Posts Tagged ‘training’

It has been a long time since I wrote something here. Well in my defense I have been busy and lazy. I got married to the love of my life about 4 months ago so I hope that makes it more understandable. 

I am bigger, stronger and hopefully a better person after all these days. And even if I am not a better person, my better half definitely covers that for the both of us <3. 

Anyway, say hello to the newest ACE (American Council on Exercise) certified Personal Trainer. That is correct, a couple weeks ago I successfully passed the test and am now certified to give training tips advice and more! I recently also tested my 1 RM on the squat which was a solid 235lbs. At that point I did have more in me I just didn’t want to go all out. 

The wife has been feeding me well and that is an understatement. This definitely has resulted in me gaining a ridiculous amount of weight. Yours truly is now a good 175lbs (80kg). I have never been this heavy and I can’t say with certainty that all of that is muscle mass. I am fairly certain that my body fat percent has shot up to about 20% easy. But you can judge that by looking at some of the progress pictures below. I must say I am pretty impressed with how my back is shaping up. No wonder 235lbs on the back didn’t feel like the max I could do. 


I am still on the 5/3/1 Big but Boring training program and it has yielded good results for me in addition to allow me to take it slow and make modifications to the program as I deem fit. Although I never want to stop getting stronger so the quest for that continues and I am sure I would have to switch over to an advanced program a year from now.

Talking about goals; my goal this year is to have a 400lb deadlift at current bodyweight or less. a 275lb squat also sounds delicious and I think is quite achievable. As far as military press goes, I want to venture into the 135lb territory. And I don’t really care for the bench that much anyway. Another important goal is to train with the wife and make her strong(her). I did get a chance to train with her after the wedding and I must say that she is one of the feistiest people I have ever trained with. She just doesn’t give up and that can be good and bad. But I really like the attitude she has in the gym (and outside the gym 🙂 ) 

This brings me to the end of this post, I promise I will be more regular posting here and will post some videos of my lifts soon. Until then take care and lift heavy!


So you joined a gym and had a PT design a training routine for you. You have no idea what the training routine is going to do for you, but you have trust in the PT’s abilities. Read on if you want to know how to question the PT’s routine and refine it to your needs.


The first thing that you need to do is to ask yourself about your fitness goals. Do you want to run faster, or lift heavy or play a sport better or run a marathon? One training routine cannot serve all purposes. All training regimens are different. Once you’ve narrowed down your goals, it is going to be a lot easier to decide what program to follow.

Strength – If you decided that you want to lift all those plates like Franco Columbu in the picture above, you have a very simple path defined. The easiest way to train for maximum strength is to lift the maximum weight you can for 1-5 reps. Usually this is the way power-lifters train and work up to a 1 rep max for their power-lifting meets. There are many beginner programs out there like Starting Strength, Stronglifts, Greyskull LP. If you are an intermediate or advanced lifter, you might want to try the Texas Method, Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 or The Cube Method. In an interview with Starting Strength coach Mark Rippetoe, Ed Coan admitted using 5 reps in his training. If you don’t know who Ed Coan is, go here.

Strength and Size – If you want to look big and gain strength at the same time, the ideal rep range to work with would be 6-12 reps. Although, strength gains might not be the same as with a lower rep range strength based training program, you will surely gain some strength along the way while getting big. Remember, more size doesn’t necessarily mean more strength.

Endurance – Anything greater than 12 reps is going to help you build endurance. Remember, the weights used in these rep ranges would be a fraction of those used for strength training else you’re lifting too heavy here.

If you want more info about rep ranges go here or here.

If you want the best of all the good things: strength, size and endurance, you will have to switch it up and work with different rep ranges. But if you’re just starting out, strength is the way to go. Everything else follows suit.

Size and Strength

Posted: June 9, 2013 by Savvy Saver in Strength and Size
Tags: , , , ,

How often do you hear people telling you that they want to get huge? It’s all about the size of the biceps isn’t it? Perhaps not.


When I started working out, I didn’t know what I was doing. I remember one of the PT’s asking me about my fitness goals when I joined a gym and I had no clue. The one thing I knew was, I wanted to get big. It didn’t take the PT much effort to figure out a routine for me and it wasn’t too long before I was lifting heavy weights. I remember that I got big, so big that my shirts won’t fit and some of my trousers had to be thrown away. I had achieved what I had wanted.

I looked humongous. But my waist size was higher since I started training. I was benching 145 lbs but I couldn’t do a single pull up. I was curling 33 pound dumbbells but I was fat. I never thought about searching for information on the internet to help me with my training. I remember doing countless bicep curls and tricep extensions and wrist curls (I don’t even know if that works any muscle).

A few years later when I got the chance to go to graduate school, I thought I might start training again. So I started doing the same thing I once did to get big. But I was weak. I would load up the bar with 45 lbs each side and crank out maybe 2 reps on the bench. That was mission accomplished for me.

My mind was fixated on specialized isolated muscle training. I used to workout on a split routine which looked something like this:

Day 1:

Bench press (3X10)

Incline bench press (3X10)

Dumbell flyes (3X10)

Decline bench press (3X10)

Lat pull down (3X10)

Reverse grip lat pull down (3X10)

Dumbbell pullovers (3X10)

Overhead dumbbell press (3X10)

Lateral side raises (3X10)

Day 2:

Bicep curls (3X10)

Preacher curls (3X10)

Barbell curls (3X10)

Dumbbell tricep extension (3X10)

Tricep extension (3X10)

Squats on smith machine (3X10) (rarely)

I did this for 6 days a week alternating days 1 and 2. The reason I wrote all of this down is that I don’t think anyone should follow this routine. By following this specialized isolated muscle workout, I was getting nowhere. I thought I was getting stronger but I wasn’t.

One of the days, a good friend of mine introduced me to a new beginner program (well new for me). You can find it here for free. The program was as simple as a math test (I am Asian). It just needed 3 days a week with just 5 barbell based lifts; 3 on each day. I was in disbelief. For one, the program had zero isolation movement exercises. I thought, “how can this thing even work?” But, I still decided to go ahead and give it a try. I started with the empty bar on most of the lifts and gained strength quickly. I was amazed at how fast I was getting stronger. I even starting doing pull ups, even though I was not benching as much as I did earlier with the split routine. I could feel that I had a much balanced and stronger physique than I had ever had before. The downside? I was not getting as big as I had gotten before.

I could give you more examples of how strength and size are confused to be related somehow, but aren’t. I will save that for some of the posts in future.