Now that I’ve got access to a gym in the backyard of my new place, I’ve been able to do barbell workouts four times a week for the last three weeks. For the first week I was unstructured and just learning to lift, but the last couple weeks I’ve been reading Starting Strength and following it’s starting plan, which focuses on five core lifts: squat, bench press, press, deadlift and power clean.
Lifting the barbell is a tonne of fun, and it’s been great for developing overall strength. I’ve been supporting the lifting by trying to get in as many calories a day as I can, I’m shooting for 4,000 a day, but probably falling short of that half the time. It’s hard to eat that much food while still eating clean. My record is 4 lbs of potatoes in one meal (1500 calories), which is about my limit without feeling overstuffed. I’ll usually follow that up with a pound of salmon (1500 calories) and half a dozen eggs (300 calories) and then make up the rest in butter, coconut oil, blueberries, apples, pears and green veggies.
When you’re first getting into lifting, it’s really cool to be able to make new personal records in at least one lift every day. Of course this won’t last forever, but so far it’s been steady progess – I would have thought I would have started to stall out already, but every time I go into the gym the previous weight I was lifting at feels a lot lighter. I started at 120 lb squat, 80 pound bench press, 60 pound press, 180 pound deadlift and didn’t know how to do the power lift. Now three weeks later I’m at 165 lb squat, 110 pound bench, 70 pound press, 235 pound deadlift and 100 lb power clean – which I’m still getting the hang of. By the end of this week I should be able to squat my body weight — 170 lbs or maybe 175 lbs I’ve probably put on a couple pounds in the last couple weeks with my aggressive eating. Then my next milestone will be able to deadlift 1.5 times my body weight, at 255 lbs. All of these are Starting Strength targets, where I can complete 3 sets of 5 repetitions, with the exception of the deadlift where I only do one set.
Comparatively, these are still fairly light barbell lifts, it will be interesting to see how many gains I can make in the next few months. I did a simple set of 20 kettlebell swings with a 24 kg bell at the end of todays workout, and was pleased with how much lighter the 24 kg bell is starting to feel. A year ago this weight was completely intimidating and beyond my control. Now I feel like it’s an appropriate weight for intermediate kettlebell moves like the bottoms-up clean and flipping the bell. I haven’t hit the kettlebells hard since the spring though, since I spent all summer doing cardio on the mountain bike. The barbell workouts have been much gentler than the metabolic conditioning onslaught a kettlebell workout, which is good because then I have time for a longer stretching on foam rolling session after the workout.