On Monday, October 24, 2016, I start my new training regime and I’m very excited because I haven’t had a training plan in a while. Lately I’ve just been going through the motions at the gym, with goals in mind but no real plan on how to get there.

The 100 Day Challenge, which I am now 30 days into, requires you to write out three goals to work on, and like most people fitness was one of those goals. I was specific about my goals which I have outlined below, but I definitely wasn’t specific about how I was going to get there. My action plan consisted of ‘workout at least 3 days a week’.  With all that I’ve learned about goal setting I knew that wasn’t going to cut it so I got my act together and came up with a real plan.

Here are my goals with a revised and more specific action plan.

MY FITNESS GOALS
Goal #1. Increase strength in the following foundational movements by 25%
Action Plan: Follow the 5 x 5 Strong Lifts Program

  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Bench Press
  • Overhead Press
  • Barbell Row

Goal #2. Perform 10 consecutive pull ups
Action Plan: Follow Fighter Pull Up Program

Goal #3. Perform a freestanding handstand for 5 seconds minimum
Action Plan: Doing a handstand progression program given to my by a trainer at my gym.

Goal #4. Get down to 140lbs and 18% body fat
Action Plan: Eating clean, and being consistent with my strength training program, I really don’t plan on doing too much in the way of cardio.

My 100 Day Challenge finishes around January 4th and I really believe I can reach all of these goals by then. WISH ME LUCK!

In this post those I’m only going to focus on, Goal #1. Increase strength by 25%. The reason my strength goals are so important is because I noticed that in my life I had the best results physique wise with heavy lifting, also because whenever I stopped lifting is when I had the most joint injuries, so I really feel the importance of being strong in foundational compound exercises. I’m getting older so I care about things like not throwing my back out when I throw a ball or popping a knee just going down a flight of stairs (yes both of these things have happened to me during times where I wasn’t training).  I just want a strong body to enjoy whatever activity I choose to engage in injury free and with ease, all while looking great, is that too much to ask?

 BACK TO BASICS WITH THE 5 X 5 STRONGLIFTS PROGRAM
What is the 5 x 5 stronglifts program you ask? Well I’m going to tell you even if you didn’t.  The 5 x 5 is a simple, effective program for gaining strength, building muscle and burning fat. The program consists of the five exercises I referenced in Goal #,1 divided into two workouts; Workout A and B.  I’m supposed to alternate between the two workouts either three or four days a week as long as I rest in between the workouts.  I usually do active rest such as some calisthenic work or yoga.

Here is an example of week 1 in the stronglifts program:

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-23-14-16

You start the program using relatively low weights, the program recommends you start with half of whatever your 5 rep max is in all of the exercises, or if you’ve never lifted before you could start with just an empty bar, but don’t worry it gets challenging real fast because with this program you add 5lbs of weight every for each consecutive workout.

gym-in-combats-2
60lb Front squat. Forgot my gym shoes had to do it my combats 🙂

But this is just a brief overview of the program, if you have more than just a passing interest in this program I highly suggest that you check out www.stronglifts.com where all your questions will be answered.

TRACKING PROGRESS
I believe the saying is: “What is measured improves.”  So don’t forget to track your progress by writing down your numbers every workout, and taking pictures.  Or even better use the very convenient 5×5 stronglifts app.  It cost me less than $15 to have this easy to use app to track what weight you are at, and to store your progress.  You can sync it to AppleHealth but I have no idea how to do that.

DISCLAIMER
Okay I know, no one does this but you should probably check with your physician before starting a new program.  Proper form and safety should always be priority one at the gym, but it applies EVEN MORE when you are lifting heavy because the potential for injury is so high, so please make sure you have form for all of the exercises down pat before attempting this program.

Have you tried the 5 x 5 workout? What were your results?

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