How I got into lifting:
So, I started weightlifting in early 2013 in an effort to put some weight on. See, being 90lbs is not exactly fun, especially in my family where it’s almost mandatory that my grandparents be perpetually worried about how much I eat. The average morning when I encounter my paternal grandfather goes a little like this:
Tori: “Good morning!”
Grandfather: “DID YOU EAT BREAKFAST YET WHAT DID YOU EAT”
He has literally offered to pay me to hit 100lbs. I think it’s a Caribbean thing; I’ve noticed we’re not really a part of the skinny-fad that grips pop culture elsewhere. We even have a derogatory word for skinny people in the local parlance: magga.
Anyway, I came off a bad breakup and decided I wanted to improve my self image, so I decided to start working out. Naturally, the first thing I did was P90X,
which probably was about the worst thing I could have done to gain weight (I actually started at 80lbs!). I saw some changes in my cardiovascular fitness, then I did to Body Beast, a weightlifting programme from the same company. It was a good start, and I gained 10lbs.
What struck me though, was that I was really damn weak.
I did more research and figured barbell training to be the best thing for me; I somehow managed to get a barbell, and started New Rules of Lifting for Women. The bar I got wasn’t an Olympic one; it’s about 20lbs and I *still* had trouble hoisting it around at the start of the programme. I believe I got through maybe four phases or so of NROLFW before I realised I wasn’t making much progress.
Then came Stronglifts 5×5 and my love for powerlifting-type routines.
I took my squat from a measly 50lbs to 135lbs in a couple months, and I realised then what I’d really been missing. The scale didn’t matter much any more, the numbers did. I wanted to be stronger. I started keeping track of progress with measurements and tracking the weight lifted instead, and I saw I was making progress, despite remaining practically the same weight.
The next issue was my puny upper body strength, which seemed at this point to be the bane of my existence (and still is). Stronglifts was able to bring up my squat and deadlift, but my overhead press and bench press were the first to stall, and they did at some pretty pathetic weights. Pound-for-pound, it’s not bad but I kept thinking, if I can squat 1.5x my weight, why the hell is my bench barely half of it?!
I stalled and I stalled and I stalled, so I decided I should move on to an intermediate programme after about six months, and here I am.
The current plan:
I took a gander at Westside for Skinny Bastards, Wendler 5/3/1, the Texas Method and Layne Norton’s PHAT first. My sister had some results with the Body Sculpting Bible and was now doing Strong Curves, but after reading them, I wasn’t convinced those were going to fit my obsession with lifting a tonne of weight and also getting some aesthetic benefits, plus the big lifts weren’t as incorporated as I’d like them to be. (Though, as you’ll see, I will incorporate Contreras’ barbell hip thrusts into my lower body days).
Wendler seemed like a good fit, but I was pretty curious about PHAT; I did some more digging and I decided on doing it, alternating the Lower Body Power/Hypertrophy days with squats and deadlifts. (Layne Norton is a natural bodybuilder, and holds powerlifting records, hence I realised he was more in line with my goals than anyone else.)
Now, PHAT is a 5 day on, 2 day off programme and that’ll be hard to adjust to after months and months of 3-day/week training, so I expect my first week or so will be hell. I also haven’t been able to get into my gym often with university taking up so much of my time; so I’m stuck with my home weights until I join my uni’s gym next week (which means I’ll only have 110lbs to work with.)
Meal Planning FTW:
My current calorie goal per day is about 2200 kcals, and slightly less on training days. My macros are:
Protein: 110g (going by the 1.2g per lb of bodyweight calculation)
Which roughly translates to about 60/20/20.
I’ve been taking Isogainer by Nutrabolics simply because it has 60g of protein and only 3 reasonably sized scoops per serving (Have you ever seen the Serious Mass scoop?! It’s ridiculous!). Granted, it tastes like shit, but I add enough unsweetened cocoa powder to hide the overly-sweet-artificial-vanilla taste that makes me gag.
I’ve also decided to load up on creatine again (I’m taking the creatine monohydrate by Optimum Nutrition) and I take Cellucor C4 Extreme whenever I think I need an extra boost. I’m toying with the idea of a pump-enhancer, but I’ve never really looked into their efficacy (I’ve heard NO3 Chrome is good, but I’m going to research it a bit and maybe see if I can get a couple pill packs before I commit to buying a bottle).
The current and most pressing issue is getting enough to eat all day; university is annoying and I have to start prepping more seriously or I pretty much don’t eat. Really, all we have on campus is Arabic food, some local stuff and assorted other crap. Oh, and Pita Pit, but they’re expensive as hell.
As for my general diet plan, it’s IIFYM. I’m already pretty lean (the one perk of being a hardgainer), so I’m not really watching what I eat per se; I don’t eat a lot of fast food anyway, but I freakin’ love my pasta.
I was probably Italian in a past life
Anyway, that sort of wraps up this long post. The next one will be of my first day of Layne Norton’s PHAT, which I actually did yesterday evening. (Which means today is leg day!)