2015-08-03 training log

Oh, that felt good.

I’m starting back on the cut diet. Back in mid-May I had cut down to 211 lb (from 265), but 9 straight months of deprevation finally got the best of me so I spent the past 2.5 months bulking. I’m up to 223 lb.. I also got to change how I lifted, and while it was good, it wasn’t the way I like to lift. So as of yesterday I began another cut, with the goal of clearing 200 lb.; I’m not sure 200 is where I’ll stop, as it’s more about look and composition than pure scale weight (I’m out to lose fat, and the scale weighs fat and muscle — so scale matters, but the mirror does too). But at least that’s the goal. I’m also mentally figuring this cut will last until just before Thanksgiving (about 16 weeks). Where I go after that will depend upon where things are when I get there. No need to worry about it for now, just stay focused. :-)

So then in terms of gym work, I have decided to try Paul Carter’s Strong-15 Short Cycle. Why? In large part, because I want to. All of my lifting for the past year has been done in a manner to support the fat loss, and while I’m good with that, it’s not what I like to do. So I’m continuing to take a bit of a mental break and letting myself lift like I like. Of course this still supports the fat loss efforts, but certainly this sort of lifting I have to do NOW instead of later; can’t do this as I get deeper into the cut. Right now my diet plan can support this style. See, the plan I was on for about the past month as a “mid” is what I’m continuing with at the start of this cut. During the mid I had a plan plus a lot of cheating; if plan + beaucoup cheating held my weight, then strict plan should allow me to lose weight. Plus, I’m adding cardio (1 hour of walking) back into the program, so along with strict diet and cardio burning some cals, that should be sufficient to start loss. But the level of food intake is still quite sufficient to support a short strength cycle, so I’m giving it a go. Yeah, it might fail, but that’s ok as it’ll be a learning experience. My intention is to continue to get my strength back up, so as the cut continues I have a bit more “buffer” to lose from. So if I am going to lose some strength, at least it won’t be as far a regression. Plus, if I am bit stronger, that should enable better work during the latter parts of the cut when I have more mass-oriented work to focus on. So all in all, I think this should be alright for supporting my efforts. Besides, the Short Cycle is only 5-7 weeks.

So how did things go to start?


Because I’ve never run the Strong-15 Short Cycle before, I opted to try a ready-made template. This comes right out of Paul’s “LRB-365″ book. I know he adjusted the Short Cycle in the “Base Building” book, but I wanted something that had the cycle plus all assistance work laid out. By using his ready-made program it helps to take the guess work out, especially in finding the right amount of assistance work to do, as you don’t want to do too much but need a little bit. This’ll help me better understand where Paul’s coming from.

Of course, week 1 here is pretty easy, moving weights well-under what I’ve been moving before. I did feel a little creaky, likely because I took all of last week off. It was good to have a “no-deload deload” last week and totally stay out of the gym, but I was quite active in other ways (lots of walking, other physical activity). All good, and I feel refreshed.

One non-obvious thing to note is rest time. All assistance work is going to follow about 1 minute of rest between sets and probably 2 between exercises. But on the main movement, I’m going to take rests as I need it. The warm-/work-up will probably get just 1 minute between sets, but once I get to the double and the singles I’ll take what I need. Today I did 2 minutes, and I wouldn’t be surprised if as the weeks go on I probably up it to 3-5 minutes. But even then I don’t know. I’ve gotten used to taking short rests, so I may well just continue with that. Bottom line: I don’t want to miss a weight, so if I need the rest I’ll take it. But if I don’t, I won’t.

In the end, I was just happy to lift today. Felt good. :-)

Strong-15 Short Cycle, from LRB365

  • Squat (goal: 315)
    • bar x 5 x 2
    • 155 x 5
    • 185 x 4
    • 215 x 3
    • 235 x 2
    • 235 x 1
    • 245 x 1
    • 260 x 1
  • Pause Squat
    • 190 x 3
    • 190 x 3
  • Leg Press
    • 315 x 20
    • 315 x 20
  • Leg Curls
    • 50 x 15
    • 50 x 15
    • 50 x 10
  • Calf Raises
    • 80 x 10
    • 80 x 10
    • 80 x 10

Sunday Metal – Cavalera Conspiracy @ Hellfest 2015

Cavalera Conspiracy live at Hellfest 2015


On fat loss and lifting weights – the road ahead

If you don’t care about my fat-loss and weightlifting stuff, stop reading now. If you do care, read on as I ramble on.

It’s been just shy of 1 year since I started The Defattening Project. With the help of Nick Shaw @ Renaissance Periodization I went from about 265 lb to about 210 lb. But after about 9 months of deprivation, my body and mind had enough. Even though we’d take a small break every so often, it still wore on me pretty bad. So back around mid-May we opted to go full-stop and run a short bulk-cycle. I’m up to about 223 lb now, my lifts are recovering (even set a lifetime PR in bench press of 255 lb), and I feel ready to get back on the loser train. While it’s not about weight (it’s more about how things look, as weight alone doesn’t tell the whole story), picking a weight does help to gauge things. The goal is going to be 200 lb. Will that be where I stop? Can’t tell that now; I’ll make that call when I get there. Just call 200 lb. a marker on the road.

Of course, my gym work needs to support the fat-loss efforts. But the other day I realized that I’m not having fun in the gym any more since it’s all oriented around supporting the fat loss. I’m good with that because the fat-loss is an important goal to me. But still, if going to the gym every day becomes too much of a chore, how does that help anything? I decided that, at least at the start of this cut cycle I’m going to try having fun again.

I’m going to try running Paul Carter’s “Strong-15 Short Cycle”, and using the version from his “LRB-365″ book.

Yes, this might totally blow up in my face, because cutting really doesn’t go with this sort of lifting. But I think this might work. My current diet would certainly support this style of lifting, and for the first 6 weeks of the cut the diet really isn’t going to be all that different. In fact, we’re going to start out by me just following the diet plan I have now, cutting out all cheating (and I’ve been cheating), and adding cardio back in (1 hour walking 4x week). That should be sufficient to get the ball rolling and that alone should last a few weeks. I don’t think I could do a full 9-12 week Strong-15 cycle, but 6 weeks? Yeah, that should be workable.

And it should be fun.

And frankly if it does fail, I’m OK with that. I know I’ll learn something, and I know somehow I’ll grow.

So yeah, main reason for doing this is because this is the sort of lifting I really like doing, I haven’t done it in over a year, and I want to have a little fun again.

But in terms of “smart” reasons for doing it….

It’s at the start of the cut cycle, when I should still have the nourishment to support it. Certainly once the cycle is done I’ll need to change gears and go to a more mass-building/bodybuilder-style program. But even that will be good because I’d like to try building up my strength a little more so when I have the inevitable losses it won’t be as much regression. If I’m lucky, by the end of it all perhaps everything will just average out to being flat.

I do think this should set me up better for going into some mass building and rep work. A little stronger, a little more weight, a little more rep… should all pan out nicely to help support the fat loss efforts.

I think lifting 3x week will be better for me for a little while. It’ll be a little less impact on my body, a little more rest/recovery, and frankly I think that will help me out in many ways, including the fat loss. And then later on in the fat-loss when I need the added work, when I want more gym days so I can eat more carbs, I’ll have somewhere to go (4x week). So backing off now should be helpful for when I need to ratchet it up later.

Why Strong-15 Short Cycle? Again, short cycle because I think timing works best here. I also feel I’ve set myself up decently for it, given how Paul lays out work prior to doing a short-cycle. I’m following his LRB-365 version of it because that maps out an entire cycle including assistance work. Given I’ve not done his Strong-15 Short Cycle before, I figure it’s easier to start with a known template and see how it goes for me. After I have more knowledge under my belt, I can adjust and customize from there. One thing I have to be careful on is that I want to add more volume in, but that’s not appropriate — so having someone/something like an existing full-template is good to keep me reigned in because otherwise it could blow everything. And as I’ve said numerous times, I want to keep trying Paul’s protocols because they really do seem to be working for me, both in terms of making progress and not feeling so beat up.

And yeah, this could all be a big FAIL. But I’m sure I’ll learn from it. So it’s all good.

But really, it’s just because I want to have fun again. :-)


Focus on the 25M target.


“So, to reiterate, we’re not saying “Don’t bother doing this, this, and that.” We’re saying, “If you’re doing this, this, and that, before you’ve achieved that, this, and this, you’re living in a goddamned fantasy, and you’d probably save money if, instead of buying gear and guns, you’d just take up Dungeon-and-Dragons or some shit.”

Amen, brother.

Originally posted on MountainGuerrilla:

We were in town getting groceries this evening, and I witnessed two separate instances that made me physically ill with disgust.

Produce section of the local hippie grocery store:

As we’re walking in, I caught a black shirt with POLICE written in bold white letters across the upper back. Looking closer, I understood why it was so eye-catching: the shirt HAD to be a minimum of XXXL. Dude was an easy 150# overweight, with Dunlap Disease impacting his duty belt. As we walked through the produce section, we crossed paths with this dude and his young, skinny son. The LEO (with his duty belt on still) was looking through the pre-cut fruit selection, with his back to the world, including me. As a—relatively risky—experiment, I actually bumped into him from behind, with my shoulder, on his gun side.

Even when I followed it with, “Oh, excuse me. Sorry about that.”…

View original 837 more words

We need to understand violence

Wim Demeere wrote an excellent piece about The death of common sense regarding violence.

It starts right off:

We live in an age where having knowledge about how violence actually works is frowned upon. Having experience with it is viewed even worse.

So very true. It’s sad tho. We love to go on about how “knowledge is power”, the importance of education, and look down upon ignorance. Yet, when it comes to issues of violence, people prefer ignorance.

I get it. Violence is ugly and something we would rather not deal with. However the ugly truth is violence exists, has always, will always, and the simple fact that the more you know about it the more you can contend with it (including avoiding it and not becoming a victim of it), the better off you’ll be. Again, knowledge is power.

Wim continues discussion of how we got to this point, because it wasn’t very long ago that one was actually expected to know how to fight and how to contend with violence. That doesn’t mean you’re out to start it, but it does mean you know how to deal with it when it crosses your path.

Now granted, that we’ve reduced a “need” for violence in society shows progress. We have become more peaceful, more civil. This is actually a good sign. However the converse is that it comes at the expense of ignorance. And if we continue to be ignorant, then we will eventually fall victim. All progress toward our “peaceful societal growth” stops and likely regresses.

Wim presents a perfect example of this ignorance, of this regression.

Have you see that cell phone case that looks like a gun? If not, click through to Wim’s article to see it.

It’s not just stupid, it’s dangerous and likely going to get the owner in trouble (or even killed).

Does that mean you have to let everything slide? No, of course not. Some things are worth fighting and dying for. But a truckload of things are not and in this age of social justice warriors and internet wisdom, that seems to have been lost. When it comes to violence, common sense is dying at an ever increasing rate. When you look at the comments on the internet about this cellphone case, the “it’s my right!” crowd is extremely well represented. Contrast that with those in law enforcement, the military and the other professions where violence is a daily occurrence: they all see what a potential for disaster this case is.

If you don’t understand why this case is a bad idea, I’ll be happy to inform you.

If after that you still wish to carry such a case, you’re welcome to. You just cannot be surprised if you suffer the consequences of your poor choice.

And the death of accepting responsibility for yourself (and your poor choices) is also happening, but that’s another discussion.

It is important for us to understand violence. It’s like anything else in this world: the more we can know about it, the more we can understand it, the more we can make rational and reasoned choices and decisions regarding matters involving it. That doesn’t make you a bad person, that doesn’t mean you’ll be a dangerous person, that doesn’t mean you will go on a killing spree. No, it just means you’re an educated person, and that ought to help make the world a bit better.

Does video tell the whole truth?

I enjoy it when my disparate interests overlap in some way. In this case, powerlifting and personal safety.

In recent years, especially the past some months, it’s become a hot topic to have police body cameras. Basically, people want recordings of every facet of police interactions. This is understandable as it generally works to protect all involved because “video doesn’t lie”.

But does video tell the whole truth?

In powerlifting, squat depth is a big deal. To oversimplify, a legitimate squat is one where your thighs are parallel to the ground, or deeper (e.g your butt touches your heels). People putting massive weights on their back and only moving them about 3 inches then claiming awesomeness — that’s not legit. All sorts of videos come out of lifters making “world record squats”, and the first thing people do is gripe if the lifter squatted to depth or not. Granted some squats (and meet judging) are legitimately up for question, but most often the squat is passed by the meet judges but not the Internet armchair judges — because of the video.

The video may be poor. The video may be at a “wrong” angle. The video isn’t likely to see and reproduce what the 3 meet judges see.

And this could be good, this could be bad. It could give you the proper perspective, or it could give you the wrong perspective.

Is the video lying?

Is the video telling the (whole) truth?

What got me thinking about this was the recent posting of the dashcam video of a controversial police interaction. Commenters took the video as objective proof. Interestingly, some commenters took it as objective proof the cop was in the right, and some commenters took it as objective proof the cop was in the wrong.


I thought back to the endless debates on powerlifting videos about their “objectivity”, because if video was in fact objective, if video told the Truth, there should be no debate about someone’s squat depth. But yet there is.

Back in 2014, the well-respected Force Science Institute published a list of “10 Limitations of body cams you need to know for your protection”. Original PDF here, article reprint here. You should read the article for a complete explanation, but here are the 10 points:

  1. A camera doesn’t follow your eyes or see as they see.
  2. Some important danger cues can’t be recorded.
  3. Camera speed differs from the speed of life.
  4. A camera may see better than you do in low light.
  5. Your body may block the view.
  6. A camera only records in 2-D.
  7. The absence of sophisticated time-stamping may prove critical.
  8. One camera may not be enough.
  9. A camera encourages second-guessing.
  10. A camera can never replace a thorough investigation.

I know some are going to read that list, especially because the article is titled “for your [police] protection”, assume there’s bias and these are just trying to give police “outs”, and then dismiss the article.

So let’s go back and look at this list in the context of powerlifting videos.

The camera does not follow the eyes of the judges nor does the camera see what the judges see. There may be bodies blocking the view (happens all the time when the video comes from audience members and there are lots of burly guys crowding around the squatter to spot the lift). One camera isn’t enough, when there are 3 judges precisely to judge multiple angles. Cameras only record in 2-D, and if you’ve seen some powerlifters, these guys are certainly bulging out in many places. Cameras certainly encourage second-guessing (look at all the armchair judges).

It doesn’t matter what you’re filming, these limitations apply.

We must also remember that these videos are often interpreted through the bias of the viewer.

Let’s go back to squat depth. Brandon Morrison wrote an article examining the rulebook of 10 powerlifting federations to compare how they defined legal squat depth. What you find is while everyone strives for the same basic idea, there’s a lot of variance in definition.

One thing that will be the same across all feds is the fact that the line which separates the champ from the chump, the white lights from the red lights and 9/9 from bombing out is an imaginary and invisible line whose axis through disputed points is in the heads of the three individual judges who preside over your lift. No, it’s not perfect; it’s subjective. Deal with it.

Emphasis added.

Often the armchair judges insert their own interpretation of the rules or what they feel is right or wrong. A great example is Shao Chu’s 400# bench press:

Is that a legit bench press? Sure is, because it’s within the rules of the game. But hopefully even if you don’t know much about lifting weights you can see why that lift might be considered controversial (was it even a lift? did the bar even move?).

And so it goes with police interactions, because everyone is a lawyer and legal expert, right? And even if you know the law, do you know all the laws? That video may have been filmed in a different city, in a different state, in a different country, where laws are different from what you may know. As well, do you know the police’s operating procedure and rules and regulations they must abide by (beyond the law)?

When you view the video, are you viewing it through an objective lens, or the lens of your personal bias, (lack of) experience, and/or (lack of) knowledge? I hate to tell you, but it’s probably the latter no matter how much you strive for it (or believe it to be) the former. Doesn’t matter if it’s a dashcam video or a powerlifting video.

I think video is a good thing. I think video is a solid tool towards helping us preserve history and protect ourselves. Given the proliferation of cameras, either because our governments are putting more out “on the streets” or simply because everyone’s got a smartphone in their pocket, we’re going to see more and more video and relying more on video to help us find Truth.

But in doing so, we must take video for what it is. It is not The One Source, it is not (unbiased) Truth. It has limitations, and we must remember that in our quest for Truth.

Sunday Metal – Scorpions @ Hellfest 2015

Scorpions at 2015’s Hellfest


Better to fight back than to do nothing

This was a refreshing piece to see reported in the mainstream news.

Austin NBC affiliate KXAN posted an article, Fighting for your life in an active shooter situation.

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — Theaters, malls and schools are places you’re not supposed to be afraid of. But none are immune to active shooter situations.

Experts with Texas State University’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Program (ALERRT) say they don’t want people to live in fear but to understand these situations can happen. By taking a few minutes to think how you would react right now, may save your life later.

The article starts right off acknowledging the reality. And even better, suggesting that a little bit of forethought would be a wise and potentially life-saving action.

This is refreshing to see!

“It’s natural to be scared, everybody is scared when someone’s trying to cause them harm,” said ALERRT executive director, Pete Blaire. “Our first recommendation is to avoid the attacker, if you can do that. If for some reason you can’t, deny access to your location, keep them from getting to you. And that defending yourself is the last resort.”

Open spaces, like a movie theater, leave you with the fewest options. ALERRT trainers say it’s alright to duck down, but don’t stay put.

“One thing we don’t want to see you do is what we call ‘hide and hope.’ Which is where someone hides behind something and hopes the shooter doesn’t find them. If the shooter does find you, doesn’t leave many options,” said Blaire.

This is all solid stuff. The suggested course of action is essentially: “Run. Hide. Fight”. About 3 years ago the City of Houston with funds from DHS created an excellent video on that course of action. It’s becoming the mantra for dealing with active shooter events, and with good reason. Yes I know, you’ve got your CHL and you’re just ready to save the day. Well, we all draw our lines in different places in terms of what we will and won’t be willing to die for, and how context and personal situation matter. Whatever your decision, just determine your line ahead of time and be well-prepared to execute your plan.

The article continues:

He says if it does come down to defending yourself, better to fight back than to do nothing.

Blaire teaches people to grab a hold of the gun and get it pointed away from you.

He says when you’re fighting for your life, you don’t have to fight fairly.

And this is such a great thing to see printed in the mainstream media. That it’s better to fight back than to do nothing. Or to more clearly phrase this: it’s better to fight back than to die… better to fight back than to be murdered… better to fight back than be executed. Yeah, fighting back is no guarantee you’ll live, but not fighting back is a fair assurance you’ll die. At least for me, I choose to live.

I also like that KXAN was willing to print that you don’t have to fight fair! It’s reasonable for people to expect fairness and to abide by some sort of “code” of behavior/ethics. And usually people expect others in society to have some sort of “code” as well, and that likely our codes are somewhat in the same ballpark. Realize that if someone is trying to kill you, they have demonstrated they do not have the same code as you; they may have some code, but it’s nothing like yours. There is nothing to say they will “fight fair”, and essentially that means you have to be willing to fight “unfair”. It’s the sort of thing where it’s considered bad form to hit a guy in the crotch, but an active shooter situation is not a time to practice gentlemanly manners, y’know? You need to give yourself permission ahead of time that should you find yourself in an active shooter situation, you allow yourself to do whatever it takes to come out alive.

What really got me about the article? The closing statement:

Right now, ALERRT only trains law enforcement, but has recently partnered with a company to bring the training to the public.

KXAN will keep you posted on when that training begins.

They will keep us posted when such training for the public begins.

It’s great to see the mainstream media supporting and encouraging activities to help people stay alive and stay safe.

Statistical filter

People tend to love data, especially if they can use (twist?) it to back up their emotional appeals to further things towards their desired ends.

Hey, we all do it.

The trick for the listener is to sift through everything and truly see the data for what it is, not what someone wants to present.

So to that, well… I’d reblog this if there was a way, but as a posting on Facebook the best I can do is copy/paste it. This was posted by Marc MacYoung here:

In a thread about gun control, the old saws about the victims being children, women and targets of racism came up. Here’s some things to think about…

Here are some raw, baseline — and indisputable — facts about violence that spin-doctors tend to deep six. (As they should because they undermine the credibility of the agenda-group’s message.)

An overwhelming majority of violence occurs between people who know each other. (Killing a stranger is exceedingly rare.)

An overwhelming majority of violence is committed by a member of a race on someone of his/her own race. Violence between different races is rare — except robbery.

A large — if not overwhelming — majority of homicide ‘victims’ have criminal records (and are themselves engaged in criminal lifestyles or illegal activities)

An overwhelming majority of homicide perpetrators have criminal records and are actively engaged in criminal lifestyle or illegal activities)

(Note and distinction — a criminal lifestyle means literally crime is their profession. They make their living off it. [e.g., a drug dealer]. This as opposed to someone who is doing something that is illegal [e.g., buying drugs])

Criminal enterprises — especially drug dealing — commonly involve teens and even children (under 12) as part of their ‘crew.’ (In other words, the ‘children’ killed by guns are often gangmembers and drug dealers.)

Men are more likely to be the ~cough cough~ victims of physical violence than women. With the following caveats…

Women are far less likely to become physically violent with a stranger, but are AS likely (although some argue more likely) to become physically violent within family/ relationship.

So where women are as likely to be victims as men are in domestic situation, BUT they are just as likely to be the perpetrators. (I have a saying that before someone can be certified as an expert in the subject of domestic violence they should be required to live in a trailer park for a year.)

Where women ARE the leading ‘victims’ of physical assault is when it comes to rape. But with the current redefinition of rape to include drunk sex — technically speaking men are being raped at a higher rate. (Granted that’s not how it’s being legally interpreted, but drunk and unable to give consent is not sex/gender specific.)

Rape has a legal precedence of being deemed ‘Grievous bodily injury’ — thereby justifying use of lethal force.

Now, these ‘facts’ are available, but you have to dig — I mean REALLY dig.

Because simply stated, a lot of the times questions (that would reveal these) are deliberately not asked in studies/statistics that are going for a specific answer. Answers to support particular agendas. Oddly enough, in studies where they are, the common response to claim the study is biased, unreliable and agenda driven. (How do they manage not to choke on the irony?)

That’s why when people start with the women, children and race aspects of gun control I have to hold up my hand and say “Wait a minute…” because this is the stuff they’re leaving out. Starting with the fact that we have an armed professional criminal class in this country. (The good news is they prefer shooting each other over civilians.)

Spend some time looking up this data at the FBI Uniform Crime Report, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Again, it takes digging and you’ll often find only fragments here and there. But when you put the pieces together, you’ll find that things are WAY different than what the agenda pushers are selling.


So, take it for what you will.

One thing that sprung to my mind after reading Marc’s posting was something Tom Givens trots out.

Tom likes to point out that you’ve got about a 1-in-150 chance of being the victim of a violent crime. Tom uses numbers taken from those above same sources. If you look at Tom’s number through the filter of Marc’s information, the average law-abiding citizen doesn’t have a 1-in-150 — their chances are much less; 1-in-300? 1-in-1000?  1-in-10,000? I can’t say, but certainly not 1-in-150. And if you’re a member of that criminal class, your chances are much higher; 1-in-15 maybe? Again I can’t say.

Granted, Tom is simplifying to make a point, because whatever the actual chances are, it’s still a likely event.

But however you look at it, and whomever is presenting data – even people “on your side” – it’s wise to dig deeper.

Bill Rogers on Proper Drawing Technique

An excellent video from Bill Rogers on proper drawing technique.