Training Log – looking back at 2013

As 2013 wraps up, I like to look back and see how I did.

I finished up my 26th (essentially) cycle on the Wendler 5/3/1 program. I say essentially because there were some restarts and other things along the way (e.g. caught flu), but 26 is good enough.

How was I looking a year ago? From that post it seems cycle 15 was what I considered the last cycle of 2012.

At the end of cycle 15:

Press – 135 x 7
Deadlift – 330 x 7
Bench – 210 x 6
Squat – 270 x 3

Here at the end of cycle 26:

Press – 165 x 2
Deadlift – 440 x 1
Bench – 245 x 1
Squat – 315 x 1

In terms of absolute numbers, there’s no question I went up. But did I really go up? I mean, it’s hard to compare when there’s different reps. So let’s use some of the 1RM formulas. Deadlift 330×7 estimates at 407#; bench 210×6 estimates at 250; squat 270×3 estimates at 297#. So yeah, I generally went up. Not as much as I would have wanted, but I know why I didn’t.

The big goal I set for myself was to total 1000. I also wanted to do things like bench over 2 wheels, squat 3 wheels, deadlift 4 wheels. Well, I accomplished all of those things. Kick ass!

What’s even better was focus. I had conflicting goals. I wanted to get stronger, but I also was growing tired of the increasing flab around my waist. I mean, you gotta eat big, but I wasn’t. I wasn’t putting in the work at the dinner table (yeah, there’s work involved here). I didn’t eat enough, and I kept trying to lose weight and get strong at the same time. Sorry, you just can’t do that — it’s one or the other, pick one. So that caused me some setbacks, because I dealt with conflicting goals and stagnated. This is the biggest reason my numbers didn’t increase as much as I wanted, and why it took me until the end of the year to hit my numbers, and only through doing some different workups instead of just normal worksets.

But I think overall it was good. I learned a lot about diet, including that if you really want your lifts to go up you gotta eat big. Once I set about that and focused, the lifts came along pretty well. I mean, I could do 10# per cycle jumps on my squat, instead of having to repeat and hope for rep improvements. Eat. It’s that important.

I also came to realize how I was not focusing enough on sleep. I had some burnout issues as a result, but once I got serious about sleeping enough every day, things got better. I’m still not perfect with it because I guess that’s just part of growing older. But at least I put more explicit emphasis on getting sleep instead of it just being something you do when you fall over at the end of the day.

So all in all, while I had some stagnation and setbacks, I learned a lot from those experiences. They will serve me well, so it’s all good.

It also got me more focused on technique. I know my technique improved a lot over the year. Tightness is so important. And I know this was time well-spent. I mean, the 270 squat I did a year ago I’m sure didn’t hit depth and was really shitty by comparison to what I can do now. I know for sure my deadlifts are better (more legs, less stiff-legging). I have a better understanding of where some weak points are and how to hit them.

All in all, it was good and I’m happy with how the year went. It wasn’t quite the path I planned, but I still got there in the end with some side-benefits to boot.

So where to go for 2014? I’ll write about that later.

3 thoughts on “Training Log – looking back at 2013

  1. I love sleep and I take it very seriously 🙂 Good improvement overall. You are correct about the eating, although I am a very easy keeper and need to eat lots less 🙂 Are you going to continue with 5/3/1?

    • For now, I’m going to stay the course and continue with 5/3/1. I figure I’m making a big change with my diet, so let’s not change too many variables at once. Once I get that next goal met (see my follow-up post about what’s ahead for 2014), I’ll reassess then. I do want to give Cube a go, just don’t want to change too much at once.

  2. Pingback: Training log – so what IS next? | Stuff From Hsoi

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