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Friday, October 31, 2008

Starting Strength Day 14, 10-31-08

This marks the end of my first month of Starting Strength.  

Squat 3 x 5 - 205lbs (PR)
Shoulder Press 3 x 5 - 90lbs
Power Clean 5 x 3 - 125lbs

Just for kicks I tried a one armed deadlift at 255lbs and was barely able to pull it to the top.  Using the hook grip was a must.  I wasn't able to budge the weight with a regular grip.  The whole way up my hold on the bar was slipping until it finally just slipped out of my hand. A little questionable whether I fully locked it out at the top before I dropped it because my grip failed, but I think I just got it.  

I weighed 183lbs today.  Thats a 14lb increase from my start of SS 30 days ago.  Not too shabby.  I highly doubt though that I'll be able to reproduce that and have another 14lb weight gain in the next month.  Seems like I've been stuck at the 180-183lb range fluctuating slightly up and down within that range over the last 2 weeks.  I think the key for me to keep gaining weight is the milk and the food.  I've just got to be more aggressive and disciplined about putting food away as though its going out of style.  

I'm happy with my progression with squats.  Thats good because its the foundation of this program.  I felt pretty good today with them.  They are hard now, but doable.  I haven't been worried yet about whether or not I'll be able to finish any of the reps.  I feel as though I'll be able to continue to about 220lbs before I need to reset, but thats just a guess.  My goal is to hit 240lbs 3 x 5 (after resetting) because that was my single rep max when I started.  I may well end up getting past 240.  I don't want to put limits on myself.  I've seen plenty of examples of other guys on SS who weren't brand new lifters when they started SS and have ended up doing their 3 sets of 5 at a higher weight then their previous one rep max.  Only time will tell.  All I can do now is keep marching forward... eating everything in sight, drinking Milk as if its my last day on earth, sleeping like a coma patient and lifting heavy like a Cave Troll on PCP.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Starting Strength Day 13, 10-29-08

Squat 3 x 5 - 200lbs
Bench Press 3 x 5 - 130lbs
Deadlift 1 x 5 - 285lbs

I did a little math and realized I was progressing too slow on the deadlift compared to my squat.  So I added 10lbs to the deadlift instead of the usual 5lbs.  

Then I couldn't resist, so I did:

Deadlift - 625lbs PR!!

Here is the video:

If you've never tried that before, you should.  Lots of fun!  I'll be doing more of the old lifts in the future, especially when I get off this Starting Strength cycle.  This is much more impressive though...for a 1210 lb deadlift, click HERE.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Starting Strength Day 12, 10-27-08

Squat 3 x 5 - 195lbs
Press 3 x 5 - 85lbs
Power Cleans 5 x 3 - 120lbs

Jim, a friend of mine came over and did his first ever CrossFit workout.  He hasn't worked out regularly in a long time, but he did great.  Taught him how to do air squats and then he did a buttercup version of mini Cindy.  Also worked with my brother on his clean technique.  All this I did while I was warming up.  So I started in on my workout and was really encouraged by how lightweight the squats were feeling.  I charged right through all 3 sets of 5 with no problems.  When I was stripping the weight of the bar I realized I had 35's instead of 45's on the bar.  What a brain fart!  So I had just done 3 sets of 5 at 175lbs instead of 195lbs, which is a decent amount of volume and more then a usual warmup.  But I didn't want to let it stop me from continuing to add weight every workout, so I put on the 195lbs and did the 3 sets of 5 like I was supposed to.  It wasn't easy, but I got through it.  At that point I had taken up so much time that I had to rush through the rest of the workout with only 30 seconds of rest in between sets.  Luckily the weight is still light enough that I was able to get away with it.

Lesson learned:  Instructing while attempting your own intense workout does not mix.

Starting Strength Day 11, 10-24-08

Squat 3 x 5 - 190lbs 
Bench Press 3 x 5 - 125lbs
Deadlift 1 x 5 - 275lbs

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Starting Strength Day 10, 10-22-08

Squat 3 x 5 - 185lbs 
Press 3 x 5 - 80lbs
Power Cleans 5 x 3 - 115lbs

HERE is video of 2 out of the 3 sets of squats.

Felt good today.  I read a few articles of "Keys to Progress" by John McCallum throughout the day.  I love his writing style.  Such a hilarious guy and has some really classic lines in there about lifting.  If you haven't read it and are doing the Starting Strength thing, look into it.  Its definitely a book about getting big and strong with much more of an emphasis on bodybuilding then I prefer, but is great nonetheless. The book is worth it just for the way he describes big strong guys and the insulting descriptions of skinny little guys who don't train.  Classic stuff.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Starting Strength Day 9, 10-20-08

Squat 3 x 5 - 180lbs
Bench 3 x 5 - 120lbs
Deadlift 1 x 5 - 270lbs

Friday, October 17, 2008

Starting Strength Day 8, 10-17-08

Squat 3 x 5 - 175lbs
Press 3 x 5 - 75lbs
Power Clean 5 x 3 - 110lbs

I weighed 180 lbs this morning before breakfast.  Thats an 11 pound weight gain in 17 days and I haven't even gotten into the heavy weight yet. Still no crazy gut either.  I weighed the same weight about this time last year and the wifey says I have a noticeably smaller gut.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Starting Strength Day 7, 10-15-08

Squat 3 x 5 - 170lbs
Bench 3 x 5 - 115lbs
Deadlift 3 x 5 - 265lbs

Slowly ratcheting the weight up,  In a month and a half I'll be squatting my current one rep max of 240lbs 3 x 5 if I'm able to continue making linear progress, so the baby steps will start kicking in and making a difference before I know it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Starting Strength Day 6, 10-13-08

Squat 3 x 5 - 165lbs
Press 2 x 5 - 70lbs
Power Cleans - 105lbs

Today marks the end of the second week of SS.  I have gained 6 pounds.  That is weighing myself when I'm at my lightest, after waking up.  So far, not too much of a gut, but I'm still thinking its mostly fat.  Its been tough to continue to eat 5-7,000 calories a day.  It definitely takes a bunch of discipline.  I've got to keep working hard at it.

As I was squatting today I had the thought that it felt like a warmup.  I charged right through them.  I'm thinking I should start getting more aggressive with squat therapy which I learned about at the Level 1 Cert.  It would be cool if I could get rid of my 'butt wink' and end up with a more upright, superior squat at the end of this SS cycle. 

Friday, October 10, 2008

Starting Strength Day 5, 10-10-08

Squat 3 x 5 160lbs
Bench Press 3 x 5  110lbs
Deadlift 1 x 5 260lbs

Easy day.  I'd like to be able to say the only easy day was yesterday.  But thats not the case yet.  Soon enough though.  Soon enough.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Starting Strength Day 4, 10-8-08

Squat 3 x 5 - 155lbs
Press 3 x 5 - 65lbs
Power Clean 5 x 3 - 100lbs

Another easy day.  

Its more then a little frusterating to not be lifting heavy yet. I want to hurry up and lift heavy, but I know thats being greedy, and it makes sense to do it slow. Its just hard to wait and not be pushing the weight yet. I know in another 2 months though I won't be saying the same thing, and in another month I'll be squatting 215lbs 3 x 5. Which will be pretty good considering my max is 240. A month after that of linear progression (if I'm able to keep it up) and I'll be squatting 275lbs 3 x 5. Now that does't really seem possible. I'm guessing I'll stall out before then...but you never know. Time will tell. Its just hard being patient right now. It'll be well worth it if the big gains in muscle mass and strength come. But its so early in the program, that hasn't happened yet. A little more fat has happened though.
Weighed 174lbs in the morning and 176lbs after a meal.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Starting Strength Day 3, 10-6-08

Squat 3 x 5 150lbs
Bench Press 3 x 5  105lbs
Deadlift 1 x 5 255lbs

6,453 Calories
362.6 Fat
476.5 Carbs
344.1 Protein

4,915 Calories
250.1 grams Fat
413.7 grams Carbs
277 grams Protein

I weighed myself with an empty stomach at 172lbs.  Then after I stuffed myself at dinner I weighed 174 lbs.  That is a 5lb increase in 5 days (and 3 workouts)! Must not be muscle and be pretty much all fat, food and water seeing how these workouts haven't been hard yet because its still the start of the program.  I weighed myself on the 6th with an empty stomach and I weighed 172lbs again.

Friday, October 3, 2008


If you don't know what GOMAD stands for...YOU SHOULD!

GOMAD = Gallon Of Milk A Day

Its one of the foundations of this program. Not that its for everyone who is doing SS. Not that its for everyone who are doing other programs. Not that its a healthy diet for the rest of your life type of thing. Its for a short season in time. To make you big.

Milk grows baby mammals and makes them big. Real simple. Bears, bulls, tigers....all go from cute and cuddley little guys to big bulky beasts on milk (and a bit of meat doesn't hurt them either). I don't know about you, but I pretty much fall into the baby mammal category. I'm still a novice lifter, maybe an advance novice, but a novice nonetheless. So I will benefit from a program like SS. SS was specifically designed for novices. Its not for the intermediate or advance lifter. They need more complex training programming.

This baby mammal does not. He needs to pick heavy things up, put it on his back and squat it. He needs to pick heavy things off the floor and lift them. He needs to add weight every single workout. And he needs to drink a truckload of milk while eating enough to feed a platoon of starving marines. Plain and simple, right?

It just depends on what your goals are. If you aren't trying to gain mass and get big, then GOMAD is not for you. But a word to the wise...if you are trying to get as stong as possible then you will need to get bigger too. Big muscles move big weight. Small muscles do not. Milk is a key component to growing those muscles. So go out and do your muscles a favor and drown yourself in some milk.

Starting Strength Day 2, 10-3-08

Squat 3 x 5 - 145lbs
Press 3 x 5 - 60lbs
Power Clean 5 x 3 - 95lbs

Its weird to be using so little weight right now. Definitely wanted to and could have used heavier weight. But thats the whole point of linear progression is to slowly, and very consistently build up and up and add more and more weight. Starting heavy and adding weight every single time you lifted simply would not work. But starting light and working your way up to your previous max as you gain weight, and get a foundational volume of work in, will allow you to get stronger and beat your old PR's. So while its a bit of an ego check, and almost feels unambitious to use such light weight in a workout, I'll continue to be ambitious about the big picture and adding 5lbs to every single exercise every blasted workout.

Definitely need to get better with my power clean form. I'm having trouble with closing my hips fully as I shrug and jump the weight up. May need to get some more private coaching and just focus on the clean.

My low back didn't get tired at all like it did on Wed. Maybe I did too much volume when warming up for the squat and the deadlift.

In easy day today.

Today I ate:

6,303 Calories
309.6 grams of fat
604.2 grams of carbs
304.9 grams of protein

Yesterday I ate:

6,301 calories
308.9 grams of fat
523.3 grams of carbs
384.6 grams of protein

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Starting Strength Day 1, 10-1-08

Today marks the beginning of a major change to my workout programming. As crazy as it may seem, I'm beginning a Starting Strength(SS) cycle today. I've been planning on this for some time now. The primary reason is I'd really like to put on some muscle mass. I'm 6'1, 169lbs and I'm hoping I can put on a good 20-30lbs in weight in the next handfull of months and then return to crossfit afterwards to trim down the fat and start in again on increasing my work capacity across broad time, and modal domains. My goal is to end up 15-20lbs heavier with the same (or less) bodyfat (I'm at ~13% now) and continue my crossfit career from there. Not because I think the strength gains I'll make will automatically transfer to killing all the WOD's as RX'd, though the increased strength will help especially in heavier WOD's like Linda, the Bear Complex, Lynne, and of course the CFT, but because I want to be bigger. Always have wanted to be bigger then I am. This kind of focus should also give me much stronger hips and midline stabilization, which are the engine and transmission that drives the body. We'll see if it works. I'll be honest that I'm a little concerned that I may be pissing away the next 4 or so months. This is certainly not what Jeff Martin head coach at Brand X would have me do. However other top notch coaches like Mark Rippetoe (obviously) and Greg Everett recommend doing SS and then returning to WOD's afterwards. Its a challenge that I'm stoked about and hopefully I'll come back to Crossfit and get back to a good state of metcon fitness pretty quickly. I already know I'll really miss doing some of the CrossFit WOD's, because I enjoy them so much, but lifting heavy is a ton of fun too!

I don't know how long I'll be doing SS. That depends on how long I can continue linear progression, ie: adding weight to the bar and making progress. It'll also depend on if I decide to reprogram when I do stall out and switch to an advance novice SS program, or intermediate level strength and mass gain program. I'll make those decisions when I encounter them.

I've started a food log on in order to track how many calories I'm eating. The goal is to eat a truckload of calories every day during this cycle. The amount of food you eat is what determines if you gain weight and get bigger and your training is what determines if that weight gain is muscle or fat and to what ratio. Also obviously how 'clean' you eat plays a role. When trying for weight gains, SS calls for drinking a gallon of whole milk a day (GOMAD) and getting down somewhere in the range of 4,500-7,000 calories.

I'll be doing the original SS program which looks like this:

Workout A:
3x5 Squat
3x5 Bench Press
1x5 Deadlift

Workout B:
3x5 Squat
3x5 Shoulder Press
5 x 3 Power Cleans

As of today here is what my lifts look like:

Squat: 1 rep max 240lbs, 5 rep max 200lbs...I'll start at 140lbs...Single rep max goal of 300lbs
Deadlift: 1 rep max 355lbs, 5 rep max 315lbs...I'll start at 250lbs....Single rep max goal of 400lbs
Benchpress:  1 rep max 165lbs, 5 rep max 145lbs...I'll start at 100lbs...Single rep max goal of 200lbs
Press: 1 rep max 125lbs, 5 rep max 105lbs...I'll start at 60lbs...Single rep max goal of 140lbs
Power Clean: 1 rep max 180lbs, 5 rep max 150lbs...I'll start at 95lbs....Single rep max goal of 210lbs

I'll be adding 5lbs to each lift every single workout until I need to reset. I'll reset twice and then look at doing the advanced novice program from Rippetoe's book Practical Programming.

If you want to learn more about this program, you can read till your eyes bleed about it HERE.

So today I did:

Squat 5 x 3 - 140lbs
Bench Press 5 x 3 - 100lbs
Deadlift 5 x 1 - 250lbs

Ate 5,114 Calories....216grams of fat.....479grams of Carbs.....322grams of protein
% of Calories:
9 Hours of sleep

The first day went well. I enjoyed going shopping today and buying 4 gallons of whole milk as well as a bunch of other food. The lifting wasn't too bad at all. Did feel my low back though...Just got a little tired by the time I did the work set of the deadlift.