Healing The Fatassedness

Hi kids. First a quick info. I’m a 47 year old man who has struggled with - or been too content with - being heavy. All the lame typical excuses, too: desk job with long hours, lousy marriage with binge-eating enabler, blah, blah, blah. I’ve gad access to a gym in one fashion or another most of my life, mostly farting around with machine weights and steady state cardio. It was better than nothing but I was inconsistent and un-enthused.

Last spring (May 2015) I stumbled upon Stronglifts 5x5 on the internet. It piqued my interest -it was so different than anything I had been exposed to by the handful of commercial gym trainers I’ve worked with. It was the first time since college I touched free weights and its simplicity rekindled my enthusiasm. I didn’t start with just the bar, but with weight I could complete the workout with confidence, and was making strength gains quickly…but…about 12 weeks in I started having trouble with my legs. Not pain or typical soreness, just dead. Dead legs. My dogs just wouldn’t move. It would take 20 minutes of light-weight squats just to warm up for my working weight. I needed a new plan. I found a program on bodybuilding.com that had one key lift per day with assistance work afterword (sounding familiar?) I took that structure and tailored my own assistance program to it (based on ReynoldsStrongs lecture on "Judging the Effectiveness of Exercises) and worked and adjusted that.

It looked something like this

Day 1
20-30 min of medium steady state or interval cardio
Squats -warm-up followed by 4x6 of 70% to 85% of my 1RM
Stiff legged deadlifts; kettlebell swings

Day 2 (or 3)
20-30 min of medium steady state or interval cardio
Bench Press -warm-up followed by 4x6 of 70% to 85% of my 1RM
Push ups/Planks then some Dips (at first assisted, now I can do bodyweight)

Day 3
20-30 min of elevated steady state or interval cardio or maybe swim
Or maybe a long ass walk. 4-6 miles long.

Day 4
20-30 min of medium steady state or interval cardio
Dead Lifts-warm-up followed by 3x6 of 70% to 85% of my 1RM
Pendelay Rows; very-much-assisted Pullups and Chinups (Did I mention I check in at 265 lb)

Day 5 (or 6)
20-30 min of medium steady state or interval cardio
Standing Press-warm-up followed by 4x6 of 70% to 85% of my 1RM
Dips; then Pushups/Planks supersets

The problem is I was unsure of my weight volume- how to structure that. Recalled some interest in 5 3 1,
…and started today.

The stats: 47 yo white male 5’ 11" 265 lb
1RMs Squat: 305; Bench Press: 315; Deadlift: 305; Press: 180

Friday, March 11, 2016
Mood is good and optimistic. Gym is pretty empty.

16 min on Elliptical: Incline 6 Level 10 at about 135 steps per min
Bailed early because squat rack opened up


Clean grip reverse lunges
3x5x65 each leg

Stiff legged dead lift

Ketllebell Swings

Good to see you here, man. Looks like you have a plan in place. The specifics are less important than just showing up and putting in good, solid, consistent work for a period of time. Lift, eat well, sleep, repeat, profit.

You might check out the writings of twojarslave, who maintains a log in the Over 35 lifter section (or did…I need to go check on that guy). He also started out as an obese beginner in mid-life and now deadlifts well into the 500’s.


Saturday, March 12

Today I plan a 6.5 mi late afternoon walk to ease out the tightness from leg workout last night. I keep a solid pace up to the turnaround point, but, alas, She-Who-Shall-Be-Obeyed calls from a brewery tap room near the turnaround point with news of the evening’s specials. So, a pleasant 3.25 mi walk.

Sunday, March 13

Start with 20 minutes of intervals on Precor Elliptical.
Med Resistance-Med Speed / Low Resistance-High Speed / High Resistance-Low Speed / Recovery
First in 1 min intervals, then 90 seconds, then back to 1 minute intervals to end.

Bench Press
5 x 115 WU
5 x 140 WU
3 x 170 WU
5 x 185
5 x 215
10 x 240

Planks :40 / 10 Push-ups 4 Sets Each

Intervals for 10 minutes on StairClimber (the one that looks like an escalator)
1 minute on level 4 followed by :30 on level 9, repeat.

BW Dips 2 x 8

Aloha BigJeff68.

Congratulations on getting started and joining the T-Nation family. You won’t find a better product to be using or even a more fabulous group of professionals to help you with your journey.

My journey started with Biotest/T-Nation about 5-years ago and I cannot be more impressed with the results I am seeing.

Don’t be scared to voice your questions here and let people help you out.

A hui ho.

Yeah, ActivitiesGuy, it really is about the big picture, isn’t it. Having numbers and specifics and such just helps my mind stay focused on things like form, and less on the busywork math, and it helps me rationalize doing more rather than doing less. Having a public log -opening up one’s deficiencies/shortcomings (yeah, growth and other victories, too!) out here in front of God and everybody- I think creates a whole new level of accountablity…at least for me.

Monday, March 14, 2016

It’s weird. I expect to go to the gym to find the lifting area over flowing, with it being Monday and all, and everyone wants to start the week off strong, right. I had planned on just doing a long stretch of steady state cardio today, and hitting deads tomorrow… but seeing the squat rack area wide open inspired a change of plans. The one dude on the dead lift deficit box complained about the crowded bench press racks.
Monday. Chest day for all, apparently.

Dead Lifts
5 x 135 WU
5 x 135 WU
5 x 165 WU
5 x 175
5 x 205
9 x 230
5 x 240 Joker Set

Grip became a problem for by 5+ set at 230. Something I’ll definitely need to fix. I wonder if this site has some suggestions? :wink:

Straight to
Pendelay Rows
4 x 6 x 135

Assisted pull/chin-ups
8 pullups with 80lb assist
7 chinups with 70lb assist
3 pullups with 70 lb assist

Two thoughts on grip:

  1. It will naturally improve as you get stronger and keep pulling heavy weights.

  2. There’s nothing really wrong with using straps to deadlift if you’re a non-competitive lifter who just wants to be strong and use lifting as a tool for better body composition. If grip holds you back from handling a heavier weight, you’re limiting the work you can milk out of your back/legs. Just a thought. You can always walk the middle ground - do the majority of your workout un-strapped but strap up for your top set.

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Tuesday, March 15

Steady State Cardio
45 Minutes on Elliptical. Level 10 135 Strides per minute

Et tu Precor?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Military (Standing) Press
5 x 65 WU
5 x 80 WU
5 x 95 WU
5 x 105
5 x 120
10 x 140
5 x 145 Joker Set
5 x 155 Joker Set

3 x 8 Dips

10 Minutes Intervals on Spin Bike
First time on one and discovered after the first high interval section that there is no “coasting” on those f***ing things. Damn near bounced my ass through the window. And since I’m braindead during workouts, it took me three times nearly getting bucked off the bike to learn not to do that.

2 x 1 min planks. Was genuinely trying for 2 minutes but spent shoulders were my Waterloo.

Friday, March 18, 2016
5 x 135 WU
5 x 140 WU
5 x 165 WU
3 x 195
3 x 220
7 x 250
3 x 265 Joker Set
Took video of my last 2 regular sets, and reviewed…as suspected I’m barely dropping down to parallel, sometimes coming up a little short on some reps. Hip and ankle mobility appear to be the issue as it feels as if I am ‘hitting bottom’ during the lift.

Stiff-legged deadlifts 3 x 8 @155
Clean Grip Reverse lunges 3 x 5 each leg -Bar only. My balance sucks too.
Kettle Bell Swings 30lb. 3 x 15 30lb are the heaviest my gym supplies.

Sunday, March 20, 2016
20 minutes steady state cardio. Precor Elliptical. Resistance 10, 130 strides per min

Bench Press
5 x 115 WU
5 x 140 WU
5 x 170 WU
3 x 205
3 x 225
9 x 255
3 x 270 Joker Set

Planks 1:30; :45 :45
Pushups 15, 15, 12

Suitcase Carries
70lb 20m x 3 each hand separately

C1 W2 D3

Monday, March 21, 2016

5 x 135 WU
5 X 135 WU
5 x 165 WU
3 x 195
3 x 215
10 x 245
3 x 255 Joker Set
1 x 275 Joker Set fail

Used my shiny new straps on the 3+ set (on the advice of ActivitiesGuy, thnx)
then lost them for the Joker sets.

Pendelay Rows
3 x 8 x 135

Kettlebell Swings
3 x 15 x 30lb

with 85 lb assistance
8 pulls / 7 chins / 5 pulls / 5 chins

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

15 Minutes Intervals on Star Trac Stairclimber
After 4 min warmup 30 sec on level 12 (110 steps per min) with 60 sec recovery at 45 spm
which made for 7 “sprints”

20 min steady state cardio on elliptical level 10 @ 130 strides per min

10 min sprint intervals on spin bike 30 sec to 60 sec ratio.

Thursday, March 24, 2016
Military Press
5 x 65 WU
5 x 80 WU
5 x 95 WU
3 x 115
3 x 130
11 x 145
3 x 150 Joker set
3 x 160 Joker set

3 x 10

Pallof press
2 x10 @ 30 each side

10 min interval sprints on Star Trac Stairclimber
My first sprint I jumped to about 135 steps per minute and it was too much. I only got 3 more 30 sec sprints in at 110 spm, then came to the realization that a 5th sprint could put me over the hurl threshold - with no garbage can to barf in nearby.

I’ve been pleased that since the new year I’ve been injury free - 2 weeks on 5 3 1 plus the 5 or 6 weeks preceding doing a similar workout. I may have screwed that up today. During my 3rd set of dips I may have lost my form grinding the last few out, and aggravated my sternum in the process.

My sternum is still tender from yesterday’s dips faux pas, but I still felt confident I could grind out leg day; trunk pain be damned.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Bar x a bunch
5 x 135 WU
5 x 165 WU
3 x 185 WU
5 x 205
3 x 235
6 x 260
1 x 275 Joker
1 x 285 Joker
1 x 300 Joker
1 x 315 new PR. Seriously.

A weeks worth of 3rd World squats at my desk helped the depth issues I had last Friday. More attention to my footwork worked wonders too. I prepared for my first light warmup set with the same attention I would give my heavy last sets - it made a massive difference at the end of the day.

Stiff legged dead lifts
3 x 8 x 155

Kettle Bell Swings
5 x10 x 30

with 85lb assistance
Using 4 different grip options (Wide/Wide Parallel/Palms in/Narrow Parallel)

C1 W3 D2

Monday, March 28, 2016

Sternum is mostly healed, pain only when I turn trunk in an unnatural position/manner.

Bench Press
5 x 135
5 x 165
5 x 185
5 x 215
3 x 240
7 x 270
1 x 305 Joker Set
1 x 325 New PR

Planks 4 x :40
Pushups 4 x 10

10 minutes intervals on Star Trac StairClimber
:30 on level 12, 60sec recovery level 4
Need some serious improvement in this category.

Wednesday, March 30

C1 W3 D3

Dead Lift
1x285 JS
1x305 JS

Front Squats (first try ever at this)

Someone walked off with the 30# kettlebells (the heaviest at my gym) so no KBS

10 minutes intervals on spin bike. 10- :15 sprints with :45 recovery.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

C1 W3 D4

5 x 65 WU
5 x 80 WU
5 x 95 WU
5 x 120
3 x 140
9 x 155
1 x 170 JS
1 x 185 New PR

A week since I tweaked my sternum doing dips, first time back since…
50 Dips, half unassisted; the rest 55# assistance

7 x 5 Chins/pulls - 4 different grips with 100# assistance

Saturday, April 2, 2016

C1 W4 D1 BW 267.8, about 4# heavier than last week.

20 minutes steady state cardio

De-load week

It took longer for me to get an open rack than it did to complete the 3 sets. Even with the light weight I was diligent about set-up, form, and depth.

10 minutes intervals on precor bike, 3:30 at higher resistance and speed, 6:30 in recovery speed/effort

Sunday, April 3, 2016

C1 W4 D2

De-load Week

5 x 115
5 x 140
5 x 170

No, dude. I really don’t need a spot today. Thanks.
I’m sure, bro. That pause at the bottom is by design.

24 minutes steady state cardio. Elliptical. Pirates-Cards game was on the monitor.

NEW MANEUVER!: Hanging Straight Leg Raises. Managed 4 sets of 5. Maybe I’ll try the bent knee version first and work my way up.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

C1 W4 D3

De-load Week Con’t

5 x 135 (jump from 115, didn’t feel like exchanging 45# plates for 35# plates)
5 x 135
5 x 165

24 minutes steady state cardio. Elliptical.

Hanging leg raises. 5 x 5

Found a mild hill. 8-ish% Grade (This is the San Joaquin Valley for christsakes)
Did 6 40yd sprints.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

C1 W4 D4

De-load week finale

5 x 65
5 x 80
5 x 95

1 mile run in 12 minutes. Technically, I think they call that a ‘trot’.

Cycle 1 complete.

Friday, April 8, 2016

C2 W1 D1 BW 267.6

Squats TM: 284
5 x 115 wu
5 x 140 wu
5 x 170 wu
5 x 185
5 x 215
9 x 245

5 x 10 x 155 Stiff legged dead lifts

5 x 15 x 30 Kettlebell Swings

Keiser spin bike sprints

10 x :15 sprints at level 17 (over 110 rpm) with :45 sec recovery