I want to share a great email I received from a member here at Weight Lifting Complete.
He took the time to share more about himself and his results, and I really appreciate that. Learning about how you are doing and how you're going about it can really help everyone.
This is why I decided to share this email with everyone. Hope this helps all of you out there.
Here's the Email I Received
This is my first time emailing you but I have been actually following your program for about five weeks now. I will be the first to admit that I’m not following everything word for word, but I am improving in every facet of my life with better eating habits, working out, and reading the Bible on a daily basis, and I give you all the credit in the world for helping me out and guiding me in the right direction. I’m not trying to become a body builder or anything but would like a more lean muscular look and I want to become more healthy so I can enjoy as much life with my children and wife as possible. I haven’t been following your program perfectly but it’s a fresh start for me and I’m pretty proud of where I am versus 5 weeks ago.
Just to give you a little background about myself I am a 38 year old male with three children and a wonderful wife. I have 2 boys that are 13 and 8 and a 18 month old daughter. The 18 month old is my inspiration for starting to work out, eating healthy and just trying to get in better health. I’m a very active person at home and at my job but having looked my body type up on the internet I’m what you label as “skinny-fat” meaning I have skinny arms and legs and a large gut. I started out weighing 190lbs and since started with your program have dropped down to an even 180 and this was in the first month of just eating better and not really working out, as I was trying to do things in stages, start out eating good and then start working out. My gut has gone down some and the most important thing is that I feel better not eating un-healthy anymore. I completely cut out fast food, and no more sodas, which was my arch nemesis. I’m also not a big vegie eater but have been trying different vegies in efforts to try and get better. I don’t completely eat organic or whole foods but I do at least try and when my family and I go out to eat I have been making better choices. My wife is a huge help as she has always eaten well but is trying even harder now that she is trying to lose the “baby fat” from our last child so she is a big help and good inspiration as far as the food aspect goes, and like with this whole deal I will try and get better.
I read the entire WLC manual and then read the BIG Time program and decided this would be a good place to start. Well although I am continuing to eat healthy as I have for the past 8 weeks, I’m pretty certain I’m not eating the required protein in order to fully get the most out of your plan but I do try and eat as much as I can. I also don’t measure myself except for my weight, I don’t count calories, or any of my food intake but it’s something I plan to try and start doing with my next program , I do drink tons of water, I have definitely increased my protein intake and I am making smart healthy decisions with the food I am eating.
I’m just going to be perfectly honest with you and tell you the workout strategy I have imposed on myself. Initially I started out exactly as the Big Time workout proposed. For the First two weeks I followed the workout plan exactly as I understood it, working out 3x weekly increasing my weight increments by 5 pounds every workout for every exercise and doing 3×5 sets on everything except chin-ups and dips in which I’m doing 3×8 with bands to help. For example: since squats are included in every workout I increase the weight by 5 pounds every time I do squats. I started out with the 40lbs on all my workouts for every exercise except deadlifts which I started out with 90lbs and I also did cardio 2x weekly in between the weight lifting days with 2 days’ rest. Well after two weeks I read an email you wrote (I can’t remember from where) but it was to a guy who described himself similar to my situation and you proposed a 5×5 workout with no cardio because he was not trying to lose much weight. So I decided to take that workout and go with it and have been doing it for the past 3 weeks. Currently I’m not doing cardio and have been doing a 5×5 workout except chin-ups and dips which I still do 3×8 sets. I haven’t yet stopped using the bands to complete the chin-ups and dips but I am using lighter bands when I can finally do 3 full sets of eight I move down to a lighter band. I also have not stalled on any exercise yet except for chin-ups and dips but when I do stall I keep trying with that particular band until I get 3 sets of 8 and then move to the next lighter band. I bought a set of 5 bands and I’m currently on the 2nd to last band for chin-ups and the last band for dips. I feel like this is working as I feel like I’m getting stronger but wonder if I’m on the right path as I have read some of your other plans and you say to get a full set of 8 then go to the next band or start adding weights, not 3 sets of eight. Also I wonder if 5×5 is ok even though you said to start with 3×5. I have also watched every video multiple times for doing the 7 core exercises correctly and feel like I’m doing good in this aspect, but I will continue to try and improve on this as well.
Anyways I know this is a long email and I’m sure you have tons of these so I’m going to try and get straight to the point. My plan is to keep doing this workout until the 8 weeks is up which is in three weeks and then celebrate my first 8 weeks of working out by taking a week off, I know it’s not anything near like you designed but I’m working to get better every day and don’t want to back track now and start doing 3×5 since I have been doing 5×5 on everything . Then I plan to start a new program. I have been looking into the Level 1.1 Base 3×5 full body strength specific training program but wonder if this is the right way to go. I can’t wait to start my next program and hope you can guide me in the right direction. If the Level 1.1 is the best way to go can you explain the table for increasing the weight. Say I start out with 45lbs this time instead of 40 as I started with this time, it says 2.5% of 45lbs is 1.13 so what should my next lift be at if I completed the whole 3×5 sets for a specific workout; 41.13lbs rounded up would be 45lbs is that correct? Or are you saying to multiply 45lbs times 1.13 which is 50.85 so my next weight would be 50lbs if I rounded down to 50??? I’m just a little confused by that. My last 2 questions and I promise I will end this long email : Say that you propose me doing the Level 1.1 Base 3×5 full body program for my next workout, should I be incorporating cardio in this workout, am I hurting my attempt at building muscle by doing cardio or should I just stick with the program exactly as it is. And finally I’m wondering if at the beginners level (where I am at) if its ok to start incorporating the calf workouts into my workout now or should I wait until maybe the next program or should I just avoid them until later on when I am more experienced?
Again thanks for everything, I feel like your advice is helping me to become a better man, and I love the fact that you incorporate Jesus into your program. I’ve always Believed and I attend Church regularly but have never taken the time to read the bible and although I’m just now completing Genesis and starting Exodus, I have to thank you for opening my eyes up to GOD and really taking in his word, I think, like you have mentioned, that GOD is leading me in this direction to become healthier and I plan on making this a life choice and to stay on this path. Any help you can give me will be taken seriously without a doubt, as I feel GOD led me to you, so you can guide me in the right direction.
On the Right Track for the Lean Muscular Look and Improved Health
You are definitely on the right track to reaching your goals.
I've told many, many people in the past to slowly implement pieces of the WLC System since some are overwhelmed. I admit that the system is overwhelming at first BUT I tell people to not give up and just slowly get better over time.
You have done EXACTLY what is needed to get yourself going in the right direction. You have done a GREAT job to this point, and that's why I wanted to share your email with everyone now and everyone who visits this page in the future. GREAT WORK!
Awesome results so far. Keep implementing a little at a time. Always improve by adding more of the system. If you do this, your results will improve even more and you'll get where you want to be at a faster rate. You will be very surprised with the results as you get better and better.
Now I want to focus on your questions…
Please let me know if I miss anything. I've went back to read your email several times but want to make sure I do not. If there's something I miss, I apologize. Let me know, and I will answer.
Yes, keep going with your current workout program. Don't worry about the exact details not being exactly the same. No issues there at all. The most important factor in the workouts is that you are making progress and getting stronger. If you are doing that, you should keep going.
I understand that you want to take a break right at 8 weeks, but you might want to continue IF you are still making good progress. If you are, extending the program will REALLY HELP you get even better results. If you are getting burned out or anything like that, it's time to take a break. If you are having trouble increasing the weight on most exercises, it's time for a break.
If you are still getting stronger and increasing the weight, you should keep going.
If you just feel like you need a break, though, go ahead and take one after week 8.
For weight increases, round up to the nearest 5 pounds in situations like you listed there. In your example, you would go with 45 pounds as you listed in your first choice.
The 1.1 weight lifting workout program is a great choice for you next. You will continue to build a great strength base with that program. You can definitely add in some extra calf exercises. Whatever you decide on that, let me know and I can guide you in the right direction. Start out with minimal calf exercises and make sure you are able to continue increasing strength on all exercises as you are doing now.
If you are continuing to gain strength, this means you are recovering from your workouts properly even with the added calf work. Then you can add a little more and repeat the process. See what I mean? Take your time as you have been, and you'll find the perfect amount for you as an individual and you'll get improved calf muscles over the course of the workout program.
You should also add a couple of lower intensity cardio workouts on rest days. This will get you started with cardio and will actually help your muscle gains by increasing your recovery between workouts. When you do cardio, you get the blood flowing throughout your body. Remember that with blood flow you get more nutrients spread throughout your body.
Keep the cardio lower intensity for now until your conditioning levels improve over time with the weight lifting workouts and the couple of cardio workouts each week. Take your time with the cardio too just as you have been.
Again, you have done an amazing job so keep up the great work! Please let me know if I missed anything and please keep me updated with your results. Would love if you could keep us all updated over time by using this page and the comments section below. Would really appreciate that, and you will be able to help more people that in your same situation.
You are very welcome for everything. God is great! I have done nothing, but God has done everything. God is running this website for sure. He gave me everything I have, and I'm only here because of Him. Thank God for all and give thanks to Him. He is awesome.
Very proud of you for reading the Bible. Keep going! Please let me know what you're learning from the Bible too. We can all learn from each other. Please keep in mind that the Bible is the WORD OF GOD. His word is all-powerful! We, as humans and not God, will never be able to fully comprehend all aspects of the Bible. He speaks to us individually through His words and that's why they are POWERFUL.
Keep that in mind.
I have been in your situation with reading the Bible, and I never received everything that I should have because I was just reading. Once I started to understand the POWER in HIS WORD, everything started clicking more and more. It's like He speaks to us when we start to understand Him more. I've read the Bible so many times before and just didn't get it. I do now. It just clicked for me. Every word seems to come out to me and help me in life.
Our true guide book for all of life is right there in HIS words. Keep it up! Keep going, keep fighting. You are doing great! Please keep in touch.