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Ice cream fitness vs Stronglifts

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Mar 6, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Ice cream fitness vs Stronglifts 5x5

Ice cream fitness vs Stronglifts 5x5

Ice cream fitness is basically Stronglifts 5x5 with a little add-on. If you have half an hour more time three times a week do Ice cream fitness. Otherwise, do Stronglifts

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What is your why 

Before we go I think the details of the two programs let me ask you a couple of questions


  • Why do you compare Ice cream fitness and Stronglifts?
  • Why do you train?
  • Why is your current body not sufficient?
  • What happens when you reach your goals?
  • What happens when you don’t? 


One of the most important things is to evaluate and find what propels you forward. Life is going to hit you in the mouth not just once but multiple times. What will make you get up again? How do you keep chipping away at your goals when things get tough? Most beginners go about it in a way that will not manifest long-term success. This is why so many New Years resolutions and diets fail. The template most people use is 


  • What do I want?
  • How do I get it?
  • Why do I want it? 


Many people already stop at the first question. Few out real thought and effort in the second. Almost none reflect on the last. If you go about it this way it is her likely you will come to a halt. If you reverse the order you are more likely to succeed 


  • Why do You want it 
  • How do you get it 
  • What do you want 


Setting you up this way will ensure you keep going when it gets tough. Finding your why will enable you to pivot and grind when it is needed. If you are not convinced look up Simon Sinek's TED talk on the golden circle. He does a better job than me at explaining this. 


In fitness, you usually have three main groups of motivation which are 


  • Looks 
  • Performance 
  • Health 


If you belong to the group which is most interested in looks you are in for a hard time. You are up against a marketing machine which cheats and shuffles the deck in its favor. Full-time models hunger for 2 months to get into shape for one weekend of photo shooting and produce a plethora of pictures which are then leaked out to the public. This is being drip fed to you so that you think they look perfect all year around. If you want to live up to that standard be prepared to be hungry, tired and grumpy. Your choices will not always be healthy or help performance but at least you’ll get a sponsoring contract this way. 


If your interest is mainly in performance you want to break records and hold trophies. This category is all about intensity in the gym. You train like a beast to breaking point and beyond. Injuries are common and you know how to deal with them. Diet merely becomes a fuel to your ambition but is not a limiting factor. The choices you make will not always be pretty or healthy. The results will be outstanding and shine to the world. 


The last group is mainly interested in health. Your choices are balanced and stay away from the extremes. Injuries occur seldom and burnouts are unlikely to happen. You can try many different programs and diets as you do not always need the optimum result. You sip on your tea while the madness of professional sport and modeling passes by. The contempt smile on your face is all you need. 


Based on the fact that you look into ice cream fitness and Stronglifts you probably are torn between looks and performance. Dig deeper to find that guiding principle. This will make choices easier and results more remarkable. 




Stronglifts is one of the best known starting programs for lifters. You will train for three days a week using the following exercises 



You will squat each session while the other exercises are rotated. The goal is to complete 5 sets of five repetitions for each exercise. The only exception is the deadlift which is programmed in for 1x5 a week. 


All lifts start from an empty bar except the row and the deadlift. Whenever you complete a 5x5 block you go up in weight. If you fail three times on the same load you take 10% off the lift and continue. 


The biggest advantages of Stronglifts are its simplicity and effectiveness. It has a proven track record and the free app make it easy to execute. You will always know whether you are doing good or bad on a particular day. Especially for a beginner, the instant feedback is rewarding and important. 


The biggest disadvantages with 5x5 are its lack of specificity and marketing. The statements on the website are misleading and raise too high expectations. You are set up for disappointment if you take it literally. The more you deviate from the average white male the more likely the program is not ideal for you. If you are very small and light you will overtrain. If you are very big and strong you will undertrain. 


Ice cream fitness


Ice cream fitness by Jason Blaha is basically Stronglifts 5x5 with accessory work. The core is solid and the extra work to address arms and other weak points makes sense. 


While the program design is appallingly lazy it does not make it a bad program. Especially if you are already on the Stronglifts app and trained for a while saving yourself the in-app purchases and go with Ice cream fitness. 


The biggest advantages of Ice cream fitness are that it introduces you to accessory work without being overwhelming. You still train three times a week and put in a bit of hypertrophy work. That is never bad for beginners.


The biggest disadvantage of Ice cream fitness is that it takes more time than Stronglifts. The 1.5 hours which Jason Blaha recommends for each session are tight for all that is being put in. Just add up the prescribed rest times and you will see what I mean. Some might also criticize it for the lack of autoregulation but I would not get too worked about that with a program written for the general beginner public. 


Which program should you do 


If you have the extra time it does not hurt to do the ice cream fitness version of Stronglifts 5x5. Throw in some accessory work to train the triceps, biceps, and delts more. These muscles fall a bit short on barbell programs like Stronglifts


The main aim of beginner programs should be to excite them about training so they stick with it without being overwhelming. Ice cream fitness does a good job at that while going a bit further than Stronglifts


Further reading 



Topics: Lift stronger, Stronglifts 5x5, Fitness, Strength