Time for a Change in the Gym

On the average week I find myself in the gym five out of seven days. I have a routine that I follow in both the free-weight and cardio sections of the facility. Some days the routine seems a bit monotonous, mentally, but the physical side has been good. I walk out of the gym feeling fatigued and proud of the sheer number of reps I’ve done.

This is where things take a turn. I think my program has run it’s course and is no longer producing the results that I desire. Fortunately, the eight-week weight loss program I’ve been using (a cutting program from JeFit) is just about complete.

While the program was never intended to be a long term solution, I think I’m going to miss it. As of right now I’m down a total of 21 pounds. I suspect that by the end of the week I’ll come in at about 21.5 to 22 total pounds lost. Really, that is pretty good for eight weeks of exercise (17 pounds of which happened in a little over a month).

The cardio program was simply something I came up with on my own. A fifteen minute warm-up session which started out as just running a mile. As that got easier I slowly began increasing the speed but holding the time. Once warmed up I would lift then finish off the session with more cardio at a slower pace. This would range from 30 to 60 minutes depending on the day and how I was feeling.

So, what is the plan for next week? My initial plan was to transition to Stronglifts 5×5 and incorporate some sort of cardio on off days. I read a few reviews and learned that perhaps Wendler’s 5/3/1 program might be better. I shelved the Stronglifts idea and began reading Wendler’s book.

I got about half-way through the book and liked what I read. Simple program, slow progression to building more strength. The accessory exercises are where he began to loose me. Dips, 50 to 100 of them in a session, maybe if I did 10 to 20 sets I could manage that. Chin-Ups, 50 to 100, that just isn’t going to happen no matter how bad I want it.

On a whim I did a quick google search on Stronglifts 5×5 or Wendler 5/3/1 and I came across a review of the Stronglifts program by Powerlifting to Win. The review had some positive things to say but in general it pointed out a variety of issues. At this point I’m not interested in powerlifting but the review gave me pause.

As I finished reading the review there was a piece of information that caught my eye

In all honesty, I just consider StrongLifts 5×5 a far inferior version of Starting Strength. I really don’t understand why anyone would be more attracted to Medhi and his message than the actual science that Rippetoe brings to the table in Starting Strength.

So, Starting Strength is a superior program and it offers more of a scientific approach? That sounds like it would be worthwhile to look into.

Not only did I look into the program, I purchased the Starting Strength ebook. It is still early yet but so far I like what I’m reading. I think Monday is going to be my first workout with Starting Strength. On off days I’ll probably blend in some cardio. Some time on the treadmill, a little rowing, maybe I’ll even give that Jacob’s Ladder a try.

3 comments On Time for a Change in the Gym

  • I have been doing 5×5 or other versions of that 6×3 and 2×8 and so on for the last 18months and have gotten great results. My advice pick a program and stick it with for at least 6 months. It takes time, to see results. You didn’t get the way you were over night so don’t expect to see it change over night. My only other advice I can offer is read a lot about the program you are choosing cause some are not designed to do (outside work) meaning if your program gives you nothing but strength workouts one day, don’t do Cario, stick to the program. You may see early results but over the long haul you may end up doing damage due to over use. These guys who come up with the programs know their shit (most of them anyway) Best of luck… any questions let me know.
    Corey

    • Corey,
      Based on what I’ve been reading about these 5×5 programs, they are linear progression programs meant for beginners. As I understand it, when you stop seeing linear progression, it’s time to change to an intermediate program. 12 weeks or 12 months, progression ends when it ends.

      If a program is going to be so strict that I can’t got for a jog afterwards or on off days then it isn’t a program for me. I want to be exercising five days per week. It isn’t about sending weight loss into hyperdrive, its about being happy because I’m being active.

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