Lessons From a Summer in the Weight Room

What my summer of strength taught me about my body and mind

My bro-coach showing me the ropes
My results from two baseline body scans by DEXA

Did it work?

The answer is yes… and no.

The good news is that I got much stronger, with the added perk of looking more muscular (anecdotal data only for the latter!). After 8 weeks, I could lift about 40% more in my upper body exercises (e.g. a change from 50 lbs to 70 lbs) and about 75% more in my lower body exercises (e.g a change from 100 lbs to 175 lbs).

Body composition changes — or lack thereof. Weeks 0 and -2 make up my baseline (Week -2 means 2 weeks before launch; Week 0 was launch). Fat is on secondary axis (12–16 kg)

What did I learn?

I’ve grouped my lessons into two themes: biological insights and broader benefits. Many of these lessons extend beyond my strength program’s original goals.

1. Biological insights

2. Broader Benefits

My circa 2006 grad-school jeans still fit…but it’s still worth looking under the hood to track deeper changes.

Next Steps

Set smart goals, develop a smart plan, measure progress, and adapt. Bullseye!



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Chana Davis, PhD

Scientist (PhD Genetics @Stanford) * Mother * Passionate about science-based healthy choices * Lifelong learner * Founder: Fueled by Science