anders tonfeldt

Resistance training, diet, et cetera
2018-02-05 11:28:30

Today I reached a milestone, I deadlifted my own bodyweight. Unfortunately this is not a positive but a sign of just how far I allowed my body to decay before I decided enough was enough. Let's do a quick history rehash. During my teens I was quite heavily into resistance training, annoyingly I (and those around me) referred to it as bodybuilding which rang very false since none of us actually aimed for bulging muscles. We worked for strength and endurance. I always found this entertaining and it harmonized with my extremely sedentary other hobbies of electronics and computing. I also played amateur rugby, and I do mean amateur. We didn't have referees, no audience beyond those that hoped to see blood and most certainly no dedicated fields. No no, those were reserved for soccer and a wide variety of metrosexual endeavours. Half of the games devolved into straight up melee brawls, so packing on muscle not only helped you win the games, but made sure the other team gave up before yours did, blow for blow.

I was fit in my late teens, strong. Then I began working. Wake up, get to work chair, remain in work chair until lunch, return until off work, go to another chair, drink heavily, stagger to a final chair or bed. Loop. You guys know the drill. Most likely you've been living it for decades now. Busy times. So I put off the most important thing in my life, my body, for the things I thought was the most important things in my life, work. Once I met my fiancee it was just all over. We indulged. Oh my did we indulge. I ballooned up and just didn't care. We were happy.

In my late twenties I realized that enough was enough, I had hit 128kg at a height of 186cm. Something had to give since I started feeling my joints straining. Don't get me wrong, I was still strong since I had kept up at least a rudimentary work out schedule including push-ups and a variety of own body resistance training. But that amount of fat was straight up unhealthy and I knew where it would lead me.

Said and done I began looking into diets. LCHF, low carbs high fat, cropped up on my radar and biologically I realized it would do wonders for me. And it did. I dropped like a rock from 128 to 92kg. Then I lost the will to live. The mere mention of bacon or fat made me gag and I just gave up. Now, you know the saying "it takes time to lose weight and it takes time to put the weight back on". It does. Ultimately it's just calories in, calories out. There are no shortcuts. While I had started paying more attention to my diet once the motivation of losing 30 kilos hit me I just didn't pay enough. Slowly I crept back up to around 100kg.

Next I tried paleo which didn't have any of the benefits of keto but at least I didn't have to eat so much fat. Got myself down to around 92kg again then gave up on that as well. At this point something happened, I don't want to go into it but I realized that a drastic change was in order to solve a variety of health issues that had cropped up. We went vegan and it was.. pretty damn good. I had made jokes about vegans like everyone else so when I found myself being one, albeit not philosophically, and actually enjoyed it. Mind blown. For two years I stuck to a strict version of it and I felt outstanding. Weight was coming off too, eventually I ended up at 76kg and reached an old goal of mine of weighing less than I did when I was 19.

Then issues cropped up. I was unable to stop the weight loss. It felt like I devoured entire rainforests every day yet the weight kept dropping. Once I crossed 70kg I was getting nervous. Anyone who conversed with me at that time will likely remember my vaguely hysterical pondering. At 65kg I reached what I call the "lulwut equilibrium". My BMI was so far into underweight that I had to change and I had to do it now. Fortunately my previous condition had reversed, on its own or due to veganism (still not sure about that) and I could consume a more plentiful range of protein. Annoyingly I had developed a layer of stomach fat that, despite my BMI, covered my once glorious sixpack.

Like a moron I jumped on the opportunity and switched to what is referred to as the "carnivore" diet. It's a ridiculous term since humanity isn't carnivorous anymore. Pathetic to refer to yourself as one when your version of hunting prey is to lumber to the local shop, pick out plastic wrapped decaying scraps of meat that someone else has put in front of you then go home and spice the hell out of it. At best we're scavengers, not carnivores. No matter, I launched myself into that diet with vigor. And I felt like shite. Absolute shite. So I switched yet again to a balanced diet and that's where I am now.

Now then. Did you read all of that? Ah, you skimmed most of it? Fine fine. Let's fast forward to my actual milestone. When I switched to a calorie dense diet I also resumed my old workout routine. It basically boils down to a 5x5 program with several added steps. My weeks look like this.

MON: Barbell squats, overhead barbell press, deadlifts
TUE: Bicycle crunches, stairs to heaven, ab-roll wheel, planks
WED: Barbell squats, bench press, barbell rows
THU: Bicycle crunches, military sit ups, planks
FRI: Barbell squats, overhead barbell press, deadlifts + bicep crunch, french press
SAT+SUN: Rest. Long walks if possible.

MON+WED+FRI is the main routine and they always rotate week to week but remain in that layout. I'm currently considering replacing one of the stomach days with aerobics of some variety and adding.. yoga(?) to the weekend. I just have zero experience with doing either. Anyway, the 5x5 program basically functions like this: every time you complete 5 sets of 5 reps you finish that workout and add 2.5kg to the weight, 5kg for deadlifts, until you hit your absolute maximum and fail in doing 25 reps in total. If you fail then you keep pushing that weight until you do complete it, then you resume adding weights.

Through my entire voyage of weight gains and drops I never realized just how much of my lean muscle mass had been consumed by my body as it was next to starving. I could easily bench far in excess of my bodyweight back in my teens, now it was a struggle to just deadlift it. But I finally hit my goal and I haven't plateaued, I suspect I will be able to continue adding weight until the next goal of 100kg deadlifts. This will be an accomplishment since I've only managed to regain around 7kg of weight, most of it being pure muscle mass, for a total of 72kg.

Now that this epic post is done I will stick to just adding updates of what I can push in each exercise. Felt like I wanted to get this out of my head and on paper.. bits. What a bizarre experience life is. How our priorities get mixed up and muddled. No matter, back on track now. Do you even lift bro? Yes I do.


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