(Numbers are at the bottom if you wanna skip the cheese.)

Don't let the title fool you; I still am relatively weak... only now, I am weak relative to guys (and girls) that are actually strong.

My name is Travis, I'm 21, and I've been lifting for about 3 years now. My very first encounter with weightlifting came when I was shown the way of the gym by my brother and his friend after a bad time with a chick... FeelsBadMan.

Anyway- I started out lifting weights to lose fat. I did the typical "3 sets of 10" for a while and built a little bit of muscle, luckily, but no real strength. I was terrified of compound barbell movements; maybe because I was afraid of being decapitated or more likely because I was afraid of the magnitude of my weakness revealing itself. So I continued with my routine of "legpress, leg curl, calf raise, toe curl, etc... -ignore legs for another week" until I finally decided I wanted to start bodybuilding.

To start bodybuilding, I realized I'd first need to develop a solid base. Most bodybuilders were powerlifters first, right? So I went in pursuit of powerlifting.

Mostly everybody agrees that Starting Strength is the best beginner program for bodybuilding or powerlifting, but there's a downside... it gets you fat. I began to notice that most of the guys who said this were skinny little turds who all had shitty little turd opinions, and then eventually I became self-aware... I was a skinny little turd also. Not only was I a skinny little turd, I was also a weak little turd who had an enormous amount of theoretical knowledge (carb cycling, dumb periodization, alleged protein-intake necessities, fat requirements, etc.) that I used to hide the fact that my current routine was simply not producing muscular mass and strength.

I decided, (very fucking reluctantly) to give up my abs of steel for pursuit of the bigger picture... a solid base of strength and musculature.

Well... I first tried to follow the program online- bad idea. All the strong guys bought the book, and so would I.

I bought the book (SS) and PPST2 and read them both every chance I got. I studied them over and over and over and over and over. After that, I studied them some more. I experienced lots of trouble with my squat and deadlift due to mobility problems and lower-back rounding; when I did, I referenced the book and then I referenced the website (SS.com).

Well, here I am now... truck loads of meat, bread, pasta, fruit, and even a lot of dessert... later.

I started SS weighing 170 and being incredibly lean (well defined 6 pack), to now weighing 230 and being a little chunky (little bit of fat on my sides, hips, and the other usual areas for males).

My squat rose from 225 lbs for an ugly 1RM, to 315 lbs for 5 sets of 5 reps. My 1RM is probably pretty damn close to 405, but I haven't tested it because I don't need to know it at this time.

My deadlift rose from a 1RM of 300 conventional to current, easy, work-sets of 320 at 5 reps. I pulled two singles at 405 the other day, and feel that I could probably hit 430. Keep in mind, these numbers would probably be much better if I had better mobility and had been able to do the deadlift more often. I expect these numbers to shoot WAY up very soon.

My benchpress went from a 1RM of 185 to 5 work sets of 5 reps at 230. My 1Rmax is probably pretty damn close to 280+. I remember the first time I benched 225, I said, "Holy fuck... Starting Strength actually works...". This was a huge milestone for me, like many other American males, and this was when I really put my full faith and trust into SS.

Ah, the press... this movement will produce some serious strength if you remain dedicated to it. I started out pressing with little more than the bar, maybe 75 or 85 lbs. Now I'm pressing on Texas Method with a 1RM of ~185. I performed 150# for 4 sets of 5 my last Volume Day.

My Powerclean has suffered due to my inability to get into the proper setup, but I've been working lately on mobility a lot and just resumed PC at 155 for sets, whereas before, I could barely get 135 for a 1RM. If I had bumper plates I could definitely do a lot more.

All in all, I'm extremely satisfied with the progress I've made on Starting Strength. I've developed a fundamental understanding of weightlifting based on the principles of Seyle's General Adaptation Model, I've gained an awesome amount of size and strength (especially in my legs, but definitely in my upper body as well), my girlfriend says I finally have an ass, and I've had the pleasure of enjoying coaching from a witty and no-bullshit guy like Coach Rip.

Not only has Starting Strength been incredibly rewarding to me physically, it's helped to further solidify my worldview as a nonbeliever, and it's given me more confidence in the ability of humans to adapt to all different types of stressors- mental ones as well as physical.

I am eternally grateful for all of the compiled advice, experience, and expertise that you and your team have poured into your pages and this website. Starting Strength is truly no bullshit. Thank you again and again, I know the gains are not short in supply.

*For anybody that is interested, I continue to follow a few principles when running Starting Strength-

Eat at least 1 gram of protein per lb of bodyweight.
Eat as much "good food" as possible.
Sleep as much as possible; get pissed off at anything that causes you to sleep less than 8 hours per night and take naps any time you're able.
Rest and relax whenever able.
Idolize superhuman form and technique over superhuman strength.

I did not (and continue not to) use any supplements, hormones, or steroids while running Starting Strength except for the occasional protein powder and lots, lots, and lots of good, whole, foods.

Good luck to all.

Ps, Best advice - "Experience (time spent in the gym) does not take you out of the Novice stage, adaptation does."

"Stick to the basic concept that you want to train each muscle as often as possible while allowing for recovery [through supercompensation] and you'll be fine." -IronWill