For several months now we've been lifting pretty regularly at a great gym in Venice. It also has the added benefit of being where Craig "Daryl from The Office" Robinson works out, who we see there often.
I haven't weighed myself in a while, but I did last night on one of the body fat % scales at the gym. I know those things aren't especially accurate on the body fat percentage thingus, and I should be capturing regular data-points. But the fit of my clothes as well as various other factors, like visible growth in musculature in places where I haven't really had it in the past tells me that the program is working. In particular, the most remarkable growth in strength and muscle has occurred since we quit using the "four hour body" method, and switched to a pretty well-regarded strength training system called "Starting Strength" - more here. It uses a basic 5x5 set list with three exercises, heavy squats being in both A and B splits. In other words, there are two routines, both of them have squats with free weights, plus two other exercises in each routine. The idea is that you start out at a manageable weight to learn the form, and add 5 pounds to every exercise on every repeat. This causes constant muscle growth and strength gain.
So last night, with loose clothing and other visible improvement, I weigh myself. I've actually gained 10 pounds. but I've also lost about 9% body fat. (I've gone from 235 to 245, and 33% fat to 24%.) I'm a little worried about the weight gain, but heck, I'm only about 1/4 of the way in to what is basically a one year program. The more fit I get the more inclined to eat well I am just naturally, so I think this is going to sort itself out without TOO much conscious effort.
But I did some math. If I go from 33% bodyfat to 24%, I've lost 9% of my current weight in fat, roughly. (It's actually a differential equation and an asymptotic curve of data points, but whatever...) So I've lost 22 pounds of fat. But I've gained a total of 10 pounds. So that means I lost 22 pounds of fat, but packed on 32 pounds of muscle. That's a lot of muscle. It also means if I keep it up, and slim down to 12% body fat, which is a pretty reasonable goal for a 40 year old guy, I'll lose an additional 29 pounds of fat. Assuming I don't gain any more muscle (which I probably will) that puts me at six feet tall, and 216 pounds with only 12% fat.
That's a stupid amount of bone and muscle. I mean, I was a skinny kid all my life, if you had told me someday I'd be built like a viking linebacker - and I don't mean a linebacker for the Vikings, I mean a Odin-damned viking who has taken the job of linebacker - I'd have thought you were nuts. By the end of this year, I should be bench-pressing 360 pounds or so. Deadlifting over 400, and squats of something like 380. That's easily enough to put me in the 1000 pound club - that rarefied height of weightlifting when the athelete pulls a thousand pounds with a single rep of each of three exercises.
In short, I'm getting huge. I will need a whole new wardrobe. Also, I promise not to crush any of your flimsy little heads, weaklings.