This is part five in my journey towards an ideal physique. Here is part I if you wish to read from the beginning.
My perception of being fit had evolved a lot through the years. I had started out running and doing push ups. I had experienced lifting weights and had enjoyed the results a lot. At this point I thought the way to go was —
— biceps and back
— triceps and chest
— legs and abs
I got a chance to go to Florida for grad school. This is typically I scheduled my workouts there too. I was a little intimidated because in Florida the guys who lifted weights were huge. Even women who lifted looked intimidating. This is where my perception of fitness did a complete 180.
I was introduced to the sport of powerlifting by a friend. My first lifting program was the popular Stronglifts 5x5. Pretty soon I was immersed in the teachings of Mark Rippetoe and other similar coaches who taught the three basic movements of powelifting — squat, bench and deadlift. Pretty soon I was lifting weights as these guys prescribed.
Stronglifts is a 3 days a week program. You’re supposed to squat every day. Day one is squat, bench, rows. Day two is squat, military press and deadlift. Day three is the same as day one and so on. Progression is built in the program as you add 5 pounds to each lift every go around except the deadlift where you add 10 pounds every time. What’s even more appealing is that you start with the unloaded barbell. Sounds simple right?
Well, the skinny guy that I was; it was hard to leave my ego outside the door and start with nothing on the barbell. However, pretty soon I noticed the importance of progressive loading. Each session the 5 pound increase was great. I started seeing gains in strength which I had never seen before.
Concurrently I started eating more protein. The general consensus in the lifting community is to eat at least 1 gm of protein per pound body weight. At 160 lbs, I was eating about 150–170 grams of protein everyday. At first my body refused to digest all that protein. But slowly it adapted itself to what I was eating. I started eating more eggs, greek yogurt, chicken and turkey.
At the gym I noticed, I was really strong at deadlifting. It became my strongest and favorite lift of all. I would look forward to deadlift days to make a new personal best. In this journey of lifting, a few of my friends joined me too. It was great to lift together after a day of school. After a few months of continuously lifting, I noticed that I felt so strongly about lifting that missing a day was impossible. It made me feel very weird. I also noticed that it was very important to go lift on the days I was feel down. Even though it seemed like the weight of the world on my shoulders after a hard day, the lifting session made everything else feel light. I felt the rush of endorphins every time the bar went from rest into motion and back to rest. I was addicted. The proverbial iron bug had bitten me.
Read part VI to this story here.