1 Year of doing Wendler’s 5/3/1 Program: 1/1/2012 – 12/30/2012

Body Pics:

Day 1: 1/1/2012
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+52 Weeks (+15 weeks LeanGains): 12/30/12
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Body Stats:

Stat: 1/1/12 / 12/30/12 / Difference

Height: 5′ 8″
Weight (lbs): 183.00 / 167.00 / -16.00
Body Fat %: 21.50% / 14.50% / -7.00%
Neck: 15.50″ / 15.25″ / -0.25″
Shoulders: 46.75″ / 46.00″ / -0.75″
Chest: 39.00″ / 38.00″ / -1.00″
Arms: 14.50″ / 14.00″ / -0.50″
Forearms: 10.00″ / 11.00″ / +1.00″
Waist: 36.00″ / 33.00″ / -3.00″
Hips: 36.25″ / 34.00″ / -2.25″
Thighs: 24.00″ / 22.75″ / -1.25″
Calves: 15.00″ / 14.75″ / -0.25″


(Estimated 1RM in lbs)
Lift: Start / Current Max / Difference

Squat: 280 / 350/ +70
Bench Press: 240 / 259 / +19
Power Clean: 126 / 170 / +44
Deadlift: 342 / 414 / +72
Overhead Press: 146 / 154 / +8


4/6/2012 – 330 lbs e1RM Goal (285 lbs x 5)
8/18/2012 – 340 lbs e1RM Goal (310 lbs x 3)
8/31/2012 – 345 lbs e1RM Goal (350 lbs x 1)
8/31/2012 – 350 lbs x 1 Personal Record

Bench Press:
2/29/2012 – 252 lbs e1RM Goal (210 lbs x 6)

Power Clean:
2/18/12 – 146 lbs e1RM Goal (125 lbs x 5)
4/1/2012 – 157 lbs e1RM Goal (135 lbs x 6)
4/1/2012 – 162 lbs e1RM Personal Best & 135 lbs x 6 Personal Record
5/6/2012 – 140 lbs x 4 Personal Record
6/10/2012 – 145 lbs x 3 Personal Record
6/27/2012 – 165 lbs e1RM Goal (135 lbs x 7 rep PR)
8/27/2012 – 170 lbs e1RM Goal (155 lbs x 3)
8/27/2012 – 155 lbs x 3 Personal Record
10/8/2012 – 160 lbs x 1 Personal Record

4/1/2012 – 391 lbs e1RM Goal (335 lbs x 6)
7/6/2012 – 405 lbs e1RM Goal (345 lbs x 6)
8/27/2012 – 375 lbs x 1 Personal Record
10/8/2012 – 380 lbs x 1 Personal Record

Overhead Press:
6/8/2012 – 145 lbs x 1 Personal Record



The increase in my lifts overall are not huge.
Started doing 5/3/1 with a 3x/week template and changed it later on to 2x/week to help with recovery, allow for other activities and work with my schedule.
Completed 9 cycles due to how I ran 5/3/1 this year when I could have done 12 cycles if I was running it 4x/week.
In the end I deloaded all my lifts as I end the year with Cycle 10 and begin the new with Cycle 10.

The main lifts was not changed throughout the year but I did switch how I did my assistance exercises every now and then.
Not much has changed since I switched to a 2x/week template.
But I did learn from my mistakes throughout the year and still learning!

I think I could probably progressed better but there are other variables that prevented me from doing so.
Working night shift and having a family severely restricts my schedule.
For the most part I get an average of 6 hours of sleep and often times stay up 24+ hours at least once a week.
There are also times when I know I didn’t get proper nutrition.
This really made some lifting days and recovery difficult.

I also didn’t do as much conditioning the first half of the year and I think that is a big mistake.
I noticed that when I finally did increase my conditioning that I started feeling better, personally in strength and endurance!
Also started doing martial arts again, by the middle of the year, which really improved my conditioning and personal well-being.
This was important to me as I always have a passion for martial arts since I was a kid!
I found that my strength training and other conditioning work has definitely helped in my martial arts skills even though I have been out of the game and not trained in it for 15 years!
Guess all that muscle memory helps!


I think the first half of the year I was not really fully focused and struggled with my diet.
I did a “Dirty Bulk” before I started 5/3/1 when I was doing Mad Cow Intermediate.
This got me strong but also gained me much unwanted body fat.
Then I stumbled upon the “Paleo Diet” and attempted it for 12 weeks with much success!
I really enjoyed it and learned much from it.
Then I kept stumbling on this idea about Intermittent Fasting, specifically “LeanGains”.
With such coincidences that keeps following me, I decided to try it out as well.
It was difficult at first but I now enjoy LeanGains and noticed a HUGE difference after doing it for 15 weeks now and probably will keep on using LeanGains until I need to stop or change it.
In short, the whole year was focused on trying to shed the excess body fat I have.
Learned much from Carb/Calorie Cycling I did the year before and from the Paleo Diet and LeanGains I did this year.

Now I am planning to drop to 10% Body Fat (or less) before I attempt a slow “Clean Bulk” to reach 200 lbs while maintaining a low 10% Body Fat or less!


I REALLY enjoyed Wendler’s 5/3/1 program.
It is VERY flexible for my needs.
It allowed me to get strong in my busy life and still manage to do other things.
I could have performed better if I was in a “Bulking Cycle” but still managed to get strong while on a “Cut”!
Been a couple of years since I started getting serious with strength training (thanks to Starting Strength, Stronglifts, Mad Cow Intermediate and now 5/3/1) and I feel stronger and better than I was when I was in the Marines over 10 years ago!
I now feel stronger, even more confident and knowledgeable.
But I know I need to stay humble and remind myself that there is ALWAYS something more to learn!
I HUNGER for the knowledge to improve myself to a better me!

With that said, I hope I can somehow manage to enter a Powerlifting meet sometime in my life and also somehow compete in a Martial Arts event again in the future!
For now, I plan to continue to do Wendler’s 5/3/1 program until I see the need to change it.
Which I do not see the need in the next year to come!

If I have to do this all over again I probably would make sure I get plenty of sleep, rest and food!
Start light!
Foam Roll and Stretch as often as you can.
Do NOT forget about conditioning!