe perhaps some of you have similar opinions/lessons.

 

Achievements:

 

So when I started on my path of iron I was a completely untrained 208 lb n00b.  I had never once touched a barbell in my life.  At this point I had only heard of them in passing and generally thought of meat headed lunks (Thank you Planet Fitness & stupid muscle magazines  <_< )  While I started on my path to fitness I was doing Steve's beginner body weight routine to get myself moving.  All the while educating myself on this mythical "barbell."  Starting on November 5th 2014 I took the dive and started StrongLifts, getting myself under a barbell for the first time in my life and proceeded to (poorly) complete my first set of barbell squats.  I continued StrongLifts for 3 months before the volume of 5x5 squats 3 times a week became too great and my desire for more upper body movement became apparent. 

 

So my first 3 months of progression looked like this: (Working weights for 5x5 except DL was 1x5)

 

Weight: 208 lbs (94.3kg) -> 185 lbs (84kg)

  • Squat 45 lbs (20kg) -> 180 lbs (81.5kg)  
  • Bench 45 lbs (20kg) -> 120 lbs (54.5kg) 
  • Dead 95 lbs (43kg) -> 205 lbs (93kg)
  • Press 45 lbs (20kg) -> 90 lbs (40kg)

I continued to eat at a slight deficit and Switched over to Johnny Candito's Linear Strength Program.  This program is 4 days a week and is a upper lower split vs 3 full body days like with SL. Also working sets are 3x6 or 2x6 in the case of DL and OHP.

 

After 3 months my working weights looked like this:

 

Weight 185 lbs (94.3kg) -> 175 lbs (80kg)

  • Squat 180 lbs (81.5kg) -> 215 lbs (97.5kg)
  • Bench 120 lbs (54.5kg) -> 135 lbs (60kg)
  • Dead 205 lbs (93kg) -> 260 lbs (118kg)  (Also recently pulled a 315 lb (143kg) 1RM)
  • Press 90 lbs (40kg) -> 95 lbs (43kg)   :(

While I know a lot of folks have made more strength gains in 6 months, I was doing this while cutting pretty much the entire time.

 

What I've learned:

 

After 6 months I've learned a couple things about what I do and don't like:

  1. Correct form is important to making good progress.  I'm sure I could be putting up more on my OHP and Bench if I had better form. 
  2. It was unrealistic for me to go to the gym 4 days a week.  I like Candito's Programming, but I just cannot consistently get into the gym 4 days a week. I had more weeks I didn't than I did.
  3. I like full body routines better.  I liked working my whole body in one session.  Mentally it just worked better for me.  I felt like I got more done and I liked that one half of my body wasn't useless the next day like with an upper/lower split.
  4. Deadlifts are fun.
  5. Doing deadlifts and squats on the same day suuuuuuuuucks. If I were to hit a PR on squats my deadlifts would suffer.  If I hit a PR on deadlifts, my squats would suffer. Also you question how bad you need to up or down that set of stairs afterwards.
  6. Sleep is VERY influential on your performance.  Any days following a crappy nights sleep and my lifts would suffer and the whole session would just not go well.

 

Future Plans/Goals:

 

I'm going to going back to a full body 3 day a week routine. As I mentioned earlier I liked the format of Candito's program, but I was not able to get in 4 days a week on any kind of a regular basis. I won't be going with SL again, while I enjoyed it, I don't like how the de-loads worked.  I felt like I was wasting time by  lifitng the same weights previously for the same number of reps. I also didn't like how much time doing 5x5 took for 3 different lifts.  Towards the end of running SL it was taking me 90min for the 3 lifts.  So I'm going to give GreySkull LP a whirl.  Things I like are its 3 days a week, full body, not squatting and DL on the same day and has room for accessories (unlike SL.)  Also the de-loads make a lot more sense with the AMRAP on your last set every time.  The only negative I can see is only one deadlift set a week. However I plan on making sure my accessories are ones that will assist in keeping my DL progress well.

 

My future goal still remains the same, get to a 4 plate DL before the end of the year without a hard bulk.  After May is over and I'm done cutting, I plan on starting a bulk of about .5 lb a week.  I don't want to gain too much fat since I spent the past 6 months getting rid of most of it.  I'm hoping the slight surplus is enough to get me to my goal.

 

I'll be posting my purposed GreySkull LP program in the programming section.

 

 

~TL;DR~

Lost 40 lbs in 6 months, made some strength gains, pulled a 315 DL.  Switching programs and starting a slow bulk to get to a 405 lbs DL.

 

 

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This is awesome and great progress in 6 months!  Love seeing people go from just the bar to multiple plates.

 

Great job.  Now get to work on hitting 3 plates on squats and 2 plates on bench.

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In! on this.

 

Good to read your thoughts on the 2 programs. I have what feels like a long time, been floating around on my current program (bastardised SL although non of it is 5x5 lol) for a while now looking for a new program and have been looking at Canditos for ages but I cant do 4 days.

 

Ive seen Greyskulls which I know there are a few versions and from your posts I might look into it a bit more as I like to be done in an hour and my joints cant handle 3 x heavy squats a week on a cut (so I front SQ on one, power clean on another and back SQ on the third).

 

Will follow B)

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As someone else who's just about to start Stronglifts 5x5 with no lifting background, and will be working on a cut for at least the first while, it's good to hear about someone else who's made great progress doing just that - good work dude, and thanks for putting up this thread!

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Very well done on that kind of a cut. What was your eating plan to lose the weight and how did you feel like it went (lean mass vs fat mass)?

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Very well done on that kind of a cut. What was your eating plan to lose the weight and how did you feel like it went (lean mass vs fat mass)?

 

Eating plan was pretty strait forward, mostly counting calories with My Fitness Pal while trying make sure I got at least 130g of protein a day.  

 

Here's a detailed break down:

 

Daily intake averaged out to right around 1900 calories a day and a protein goal of 130g-150g.  Initially I started at around 2k calories a day, but as my weight went down so did my calories.  The last few weeks had me eating under 1800 calories which was unsustainable with volume of lifting associated with StrongLifts.  For those last few weeks I bumped back up to 2050 calories which did slow my progress in losing weight but it kept me going in the gym.  I had days as low as 1300 calories early on and some days as high as 2500 calories on a few occasions.  One thing that my wife and I did was we rarely ate out.  We used to go out once or twice a week, but now we go out once or twice a month. Saves a lot of money and calories.

 

Examples of food I ate

 

Breakfast was a combination of any one of these foods plus a coffee with a tbsp of sugar and cream.  Usually added up to about 350-500 calories

  • 1/2 Cup instant oats w/1 scoop of chocolate whey protein and 2 Tbsps of peanut butter powder
  • 2 egg omelet w/ 1 oz of diced ham and 1 slice Kraft single american cheese
  • 1 fried egg 1 slice of toast 1oz of diced ham 1 slice Kraft single american cheese
  • 2 cups 1% milk w/ 1 scoop of whey protein
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese, instant oats w/brown sugar

Lunch always included an apple and a fat-free yogurt and then would either be a Weight Watchers frozen dinner or leftovers from dinner the night before.   Typically was 350 - 750 calories 

 

Dinner/Supper This was often chicken for protein since beef and pork are much more expensive (in the US) right now. 600 - 900 calories

  • Baked chicken with a dry seasoning rub w/ oven roasted carrots, asparagus and potatoes
  • Homemade shredded chicken tacos on low carb wheat tortillas w/ spanish rice
  • Chicken Teriyaki w/ steamed rice (teriyaki sauce is really high on sugar and sodium!)
  • Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken Bacon Cheeseburgers (Freaking tasty!  Look up Pioneer Woman "Ranch Style Chicken")
  • 2-3oz of Pasta w/ baked chicken and marinara or meat sauce

Snacks These were random and usually were consumed to make sure I was getting enough protein for the day.

  • 1 cup 1% milk w/ 1 scoop of whey
  • fat-free yogurt
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese

 

  After  I hit 180 I tapered off my cut and the next 4 months I only dropped another 5 lbs. I did that mostly because I was relishing in hitting my goal of 180 and wanted to enjoy fitting into medium shirts and 34" jeans again.  I also needed a mental break from cutting so hard. When I was in full stride I was averaging 2 lbs a week weight lost.

 

Line Chart of Weight Loss

 

The biggest thing that let me know that I was indeed getting stronger and not losing muscle was the sudden realization of my back muscles.  Yeah the loose fitting clother was one thing but when I looked in the mirror and used to see something resembling a marshmallow and saw actual muscle, I knew it was working. 

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I ate like a mad man and paid the price however, I have read that you should be in a deficit in the early stages of SL as the weight isn't intense and up the calories to match the intensity for recovery and muscle building (surplus) which I did. Overeating in the early stages wont help with the fat gain.

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I ate like a mad man and paid the price however, I have read that you should be in a deficit in the early stages of SL as the weight isn't intense and up the calories to match the intensity for recovery and muscle building (surplus) which I did. Overeating in the early stages wont help with the fat gain.

 

I think that is why I was able to make such good progress even while on a pretty heavy cut, the weights I was moving the first 2 months was really easy.  I was about the time I got to a BW squat and DL that things started to get tough.

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Loved reading this. Think your my twin lol. I did stronglifts from October last year until about April with a one month break in December. We got similar working weights. I started canditos linear strength and control program from April until now. I'm loving the not squatting everyday. I've also been thinking about greyskull as well. Will be following to see your progress. Where you lost 40lbs I gained a Lil over 20lbs.

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Loved reading this. Think your my twin lol. I did stronglifts from October last year until about April with a one month break in December. We got similar working weights. I started canditos linear strength and control program from April until now. I'm loving the not squatting everyday. I've also been thinking about greyskull as well. Will be following to see your progress. Where you lost 40lbs I gained a Lil over 20lbs.

 

Nice!  I thought you were going with Texas Method however.  I really enjoyed Candito's program, but I just could not get in 4 days a week to make the most of it. 

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I did SL awhile and then stopped trying to progress on squats to get some other lifts higher.  Just today started doing 5/3/1 to do something different and because squatting 3x a week was killing my running.

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