I’ve always considered myself an athlete. When competitive sports stopped in college, I still went to the gym often to work out. But, I’ve never really had a goal with it. It lifted because I thought I should.

In March, we moved and I started my own company. Working at home and not living near a YMCA meant that it was no longer convenient to go to the gym. I figured I was doing alright by playing some golf and occasionally taking a run. But by the end of the summer, I knew that was wrong.

My back had really started to hurt. I had dealt with a bulging disk about ten years ago, but since then it had mostly been fine. My knee was hurting too, and walking up the stairs with a handful of groceries was tiring.

Things were not going well.

Two things happened at about the same time. First, a new chiropractor said my knee and back were structurally sound. The problem was an angry IT band. My hip was out of place a bit, one of the muscles there had completely turned off, and the IT band was compensating.

Second, my company released a website called Matfinder. To help promote it, I started following a bunch of fitness blogs so that I could find content to share on Twitter. I noticed that a lot of the posts were about power lifting and the benefits of strength training.

I decided I wanted to get strong. Why?

Why Every Man Should Be Strong – alright, count me in. But how? Barbells? Certainly not the random weight lifting plan I’ve used before. Ok, so heavy weights it is.

I asked my wife if she wanted to get involved after reading this and this. Also, those posts made me certain that we needed to start with deadlifts, squats, overhead presses, and pullups. Take the time to at least read the first one. It’s amazing stuff.

We set a goal to deadlift twice our bodyweight by the time we leave for Macchu Picchu on May 1st. For me, that’s a 400 pound deadlift!
We started on September 8th, 2014. The current workout we’re doing is:

Inverted Rows, 3 sets of 8-10.
This is to get ready for pull-ups, since neither of us can do them yet. We’re following this post to work our way up.

Deadlift, 3 sets of 10

Overhead Press, 3 sets of 10

Back Squat, 3 sets of 10

Each Monday is 10 pounds heavier than the previous Monday. Wednesday is the same as Monday, and Friday is 5 pounds heavier than Wednesday to try and bridge the gap. I’m sticking with this until I’m over 200 pounds, then I may start throwing in some different plans (10 reps, 6 reps, 3 reps or a day of just 5 rep for heavy weight, etc).

But, the main goal is to get to a 400 pound deadlift by May 1st. Adding 10 pounds a week will get me there by April. It will happen.

That’s it. By myself, it’s 30-45 minutes. The first day I tried this, I started at 45 pounds for the first set (just the bar), 65 for the second, and 85 pounds for the third. The next day, I was sore throughout my entire body, which was great. I knew the lifts were working more than just a couple of muscles.

Yesterday, I did a chin-up for the first time since middle school. My pull-up got my head up to the bar, so it’s almost there! My deadlift and squat was 145, 165, 185. Overhead Press is a killer, and I’m slowly working my way from from 110,115,120.

The effects were immediate. My back and knee pain dropped significantly that day. In fact, the first day I did this I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to because my knee and back hurt so bad. I made sure to warm-up and stretch a lot before I started, but the next day I felt amazing.

It’s stayed that way since. I no longer get sore after workouts, but I can feel the muscle building, and muscle creation has been quite evident for both my wife and I since we started. It’s kind of amazing to see after having accepted that getting older meant not being as strong as you used to be.

That’s a farce. You can get stronger. You should get stronger! Now go make it happen!

How about some pretty pictures? And perhaps in the future, I’ll show some body composition pictures. These come from FitNotes.

Screenshot (10-18AM, Oct 21, 2014)

Screenshot (10-18AM, Oct 21, 2014)