Started StrongLifts 5×5 at the Gym, couldn’t stand it – time for home gym

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Weight Lifting

I’ve been wanting to start lifting and StrongLifts 5×5 looked like a simple and effective way to get back into it (not to mention there is a seriously awesome app to keep track of it, it even has android wear integration!). I did lifting back in high school and some in college but that was 6 kids ago; and while my quads still look pretty awesome (if I say so myself, which I do) it’s time to take the next step. My brother advocated “renting” the equipment via a gym membership before outright buying so I decided to try that.

So I made an appointment at two local gyms to see what they offer. Lifetime was pretty much a country club with a price to match ($69 a person, $169 for 3+ “adults” over 13 years old, kids under 13 are $10). It was a really nice place with several hundred treadmills, indoor and outdoor pools and other amenities. VASA was more spartan with less available but again, a price to match ($10-25 a month). Both of the gyms are targeting people who want to do classes, who want to do cardio, who want to use weight machines with pulleys and cables. Both are sub-optimal for StrongLifts 5×5 because their free weight offerings frankly sucked.

StrongLifts 5×5 is pretty basic: you alternate 5 different lifting exercises 3 times a week: Squat, Bench Press, Barbell Row, Overhead Press, and Deadlift. Each is 5 sets of 5 reps (hence 5×5 – except dead lifts which is 1×5), Squats is done each time or it would be 6 exercises. It ends up being really simple and doesn’t require a lot of equipment. Mostly you just need weights, a bench and a way to lift safely – that involves a squatting rack/power rack which is also used for bench press. If you have a full cage power rack you can do the whole thing without a spotter, on your own terms and schedule, so going to the gyms I was looking primarily at how many power racks they had. Lifetime had two fully enclosed free weight racks and four power lifting open cages – mostly for deadlift though you could easily use them for squatting. VASA had 3 full cages. Neither had a bench you could pull over to use in the cages so you would need a spotter for bench press. I was able to locate a roaming bar to use for barbell row/deadlift/overhead press at Lifetime but not at VASA. Neither were terribly accommodating to StrongLifts or free weights in general. At least they don’t have the moronic PlanetFitness “lunk alarm” used to actively discourage serious body building. I actually did a full SL5x5 session of lifting at LifeTime and I pretty much hated the entire experience. Waiting for a rack, waiting for a bench, searching for a bar, no bueno man. Add to that at the beginning of SL5x5 you’re just lifting a naked bar without plates; I felt silly at the gym.

So I came home and was at least grateful that I just did it as a trial run without actually signing anything. I decided half way through my first set of squats that I was going to clean up the basement and buy my own equipment. There was a really helpful post on reddit that pointed me over to the Titan T2 Power rack which I had previously seen on the SL5x5 site. On a side note: Titan has a 10% off code good until April 30, 2016 “REFUND10” – they also do free shipping which is crazy for how heavy the stuff is they are shipping. So I ordered the T2 then found a guy on craigslist that buys inventory from gyms and got some used plates, a bench and a bar. The guy gave my kids some mis-matched 1 lb hand weights because my youngest kept asking what he could buy with the $3 in his wallet. Nice guy.

Anyhow, I have a place set up in the basement and the power rack should be arriving Friday, which is pretty awesome for free shipping from Tennessee ordered Monday night. I’m looking forward to posting updates (and not being able to walk every other day).

By |2016-10-14T07:17:53-06:00April 20th, 2016|Categories: Weight Lifting|Tags: , , , , |3 Comments

Power Rack arrived this morning

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Weight Lifting

FedEx brought the power rack this morning. We got it assembled, and ready for today’s workout. Now I just need to visit Cal-Ranch or Tractor Supply and get some horse stall mats for the floor.

By |2016-04-22T09:48:21-06:00April 22nd, 2016|Categories: Weight Lifting|Tags: , |1 Comment

Stronglifts5x5 update, random stuff

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Weight Lifting

My Dad made the news last night. Funny thing is I was in a bunch of the photos shown…. though you can’t see me because I’m hiding behind rocks holding lights =) Glorified light stand and pack mule I am. So I guess I made the news too =)

I had the day off yesterday so I went and found some of the stall mats I wanted to get. Indeed those things are heavy, like 100lbs each. I managed to get two of them onto a cart, into my vehicle and then my wife helped get them downstairs and under the equipment. My hands still hurt from gripping them. The StrongLifts program seems to be going well so far. I’m still lifting a mostly empty bar, concentrating on form more than anything. I am glad that my quads are happy now.

When I did my first lifting session a week ago I had some weirdness going on in my right quadriceps. It kinda felt like a cramp or something and I was rather worried it was going to be an ongoing problem or something. I didn’t know if it was related to being in keto for so long, not having lifted for so long or not enough magnesium since it felt like low magnesium even though I’m positive I’m getting enough. Anyway, the first two days after I lifted I was really, really sore. Then it went away and even though I’m lifting more (marginally: 55lbs 5×5 instead of 45lbs) it has not returned. I had previously noticed a tendency for my muscles to want to cramp up when I did serious stretching and starting lifting seems to have alleviated that everywhere. Should have done this a long time ago! My wife is also doing the SL5x5 program with me and she’s liking it so far. It’s quick and (for now) easy. The SL5x5 App is great and I finally got the watch integration figured out so I can see how many more sets I’m doing, how much weight and it even has a timer for how long to rest, it’s pretty awesome.

Now for the random stuff: I talked with a different co-packer that says they are able to do bags. This is a good thing since it would allow me to do a more incremental change with production instead of a major change to square bottles. It’s also good because it will keep shipping costs the same, I’m able to fit more bags in a box than I can fit hard walled bottles. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this may end up.

Next thing: I picked up a package of the chocolate “Keto Fuel” to see how it is (always a good plan to scope out your competitors). The guy in charge of SuperBodyFuel is allergic to a lot of things so he is VERY conscious about allergens in food. I’m lucky to only be allergic to cats (which is why you will never find any cats or cat hair in Keto Chow) so my recipes include potential allergens because the results taste better (to me). Anyway, Keto Fuel is “gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and nut-free”, It’s also barely not vegan (has trace gelatin from the vitamins). Because it’s dairy free it needs a plant based protein source and soy protein would invalidate the “soy free” claim so they use rice protein, which is what Rosa Labs Soylent 1.x also uses. Rice protein is a difficult beast because it can impart a gritty texture. The Chocolate Keto Fuel also has Cocoa powder for flavoring which can add some grittiness too.

Lately I’ve been experimenting with using Acacia Gum for fiber in Keto Chow instead of Psyllium husk powder, the result is what little discernible texture there was is now completely gone so I’ve been drinking almost oddly smooth stuff for a bit. The texture of Keto Fuel was quite a change compared to that. Personally I’ve had some REALLY gritty meal replacement drinks in the past and Keto Fuel is actually pretty smooth by comparison. It’s far smoother than People Chow was (corn Masa) and given the goals in the recipe I think it’s probably as good as you could possibly do. Now one caveat: I followed the instructions on the package with the heavy cream option instead of the olive oil option since I’m not lactose intolerant and know it’ll taste WAY better this way.  I drank one meal and kept the rest for family and friends doing keto to try. I’ll not lie: none of them liked it, but none of them have allergies that would prevent them from drinking Keto Chow. I’m of the opinion that if you do have problems with dairy, soy or nuts then it’s an excellent product; especially considering how difficult a ketogenic diet is with those kinds of restrictions.

By |2016-04-26T13:11:54-06:00April 26th, 2016|Categories: Future Foods, Ketogenic, Weight Lifting|Tags: , , , , , |6 Comments

Site fun, Sous Vide, Stronglifts Update

This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Weight Lifting

Been having fun with the site lately. And by “fun” I mean it’s been wonky since Sunday when the two web/database servers were getting hammered hard, load average was up around 50+. I’m hopeful that it’s settled down now. Most recently I got a fun error with SQL where people couldn’t place new orders, got that fixed but we didn’t get any orders for most of Wednesday morning. Anyway I have multiple app servers and database servers now for extra fun redundancy – Looking forward to boring normalcy =)

In completely unrelated news, I grabbed a Sous Vide (soo VEED) precision cooker and last night started some meat cooking at 136° F for 44 hours. It’ll be done Thursday at which point I’ll sear the outside for maillard reaction fun. It probably won’t be as good as the prime rib I got a few weeks ago but should still be nice and yummy, with very little effort on my part.

2016-05-17 20.20.11

2016-05-17 20.34.10

2016-05-18 18.21.17Lastly, weight lifting is still going well. I’m on my 5th week and I still haven’t missed rep. That’s kinda expected since I started with the bare bar (45lbs) and have been working my way up according to the plan. Honestly this was a good thing since I needed to work on my form…. a lot. Currently I’m at:

  • Squat: 105
  • Bench Press: 85
  • Barbell Row: 95
  • Over-Head Press: 70
  • Dead Lift: 145

Eventually I’ll miss a rep and the app will have me increase the weight slower but for now it just keeps going up.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

By |2017-01-26T19:29:21-07:00May 18th, 2016|Categories: Site or Store Stuff, Weight Lifting|Tags: , |4 Comments

Weight Lifting Update – time to play critique my form

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Weight Lifting

Yesterday I was lifting alone (normally my wife also lifts but she had something to do and wouldn’t be home until late) so I decided to record some of my lifts. We’re prepping a room in the basement for some remodeling, hence the random dressers and boxes all over. I filmed the first and last set of 5 of each exercise – except Dead Lift which aside from the warm-up sets you only do one. Squats were 140lbs, Over-head Press were 95lbs and Deadlift was 185lbs. To date I still haven’t missed a rep so the weight keeps climbing but I anticipate that maybe next time I do OHP at 100lbs (+5 each time) I might not make it. It’ll be interesting to see, that’s by far my weakest lift.2016-06-09 14.10.41

  • Green – Deadlift
  • Orange – Barbell Row
  • Blue – Squat
  • Gray – Bench Press
  • Purple – Overhead Press

Looking at the video I’m going to say that I need to do a better job keeping my back neutral during dead lift. When i’m doing it it feels like I’m actually arching my back but in the video it looks a bit hunched forward. I’m definitely breaking parallel on squat and my knees aren’t hurting when I do it (I consider that a great sign). OHP is tricky: The ceiling in the basement is low enough that I have to stand with my legs spread quite a lot in order to not bash the weights into the ceiling, so my stance is weird and it feels like I’m leaning over backwards with a TON of arch.

By |2016-10-14T07:17:52-06:00June 9th, 2016|Categories: Weight Lifting|Tags: , |2 Comments

Keto Chow 1.5 update – almost there; Finally missed reps on StrongLifts

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Weight Lifting

So first the good news: The roll out of Keto Chow 1.5 is nearly complete. Rather than list what is updated to 1.5, I’ll just list what isn’t:


  • Chocolate Fudge


  • Banana and Butter Cream Toffee (as they’re discontinued but I still have some)
  • Chocolate Mint
  • Snickerdoodle
  • Vanilla
  • Cookies & Cream


  • None. They’re all switched over.


Now for the bad news: Up until last night I hadn’t missed a single rep doing StrongLifts. It was inevitable that I would and it finally happened. Last week I was able to finish the full set of Overhead Press doing 95lbs but doing 100lbs was too much for me, even resting 5 minutes between sets:

2016-06-15 16.04.57

Well, life moves on. The kids asked for Strawberry and Peanut Butter keto chow today.

By |2016-10-14T07:17:52-06:00June 15th, 2016|Categories: Keto Chow, Site or Store Stuff, Weight Lifting|Tags: , , , |2 Comments