It’s only week 1 for me on Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 Program, billed as: “The Simplest and Most Effective Training System for Raw Strength” and I’m already having a blast. Course, if you know me, it doesn’t take much to get me excited about barbell training, but the combination of simple, effective, and raw strength sealed the deal for me. As a mom juggling two jobs, a simple, efficient, and effective training program is the only kind of training I really have the time for. In addition, 5/3/1 lines up perfectly with my goals, to get stronger in the big lifts: squats, deadlifts, bench press, and overhead press (OHP). And although the program enjoys plenty of popularity among powerlifters who use Wendler’s 5/3/1/ program to prepare for meets. I see absolutely no reason why I can’t try it! In fact, I’ve always admired the brawny powerlifting culture: it’s somewhat hidden from public view, but full of heart.
I’m often asked about my Body Building Revealed (BBR) Program, and I’ll send them to the sales related page which has a full description of what the program is all about. The problem is, BBR contains so much info and so many resources for those looking to change their physique, even describing it takes up a lot of space! I decided to make a brief but very specific vid that gets right to the heart of what BBR is all about.
Per a prior vid using some of the same tools (TRX), I decided to do a new vid with more details on how to get an effective workout at home using simple tools, such as a TRX Trainer, SandBags, etc. For me, this type of workout is more a supplement to what I do in the gym, outside, etc, but it’s a perfectly good workout for many, depending on your goals, etc. People are always looking for new whiz bang fancy program or piece of equipment, etc when they can get a better workout using a simple program using these tools.
If you want more information on TRX, sandbags, etc, see the Recommended Products section of the site.
I’ve always wondered just how it is those fitness models and figure competitors get so darn lean for photos and competitions.
I recognize there’s a lot of photo editing that does go on to get models looking so perfect for covers (see here: but for those gals that do decide to compete in a teensy weensy bikini, there’s not much “editing” they can do, other than to look their best, after all that diet, preparation, training, posing, tanning, etc etc.
In preparation for an upcoming photo shoot, I put myself through a temporary “cut” to drop some body fat and look leaner for the pics (more shredded, ripped, etc).
The Importance Of Proper Program Design A.K.A “Why Your Workouts Sucks!”
This vid is a general commentary on the macro reasons people fail to make progress in the gym. Various articles here on the BrinkZone, such as The Mistake of Linear Program Design and Study Shows Best Way To Train? by yours truly – and other authors – go into more depth and detail on topics such as the importance of periodization, de-loading, etc. My ebooks also go into depth on how to optimize training to get the results you want by avoiding the major mistakes most people make in their program design, if they have any real design to begin with…
The Functional Range Day!
For training that improves both the ability to shoot under physical stress and General Physical Preparedness (GPP)/conditioning, I will have what I call a functional range day. The functional range day, combines functional whole body exercises – using easy to find and transport implements – combined with shooting. I tend to use a level of resistance that’s more toward conditioning* but if I were to stack 3-4 45lb plates, or rocks, or chains, etc onto the sled, use the 120+lb sand bag I have, etc, the intensity levels go up real fast.
Alright, let’s get right into the good stuff- changes in body stats and strength gains. At the start of the program I weighed slightly over 111 lbs. Flashforward to now, I’m almost 118. I’ve gained 6 1/2 lbs, 6 of which is lean body mass. I’ve gained 0.4 lbs of body fat, but my body fat as a percentage of my total weight has actually gone DOWN. I’ve tracked my strength gains consistently over the past few weeks on this blog, but to pick a couple I’m proud of, at the start of Hybrid, I was benching 85 lbs for my 5X5 day; at the end of the program I’m at 115 for 5 reps. For semistiff leg deadlifts, I was pulling 135 lbs, and now, I can do 155 lbs. There are lots and lots of examples of the strength gains (during 6X6 days and Hypertrophy days) I’ve made over the 12 weeks on this blog, and those gains along with the 6 lbs of LBM are a fantastic accomplishment. I’ve worked HARD!
Although this is the final week of the Hybrid program, I’m by no means done with my bodybuilding project. After this, I’m cutting cals temporarily for a photo shoot, and am back on track. It wouldn’t be fair to the structure of a great bodybuilding program like Hybrid to operate on anything but a caloric surplus. I’m using the awesome guidance in Will’s other E-book, Fat Loss Revealed—there’s a chapter dedicated to advanced fat loss techniques for the already lean. My goal for 2010 is to keep packing on LBM, and though I recognize that’s a tall order for us gals, it’s by no means impossible, and I’m always down for a challenge. Plus it’s been good fun to share my experiences with friends, BBR moderators, and members.
Time flies when you’re having fun. Hard to believe it’s week 11 already. I’m so happy with all the progress I’ve made on Hybrid (weight gain and strength gain) and can’t stress enough that the variety of routines here is the beauty of the program. Every week it’s a new chance to get stronger, try out a new twist, learn from other BBR members, and enjoy bodybuilding. After the program is over I want to do a fun little photo shoot- and I can share the before and after pics here.
It’s week 10 on the program and I’m making strides in the majority of my upper body lifts. Oddly enough, my weight is back to almost 118, so whatever weight I lost is back.
This week is hypertrophy week, one of my favorite kinds of weeks, because the workout is hard, fast, efficient, and fun. My last hypertrophy week was only 2 weeks ago (week eight), so rather than do the exact same routine, I switch it up a bit to keep my muscles guessing.
Here’s one proud moment: for the flat bench press, I’m doing 80 lbs for 3 sets for 10 reps. Going back to my very first week on Hybrid, I could only do 5 reps for 85 lbs for my 5X5 day so I’m doing double the amount of reps for a nearly identical weight for 10 reps and a far shorter rest period.
I’m also stroking the 50 lb DBs for one arm rows for 8 reps, again, a weight that I was only able to do for a 5X5 day. For the body weight exercises (unassisted dips and pullups)
I’m getting fewer than 8 reps (6,5,6 for 3 sets of dips and 6,5,4 for pullups) but I truly value the importance of the body weight exercises and am getting as many as I can with clean form. I see an improvement in lat pulldowns (100 lbs for 3 sets of eight) and bicep curls (12 reps by 45 lbs using the Olympic bar.
So a funny thing happened in Week 9. My weight gain has stalled (and even dropped a little) and I’m back in the 116-117 range. I’m not doing anything different with the meal plan, and my strength gains are consistent so it could be a factor of the heat (it’s hot, hot, hot here!) or water retention, or something (like being a woman). My 9 point caliper test also show that my body fat has gone up a bit in the past month (by 1 % point, from 15% to 16%) and I’ve gained less than 1 lb of lean muscle mass since my last pinch. Not the results I was hoping for, especially since at my last pinch, I had gained 4 lbs of lean muscle mass, which is not an easy thing to do for a women, and in such a short period of time.