He’s gone from being a complete novice who dreads the gym to being somewhat comfortable performing simple compound lifts now. It’s super motivating to watch the numbers increase every week! This subsection was invaluable as it gave me an idea of what kind of progress I should expect, so I decided to return some of my own data.
About me: 25F, 5’3″, weight fluctuated between 132 lb and 140 lb over 12 weeks.
I have no sports/physical activity background and have never been particularly skilled at either. I don’t lead a sedentary lifestyle, though, and I usually take my 10,000 steps in a day-to-day life in a car-free, walkable city. I also go hiking/skiing occasionally and flirt with the C25K at one point.
My goals: She was feeling fluffy after a particularly stressful semester at university and wanted to shed some of the extra pounds + gain strength. Maybe I can do one push-up, but nothing more. I also want to ski regularly this winter and wanted to get stronger to stay fit on the slopes all day long.
What I actually did is: GZCLP every other day, go for a jog on GZCLP rest days. This turned out to be 3-4x/week strength training + 3-4x/week running. For my runs, I follow the Garmin Coach 5K plan with a 35-minute 5K as my goal (I know it’s slow but even that is insanely ambitious for me lol). These runs are usually 2-5 miles long.
My results: In the last 12 weeks:
T1 lifts (sets of 3):
|1 week||12. Week|
|lying down barbell||30|
T2 lifts (sets of 10):
|1 week||12. Week|
|lying down barbell||20|
I wouldn’t take my starting weights seriously, I didn’t know exactly what was going on and I tried my best to guess them lol
I am very pleased with the progress I have made in my lower body lifts; So close to a 1-plate squat! My bench and OHP are pathetic lol, but considering I could barely move the bar in the beginning to set up my squat rack, I’m really proud that I was finally able to switch the bar to OHP. I didn’t do the AMRAP sets because I saw my form deteriorate in the 3rd/10 repetitions. No problem, I still made progress.
It took me a while to turn my form for deadlift; I actually had to stop my progress for a few weeks to improve my form and not hurt myself. This is Alan Thrall video Learning to set up the deadlift was invaluable. megsquatchannel is also great.
Aesthetic results: The scale didn’t change much, nor did my progress images change visibly. If anything, I added some (probably) water weight and I’m feeling a little bloated. There is no change in my clothes either. But I can definitely notice definition in my quads, hamstrings, arms and shoulders; things got tight. Now I have baby biceps where never before! How exciting!
I was hoping (perhaps optimistically) to lose some weight given the significant increase in my physical activity, but I wasn’t intentionally under-eating, so I wasn’t surprised. Let’s see what happens after 3 months!
Nutrition: This has definitely been my biggest challenge and I’m still trying to figure it out. I’ve spent the last 2 years without this possible undereating (basically eating 2 meals a day, one of which is a light sandwich) and had to increase my caloric intake to get 100+ grams of protein. I’m not counting my calories, but I guess I’m currently eating close to 1800-1900 calories a day.
I also discovered that I had a much better time at the gym when I started eating more. In the beginning, I only drank a scoop of protein powder on days when I went to the gym and didn’t eat breakfast; I now eat three meals a day and feel much better and make more progress. For better or worse, my numbers on the scale haven’t changed… I suspect there might be something upside down diet-related here.
General experience: GZCLP is awesome! I chose to follow GZCLP after reading about it on Reddit; it seemed highly recommended and had the least amount of exercises for me to learn. Lifting has often been a great addition to my life; I think it’s much more enjoyable than cardio right now (OTOH cardio feels great after that I’m done with it). I was also amazed at how strength training visibly improved my run and that I now rarely get shin splits (considered to be a slow runner but still).
I like to mull over data, look at spreadsheets, and monitor progress; I decided to use the quantitative aspect of lifting weights to motivate myself instead of aesthetic goals. It seems that aesthetic changes are already very slow and I have reassessed my expectations so as not to expect significant changes for at least another year.
What’s next: I’m going to take a week off from GZCLP because lats/back feel kind of funny (I did an OHP with bad form and screwed something up…); I plan to continue with GZCLP for at least 12 more weeks and then reassess if I need to change anything. Also, there are deadlocks, negative pull-ups, etc. to try and get my first pull-up in the next few months. I plan to add. I would love to start climbing when my upper body gets a little less skinny!