Week 1 on the Hybrid was AWESOME. Day 1 was a 5X5 chest and back day. I was warned 5X5s would take some “getting used to” as I have never followed a program that has such long rest periods between sets. The hardest part was figuring out what was 80-85% of my 1 rep max was as that’s a fairly new concept for me also.  That was the weight I could successfully handle for about 5-6 reps while maintaining correct form. I was also warned it would take a few weeks to really dial in the correct loading (which changes depending on what part of the program you are following) so I’m still getting that figured out, which will be apparent from the number below. :-o

Regarding rest, I’ll agree that after a great set of squats and deads with a BIG weight, you do need all the rest. For me, it was mainly to regain the right mental attitude! Most people, especially women, are used to taking short rests between sets and have not really worked with such a planned program that forces you to work at specific weights, times between sets, etc.

5X5 upper body day

Bench Press:
95 lbs X 4 (ugh! That made me feel totally weak)
85 X 5
85 X 5 (big fight with that last rep)
80 X 5
85 X 5 (regained my attitude)

Thought on the above: I see lots of room for improvement on weight. I’ve benched my own weight (110) for a 1 rep max so am on a mission to improve here! Some guy at the gym admired my “strict form” so that made me feel a little better! Strict form with lower weights beats “heavy” weights with sloppy form any time!

Deadlifts: (one of my favorite exercises, ever)
145 lbs X 5
145 X 4 (ack!)
140 X 5 (dropped weight a touch, but it felt “easy”)
145 X 5 (felt back rounding on last rep. Some guy lent me his fancy brand wrist straps saying it really helped him, but for me it was just another thing to get used to. No thanks for me, at least for now!)
145 X 5 (lost the wrist straps and a perfect set. Way to end!)


Day 2 was a 5×5 lower body day. Totally excited to get this one in, as I love training legs and LOVE the barbell squat.

Barbell Back Squat: (one of my favorite exercises, ever)
125 X 5 (ok too easy. Certainly not 80-85% of a 1 rep max)
135 x 4 (4! 4! That’s it? I think I sat too deep on this one. The power rack pins saved me!)
130 X 5
130 X 5 (regaining my confidence now)
135 X 5 (Yeay! Can’t wait for the next squat day)

Lying Leg Curl:
80 x 4 (grr. Too heavy, bar barely touches butt on last rep)
60 X 8 (grr. Far too easy)
65 X 7 (still too easy)
70 X 5 (ouch, that’s the weight)
70 X 5 (now I know where to start next time!)

Hybrid HIIT Day!
Nothing like an intense, sweaty, heart pumping session to make you feel like you’re really getting in a great workout. It has been months since I stepped on a treadmill so it was like getting reacquainted with an old friend. I decided to follow Will’s suggestion of walking at a medium pace for 5 minutes, and running for 1 and repeating several times, which is more interval training then true HIIT, but I’ll get the HIIT part of the program done as I get used to the overall program.  It took me a couple tries to figure out what my “running” pace was. A 7 minute mile was the number. After 20 minutes, my heart was pumping and I was ready for my squat, chinup, and bench press circuits.

I was disappointed that I could only eke out 12 reps of unassisted chinups, so decided to do pulldowns for sets 2 and 3. Oh well- at least I have a target number to aim for! My trusty gym workout buddy, George said, “why don’t you just use the assisted chinup machine to get to 15?” but as I have learned from Will and crew, assisted machines don’t translate well to actual chins ups, so best to just work on those chins! The circuit truly kicked my butt! By set three on the final set of bench presses, the last rep was a fight!

I finished with 20 minutes on a machine I never ever use…a rowing machine. After I stood up I felt it everywhere, and especially in my glutes. Who knew? My new favorite piece of cardio equipment!

Upperbody Hypertrophy Workout: Memo to self: take more caffeine pre workout:

First of all, those 60 second rest periods were WAY to short! For the most part when I lift, I normally take 2 minutes, so cutting that in half was a real challenge. Plus, I had typically split all my upper body work in the past (i.e., a back day only, or a chest day, etc etc) so getting chest, back, shoulders, bis, and tris all in fried in one hour was a challenge! I had to drop weight all across the board (very humbling for us show -off types), but even so, with more reps and less rest the workout was a battle to the end. And OW!!!: chinups and weighted dips with weight belt were insane! This one guy did clap for me though :) and my upper body was TOAST.  Here’s a pic of me doing some bicep curls.

For Day 4 of the program, I was looking forward to lower body hypertrophy day. Same structure as the upper day (i.e., more reps, less rest) and I started with an exercise I don’t do very often, the front squat.  Body Building Revealed teaches you to be strong from all angles, and although I can carry a much bigger load for a back squat, the front squat is a whole new feeling.  I also did Barbell lunges (NOW I can get more weight on that bar!), Leg extensions, Straight leg deads, Leg curls (that was awesome, my hams were fried from all the high volume work!), and finished with some calf work.  My overall take from today was that I’m still figuring out the appropriate load for this sort of routine, so now I know  that next time, I can strive for more! I left the gym feeling strong.

Well, that’s my first week report of doing this program, and so far, it’s fantastic stuff. Oh and I’m posting a pic of my body on week 1 of the program. After 2 weeks of eating almost 3000 calories (according to FitDay) I’ve gained a whole pound, and so far body fat has remained constant. I’m a work in progress!

Please feel free to leave comments at the bottom.

Can’t wait for the next time!! Time to go eat!

-Sumi Singh is a Personal Trainer in Austin, TX and an online diet coach. Her website is www.shailafitness.com




Sumi Singh is a diet coach, group fitness instructor,  personal trainer in Austin TX, and a mom.  She is an ISSA Certified Sports Nutrition Specialist, holds her personal trainer certifications from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America and the International Fitness Professionals Association, holds a certification in pre-and post-natal exercise, and is a Les Mills Group Fitness Instructor. She writes for her online fitness blog at www.shailafitness.com, and is a contributing author on the BrinkZone.com.


She has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Tufts University and a Masters in Environmental Management from Duke University.  The strong science background gives Sumi a unique edge in being able to separate fitness fads and trends from effective approaches to fitness and nutrition.

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