I was out of town on business last week, and (rightly) figuring the most equipment I’d have access too would be the “fitness center” at the hotel (read: cardio machines and maybe some light dumbbbells), I figured to just take the week off. It was a good choice, just getting rest, some walking, keeping food intake moderate, etc..
Question was: how to resume upon my return? Start the cycle over? Repeat the last week (3-week)? Keep going? I wasn’t sure what I would do, and my initial plan was since the week I did before the trip was the “3” week, to just repeat it. But last night I was feeling good, so while entering my sessions for the week into RepCount, I figured why not — the week I missed was to be 5/3/1 week, I really didn’t feel like setting myself back 2 weeks (especially since I’m about to change up), so why not just go for it. If something isn’t going to pan out, it’ll become evident. And besides, it’s common enough in a peaking cycle to have that last week of work, then take the meet-week off (or very light) — you won’t get weaker. But it’s a new thing to me so a little uncertainty, but why not learn.
Glad I did. 🙂
Today was really good. In fact, almost too good.
The squat workup went well. Nothing felt creaky or stiff (hooray for rest!). As I hit my work sets I wasn’t sure how well the top set would go, but figured to just do what I’ve been doing: one rep at a time. I figured I’d get more than the prescribed reps, but maybe 4 or 5. Well, I went down, I came up — that felt good, I can do another. Down, up, yeah I can do another. Down up, yeah another. And so on. I got to 6 and felt I was starting to slow down a bit. 7 felt good, but I thought “yeah, if I go for 8 I will make it, but I’m sure I’ll start to grind at the sticking point”. So I went ahead and racked it. That’s the 1-2 to leave in the tank. Thing is, 2 weeks ago (on the 3 week), I hit 265 for 8, so for sure I thought it’d be great to hit 280 for 8! Same reps, 15 lb. more! Plus I knew my technique here was better than the prior session. But why do that? It would just be ego feeding, not the long-picture.
As well, after I racked it, I had feelings of continuing to work up. I had entered my numbers into RepCount and saw the calculated 1RM at 345#. First, I could tell I’m doing what I should be doing — making progress. But it also made me feel like yeah, I could work up to 315 at least. I mean, my all-time best 1RM squat is 325#, and I feel like I could break that right now (maybe not this session, given the fatigue, but I bet I could do it). But no, I reminded myself not to. First, this would just be satisfying ego, so no. Second, there’s nothing I set in this cycle of the program to allow for this. I didn’t allow myself Joker sets. I also have told myself I don’t really want to test my 1RM until the end of the year. So I felt really good, and today would have been a good Joker day, but no… not part of the program, not going to do it. Stay to the program, because it’s evident I’m making progress, so let’s not derail it.
Everything else, fine.
What I’m starting to think towards now is what’s next. As I’ve said, I’m getting fluffy, so I need to do a cut cycle and drop some flab. My thinking right now is based upon some stuff Jim wrote, plus some thinking from my past experiences with Paul Carter’s work:
- keep with the basic “Simplest Strength Template”, because I like it
- main movement will work up to prescribed reps, maybe a few more, but for sure no pushing it (e.g. today I’d have stopped around 6 reps, if not sooner).
- then drop weight and do an AMRAP set. Thinking about making it a first-set-last, tho I MIGHT actually make it a straight 65% each week and go for rep-PR here.
- the “big assistance” movement becomes a straight 5×10 for more volume
- then keep the rest of the assistance work generally the same, tho I might bump up to 4 sets.
- add more cardio. As it is, I’m only doing cardio on my gym days; I will have to add in some sort of cardio on my off days too (i.e. cardio 7x week).
I think that will be good. It ups the volume, but not a huge change over what I’m doing now. I expect to follow this for at least 1 3-week cycle, then I’ll adjust. The goal is to support the defluffening, which will be volume, mass-building (well, retaining), but still trying to keep the strength component in but accepting it may drop off a little. See how much fluff I can shed in 6-7 weeks, and probably push it to 12-14 weeks. If I can drop 15#, I’ll be happy.
5/3/1 Simplest Strength Template
- bar x whatever
- 120 x 5
- 150 x 5
- 175 x 3
- 220 x 5
- 250 x 3
- 280 x 7 (7RM PR)
- Straight-leg Deadlift
- 205 x 5
- 235 x 5
- 270 x 5
- Leg Curls
- 30 x 20
- 30 x 20
- 30 x 20
- Hyperextensions (superset with crunches)
- BW x 20
- BW x 18
- BW x 15
- BW x 20
- BW x 17
- BW x 12
- Standing Calf Raises
- 50 x 20
- 50 x 16
- 50 x 13