I've been hanging out here for a while now so I thought it was time i posted a journal.
a bit of b/g on me, I'm 40 yrs old, about 5'6" tall, and about 171lbs as of today. i've been training on and off for about 20 years. I started dinking around with weights in my buddies basement, got bit by the "iron bug" and joined a gym soon after that. I trained using routines out of muscle mags and basically went nowhere as far as gaining any size or strength at all. I didnt know shit about training, diet, or recovery and stayed at a measely 125-130lbs for years. my first taste of progress came after I bought Ellington Dardens HIT book "Massive Muscles in 10 Weeks". This was an eye-opener as far as stressing the need for hard training, proper nutrition, proper rest, etc, etc. I did the routines with a friend at home and got up to about 140lbs. Although my strength still sucked ass, i was basically sold on HIT after that. Sometime afterwards life and other interests intervened and my training was very sporadic at best for the next several years. By the time i was 30 i was back down to 130lbs, so i decided to get back to serious training, this time using the HIT routines and principals from my favorite BBer, Dorian Yates. At first i did well gaining back all the weigh I lost and eventually getting up to about 150lbs. My strength was still pretty lame, especially on the bench press but I figured it would come in time. We were using a lot of forced reps and drop-sets and the training was brutal and after a time i burned out and progress came to a halt. i started frequently changing exercises, training days, etc ,etc, in the hopes that i would somehow find the "magic formula" that would make my progress pick up again. After about 2 years of that i decided to go to Yate's original source and this is what finally led me to Mike Mentzer and his "Heavy Duty" training theory. Everything I read in Mike's books seemed to answer all my questions about WHY i was not progressing. I immediately started employing his principals and once again, saw some decent progress for a while but it was always short-lived. I was progessively lowering volume and frequency until i got to the point in summer of 2006 to where i was doing only 1-3 sets every 7-10 days. i had gotten as heavy as 168lbs in summer of 2004 but way too much of it was fat. i looked and felt like shit and my strength still sucked! it seemed I could either stay as i was or get fatter, but gaining muscular bodyweight was damn near impossible!
Throughout 2006 i had been a pretty active member at a HIT forum and, thanks to a few of the ex-HITers that hung out there, was exposed to a lot of different ideas about training, most of which i had never heard of, never read in muscle mags and certainly never read in any HIT book. After a lot of reading, thinking, debating and discussion i finally decided that HIT and HD was the friggin' BUNK and ditched it! It wasnt easy for me because up to that point, even though my progress was fairly lame and even though i was sick to death of busting a gut training to failure and beyond and being sore all the time with so little to show for it, i was totally convinced that the "theory" behind heavy Duty was sound and that, once again, I just needed to find the optimum application of it!
i didnt get much help from the HIT zealots either. they were telling me things like this:
"you're just not doing it right!"
"You need more rest days"
"You dont train hard enough!"
"you just dont understand the theory"
"you have shitty genetics"
and blah blah blah . . .
anyway, when the dust settled after 5 years of using the "one and only valid theory of anaerobic exercise" I still couldn't bench even close to my own bodyweight, had never even cracked the 14" arm barrier, was in super piss-poor condition and in danger of becoming a fatty-bumba-latty as well!
Thanks to sources like Madcow, Mark Rippetoe and "Jeff" from the HIT forum (who recently joind this forum as "Jeffo") I moved onto some genuine science-based strength training and have made more progress since Jan of this year than in pretty much all other years combined. it's been a great learning process and even though i've had a few setbacks because of a bum knee (i can't squat anymore), i am enjoying my training more than ever and seeing fairly steady results! The mere fact that after so many years of HIT training that i was able to start back with a novice program and do well with it is testament enough to the severe deconditioning effects of long-term extreme low volume/low frequency junk like HD.
anyway enough of my bitching, lol!
here's a list of my best lifts to date (hold the applause!)
Bench- 152.5lbs for 3 sets of 5
T-bar rows- 182.5lbs for 3 sets of 5 (did that tonight)
OH press- 107lbs for 1 set of 5 (also tonight)
Deadlift- 270lbs for 1 set of 5 (tonight)
Chins-b/w plus added weight totalled 183lbs for 3 sets of 5
and here's my current setup, sets x reps:
Bench- 3 x 5
Chins- 3 x 5
Lying Tricep ext.- 2 x 12
EZ bar curl- 2 x 12
Situps- 2 x 12
Hanging Knee raises- 1 x 12
T-bar Rows- 3 x 5
OH press- 3 x 5
DL- 1 x 5
DB Shrug- 2 x 12
Inlcine lateral Raise- 2 x 12
the "beach" work was only added recently to stave off boredom and give some variety to the sessions, especially now that i am not squatting. i am keeping intensity low and volume higher on those so as not to interfere with the main lifts.
When i began this in Jan i weighed 152lbs, had 21" thighs and a 13 and 5/8" right arm.
as of now i weigh about 171lbs, thighs measure over 23" and right arm measures 14 and 7/8". my waist has increased somehwta but not overly so and i dont exspect to maintain 4% b/f while bulking anyway.
i had actually gotten up to 174lbs but the last 2 months have been very heavy with work and other commitments and sadly my eating and training has taken a hit (not a "HIT" though, lol) i also had to cut back to training every 72 hours as opposed to the previous mon-wed-fri schedule.
things are starting to quiet down now so it's time to get back to serious training and eating (i'm already back in "PR" territory on most of the lifts so that's always a good motivator!) I'm hoping to reach about 185lbs by the end of April 2008 after which i'll go on my first fat-loss diet and see where I end up (aiming for a lean 172-175lbs),
then I'll begin another bulking phase towards the end of summer 2008.
one other thing of note is that up to now all my training has been linear, with increases almost every session except for a couple of "back-off" periods, but i am quite certain that it wont be long before i need to start varying the workload using something like the Texas Method. the sessions are getting harder and harder and i am working at or very near my 5RM on the main lifts. I figure if i can milk another month out of this linear stuff I'll be lucky!
anyway i think that just about covers it and it's probably way more than you would ever want to know anyway
thanks for reading!