Fitness Stuff – How did 2014 go, and what’s up for 2015

Yeah… it’s that time of year for looking back and looking ahead. While I don’t really put much stock in things like “new year resolutions” (because why base things around a particular rolling over of the calendar? make resolutions all the time!), it’s still a convenient time to look at things.

2014

The big goal of 2014 was to be less fat. At the end of 2013 I had satisfied some lifting goals, so it was onto the fat-loss. However, various things cropped up and I didn’t start out on the right foot… to speak.

A big problem for me was a respraining of an old ankle injury, which put me on the shelf for a while.

Lift-Run-Bang

In dealing with that injury, I opted to change my programming. I had spent over 2 years following Jim Wendler’s excellent 5/3/1 program, and figured it was time for a change. I had given heavy consideration to The Cube Method, but as that’s very much a serious powerlifting program and I couldn’t do that while down with the injury, I looked elsewhere.

I settled on Paul Carter (of Lift-Run-Bang fame) and his programming. I figured that would give me more flexibility to cope with the injury, it would allow me to deal with the fat loss, and hey… Paul’s a pretty solid guy and why not explore his work.

Long story short, I did his stuff for a while, focusing on his “mass building” type approaches, and eventually finishing with a Strong-15 cycle. At the end of that cycle (in August) I actually set my all-time best PR’s:

  • Squat – 325 lb.
  • Bench – 250 lb.
  • Deadlift – 445 lb.

It’s not a huge improvement over the prior PR’s set at the end of 2013, but given the injury, the long rehab, and my constant struggle with mixed goals well… it was still pretty cool.

Alas, in all of this I had failed at my primary goal: fat-loss.

In fact, I became the heaviest I had ever become: 265 lb.

The Road to Loserville

The whole fat-loss thing just fell by the wayside for whatever reason.  Honestly I don’t recall all the reasons why, but it did.

Then one day I stepped on the scale. I was floored to see 265 lb.. I knew my clothes were getting tighter and other things weren’t feeling right, but I was kinda ignoring or denying or something.

But either way, that happened, and I was pretty appalled with myself.

I wanted to finish out the Strong-15 cycle, but I even cut it short because well… yeah, it was bad. I then got on the ball and contacted the guys from Renaissance Periodization. I had heard nothing but high praise and tons of success stories about RP. They understand lifting, they understand diet, there’s science, there’s simplicity, there’s reality. Really, there was no reason to not give this a try. I had tried diet on my own numerous times, achieved some sort of success, but just too much fail. So, it was time to ask for help.

I’m glad I did.

As I write this, I weighed in at 237 lb., and I figure by the end of 2014 I’ll be at least 235. Whatever the number winds up being, it’s good enough to say “lost about 30 pounds over the course of about 5 months”. That’s pretty good.

Yeah, I have eaten more chicken in the past 5 months that I ever cared to. But that’s how it goes. I’m willing to put in the work, because I really want to shed this flab. So far I’m happy with my progress. Oh sure it’s a little slower than I want, but anything less than “instantaneously at 5-10% body fat” is too slow. ;-)

The focus is of course the fat loss. Still, I lift because some sort of exercise is needed. I’ve been following Paul Carter’s Base Building program since I started on the diet. I think it’s the right program for me to follow right now because I can put a lot of regulation into it, I can formulate it as needed. It seems to be helping me maintain my muscle mass and my strength, maybe even increasing strength slightly. It also provides a lot of work, which is helpful in the simple need to burn calories. All in all, I’m happy with the program.

2015

The primary focus going into 2015 remains fat loss.

Where do I want to end up? It’s hard to quantify, but I’ll know it when I get there.

For calculation purposes, I’ve been using 215 lb.. When I started, I estimated my body fat and then what it would mean to get to a leanness I desired. 215 seemed to be the right place. It may not wind up there: it may be 225, it may be 205, who knows. Really, the number isn’t important, it’s merely a guidepost. I know how I want things to look and fit: I don’t want to see the flab around the middle, the muffin-top. It’d be nice to see more muscle definition, which doesn’t just mean “abz”, but things like that separation between the bottom of the deltoid and top of the biceps/triceps when the arm hangs — so it looks like muscles, not just a smooth arm with perhaps some gentle curves in it. Yes, the stomach should be flat — when the shirt hangs down over the torso, it should be pressed out from pecs, not gut. That sort of thing.

I’ll know it when I get there, and then probably have to go a little further.

Or another way to put it. If you go to Renaissance Periodization’s website and look at their results/testimonials, heck… I’d be happy to look like many of the people in the “Before” pictures! But I’m expecting that when I get to that point, I’m probably going to want to continue on to join the ranks of the “After” pictures.

If I’ve got about 20 lbs to go towards my guidepost at the rate I’ve been going, I expect at least another 4 months of work. But honestly, I expect it’ll be even more than 4 months to get me where I want to go. We’ll see tho… one step, one pound at a time.

Once I get down to where I want to be, I expect I’ll want to start back on the “embiggening” process. I do think there’s a fair lifestyle change that came with the diet here, and I just don’t want to throw it all away. But I will be able to live a little more  (meaning: less chicken, more steak!). I expect as I ramp back up to a bulking-style diet that I’ll stay with Base Building and allow myself to naturally progress on that for a bit while my body readjusts. Then, I’ll probably start hitting something like a Strong-15 cycle and work on getting my strength back.

But really, I’m not 100% sure where I will go after the fat loss happens. Generally yeah, return to “getting bigger, getting stronger”, but exactly how I’ll figure that out as I get closer to that point.

We’ll see how the year goes. Hopefully I’ll be a big loser. :-)

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2014-11-19 training log

Chin-ups didn’t suck.

I wanted to get back on the chin-up front because why not. They’ll add some volume, and I haven’t given up on not sucking at doing them. Today was surprising because I think I hit more chins today than I ever have. Sure, spread across 5 sets, but so often it winds up being a first set that’s nice, then a bunch of singles because I suck. I’m sure being less fat (and a little stronger) help, so yeah… being even less fat later on should also be a boon here. I used to look forward to the day when I could bang out 5 in a row without a problem, but now I look forward to 10.

Changed up the biceps work slightly. This seems to work better, having a bit of a heavier exercise first, then the 350-method work to get some reps in. We’ll see how it goes long-term.

I also spent 15 minutes on the elliptical at the end. It was thunderstorming when I was going to the gym, so I drove instead of walked. It’s not much walking usually, but I’m sure it contributes somehow to my overall calorie burn in a day… I am on track to hit 235 for a clean 30 lb. loss by the end of the year, and I want to ensure I actually hit that and maybe a little more (maybe 32).

Based upon Paul Carter’s Basebuilding

  • Chins
    • BW x 3
    • BW x 3
    • BW x 2
    • BW x 2
    • BW x 1
  • BB Rows
    • 145 x 8
    • 145 x 8
    • 145 x 8
    • 145 x 8
    • 145 x 8
  • BB Shrugs
    • 195 x 12
    • 195 x 12
    • 195 x 12
    • 195 x 12
    • 195 x 12
  • Wide, Neutral-grip Lat Pulldowns
    • 125 x 10
    • 125 x 10
    • 125 x 10
    • 125 x 10
  • Hammer curls (6 at a time)
    • 25e x 12
    • 25e x 12
    • 25e x 12
  • BB Bar Curls (350 method)
    • 40 x 22
    • 40 x 17
    • 40 x 15
  • 2014-12-18 training log

    Well… I guess holding steady is something….

    Today didn’t feel like much progress, but I just have to remember that progress in the gym isn’t as priority as progress on the scales, which it is: 237 lb. this morning.

    Still, making small tweaks to improve on how I do things. Better form, better focus on the muscle (not the movement). It is what it is.

    Based upon Paul Carter’s Basebuilding

  • Press
    • bar x 5
    • bar x 5
    • 65 x 5
    • 85 x 5
    • 105 x 8
    • 105 x 8
    • 105 x 8
    • 105 x 7
    • 105 x 6
  • Upright Rows
    • 70 x 12
    • 70 x 12
    • 70 x 12
    • 70 x 12
    • 70 x 12
  • Polquin-style Side Laterals
    • 20e x 10
    • 20e x 10
    • 20e x 10
  • Face Pulls
    • 60 x 12
    • 60 x 12
    • 60 x 12
    • 60 x 12
    • 60 x 12
  • Close-Grip Bench Press (350 Method)
    • 105 x 25
    • 105 x 15
    • 105 x 10
  • Triceps Pressdowns
    • 60 x 15
    • 60 x 12
    • 60 x 8
  • React vs. Respond

    Seth Godin makes an excellent point:

    We can react or respond, as my friend Zig used to say. When we react to a medicine, that’s a bad thing. When we respond, it’s working.

    When the world dumps something at our door, we can take the shortcut and allow ourselves to react. We can point out that whatever we do is happening because the other side deserved it. Tantrums are okay, in this analysis, because the other guy made us.

    Or we can respond. With something that works. With an approach we’re proud of, proud of even after the moment has passed. It’s not easy, it’s often not fun, but it’s the professional’s choice.

    There are many ways this can apply to your life.

    In some regard it’s semantics, but semantics can be important because they affect your mindset and how you will approach problems in life.

    Sometimes we have to react, but it seems better to start thinking about how to respond.

    2014-12-16 training log

    Today… was…… slow………

    So I’m changing it up for a couple reasons: 1. trying to up the “work” done (more sets, more reps, etc.) to help burn more calories, 2. trying to see if I can be nicer to my knees.

    I didn’t wear the knee sleeves to see how things went. I also wound up moving rather slowly. I want to be more controlled on the descent in case the rebound is hurting my knees, and since the sleeves add a little bulk behind the knee joint to see if well… this helps in any way.

    I think I moved a little too slow, but I was trying to really pay attention to things. I think it wound up being ok because boy, form was pretty strict. I think I need that, so I keep my torso tighter, more upright, and thus yes it puts more work into my quads. All squat sets were slow, but by choice and I sure felt a lot more worked afterwards. We’ll see where this goes.

    Stiff-Legs I kept light so I could get the movement down. I’m very used to straight-legs, but I don’t want to do that. This is stiff-legs, where there can be some bend in the knees but not in the lower back; initiate from the top, push the hips back, etc.. So I wanted to keep it light today just so I could get myself into the movement and find that right groove. I’ll slowly increase the weight as I get into the groove — the hardest part being minding my (lack of) flexibility….

    Same with leg press… it’s not out to press a ton, just to be better about things. Like to really push my knees out on the descent, work to get a good pump, etc.. So again, starting really light here. Be kind to the knees.

    I think one thing not helping is again, the diet. I woke up this morning to 236 lb — dropped pound since yesterday. Hrm. Is this tissue? Because geez, what’s left in me of water or glycogen at this point? I’m pretty tapped out. Even after being able to have carbs yesterday, by evening I was having some serious hunger pangs and cravings, which is unusual for such a day. So… it is what it is, and I’ll just keep going because even if this is all legit fat-issue loss, it’s a rate that won’t last long. Just ride along while I can, and keep in mind that no matter how shitty things are in the gym, so long as it continues to work towards my primary goal of “defatting” then it’s all good.

    Based upon Paul Carter’s Basebuilding

    • Squats (model 1)
      • bar x 5
      • bar x 5
      • 160 x 5
      • 185 x 4
      • 220 x 3
      • 240 x 2
      • 275 x 1
      • 195 x 5
      • 195 x 5
      • 195 x 5
      • 195 x 5
      • 195 x 5
    • Stiff-Legged Deadlift
      • 135 x 8
      • 135 x 8
      • 135 x 8
      • 135 x 8
      • 135 x 8
    • Leg Press
      • empty sled x 20
      • 135 x 20
      • 135 x 20
    • Standing Calf Raises
      • 60 x 10
      • 60 x 10
      • 60 x 10
      • 60 x 10

    2014-12-15 training log

    Well, at least the fat loss is progressing. :-)

    239 yesterday, and 237 this morning. It’s a long carb-less and low-calorie weekend, so I’m not surprised I dropped 2 lb. in 24 hours… it’s not all tissue, it’s simple depletion. I was craving HARD yesterday… but you just suck it up and go about your business. I expect by next Sunday’s weigh-in I’ll be 237, maybe 236. Whatever the number, so long as it’s a downward trend. :-)

    Otherwise, today was what it was. It’s tough coming in so depleted — just no nothing. Still, the AMRAP set went up, a few more dips. All in all, it felt good. Again, I don’t really expect much progress on this front, as this front is geared towards supporting the fat-loss efforts, which seem to be trending properly. So, all in all, cannot complain.

    Based upon Paul Carter’s Basebuilding

    • Bench Press (model 2)
      • bar x 5
      • bar x 5
      • 120 x 5
      • 135 x 4
      • 160 x 3
      • 175 x 2
      • 200 x 1
      • 210 x 1
      • 200 x 5
      • 200 x 5
      • 200 x 5
      • 175 x 5
      • 175 x 5
      • 175 x 5
      • 140 x 20 (AMRAP)
    • Bench Dips (between benches)
      • BW x 10
      • BW x 10
      • BW x 10
      • BW x 10
    • Incline Press (350 Method)
      • 85 x 16
      • 85 x 12
      • 85 x 12
    • Polquin Flies
      • 12e x 10
      • 12e x 10
      • 12e x 10

    Sunday Metal – My Favorite Type O Negative

    A song/tribute to his mother.

    An unconventional favorite. Yeah there are a lot of songs by Type O that I like. But “Nettie” is such a great song, especially when you consider Peter’s tumultuous life and his mother’s undying support for him through it all.

    About these ads

    Writing about whatever interests me, and maybe you.

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