Posted by: draknor | November 17, 2011

Fitness Update

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted a fitness update — too long!

Let’s recap — way back in July I posted about the diet plan I was starting, and I included my initial body metrics.  In early August I posted my initial workout plan.  I gave an update in late August with my diet & work results.

So where am I now, almost 3 months later?!


I switched to using as my food log — wow, I should have given up on my spreadsheets a LONG time ago!  FatSecret has a Calorie Counter Android app, you can save favorite meals, add custom foods — lots of helpful things to make it easier to track your diet.  And because it’s showing you the totals every day, I get that instant feedback about calorie & macro nutrient totals (protein, fat, carbs).

So what am I finding? I’m still averaging 2700 kcals/day!  My original goal had  been 14,000 kcals/week. Here’s how Sept/Oct worked out:

  • Sept 12 – 18 : 17,826 (daily avg = 2547)
  • Sept 19 – 25 : 21,106 (daily avg = 3015)
  • Sept 26-Oct 2: 19,026 (daily avg = 2718)
  • Oct 03 – 09 : 20,340 (daily avg = 2906)
  • Oct 10 – 16 : 17,443 (daily avg = 2492)
  • Oct 17 – 23 : 17,930 (daily avg = 2561)

Which is pretty consistent with my observations from late August.  That pretty much explains why I’m not losing weight (more on metrics at the end of this post).  On the macronutrient front, I’m still not eating nearly enough protein as my goal.  It’s tricky to trend this data long-term out of FatSecret, but just eyeballing it I’m probably averaging around 120 g/day — a far cry from my 180g goal.


This is much more of a success story than the diet side!  As I briefly mentioned in my late August update, in September I started the StrongLifts 5×5 program. You can read more about it (and get the free report!) through that link, but in a nutshell its a great weight-lifting program designed for beginners.  It is:

I started Sept 2011 with the following weights:

  • Squat: 135 lbs
  • Bench Press: 75 lbs
  • Barbell Row: 65 lbs
  • Overhead Press: 65 lbs
  • Deadlift: 135 lbs

From my late August update you’ll recall I had significantly higher 1RM weights, so these lighter weights REALLY felt light, and I had a strong temptation to do more reps or add more weight.  But I resisted — the goal at the beginning is to focus on technique & develop the secondary & supporting muscles.  My personal best in the squat (295 lbs) really is pretty meaningless once I realize I wasn’t going full-range (hips parallel to knees).  I was cheating myself.  I’ll get back to 295 lbs, but when I do my form & technique will be way better and I’ll be much stronger as a result!

After 10 weeks on SL5x5, here’s what I’m up to:

  • Squat: 200 lbs
  • Bench Press: 140 lbs
  • Barbell Row: 105 lbs
  • Overhead Press:105 lbs
  • Deadlift: 225 lbs

It started light, but now its getting serious for me at these weights. I’ve “stalled” (unable to complete 5 sets of 5 full reps) a couple of times on the overhead press & barbell row, and I think I’m within 2 weeks of stalling on the squat & bench press.

The real question is, am I making progress?  I definitely feel like I am, although it’s a little tricky to gauge how much considering I’m doing ~25 reps total at these weights, and my previous workout plan had me building up to 10-15 reps total to set new my personal records.  Maybe before the end of the year I’ll take a week off of 5×5 to set some new 1RM PRs and see where I’m at.

The other important thing to note is that I’ve run 2 marathons during this time!  I completed the Twin Cities Marathon in 4:22 (new PR for me!) and the Haunted Hustle in 5:29 (my friend was the 5:30 pacer so I ran for moral support instead of time).   I took a week off of weight-training after each and also de-loaded my squats by 10% when I resumed, so that’s slowed my lifting progress a bit.  But hey — I ran two marathons in one month (October 2011).  I don’t expect to ever say that again 🙂


My diet has been relatively consistent, my strength-training is progressing, and I ran my butt off last month.  Does it really make any difference?  First let’s look at the numbers:

  • Body Weight: 186 lbs
  • Body Fat:
  • Body Measurements (bottom to top; divide by 2.54 to get inches)
    • Calves (relaxed): 39 cm
    • Thighs (relaxed): 62 cm
    • Butt/pubic bone : 100 cm (widest point)
    • Waist : 85.5 cm (eg boxers waist line)
    • Navel : 84.5 cm (belly at natural position; not sucked in or pushed out)
    • Chest (relaxed) : 98 cm (under arm pits, arms down)
    • Chest (flexed) : 107 cm (under arm pits, arms down)
    • Biceps (flexed) : 33.5 cm
    • Neck (relaxed) : 40 cm
  • Body Physique: photos link
  • Health Stats (Oct 1, 2011):
    • Cholesterol (total): 180
    • HDL: 63
    • LDL: 105
    • Triglycerides: 62
    • Glucose (fasting): 86
    • Blood pressure: no recent test
    • TSH (**): 2.26
(**) TSH — I am hypothyroid and managing this primarily with medication.

If you compare these numbers to my starting numbers in July, you’ll see changes are fairly subtle.  But there are some key differences — lower body fat (based on the online calculator), slightly trimmer butt & waist, noticeably slimmer belly and a larger relaxed chest.

Qualitatively, you can check out the updated photos yourself.  (Note that I used a new off-camera flash so the lighting is way better.)  Again I’m seeing mostly subtle changes, such as increased definition in the upper arms & back.

What’s Next?

I plan to do one more fitness update near the end of year (in about 6 weeks).  On the diet side, I’m losing interest in daily tracking and have pretty much stopped for November. Now that I’m hitting the heavier weights in my SL5x5 I’m really feeling the need for more calories & especially more protein, so I’ll probably go back to a daily protein shake.  Otherwise, I’m not expecting to experience much dietary change.

I’m done running for the year and will focus exclusively on lifting for now.  By the end of the year I’m expecting to have stalled enough on all my lifts  to be switching to 3×5 (following the StrongLifts optimal training program progression)

Long-term, my goal by next summer is to be doing my 1 rep max lifts from Aug 2011  as working sets of 5 reps. And visible abs.  Then I might shave my chest hair to show them off 🙂