2012 will be remembered as the year I took control of my health, not allowing Big Pharma or the medical establishment to dictate what I need to make me healthy. While these were some very big steps, the changes and improvements I have seen in my health have been nothing short of amazing! In 2011 I was told I could not lower my cholesterol without the use the medication. A year later, I have a TC of 130 and saw a 134 point decrease off my high of 264 mg/dL. All these positive changes thanks in part to Dr. John McDougall and his program to dynamic health.

The journey to recapture my health didn’t stop after a year. In January I began working out in my garage using our Bowflex Revolution. Never having lifted weights I felt this would help me learn a routine as I looked to gain strength and muscle. After 4 months I was bored with the same split routine I had been doing and decided to check out the local gym, Diamond Hills Sports Club in Oakley.

In May I signed myself, my wife and aunt up at the gym and then started looking for exercises in order to do achieve my goals; adding strength and muscle. Thanks in part to a co-worker who lives near me, we started working out together. He had been into weight lifting for years, not naturally, but using him as my mentor did allow me to learn his split routines for different muscle groups and provide me a partner to lift with, who always seemed to help me push out another rep or achieve a higher weight.

Unfortunately some 5 months later I had little to show for all the work I was doing. I had been taking photographs and recording body measurements for my records. Yet every time I compared monthly images I was left shaking my head wondering when the change was going to happen. Maybe I did need to add supplements to my diet. I started looking on the Internet for different exercises and the health ramifications for using supplements. In September I lost my training partner, as he passed away due to heart complications. This left me in a bind, as I felt I had no real direction and started lacking progress when I went to work out at the gym.

Thanks to a Google search I came upon Stronglifts 5X5 and I was intrigued but skeptical by the claims that Mehdi Hadim was making on his web site. I decided to order his free 5×5 report. I started reading the report and more importantly some of the success stories including in the report. I viewed a few of the videos Mehdi had recorded of himself doing one of the 5×5 routines. I am excited at the prospect of using this program to gain much needed strength and build muscle while decreasing my body fat closer to 11%.

I started reading up on exercises; squat, bench press, barbell rows, overhead press and deadlifts. None of the moves did I ever do with my training partner. So learning to do each move correctly and safely was my first concern. I continued reading the information and watching videos on each of the exercises I would be stating with; squat, bench press and barbell rows. Since I had never lifted free weights with any regularity I decided to start the squat and bench press with an empty bar (45 lbs.) and a barbell row of 65 lbs.

My initial goals were set based on Stronglifts 5×5 12-week program. At the end of this period I will be lifting weights I never though imaginable, especially more now that I am 43 years old. The goal of this program is centered around building strength by adding weight (as little as 5 lbs) to each exercise each time you do it. Starting off with am empty bar has allowed me to make bigger advances, but I am keeping the gains modest so I don’t get into a deload (offloading weight) situation before the end of my 12 weeks.

My 12 weeks weight goals:

Squat: 220 lbs (100 kg)
Starting weight: 45 lbs
Total Gain: +175 lbs

Bench Press: 135 lbs (61 kg)
Starting Weight: 45 lbs
Total Gain: +90 lbs

Overhead Press: 135 lbs (61 kg)
Starting Weight: 45 lbs
Total Gain: +90 lbs

Barbell Row: 150 lbs (68 kg)
Starting Weight: 65 lbs
Total Gain: +85 lbs

Deadlift: 300 lbs (136 kg)
Starting Weight: 90 lbs
Total Gain: +210 lbs

If all goes as planned I should see 650 lbs gain in total weight lifted over the 12 week period. There is a good chance I will exceed some of theses, for example the bench press and overhead press. I have set my deadlift goal at 300 lbs, which is a bit heavier than what the 12 week programs lays out.


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