Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Brand New Plan

Well, I'm home on leave for a couple weeks. I am still getting my lifts in, but I am being very loose with my diet. It's okay though, gotta live, ya know? I have spent the last month working on the basic lifts prescribed in Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength program, and I have been studying about nutrition. From what I have learned in the gym, so far, and from studying and practicing better nutrition, I have designed a program that I will implement when I return to my duty station in Africa.

I've nailed down my goals a bit more as well, and they may seem a little on the conservative side, but that's okay, if I achieve them before the end date I have set, then, guess what? that's right, I'll set new goals. They are as follows:

Squat: 315
Press: 165
Deadlift: 425
Bench: 225

these are all for working sets, not 1RM's

bodyfat: 20%

Right now, I'm working with 215 in the Squat, 130 Press, 350 DL, and 155 Bench, and my bf is 30%. If I continue to progress as I have thus far, these goals are definitely achievable. I have been adding 5lbs. to all my lifts regularly each workout. Though I know that I will stall, eventually, I have also been adjusting my sets and reps, sometimes doing doubles and triples with back-0ff sets, and putting thought into assistance exercises. I will find a way to progress, no matter what.

Here is my workout schedule:

M, W, F, alternating:

workout A:
Bench Press
Barbell Row (assistance)

workout B:
High Pull (assistance)

I have taken to doing low-intensity cardio (walking mostly) as well. I do this for a long duration, an hr to an hr and a half, for a little extra fat-burn, being careful not to cross the threshold into a more glycogenic pathway by keeping the intensity just above normal. At first, I was doing this on non-lifting days, but, surprisingly, I needed recovery from that as well, and it was hampering my performance, particularly in the Squat, so I started doing it immediately following my lifts, which corrected that. I may even start to do it following my PWO meal, to make sure that I don't miss my window.

That brings me to diet. Ahhhh, diet. I've been combining all the great advice and tips I've gotten from many different sources, and going to try and use it all to my best advantage. I'm also going to start using a little supplementation, very conservative on that though, since I am not a competitor or any kind of professional athlete, just a regular dude who enjoys lifting and wants to get strong and fit. Here's my nutrition plan:

Basic rules: no breakfast, just coffee, my first meal will be no earlier than 4hrs after waking, and no carbs pre-workout.

For the first nine days, beginning on September 8th, I will take in less than 30g carbs/day, and most of them will be post-workout. I will not be using supplements during this time either, this period is to let my chemistry adjust to burning primarily fat as a fuel source.

On the tenth day, I will consume plenty of carbs, still post workout, but the volume will be closer to 60 or even 100g. This will induce an insulin spike in order to increase metabolism.

Then the routine starts:

On all days, I will consume a high-fat, high-protein, no-carb 1st meal; moderate-fat, high-protein, no-carb 2nd meal (pre-workout); post-workout will be moderate to high-carb, high protein, no or low-fat.

This is also when I begin supplementation:

On lifting days, I will have a post-workout shake consisting of whey protein, leucine and creatine. I will also consume something with simple sugar to induce an insulin spike while in a heightened anabolic state.

On non-lifitng days, my last meal of the day will be a shake consisting of whey protein and oats (less than 30g carbs) with leucine and creatine. The leucine will really help here by simulating the effects of an insulin spike without the carbs.

On every Friday, I will consume a larger volume of carbs post-workout. This will likely include a sandwich if either eggs or meat. This is to induce another large insulin spike to keep metabolism high.

Other supplements will include Fish Oil, Fiber, and a multi-vitamin.

Welp, that's pretty much it. I plan to do this throughout the long-ass 7-month stretch I got before I return to civilization. Of course, I will make necessary adjustments as I go along. It is always wise to never stop learning. I feel very confident about this plan. I have already seen some amazing results from what I have been doing so far. The support I have received has been invaluable.

I appreciate any criticism of this plan. I would love to hear what anyone has to say.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

2 for 1

I had a day of complete exhaustion on Wednesday, so I missed a post, sue I'm going to post both the workouts for the 11th and the 13th here.

I'm starting to experiment with set structure. I am up to 200lb. work sets in the Squat, which dictated that I drop to doubles, followed by triples of 185lbs. a possible caveat may be that I had been walking a great deal that day, and my legs were very worn, so I'm in wait and see mode, but I am still thinking about set structure and volume to keep progress as continual as possible. I also know that not every workout is going to be a PR, and the progress curve will flatten. I accept that, but I will fight it intelligently.

On that note, I am altering the sets of Deadlift to even numbers (4 for warmup, 2 for work) when using an alternating grip, for the purpose of going for heavier poundages with smaller increments, thereby increasing volume slightly, and to ensure balance when using an alternating grip.

I have also incorporated Barbell Rows into my assistance lifts. I am intent upon developing my traps, and the combination of High Pulls, Barbell Rows, and, eventually, Heavy Shrugs, should do the trick. I also am employing the use of doing singles/doubles of Chinups in between sets during assistance lifts. I tried this last night, and I enjoyed it. It kept my muscles loose for the lifts, and seemed to condense time a bit.

195 x 3 x 3 (8/11)
185 x 5 x 2

200 x 2 x 3 (8/13)
185 x 3 x 2

125 x 3 x 2 (8/11)
115 x 5 x 2

150 x 5 x 3 (8/13)
145 x 5 x 2

340 x 2

The new dietary routine seems to be going great. I feel recovery is more complete. I got bored one night, so I put on my ipod and walked the perimeter of the living areas for about an hour, and it felt really good, so I have been doing that sometimes 2 or 3 times in a day. I later read that walking is more condusive to fat loss because the body remains in a lipolytic path (fat for fuel), and does not cross a threshold into more of a glycogenic path (carb for fuel) as would happen even with jogging, which is fine with me because I fucking hate running!! However, that much walking on concrete is a little harder on the old joints than my mentally-challenged ass realized, so I was a little sore. My pussy hurts, hold me...

I go on leave this coming week, and I am fully aware that I will eat like shit during that time. Now, I'm not going to just go off the deep end, but I'm not going to be an anus either, and I will continue to workout while on leave. I'm also visiting the one and only Gorilla Pit to gawk at a bunch of beasts throwing really heavy shit around, sort of like a monster-truck show, except the monster trucks are humans, yea, I know, fucking cool right? Plus, there will be some really hot chicks there too, which makes the world a better place. Hopefully, I will be able to stick around for a day or two and get a chance to have Jay Ashman and Ty Phillips kick my ass at the gym. That would be the highlight of my year right there.

I have been receiving numerous compliments on my leaner self. Don't misunderstand, however, I still have a long road to travel, and I am only part way there. I have no idea what my bodyfat percentage is. Last I checked it was 33%, which was last spring, March maybe? Anyway, I am noticeably much leaner now, which the seven notches I've cut in my belt since June verifies. I still have a decent amount of fat left to destroy, which will happen, but at a slower rate. I am fine with that because when it is gone, it is fucking gone for good this time!

Always remember, you're a winner! If you're a friend of mine it means you're totally awesome, and there is something very special about you, and I will find out whatever that is and exploit it for personal gain. In the words of Jerry Garcia, "Ow, my pancreas!"


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Still Evolving

After only being able to complete sets of 3 during the Press last week, I got to thinking about doing that for all the lifts, except Deadlift, with the addition of 2 sets of 5 with the poundage backed-off a bit. I did that this workout, and I liked the way it felt. The volume increased significantly, and I could really feel it. So far, I'm holding steady at increases of 5lbs. per workout, except for the Press, which is my weakest lift, and Power Cleans, which I am still learning and developing stronger traps for.

On a not so happy note, my shoulder is acting up a bit, so I may need to have it looked at. I hope it's nothing serious. I don't think it is because I'm not having trouble with it during the lifts.

190 x 3 x 3
185 x 5 x 2

Bench Press:
150 x 3 x 3
145 x 5 x 2

335 x 5 x 1

That's about it. Not much to say really. Was going to do Barbell Rows at the end, but the chow hall was closing and I wanted to get a post-workout meal in during the time window (30min). Should be starting my supplementation next month. Leave in about a week, WOOHOO!!!!


Saturday, August 7, 2010

I Be Tweakin'

Still working on better form. Squats are feeling good. I started to fall forward a hair during the 4th rep of the last two sets, but corrected the bar path on the 5th rep. I'm still not entirely comfortable with the Press, so I lowered the weight 5lbs., reduced the sets to 3, and tried to concentrate on the starting position and bar path as much as possible. It felt like good work, but I think I will return to sets of 5. Power Cleans will take more time to get them down, so I'm taking a step-by-step approach. First, I am focusing on strengthening my under-developed traps, then I will return to working on the movement from the hang position, after that, I will start to work on full Power Cleans.

185 x 5 x 3

120 x 3 x 3

95 x 3 x 5

After reading an article by Jason Pegg at EliteFTS, I followed a link to a website by John Keifer,, and, after much reading, I decided to try something new with my diet. I have never been much for breakfast, but I've always partaken because, like most everyone else, I thought it was "the most important meal of the day". I now believe that to be bullshit, along with almost every other bit of dietary advice I have heard of. I also now drink coffee. Basically, what I am doing is having a cup of coffee shortly after waking, and not eating for several hours, my first meals are all protein and fat, saving any carbohydrate intake for the final meal of the day, which is less than 30g (two slices of bread), except on lifting days when I up that to around 40-60g part of which is simple sugar (ice cream, gatorade, pop tarts, that kind of shit). I tried this for the first time after today's posted workout, and I'll be damned if I didn't feel like a million bucks, and I got the most restful night's sleep I've had in a long time!

I'm going to tweak this some more. I will begin to take approx. 40g whey protein post-workout with 5g leucine and 5g creatine, as well as fine tune my diet. I am going to try this for a month or two and see how it goes. I had a positive feeling about it after reading the results of Keifer's research, and when you have guys like Brian Carroll and Jason Pegg endorsing his methods, it's even more compelling. I have a good feeling about doing this, hope it works. I've already lost almost 40lbs. but I'm sure some of that is muscle. I am no longer even paying attention to the scale. I am ONLY concerned with gaining strength and muscle, losing fat, and feeling good.

That's it for now, babies. Be back in three days with another amazingly insightful and entertaining post. I know you can't wait, but you will be rewarded handsomely for your patience, trust me...


Friday, August 6, 2010

My Toast got Burnt

Apologies for the lateness in posting. I was just freaking tired as fuckity fuck. I finally added the crucial element I was missing from my fitness program: HIIT. I started doing metcons with Gene McCreight, aka The RAT, on Tuesday the 3rd of August, and I have been drained and broken ever since, but in a healthy way. My lifting program, ala Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength Basic Barbell Program, is on MWF, while I will do the metcons with The RAT on Tue and Thu. I was concerned that I would not have enough energy, or maybe too sore to lift effectively after only a night's rest, but that was NOT the case. my lifting workout on Wednesday the 4th was excellent, increases in poundage all around, and good energy and stamina. Adding HIIT was a very, VERY good idea.

I am also changing how I am posting my workouts. I will only post my work sets, not the warmups, and I will not post total volume. I just thought that was a little much.

I also re-read the Programming section of SS and streamlined my lifting routine. It was taking too long - sometimes 3hrs. - because I was not paying attention to how much rest time I was taking, and I was allowing too big of a jump in poundages from warmup to work sets. I still start with an empty bar, but I am making a much smoother transition now, and getting a better feel for the proper poundages and how much to increase.

180 x 5 x 3

Bench Press:
145 x 5 x 3

330 x 5 x 1

Plank Holds:
5 x 30sec.

Just gettin' better and better. Still got about 30+ lbs. of stubborn, disgusting fat to lose. My percentage now is in the mid-20's. My goal is to be under 15%. I expect to acheive that before the end of this deployment. I am always looking to improve, and I now think about diversifying my diet while sticking to its principles: high fat, moderate protein, low carb. I need to focus more on proper rest, which can be hard to come by here without the help of drugs...for all the internet nazis, I mean the LEGAL kind, gheesh! get a life you guys.

Going on leave in a couple weeks!!! YAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!! Though I appreciate the chance to get my shit together without distraction, and having a job is very nice, I really do not like this place, it's like being in prison, but, hey, what better to do in lockup than get yo swole on, right? gotta watch the cornhole though. Anyways, back to leave...I accept that I do not want to maintain the strictness in my diet I am currently following while I am on leave. However, I also do not want to fall apart. So I have given it much thought, and, at first, I decided to just take that time completely off from exercising, but quickly said "fuck that!" Being in the military I have access to the gym at a local air force base, which has a decent weight room, so I will keep with my program, even if only on a maintenance schedule for that time. I will also do a little more moderate-intesity cardio to mitigate some fat gain. The most important thing of all this is that I am the one in control. The fact that I am putting serious thought and consideration into this confirms that the changes I am making are indeed permanent.

I refuse to let myself down anymore.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Stall Warning!!

I don't know if I was tired or what, but this workout seemed to take forever, it felt good to do some work though. Being without a spotter, I am very careful to take the sets to the point where I know that I am about to fail. So far, I have completed all the work sets in each workout, but last night I stalled for the first time. I think I handled it well, though. I merely took 5lbs. off the bar and finished the set. I had to do this for the last two reps of the last work set on both the Squat and the Press. Next workout, I will start with the same weight I started with on this one, and keep doing that until I complete all work sets, then I will continue adding weight, as Rip prescribes.

I scaled way back on the Power Clean to stop fucking around and really get a handle on the proper way to do them. I didn't feel comfortable when I did them last week. I was correct in doing this. I discovered that my traps are not developed enough, therefore, after reading more wisdom from the coach himself, I dropped the ab exercises from my assistance exercises, and added High-pulls. I feel confident about this approach.


warm up
45 x 5 x 2
95 x 5 x 1
115 x 3 x 1
135 x 2 x 1

180 x 5 x 2
180 x 3 x 1
175 x 2 x 1

total: 4,165


warm up
45 x 5 x 2
65 x 5 x 1
95 x 3 x 1
115 x 2 x 1

125 x 5 x 2
125 x 3 x 1
120 x 2 x 1

total: 3,155

Power Clean:

warm up
45 x 5 x 2
65 x 5 x 1
95 x 3 x 1
115 x 2 x 1

115 x 3 x 4
95 x 2 x 1

total: 2,860

High Pulls:

95 x 3 x 3

Chin ups:

BW x 1 x 10

Man, I was beat after that. I went straight to bed afterwards, well, after a shower of course. I'm still a little tired. Got a nagging shoulder too, it doesn't hurt when I lift, but it does later. Well, that's enough of me crying, see y'all later.