Note by Mehdi – this is the success story AJ from CA sent me. AJ is a rugby player who gained 45lb and boosted his Deadlift from 135lb to 435lb in only 17 months.
I’ve been a lurker since the summer of ’09. I started playing rugby and I wanted to bulk up in order to put up with the abuse that I’d have to deal with if I wanted to make it through an entire season (I had only played rugby during that school year prior to that summer). And, frankly, I wanted to be able to knock someone on their ass if they tried running on my side of the pitch.
I came into school at a body weight of about 160-165 (I’m 5’11”). I didn’t think that I’d ever be “big”, but then I found StrongLifts by chance. I had never done a Squat in my life and I started StrongLifts 5×5 that summer during the final week before I went back to school. After a while, I was unable to recover from the workouts (rugby practices 3x/wk) and I had to cut my Squatting back to 2 days/wk (recovery is still an issue sometimes given the lack of sleep that comes with my profession…my legs are always spent).
Needless to say, I grew from 165-210lbs. My squat went from 135 to 355 (I just did that for 2 reps yesterday)…my bench went from 185 (1/2 rep) to 300lbs (x 9 reps yesterday). The last time I did deadlifts, I did 435 x1.
|AJ's Gains||August 2009||February 2011||Gains so far...|
When I started growing, people really took notice. Some guys thought that I was on steroids. Others thought that I was taking all kinds of supplements and powders, etc. They really thought that I was crazy when I’d walk into class and pull out a 1/2 gal of milk and drink it during the lecture.
Eventually, guys began asking me about how I was training, what exercises I was using, etc. I told a lot of people, but few were willing to put in the work needed (especially the eating) to make the gains that they wanted. Being called a “big” guy is still a little weird. Guys respect it because they know how hard the work is… the girls like it too (I haven’t figured out the reasoning yet).
A friend of mine who played in the NFL used to work out with me. Sometimes I’d increase my weight and try to rep out 5, but I’d only be able to bang out 2 or 3 without his assistance and he’d notice my disappointment. One day when I didn’t hit the number I wanted, he asked me “are you better than you were your last workout?” I realized that I was and that hit home with me.
Since then, my goal has always been to be better, stronger and more intense than I was in my previous workout. If I’m not doing that, there’s no need for me to be in the gym.
I must say that StrongLifts and strength training has definitely changed my personal and professional life. I know that you received hundreds of emails each week and I’m unsure whether you’ll actually read this, but I wanted to let you know that I really appreciate what you’re doing. I’m enjoying lifting and I’m glad that I found out about StrongLifts 5×5 by chance. Thanks a lot.
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