Buying and Restoring Olympic Weight Plates

I wrote about making the switch to a garage gym in a previous post–a move which has been great for both my physique and my wallet.

I mentioned the importance of looking for good deals on Craigslist if you are on a budget (which most of us are).  Another place to find good deals is on Facebook “buy and sell” type groups.  That’s where I found my latest prize: 300 lb. of plates.  These were just sitting around in some guy’s back yard and he decided to clean things up and get rid of them.

You’ll find that you can buy used plates like this for about half of what they would cost new.  New plates usually cost around a dollar a pound.  I bought mine for 55 cents a pound.  You may get lucky and find weights for much less than that–there are people out there who just want to get rid of them and will sell them for pennies per lb. (or even give them away).  But I was pleased with the price, especially since the guy selling them lives just minutes away from me.  I was also really looking forward to having a set of 35 lb. plates.

The new additions to my gym needed a little TLC, so I began researching how to restore/refinish them.  I discovered there’s more than one way to do it, so I’ll share both what I learned and what I did.

Restoring weight plates is a pretty simple process:

  1. Clean them and remove the rust
  2. Paint them

Getting rid of the dirt and/or rust

After some rinsing (still rusty)

The way you choose do step 1 (removing the rust) will depend on the condition of the plates.  My plates were in pretty decent shape once I rinsed them off, so I chose to physically remove the rust spots.  You can use a hand-held wire brush for this, but I decided to buy a couple of wire wheels for my drill.  I’d highly recommend this if you have a drill (or can borrow one).  A 2-inch wire disk attachment will work really well on the hole in the center of the weight.  A drill with the wire brush attachment will make quick work of rust spots.  I’d advise you to wear safety glasses and a construction mask while doing this (better safe than sorry).

I just took a rag and wiped the plates off after hitting them with the wire wheel. I’ve seen some mention using mineral spirits to clean, but I was a little concerned about damaging the existing paint surface (which wasn’t all that bad).  I’m not sure it matters that much either way.

Let’s say your plates are covered in rust and you need to start over with bare metal (or as close to it as you can get).  It seems a lot of guys have success with soaking the plates in vinegar overnight.  That seems to eat away the rust–anything that doesn’t dissolve can be cleaned off the plate pretty easily (based on the YouTube videos I’ve watched).


The first thing you’ll need to do is put the weights on some old cardboard (either outside or in a well-ventilated garage).

I used spray paint: Rust-Oleum Universal All Surface Paint and Primer.  I used the black satin for the 35’s and the hammered black for the others.  The hammered color has a really nice texture to it, and I wanted to make the 35’s a slightly different color (so I won’t accidentally pick up the wrong plate).  There are other paint brands that may be just as good or better.

Coat one side, let it dry for a while, then put on a second coat if you want.  Check and see if you missed any spots, and don’t forget to get the hole in the center of the plate.

Make sure the one side is 100% dry before you flip it and paint the other side–otherwise you’ll end up with cardboard stuck to the plate and you’ll have to brush and paint again.  I made this mistake, and I would have let one side dry for a day (or at least overnight) if I had it to do over.

A couple of coats of paint and your plates will look good as new–or at least very functional.  There may be a few tiny rust spots that I missed on these plates, but I’m not too worried about that.  I just want to train without getting rust all over everything.

Here’s a before/after picture.

You can buy a Sharpie paint pen and paint the logo/numbers if you want.  I painted the numbers just for the heck of it (put I didn’t bother with the brand/logo).

Now it’s time to put these treasures to good use . . .

See Also: Garage Gym–One Year Later

Hollywood X Review: Celebrity Workout Program

I’ve had the opportunity to look over the Hollywood X Celebrity Workout by Jason Maxwell and Alain Gonzalez. Let me start this review by telling you a little bit about the authors.

Alain Conzalez was a self-proclaimed “skinny weakling” before he transformed his physique. He has written best-selling books and his articles have been featured in some of the world’s most visited fitness websites. Lastly (but definitely not least), he has been a competitive bodybuilder and powerlifter.

Jason Maxwell has certification through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and Functional Movement Systems as well as a Master’s level nutrition certification.

Now let’s talk about what you get if you decide to order this program.

Component 1: Hollywood X Main Manual

This manual gives you an overview of the program, including an explanation of its name. The “X” actually symbolizes the look that most guys are after when they think of their favorite celebrity physique. The authors go on to explain the five characteristics of a muscular physique–the five visual cues that make a man look good:

  1. Shoulders–well-developed deltoid muscles are crucial for a wide look.
  2. Traps–thick trapezius muscles make you look powerful, even with your shirt on.
  3. Upper Chest–development here is one of the most important keys to looking good shirtless.
  4. Lats–wide lats are what give you the “v taper” look (wide shoulders and a narrow waist).
  5. Quads–there’s no point in developing your upper body without having muscular legs (unless you plan on never wearing shorts).

The rest of this manual has the general principles for developing this look. The workouts are divided into three separate phases, which I’ll explain later.

This manual also explains other factors that go into building a high quality physique:

Rep Tempo–the proper way to execute each repetition in terms of lifting speed, etc.

“Potentiaion” vs. Fatigue–why training until failure is not the best option for building muscle and strength.

Antagonist Paired Sets–training in a way that opposite muscle groups are worked in the same session (chest and back, for example).

Deloading–the importance of intentionally doing less intense workouts to enhance recovery.

Recovery–Four factors outside the gym that will help you get the most out of your training.

Component 2: Hollywood X Transformation Diet

This manual is a complete guide to nutrition, which is crucial for transforming your physique. The authors will encourage you to use the Transformation Calculator (also included in the program) in order to estimate your daily caloric needs. This manual also has an overview of the basics you’ll need to know in terms of nutrition: macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats), micronutrients (vitamins/minerals), meal timing, and supplementation.

Be sure to put just as much effort into your nutrition as you do your training if you decide to try this program. You simply won’t get the full benefit if you try to get strong, muscular, and lean without paying attention to your diet.

Component 3-5: The Workout Phases

These manuals will guide you through the actual training, which is divided into three phases:

The first phase is called the Primer phase. You’ll be training with a relatively high amount of volume but low amount of intensity. The idea is to get your muscles ready for the next phase.

The second phase is called the Build Up phase. Like the previous phase, volume will still be fairly high. But you’ll also be steadily increasing the intensity in order to be ready to move onto the next phase.

The third and final phases is called the Transformation phase. By this time you have build some muscle and have laid the foundation to lift with heavier weights. The emphasis in this phase is mechanical tension–this will significantly increase both your strength and your muscle growth.

Component 6: Nutrition Calculator

As I’ve mentioned, this will be used to calculate your daily caloric needs.

Component 7: Hollywood X Exercise Video Library

You’ll have access to online videos that will show you the proper way to do each exercise.

Bonus Content:

These manuals give you the option of training extra days per week. The basic program is based on training three times per week, but these additional manuals are for those who want to train more often (4-6 days a week).

You’ll also get printable workout logs so you can record your training in the gym.


Some trainees go to the gym with the idea of looking like the next Mr. Olympia. But professional bodybuilders’ physiques are usually not that appealing to the masses. Most guys are more interested in looking like some of the impressive celebrities they’ve seen on the big screen: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Craig, and Hugh Jackman are just a few that come to mind. These physiques are arguably more realistic role models, and quite frankly, what women are most likely to find attractive.

With this in mind, I think the Hollywood X program would be a good investment for the following:

*Trainees who want to build a lean, muscular, and aesthetically appealing body.

*Beginners who have never really followed a systematic training and nutrition program, or guys who are returning to the gym after a prolonged layoff.

*Men who are willing to put serious effort and planning into a 13-week program (both diet and training).

If this sounds like you then I think Hollywood X would be a good investment for you.  JUST CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE PROGRAM OR LEARN MORE.

Old School, New Body Review


I have had the opportunity to review an extremely popular program called Old School, New Body by John Rowley and Steve/Becky Holman. This is a system designed for men and women who want to stay in shape or get back in shape.   I’m interested in this program for a couple of reasons:

I’m in my mid-40’s and I’m interested in maintaining a high level of strength and fitness for years to come. I’m always on the lookout for training and diet information designed for more mature trainees.

One of the major health issues we face here in the West is sarcopenia–the decline of strength and muscle that occurs with aging. Some of this is inevitable, but lifestyle choices do worsen/accelerate the problem. I can tell you from personal experience that it is possible to look and feel much younger than your chronological age. I’d like to see more men and women enjoying a healthy, high energy lifestyle in their 40’s and beyond.

With this in mind let me share with you what you will get if you order the Old School, New Body program. Keep in mind that these are all digital products–they are quickly and easily downloaded from the website if you decide to order this program.

Program Components:

Old School, New Body Main Guide: This E-book is your guide to the overall history and philosophy of the program. According to Rowley, he and Steve ran across some of the training journals of the legendary Vince Gironda. Gironda was a trainer to many Hollywood celebrities in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. He was a man that was truly ahead of his time.

These training journals inspired John and Steve to do more research and eventually created the Focus-4 Exercise protocol (F4X). These workouts make it possible to build muscle and burn fat while minimize the wear and tear on joints (something older trainees have to be more conscientious about).   Another beauty of this system is that you don’t have to spend hours in the gym every day. You can, in fact, maintain a high level of fitness by training only three days a week and adjusting your diet. The book gives several examples of success stories–those who have used this system to stay in shape.

Here’s one thing you may find surprising about Old School, New Body: even young people can benefit from these workouts. The authors have seen 19 and 20-year-olds transform their physique with these training techniques.

Needless to say, there’s a lot more I could share about this manual. But hopefully this gives you a pretty decent idea of what the authors hope you can accomplish by applying this system.

Quick Start Workout Guide: This document will guide you through the F4X workouts. It is divided into four different phases. The first is called Lean workouts–these are the beginner level workouts that will help you get started on your fitness journey. The second phases is called Shape workouts, designed for those who are ready for more intensive training. The third phase is called Build. This phase is for those who want to add some muscle after building the foundation from previous phases.

Ultimate Fat Burning Secrets: This E-book includes some additional fat loss tips that you may find helpful. The key to fat loss, of course, is a negative calorie balance. But you’ll learn some extra things from reading through this document.   Here’s one example: those who eat diets higher in protein tend to be more successful at weight loss. Protein helps you to feel full and keeps you from eating other more high calorie foods.

Ultimate Muscle-Building Secrets: Like the previous book, this one includes some additional information to help you build muscle. The authors mention different supplements, for example, that you may want to consider adding to your regimen. One example is taking 400 milligrams of magnesium before you to bed. This mineral is helpful for keeping cramps away and may help you relax and sleep better

Ultimate Sex and Anti-Aging Secrets: This is another E-book/manual with helpful information: supplements, dietary adjustments, etc.

Ultimate Health and Happiness Secrets: This E-book is a little bit different than the others because it includes some tips on the psychological/mental aspects of life in addition to the physical.

MP3 Interviews: you can also download interviews with fitness experts–you’ll hear some of their insights on staying healthy and happy.


As I mentioned before, I’m interested in diet and training information that can help with both longevity and the quality/vitality of life. I think that Old School, New Body is a good program for those in search of this kind of resource. Let me tell you who I think would most benefit from this program:

Older adults (middle-aged and up) who wish to improve their level of health and vitality. I think this is a great program for those who wish to lose fat, gain muscle, and become more energetic. One of the beauties of this program is you can do so without worrying about trying to lift heavy weights.

Younger trainees who want a break from heavy lifting may also enjoy this program. It would be useful to follow for a few weeks to let your joints recover.

If either of these descriptions sound like you then I think Old School, New Body is definitely worth a try. It is not expensive and available for download as soon as you purchase it. Just CLICK HERE if you’d like to order this program or learn more.