All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


5 X 5

Back on January 26th of this year I started my quest to become less of a man.  Less of a man in terms of mass and total percentage of body fat.  I hadn't lifted weights or worked out since I was in my 20's, and it showed.

My "method" of getting "in shape" consisted of Googling "weight lifting for weight loss" and picking a workout routine that the readers of a weightlifting website voted as "the best".  I also made an effort to think about eating less junk food.  I bought a gym membership and started on a 6 day a week workout routine after work.

I made it a point to only weigh myself once a month and not obsess about early results.  The rational being that so long as I was sticking to the schedule and making an effort, I would see results at some point. I set a weight loss goal of 18 to 30 months to achieve a target weight and 6 to 8 months to reach a "ideal" workout target for the amount of weight I was lifting.

The first couple of months went fairly good.  I did most of what I set out to do and my strength was growing according to schedule.  Then I hit a wall, or a plateau depending on how you look at it.  I stopped being able to increase the weights I was lifting.  My body weight remained steady and then started yo-yoing on me.  I was tired of my workouts and discouraged about my results.

I needed a new plan.

So I asked an older guy at the gym what he thought I should do.  He suggest that I forget about the system I was doing and focus on getting my strength at target levels BEFORE even THINKING ABOUT LOSSING WEIGHT AGAIN.  That seemed like crap advice to me, since the goal is to lose weight.  So I floundered around for another 6 weeks or so not making any progress and even putting a couple of pounds back on.  It seems like maybe two or three other guys gave me the exact same advice too.

A couple of points about lifting weights to lose weight:
  1. Advice on weight lifting routines to "lose weight" should be taken with a grain of salt.  Skip that.  Advice on the internet designed to help a person who is at 10% body fat drop down to 7% body fat so they can go to a competition might not work so great if you need to drop inches and pounds.
  2. If you're really out of shape, getting muscle back should be the priority, not dropping pounds.  This is counter intuitive.  It is also correct.  Focus on getting to your target performance level.  If you want to rep 10 X 275lbs on the bench (or whatever combination of lifting exercise goals) as a way to lose body fat then focus on getting to the 275lbs not on dropping weight.
  3. IF you're old, meaning over 30, 40, 50 etc, admit it and deal with it.  You might need more than one rest day a week to recover and get stronger/leaner.
  4. There is no "perfect" or "best" plan that works for everyone, every time.
  5. If you don't have a plan, pick one.  Any one.  That's right it doesn't matter much.  Just start lifting correctly and stick with the routine for at lest 3 months.
  6. Reevaluate after 90 days of doing the plan.  Now you have started a new habit and you have some kind of idea about how your body is reacting to the exercise.
  7. Get a new plan and try it for 90 days.
  8. Rinse and repeat.
I just started a new plan.  I had a couple of people tell me about Strong Lifts 5 X 5.  The guy running the website isn't doing anything new.  In fact its a very old weightlifting concept that he has borrowed from other people.  He's not selling anything.  He doesn't claim it was his idea.  He just promotes it, and for lots of people, it seems to work.

What I like about the new plan:
  • All free weights all the time.  I had become dependent on the Smith machine.  I like the Smith Machine.  If you are lifting late at night, by your lonesome its nice to be able to twist your wrists and "save" yourself from a bad rep.  BUT by the time you're pressing/squatting etc 200lbs or better on the Smith, you're in good enough shape to use the free weights and get your balance and auxiliary muscles into the act.  I was stuck with my crutch and need to move on.
  • It takes 35 to 45 minutes including warm up to get it all done.
  • It's a "major muscle group" plan.  I had been doing all the muscle groups individually once a week and wasn't making much progress.
  • I'm doing 3 exercises I wasn't doing before.
  • Once you plateau there is a plan designed to move you into more "advanced" lifting.
What I need to do to advance my over all fitness goals:
  • Add regular moderate cardio.
  • Get a flexibility routine
  • Work on diet.  I like "healthy" foods, I just like eating refined carbs too.  The carbs are killing me, probably literally.
  • I'm thinking that a massage routine might help my recovery.  The problem is that I don't have that kind of money in the budget right now.
I'm going to do the new plan for 12 weeks and reevaluate my progress.


  1. WaterBoy11:21 AM

    "I'm thinking that a massage routine might help my recovery. The problem is that I don't have that kind of money in the budget right now."

    Wives are good for that, you know.

    There are free training videos on the Internet, if necessary, for the specific type of massage you're looking to get (Swedish, sports, etc).

  2. One common thought among all the stuff I have ever read regarding what you have covered here is this. You may not lose weight, but as you actually start to rebuild all that muscle, you will not only wear smaller clothing sizes, but you might weigh more than you remember because muscle weighs more than fat does.

    Because people don't always understand that muscle weighs more than fat does, they tend to think they are not winning the battle, when in reality that is exactly what is happening for them.

    That whole thing of being a bit heavier, but wearing a smaller size is just so weird, but it is reality. And don't forget, you are being a great example for your kids Res.

  3. What Waterboy said. Exactly.

  4. Way to go... sticking with it through the adversity. Perseverance.

  5. Wives are good for that, you know.

    Oh I've tried. For the last 17 years I've tried. She loves to get a massage but she can't be bothered to return the favor. I've bought books on technique but she isn't interested.

    Maybe I should develop dread massage game.

    Seriously though there are a couple of great Thai galls in town that specialize in restorative massage therapy. The problem is that its a program of 90 days going once a week, then the next 90 days you go once every other week and then its once a month or whenever you feel the need. Several of my friends swear by these women. I'd love to do it, but its $90 a pop and I don't have an extra $400 a month to blow right now.

    You may not lose weight, but as you actually start to rebuild all that muscle, you will not only wear smaller clothing sizes

    This is what they call body composition. Mine has been improving for the last 6 months. Cloths are fitting better. My muscles are tighter, some of them are even "rock hard". What happens, and where I'm at right now, is as the muscle comes together the fat becomes more noticeable. It's kinda like grandma arms but all over. The scales don't tell the whole story, but I was expecting to see an honest 20 to 25 lbs lost in the first six months. What I ended up with was 8 to 10lbs. Most people would expect to get that in the first 2 to 3 months.

    Health wise, and strength wise and general fitness are better, but I'm not coming close to where I want to be. So I'm going to make my body stronger so I can demand more of it and in doing that I should be able to lose more weight.

  6. WaterBoy1:30 PM

    Res Ipsa: "Maybe I should develop dread massage game."

    Easy enough to do. Just go once or twice without telling her. When you return and she asks where you were, say that you just gave some cute girl $90 to rub her hands all over your body.

    Then ask her if she would like the money, instead.

  7. That would be funny.

  8. Susan2:59 PM

    Yeah it would be funny, but only if your reflexes are quick enough to dodge whatever she throws at your head.(grin)

    Waterboy might be on to something Res. You might get your wifely massages if you can offer the right incentive.

  9. Res Ipsa6:01 PM

    Some how I can't see myself "paying" my wife for "services rendered". I feel dirty even typing it :).

    It would be funny to use his line and see the reaction.

  10. WaterBoy6:19 PM

    Well, you have to be quick with the followup line:

    "Your choice. One way or the other I'm getting a massage."

    Timing is everything.

  11. Susan9:39 AM

    Res, it depends on your definition of the term payment. We wives see that term and its possibilities in many, many more ways than you fellows do.

    Quid pro quo can mean so many more things to wives than it does to their husbands.

    As an example, I got several needed things for my sewing room that I would not have normally gotten if I had not been willing to strike a bargain with my hubby.

    Did I put this clear as mud for you?(smile)

  12. Susan,

    Women who dot on their man get all kinds of things. The more the dot the more they get.

  13. I was doing SL5x5 for a while; it's a great program. I need to get back into it...

  14. jml1911a1,

    What was your goal with it? How long did you do it and what kind of results did you get? Any info would be helpful. Thanks.