First Program of 2023
Going into 2023, my main goal is getting lean. This fat must be shed, for a number of reasons. That’s primarily a diet thing. Right now I want to talk about the gym side of things.
For the past 2 years I have gone to the local Snap Fitness. It’s not bad, really. The one here has some age, both in equipment/facilities as well as target market / demographic. It’s got a power rack with a Texas Squat Bar, a half rack with a shit bar (my boys were always a sight, bringing my original EliteFTS Power Bar in every day), a Smith Machine, some benches, dumbbells up to 120, Cybex machines (which I’ve really come to appreciate), cardio, other “fitness” stuff. Really, it’s not a bad place. Owner/operator didn’t care if I used chalk (just clean up). I could “drop” my deadlifts (i.e. respectful clanging is ok). Good people there (other old people like me, a few young people). All in all, Snap was alright. I wish the racks were bolted down (the half-rack further out so that pole wasn’t an issue – which is why the weight storage pegs are all broken off), I wish the bar didn’t suck and there wasn’t 1 of them. I mean, it was kept generally clean. Generally functional. Did recently upgrade/replace a bunch of bench and machine pads. Not perfect, but nothing is and it was generally good. No complaints. Satisfied customer.
It’s more about a life change. Oldest is moving across town. We need to centralize, so gym switch.
As well, 2 years ago I was still on the “strong” path. I wanted to reclaim some glory and bench/squat/deadlift 3/4/5 wheels again. However too many injuries and realizing that I can get there again, I just need to take a much different – and longer – path to get there. Which is, ok at this point. Look at someone like Mike O’Hearn – say what you will, dude’s got longevity and looks better now than most (if not all) of his critics. Dude fucking inclines 405 for reps… So, just take it slower, mind the process. It will come.
And with that, I also find myself more drawn to bodybuilding at this point. I will get to a sufficient level of strength, if I just build the way I want to build. It’s so funny that I always felt a draw to things in like the 5-8 rep range – it just always felt so optimal to me. And it’s great to see how that’s actually bearing out now in research, and I see it too in my hypertrophy response. But I think only now am I willing to put in what it takes to really understand and pull out a 5-8 to failure – and I still think I have a ways to go to really blast through that mental (pain) barrier.
So I naturally want to lean more towards machines right now. So this other gym, TruFit (they seem to be an up-and-coming Texas-based chain)… they’ve got lots of Hammer Strength shit. Boy, HS’s ideal of knurling is so silky-smooth… 🙄 I mean, it’s knurling, it feels really nice, but I still feel like it’s going to slip out of my hand. But they are nice overall. The machines are pretty good, with me opting for the plate-loaded over the selectorized when possible. Hammer Strength’s plates are THICK due to the rubber coating, and it seems like many of the plate-loaded weight shafts (heh) are short (heh), so maybe 4 plates if you’re lucky on the load. I’ll see how things bear out, but so far I’m digging the machine offerings.
I already knew I had to change things up (go read to see where this is coming from).
In light of all this new equipment, I opted to reapproach things. I have new toys, so why not!
If we look at Day 1, I wanted more delt focus, maintain upper pecs, something triceps, more delts, then a general back. I used their Iso-Lateral Shoulder Press, IL Incline Press, Rolling DB Extensions, Cable Y Raises, IL Row. The Iso-Lateral stuff is pretty nice. Presses don’t converge, but it’s ok. Row is a little different because now my humerus is about 45º, which is alright.
Day 2 I’m probably going to try the V-Squat.
Day 3 there’s more interesting back machines around there, and I’ll keep seeing what there is. I know there’s some nifty lat-pulldown types. I want a good row, a good pulldown, something rear delt, something biceps, chest press.
Day 4 I’m not sure. The good morning in the V-squat is all the rage right now, but I think I want good old RDL’s. Then probably lying leg curls. Not sure what else… there is a standing calf raise machine, so I’ll probably use that.
It’s fun to have new toys. 🙂
Gym was open when I got there, which is a good sign (esp. day after Christmas). Not many people (maybe no more than a dozen at any time while I was there, tho probably 2-3 dozen did cycle through).
Bathroom… generally clean. Needed soap at one set of sinks, lots of water splash on the mirrors and around sinks. When I left, I stopped into the locker room on my way out. I saw a reflection… of 2 ovals, close together, on one of the benches. I noted to not put my bag there.
There is cleaning stuff but not necessarily together. Like there’s a trash can and a cleaning bottle in the middle of the floor, but only a paper towel dispenser way on the other side on the wall. Interesting how they locate the cleaning supplies.
Took the time to look around, check out all the machines, see and start to learn what’s available. Decided to go with plate-loaded over the selectorized since I think it will fit me better – I tried some ergos and overall the plate-loaded will work better for me. There’s a nice selection of stuff.
Opted to do this shoulder press. I worked up for sets of 8 until I felt it was “there”, then did 2 (work) sets of 5-8. I didn’t think much of it. I then moved to the incline press, same work-up to 2×5-8. I will note I felt myself pushing (contracting) harder than ever before. It was… wild. And my right pec is reminding me that it’s not without prior injury, so I gotta be mindful.
After I finished those, my delts were on fire. I never felt that before. It was a crazy ache! We’ll see how it feels in the next few days.
Rolling DB extensions were ok. I have to find the groove on this equipment (e.g. “place my butt here so when I lay down my head will be here”). Plus my delts were so fried that my body was like “No, I am not going to stabilize these dumbbells, I don’t care what you say”. 😂 I may need to find another movement that doesn’t involve that stability aspect.
Good Y-Raises. They don’t have a “free motion” machine, but they have a setup that has 2 stacks at 90º close together which is good enough.
And the Iso-Lateral rows. Of the various hand positions, the top handle with pronation was the one that worked best for me (i.e. comfortable range of motion, no weird stresses, optimal width). I didn’t feel it there at the gym, but this afternoon here at home I’m feeling the work.
All in all, this is a good move. Equipment more towards what I’m now pursuing. This is novel and fun.
Being strict on my diet coupled with this work should pan out well.
I will spend the next 2-3 weeks sussing out the program: honing in on the exercises/machines, weights to get that 1-3×5-8, etc. Do more with less.
I will take this as long as I can take it, which ought to be be 3-4 months at least.
I should have a good feel for this gym by then too.