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For anyone interested... if you want good posture, if you want to really be in shape, there are a million fads out there, but the best book by far is "Starting Strength" [1]. (It's also one of the best-selling on Amazon.)

It essentially focuses on just the squat, deadlift, press, bench press, and (later) power clean, devoting around forty pages to each, and explains why you really don't need much else. They're quite difficult to get right, but the incredibly in-depth explanations will especially appeal to programmers who like understanding how things work.

I say this just because the book completely changed the way I approach the gym, and it mirrors what the article author says about the exercises he used.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Starting-Strength-3rd-Mark-Rippetoe/dp...

Yes. While I have nitpicks with some of the form advice that Rippetoe gives, I think his book is meant for, and very good for, any beginner to strength training and powerlifting.

2 years ago I was pretty weak and had a lot of lower back and knee problems. I did Starting Strength for about 6 months (as a beginning linear progression program, it's not meant to be done longer than that) and then I switched to Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 program which is a more intermediate program with cyclical progression and monthly deload weeks.

In that time, I have gained over 20 pounds of muscle mass, added over 100 lbs each to my max squat and deadlift, my posture is much better, and my back and knee problems have almost completely gone away.

They also have a youtube channel where Rip coaches all of the lifts in the book and gives advice on where to go when you aren't progressing and what to do in terms of accessory movements.


Yes, count me in as a Starting Strength lover. Excellent book. Started squatting at 95 lbs. at the end of March, today I'm squatting 200 lbs. (I do other exercises, of course, but just an example of the types of gains can be made with the right knowledge and persistence.)

There's also Dan Johns Mass Made Simple


Both books are really good.

Does lifting weights really fix your posture if it's already bad? Also, where do you guys read about proper eating?

Depends how bad, consult a doctor. Mine was kind of shitty, and it did fix it, but that's because I only progressed my lifts if I had 100% perfect form throughout all sets and reps.

bodybuilding.com about diet and how to work with macros.

I can vouch for Starting Strength and CrossFit.

CrossFit 6 days a week, 2 hours a day. Come into work ready to take on the world!

That book was responsible for me finally achieving my 400 lb deadlift. Great book.

I can vouch for Starting Strength. If your body sucks, read this book. A lot of it will go over your head, and you don't need to read every single page, but once you start, really focus on nailing the three lifts.

I went from 45lb on the bar for all lifts to:

350 squat

475 deadlift

260 bench

290 powerclean

180 snatch

225 c&j

315 front squat

(the last 4 lifts are because I starting getting seriously into pure olympic lifting).

In under a year. I didn't use any drugs, but what I did do was post a massive wall-wide calendar on my wall, and in each day were checkboxes for: daily 5g creatine, daily sleep , daily macros (protein/fat/carb), daily fish oil.

I used a calorie counting application to make sure that without fail, every single day I got 300g protein, 400g carbs, around 150g fat (300x4 + 400x4 + 150x9 = 4100~ calories). I gained about 90lb, gained a ton of strength, then did a 2000 calorie cut still while powerlifting and then sprinting twice a day every day to cut weight fast.

Absolutely changed my life. I unlocked the greatest super power of all: controlling how I feel day in and day out. No more irritation, no more snappy emotions, no more all nighters and wasting 2 days recouping. I am able to put on weight whenever I want, and cut it whenever I want.

It's really incredible the shift you notice when you nail your diet and exercise down to a solid routine. You are much more stable throughout your daily tasks.

In the end, paying extreme attention to the trifecta and literally never once straying from it for a year (sleep/nutrition/exercise), it locked me into a proper mindset that I am able to sustain and not wane off of. Meaning I wouldn't have a new goal every single day, I wouldn't waste one day feeling extremely down in the dumps like I used to (used to be suicidal/suffer from extreme depression). No episodes, just focus.

Start getting strong, it will absolutely change your life and empower you.

Before anyone runs to the gym to buy a membership to copy the above, what rfnslyr did takes intense dedication and focus and he likely has very good genetics. Compound exercises that SS teaches are the best method for gaining overall body strength and mass. Just remember that working out is 75% nutrition and 25% lifting. If you don't eat right you wont make gains.

> If you don't eat right you wont make gains.

The golden rule (unless you're in highschool and rancid with hormones).

It really does take dedication. I had every day, every meal planned, at what time, at what time i wake and sleep, etc.

Allocate X amount of meals you are comfortable with eating per day (I like to eat four). Buy 7 x 4 containers. I like to eat two snacks a day too at work. 2 small containers x 7. So I got containers, 28 large, 14 small (for yogurt + fruit).

Protein - lean meat (beef, chicken, turkey, salmon, various fishes)

Fat - honestly just straight olive oil poured into my meal, makes it all nice and wet and makes it go down easy.

Carbs - anything carby, though I abided strictly by sweet potato for carbs. I want more carbs? Weigh out more sweet potato mashed, so easy for carbs. That and bananas are my two go to source.

4 meals a day, 4000 calories. 1000 calories/meal. 1 meal consists of 3 macros. Fat has 9cal/g, carb has 4cal/g, protein has 4cal/g. 75g pro, 100g carb, 30g fat. That's per container. Now I have 4 of those for every day + 2 snacks of whatever I want (this was my "cheat" meal, so fruits or some sort of yogurt, or some celery to be dipped in nutella, etc, something to keep me sane).

That's all there is to it. Then gym 3x a day, and monitoring my sleep with Sleepcycle every night and sleepyti.me.

Exercise hacking! I might do another full year of strict dieting and lifting while documenting it all.

That is some incredible dedication!

> Then gym 3x a day,

Did you mean 3x a week? Also, did you do much experimentation with your macro levels? And how would you adjust things given feedback from your sleep tracking?

Thanks again for this anecdote, it's really inspiring.

I meant gym 3x a week. I did do experimentation. For a few months.

I started at 2000 calories for two weeks. Noticed weight loss, kept adjusting 300 per two weeks to see fluctuations. 2300 still losing, 2700 still losing, 3000 I gained a bit, 4000 I gain a lot of fat. When working out intensely, biking, and sprinting, I only gain a bit on 4000.

During this time I ate zero sodium outright, only whatever the food contained. No condiments, just fresh cooked without spices or anything to get true calories and weight down.

> Just remember that working out is 75% nutrition and 25% lifting. If you don't eat right you wont make gains.

Does that hold for strength, or mostly for building muscle? Does training the central nervous system really rely that much on nutrition as opposed to exercising/lifting?

Oh buddy yes. Try it while eating shit and not maintaining any ratios and tell me how you feel / how long you last.

How is your c&j 290, but your powerclean 225? Squat clean for the c&j (judging by your front squat numbers)?

Whoops, my mistake, other way around. Squat clean for the c&j yes.

No worries, thanks for clarifying. Impressive numbers -- great post and thanks for sharing.

You sprinted twice a day? Can you tell me what a sprint workout was like for you? If I do just five 200 meter sprints in a workout, I'm fairly exhausted.

30 second sprint, 1 minute walk, rotate until you can't move. Then do it again. Oh, and do it a few more times. Then do that every morning and every evening. You will shed weight like no tomorrow.

Note: SPRINTING, not steady state cardio. As intense as you can for 30 seconds, then walk. That's all.

What do you mean by rotate (sprint for one minute and walk for 30 seconds?), and by a few more times (10 minutes, 15 minutes)?

If you can do 4 of those you're doing well. The key is to expend every little bit of energy you can for those 30 seconds, super burst sprinting till absolute failure.

Sprint to your maximum potential for 30 seconds, then immediately slow down to a walk, and walk for a minute. Once that minute is up, back to the sprinting for thirty seconds. Keep rotating between 30 second sprints and 1 minute walks until you are exhausted.

What is the main focus? Is the goal pure strength, mostly mass or a combination of the two? Right now I'm interested in training strength (as opposed to training for size, like body building).

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