So much change.
First, the “mid” is over and I’m back on the “cut”. I started the mid at 219 lb. and yesterday I was 219 lb.. I’m pretty happy that I maintained a steady weight during the month-long mid, even tho I was a bit indulgent at times (I needed the break). But now it’s another 3 months ahead, new diet plan, and strict adherence to the plan. Doing some simple math, assuming 12 weeks, if I lose 1-2 lb. a week that’s 12-24 lbs. for the cycle — which SHOULD get me where I want to be. I can’t say for sure because again it’s not about the scale weight as much as it is the mirror, but geez I’m going to do my best to make this my last run! If it’s not my last run, it’s only because truly there’s more to lose. We shall see.
That said then, after much debate all weekend long I opted to change my approach in the gym.
I’ve been so strength-focused — that’s a primary goal. I knew I wouldn’t get bigger nor stronger while cutting, so it’s one reason I explored Paul Carter’s Base Building approach, as an effort to at least maintain strength and strive to build some muscle; not that I’d likely build any, but at least keep from losing much. But the past couple weeks made it abundantly clear I’ve lost some strength, and if I look back over my logs the reality is that I’ve been stagnant since early January. All of this stands to reason when I look at everything in total. But it still is depressing to see. 🙂
So I have opted to change up my gym work along a few lines:
The main thing is abandoning working for strength. At best I was hoping to maintain or minimize loss. But I think being focused this way isn’t contributing 100%. Oh sure, at least I’m not doing things like triples and singles, pure strength peaking work, it’s more about 5’s and 8’s and that sort of strength work (reps), but still it’s a mindset and approach. Instead, I’m going to continue my drift towards mass-building, bodybuilding approaches. I want to ensure I fully support the fat-loss efforts, and I think such things will do a better job of it.
I will be striving for more reps, still heavy (for me), still hurtin’, but more reps and more schemes towards “mass building”. For example, I’ll still work with Paul’s general approach for mass building, which is using a main, compound movement for a 5,4,3,2,1 over-warmup, then doing an AMRAP set followed by a 50% set. After that, using approaches to boost perceived intensity like 350-method, reducing inter-set rest times (keeping it around 60 seconds for more complex work, and maybe down to 30-45 for other accessory work), and from time to time I might throw in other things like drop sets, rest-pause, and the like.
I want the sessions to really work. Get my heart pumping, get my work rate up. Yes, burn calories, boost my metabolism as I can.
I also dropped the total workload down. Less exercises, less sets. I only boosted it in the past because I wanted “more work” to try to “burn more”, but I think it’s just wearing me out in a bad way and given the deficit I’m in, not recovering and it’s taking a toll on me in general. I have a habit of seeing the work ahead of me and pacing myself through it, but I’d rather try to get 20 sets of balls-to-the-wall than 30 sets of moderate pacing, y’know? Every exercise was picked aiming to get the most bang for my buck, with some picked for specific reasons (e.g. bench dips for my shoulder, more about that on Friday)..
I don’t want to totally skip out on things. The main movement work will still strive for C.A.T.. I’ll still work to have the “bodybuilding” work be focused on the muscle, but not worrying too much about textbook strict form… a little cheating, if it does truly keep things working right, truly gets me work (not an excuse to get sloppy), that’s fine. I want to work myself here.
And frankly… I’m bored. After 3 months of basically treading water, I want a change. Plus as I think towards my post-Defattening approach well… I want to see how my deadlift is, even if I don’t lift heavy, at least getting back into that groove and working my way back. This is the home stretch and I’m getting ready for what’s ahead and beyond.
So with that…. today!
Squats remain the staple, of course. I gotta say that it hurt today. 😉 More than 5 reps? What is this madness! I peeded out at 13 reps not so much because it was time, but because I couldn’t! I could feel my torso starting to give, in part from being tired but also just the amount of breathing you need to do! Then the 50% set stopped at 7 again because of “other things” peeding out well before my legs. But that’s all good. Oh I should say, while the intent of the AMRAP-50% is to set rep PR’s, I do fully expect that may not happen on this cycle. I’ll try for it as best I can, but it’ll be what the diet will let me have.
Front squats were chosen because I want to work on that which will bring up my quads. Oh sure, I don’t know how much I’ll actually improve, but at least I can work on the motor skills. I did feel rather wussy today, and it was a peed out from the same things — my torso and wind. I’ll stick with the lighter weight tho and just keep pushing for more reps.
Leg press, again something heavier, something more quad-focused. I actually change how I do leg presses. My normal approach has been to try to support my squat, with my feet lower on the plate, a slightly wider stance, my legs coming out to my side, etc.. Not this time around. Now my feet are about shoulder-width, higher on the plate, and when the sled comes down the tops of my thighs touch my chest — still trying to minimize my lower back rounding and coming off the seat-back tho. Just quad it. I have to say, this burned like hell. It was great.
End with lunges. I hate lunges, but they should be good for me, not just for my quads, but as a nice finsher to again work my wind and my pump. Plus, I’ve had a long nagging left-knee issue, which SEEMS to have gotten a little better since I did things like laying off deadlifting and other things that could cause it annoyance, and today it actually felt alright — still not 100% (doubt it, since I’m sure there is a problem). But I want lunges to help me out here. I kept rest to about 30 seconds and will slowly work my way up… more reps, more sets, extremely good posture the whole time. I’ll add weight eventually, but I’d rather add more reps first.
In the end, I felt really worked… and had a quad pump from hell. It was awesome. 🙂
So far, this seems to have accomplished what I was wanting. We’ll see how the rest of the week goes. I expect I may do some adjusting and tweaking as I go along, but hopefully not much other than deadlifting since I have to figure out where I am with that.
Inspired by Paul Carter’s methodologies
- bar x 5
- bar x 5
- 115 x 5
- 145 x 4
- 175 x 3
- 225 x 2
- 250 x 1
- 215 x 13
- 215 x 7
- Front Squat
- 95 x 8
- 95 x 8
- 95 x 6
- Leg Press (350-Method)
- 135 x 23
- 135 x 18
- 135 x 15
- BW x 10
- BW x 10
- BW x 10