My Imperfect, Successful NLP - Final Results My Imperfect, Successful NLP - Final Results

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Thread: My Imperfect, Successful NLP - Final Results

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2021

    Post My Imperfect, Successful NLP - Final Results

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    My Imperfect, Successful NLP - Final Results

    [I’d like to publish my NLP results, mostly for myself, but also for anyone interested. I also like to write, so this is somewhat of a creative project for me.]

    The Numbers
    Squat: 125 - 325 lbs
    Dead: 125 - 405 lbs
    Bench: 105 - 205 lbs (highest 3x5)
    Press: 60 - 125 lbs (highest 3x5)
    Chins: lots of chins

    BW: 170 - 223 lbs
    Height: ~6’1”
    Age: 23 years
    Food: 4,000 - 4,500 calories per day

    Duration: 10/4/21 - 5/13/2022 or 32 weeks

    After a half-marathon with a dear friend of mine, I figured that I might enjoy applying the training process to weightlifting. I always lifted off-and-on in high school and college, but I was never serious about it. I tried Stronglifts during sophomore year. If memory serves me, I stalled at around a 225 lb squat and a 165-185 lb bench press. (I was trying to train BJJ simultaneously). Anyways, I was also tired of being weak. My lowest body weight during college was 162 pounds, an absolute beanpole at 6’1”.

    Somehow, I ended up buying the Blue Book. I trudged through it. I read some articles. I watched some videos. I decided to commit to trying it, the “Novice Linear Progression.” At least 90 days. If I hated it after that, I could hang it up. I bought shoes and a membership at a local strength gym. I began with conservative numbers. I was training alone and wanted to really nail down technique. I was fortunate to work with Dr. Jonathon Sullivan in my second week for a private coaching session. He set me up with my squat, press, and deadlift technique. I have never deviated and only built upon those foundations. Thanks, Sully.

    Training had begun. As the weeks went by, I submitted technique videos and criticized myself - especially on the squat. I bought a 3 inch Dominion Starting Strength belt. I produced long, long grocery bills consisting largely of eggs, whole milk, ground beef, chicken, pasta, potatoes, rice, bread, fruit, etc. Being a student at the end of college and on a job search, I had a lot of free time. I was able to cook 2-3 times a day + a snack / protein shake.

    My morning weigh-in climbed with the numbers on the bar. But sometimes, change was abrupt. I remember washing myself in the shower a few weeks in. Everything was normal until I noticed—suddenly, as if by a magic spell—how broad my chest and shoulders had become. A month or two in, I began to fill out my clothes. By the end of the LP, I had gone up a full shirt and pants size.

    After 32 weeks, I finally called it. It was done. And my retired NLP journal is now one of my treasured keepsakes.

    Why? I think it’s because the LP was one of few processes that I initiated and completed, voluntarily, from the very beginning to the very end. And unlike the half-marathon, although certainly rewarding, my effort in the LP produced an undeniable result—a completely transformed body, a +300 lb squat and a +400 lb deadlift. Could I have run the half without training? Probably. . . it would have sucked and I might have injured myself. But could I have deadlifted 400 lbs on October 4th? No.

    The physical results are great and all, but the bar also leaves its impressions on the mind. It’s true: everything adapts under the bar. Overwhelmingly, that result is a strange mixture of confidence, pride, and humility. I know that my results are average. I believe that I am, genetically, a mediocre athlete. I’m not naturally powerful or quick. And I’m not strong (yet). My LP was certainly imperfect: tendonitis, a 3-month lack of hip drive, poor bounce in the press, failed sets, a bailed week of training, ungraceful late-novice-into-intermediate programming—should I go on? But, despite all that, I continued to show up. By and large, I did the program. I ate. I slept. It worked. For that, I am proud.

    I am grateful to have found Starting Strength, especially in my youth. The beauty of “the Program” is its endurance. It remains, in the background of everything, forever waiting to be applied by those who are willing. I will have the bar for the rest of my life, my own retreat, a place to earn my keep. I hope, in a long campaign of influence, to get my friends and family under it too. I want my father and mother to be strong enough to live and live well: to walk, to travel, to play with their grandchildren.

    Since my LP, I’ve begun intermediate training. I finally got around to working through PPST3e—a must-read. I am excited to program through the challenges of the everyday strength athlete: sports, travel, work, family, lay-offs, sickness, etc.

    Thank you to Rip and all others who carry on this lineage. My progress photos are below, as well as some lessons I’ve learned. I am happy to have a dialogue with anyone who writes.

    Progress Photos:

    Better Photos Link Here to Google Drive (public access)

    Lessons Learned:

    Fear under the bar
    - Heavy weights are scary. Training with them is the opportunity to work in the face of fear on a regular basis. After weeks and months of training, I began to tinker with fear, breathe it in and out, and ride it like a wave into the set. Even if you fail, you overcome. Overcoming breeds confidence.
    Trust in the process
    - Trust the stress-recovery-adaptation process. Trust that you did 290x5x3 last week, so there is little reason to think that 295x5x3 will suddenly be a failure. Do The Program, and you may have faith that your preparation—technical and physiological, and otherwise—has prepared you for this moment. More often than not, the bar will go up. Everyone that goes through the LP surprises themselves.
    Learning to push.
    - To push against the bar, actually push, is something like an adaptive skill, neuromuscular, but also a willingness, psychological. Learn to push in the gym, and you learn to push in life. And sometimes, the only thing you can do in life is push.
    Knowing when it's time to move on / decision making
    - At some point, I had to decide when to move on from the LP. I may have done so a bit prematurely or poorly, but I realized that—training alone—the decision was ultimately up to me. After failed sets, a tweaked back, and 3 resets on the squat, I felt like I was hitting a dead end. Training implies management and decision making considering everything from motivation to diet to what is rational, logical, and theoretically sound. This kind of thinking is maturing and important for young people to experience.
    Scientific detachment and problem solving
    - Throughout the NLP, I encountered problems. With time, I learned to detach from my failures and impasses. Instead of blaming myself, I knew something simply needed tweaking—technique, diet, programming, etc. A missed rep is information. When you fail, or things go wrong, it is useful to assess what could be fixed or improved without castigating yourself.
    Commitment to something / structures life
    - Training demands commitment. When things get heavy and progress slows, the novelty wears off. But as Rip says, “It’s Monday,” so it's time to work. Commitment to something across time is fulfilling and imparts self-worth. Commitment will also drag you out of bed when life falls apart and nothing else can.
    “Body positivity”
    - I know. Bear with me. I used to feel insecure about being skinny. I used to pick myself apart. I don’t do that now. Partly because of my manlier proportions, yes, but also who gives a fuck? Now I appreciate what I can do and invest a lot less in how I look.
    A Mind for Programming / Idiocy
    - Now, having completed the NLP, having read PPST3e, and having begun intermediate training, I look around the gyms I frequent and wonder what the fuck people are doing. I generally see (1) mild or lackadaisical exercise: incline treadmill walking, assistance movements (e.g, curls), etc. (2) someone just getting after it (!) and exercising hard, which (although it’s not “training” per say) I respect, or (3) just the strangest, ritualistic behaviors. If I am lucky enough to witness a (highbar) back squat over 225, it’s usually a half rep. My former high school classmate—a.k.a. our recently drafted into the NFL on a 4-year, multi-million dollar contract star football alumnus—often comes in and does. . . balance work? He hardly breaks a sweat and then just . . . leaves. I mean no disrespect to him. He’s 10x the athlete I will ever be. But how is that balance work helping and why isn’t he in there squatting over 4 plates and cleaning? Instead, he’s using exercise bands. I asked to glance at his programming booklet (remember, professional NFL team). It looked awfully complicated. Oh, and that private strength gym I was using? I quietly watched their programming for many months. One example: On low-bar back squat day, they were literally testing a girl—who had NEVER lifted before—for a 1RM. . . before she could even do the movement properly. Wahnsinn. Generally, I try to resist automatically assuming I know better. That would close me off from the possibility of learning (usually fail), but. . . I am skeptical. Highly skeptical.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2022
    Indianapolis, IN


    Your "IDIOCY" rant made me cough my coffee. Rings true. Today is week 13 for me on NLP. During those 13 weeks I have seen the same types, still doing the same weight, bad form, weird shit like bulgarian split squats etc etc, etc. My rest periods between sets are filled with "visual amusement". While they sweat and do the same thing, I will continue adding another kilo each time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2022
    Eastern Europe-Balkans


    Quote Originally Posted by david strecker View Post
    Your "IDIOCY" rant made me cough my coffee. Rings true. Today is week 13 for me on NLP. During those 13 weeks I have seen the same types, still doing the same weight, bad form, weird shit like bulgarian split squats etc etc, etc. My rest periods between sets are filled with "visual amusement". While they sweat and do the same thing, I will continue adding another kilo each time.
    Hoho, on the occasion of what I wrote about the Bulgarian split squats, I will tell you a story. Apparently they have somehow caught on all over the world and many people do them saying they benefit from them. There might be, since it's still some kind of load, but I don't know because I don't do them. But since I am from the country of Bulgaria, which in the 70s and 80s of the last century, under the leadership of coach Ivan Abadjiev, was dominant in Olympic weightlifting, I know more details about this type of squat. There was an assistant coach /coach Abadjiev/ who emigrated to the USA and told his students how the Bulgarian weightlifters often did the Bulgarian split squat in order to develop strength and muscles in the legs. That's where its name came from and it gradually became established over time. But when, after some time, they asked coach Abadjiev to tell more about this type of squat, he replied that he had never made his athletes perform something like this :-)

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