I developed a casual interest in weightlifting a few years ago. My first set of gear was a cheap bench press and some free dumbbells. Because I generally work out alone, I eventually ended up buying a proper power rack so I could work out safely.
Currently I lift only casually, but I have followed programs such as Stronglifts and Mark Rippetoe’s 3×5. I’ve also had a bit of fun with the occasional bulking diet (4000 kJ shakes just before bed etc.), with interesting and mixed results.
Original bench press and current (mostly set up) power rack.
I ran the Stronglifts program properly for a period of 3 months. Starting as a pretty novice lifter, I achieved (for me) good strength gains, but by the end of the program, the prospect of going to failure multiple times during each workout just became a little too brutal. Near the end I had to drop to 3×5 after repeated failures. Below you can see the raw diary I kept (bit hard to interpret) and a cleaned up spreadsheet version. I did one hour long cardio session each week.
Note these are 3×5 or 1×5 max lifts, one rep max lifts are given next.
|Bench Press||70 kg||90 kg||+20 kg|
|Barbell (Yates) Row||50kg||90kg||+40 kg|
|Overhead Press||30kg||57.5kg||+27.5 kg|
Final One Rep Maxes
- Bench Press: 100 kg (2 plates each side, 225 lb)
Approximate 1 rep max estimates using Eryx 1 rep max calculator:
- Squat: 122 kg
- Overhead press: 64 kg
- Deadlift: 148 kg (3 plates each side, 326 lb)
- Yates Row: 105 kg
Bulking and Cutting Experiments
More for fun than any serious scientific interest, I’ve tried bulking and cutting a couple of times. My “stable” weight for the past 15 years has varied between 70 and 84 kg, at 178 cm tall (5’10”).
- Minimal long duration cardio
- Stronglifts 3 times a week
- Generally increased carb, protein and fat intake
- Protein shakes after each weights workout
- 3000-4000 kJ shake just before bed each night
The first time I tried to bulk, my weight stayed steady for a few months as I stuffed my face with as much food as I could reasonably stomach. Then my weight suddenly started going up, as if my body had taken a while to catch on. I pulled the plug a few weeks after that as the weight gain was so dramatic.
Cutting / Weight Loss Approach
Eat slightly less. Do everything else the same.
Weight loss was slow and steady. I’ve dropped from ~80kg to ~71 kg twice using this “method”.
However, whereas in my late teens and early 20s, 71 kg seemed to be a stable weight, to keep that now in my 30s I would have need to actually try in terms of moderating diet and maintaining exercise.