2017-11-21 training log

Did NOT go to the gym today. Why? Pain. Why? Farmer’s walks. 🙂

Yesterday afternoon I felt this crazy pain laterally across my mid-back. It didn’t happen normally, but say trying to get up from lying down, curling the torso up, and oh geez!! It’s not much better this morning. I opted to NOT go to the gym, because today is squats and deadlifts, and a back in pain does not go well.

The more I think about it tho? I am pretty sure I know what caused it.

The Farmer’s Walks. 🙂

My lats are feeling DOMS like I’ve never felt before. This is truly a new sensation, and I’m actually fascinated by it.

Now, I can’t say for 100% sure it’s simply DOMS and the Farmer’s Walks did it, but right now all signs point in that direction. And so, going to the gym and doing a light squat and deadlift session probably would have been good for me. However, I don’t know for certain and I’d rather not risk anything. I’ll see how today goes. Who knows, maybe I’ll go squat tomorrow morning.

But really, this just furthers my appreciation for Farmer’s Walks.

2017-11-20 training log

While sometimes I have my doubts if Basebuilding actually is productive for me, I can say I’m feeling better.

There’s a lot of work going on, but the intensity is reduced. My legs aren’t feeling as beat up, my body overall isn’t feeling as beat up. But yet, there is still progress. The bench work sets today moved VERY fast all the way through to the last rep, which is a great sign of progress. I’m tempted to bump up 10# for next week, but I don’t know. One thing I noticed today was I’m finding technique with the new equipment and all the time away from benching, which is great. But I did notice with my leg drive my butt did lose contact with the bench. I’m thinking I may stay here and just keep working on technique, like trying to put my feet further back to see if I can still get drive and keep my butt on the bench. The “curling your legs/feet back towards your head” technique has NOT been ideal for me, but the new gym’s benches are a little higher than the old gym’s, so it could probably work.

Bottom line: stay here, focus on technique, which will have a bigger pay off long-term.

Anyways, progress is small, but still progress. And I’m not feeling as beat up. So… win!

Farmer’s walks today too. I am going to try light and heavy days to see how that goes. Today would be light. I think I’m in a good place, so now it’s just working with this setup to get up to 10 runs, and then doing it faster.

  • Bench Press
    • bar x 5
    • 135 x 5
    • 165 x 4
    • 195 x 3
    • 225 x 2
    • 245 x 1
    • 195 x 8
    • 195 x 8
    • 195 x 8
    • 195 x 8
    • 195 x 8
  • DB Incline Bench Press (350 Method)
    • 50e x 25
    • 50e x 16
    • 50e x 14
  • Press
    • 115 x 10
    • 115 x 10
    • 115 x 6
  • DB Lateral Raise
    • 25e x 10
    • 25e x 10
    • 25e x 10
    • 25e x 7
  • Farmer’s Walk
    • outside
    • girders (75# each), added 25# plate to each end – 125# total each hand
    • 40 yards
    • 8 trips

2017-11-17 training log

Bottom line: had to make it a short one because of an early morning appointment. But I’ll be curious if doing less will equate to gaining more.

In other news, I’m thinking about doing a formal defattening again. In the past when I did it, I might do some meal prep, but I’m thinking this time about doing a formal meal prep. Like Sunday spends 2-3 hours cooking ALL my meals for the week and truly every meal I eat comes out of a plastic container. This way I can be meticulous about my macros, and if it doesn’t come out of one of those containers (or whey powder), then I don’t eat it.

My trouble is figuring out what will be the best gym approach to help support this. It will have to be a hypertrophy focus for sure, to fight to retain as much muscle mass. Part of my debate is if I want to try Renaissance Periodization again, both food templates AND maybe then lifting templates too to help support it all. Don’t know.

This is what I’ll be pondering on over the coming days, planning it out. I really would like to see if I could drop 20 pounds in 12 weeks or so.

  • EZ-Bar BB Curls (elbows in, wider grip)
    • 25 x 10
    • 45 x 10
    • 65 x 10
    • 65 x 10
    • 65 x 10
    • 65 x 10
    • 65 x 9
  • Close-Grip Bench
    • bar x 10
    • 145 x 8
    • 165 x 7
    • 185 x 6
    • 205 x 5
    • 235 x 4
    • 255 x 3
    • 225 x 8 (AMRAP)
    • 225 x 4 (50%)
  • Cross-Body Hammer Curls
    • 35e x 12
    • 35e x 12
    • 35e x 9
  • Cable Curl (hold/sqeeze at top)
    • 50 x 20
  • Rope Pressdowns (First 20, twist out hands at bottom; remainder straight hands pushed to failure)
    • 65 x 40
    • 65 x 40
    • 65 x 25

2017-11-16 training log

Today went pretty well. Why? Carbs are magical. 🙂

Wife went to the Korean market yesterday and brought home goodness. I ended up clearing off 2 trays of gimbap for supper. Woke up looking super-full (muscles) — hooray for carbing up!

And then it carried over into the gym, being able to hit everything pretty well.

The BB shrugs are killing me. Give it a pause/squeeze at the top, 3 second eccentric, and oh yeah – keep your grip strong the whole time. Killer stuff. I’m actually enjoying these precisely because of the grip work.

I dropped the 4th set of pulldowns — just to reduce a bit of work. Recovery stuff, etc. I have been sleeping better the past few nights, so that’s good.

I didn’t do any farmers walks today. 😦 Rain and other logistics. So just 20 minutes on the elliptical.

  • Face Pulls
    • 65 x 25
    • 65 x 25
  • Barbell Rows
    • 95 x 8
    • 115 x 8
    • 135 x 8
    • 165 x 8
    • 165 x 8
    • 165 x 8
    • 165 x 8
    • 165 x 8
  • BB Shrugs (squeeze at the top, 3 second eccentric, crush grip no straps)
    • 185 x 20
  • Cable Row (close, fat grips)
    • 165 x 12
    • 165 x 12
    • 165 x 10
  • Wide, Pronated-grip Pulldowns
    • 120 x 12
    • 120 x 12
    • 120 x 10

2017-11-14 training log

Today was different – unlike anything before.

Sleep hasn’t been great lately, so I’m getting run down – not recovering well from anything. Working on it, but in the meantime, I just felt blah going into the gym this morning.

I’ve been recently thinking that I need to wave back on my squats. I’ve been pushing pretty hard, and you just can’t do that forever. I figured if I was going to try some basebuilding for the next some weeks, do that here too. I didn’t at first, but with the toll things are taking, sure.

I figure my true 1RM right now is 365, given how 335 moves, how my other sets go, calculations, etc.. So that means a training max of about 325. Then a basebuilding squat model 1 works up to 75% for a single, then 5×5 @ 60% moving things as fast as possible – C.A.T..

I mis-remembered and only worked up to 70% (oops). But no biggie. I then did my work sets. I felt like 195 was too low ,but when you’re trying to move that weight as fast as possible, that’s actually a good amount of work. Thing is, afterwards I didn’t feel dead. In fact, I felt really good — or as Paul Carter likes to say “feeling lathered up”. And that I did, so I did something I’ve never done before: fatigue singles. It’s detailed in Paul’s “Basebuilding” eBook. I’ve never done it before because I just haven’t had a time where I’ve felt like it – the feeling has just never come over me before. But after I finished the work sets, I was actually feeling pretty good. So I did some fatigue singles per percentages. That felt great! I got some strain in, and I could see how I felt doing heavier singles in a fatigued state.

Granted, one isn’t to do the over-warmup then fatigue — not as a plan, really. But this just happened. I wasn’t feeling great. I opted to ONLY squat today so as to not dig my fatigue/recovery hole any deeper. And then after work sets I felt so good, sure why not.

All in all, pretty glad I did this. I feel worked, but not worn. I’ll probably stay here for a while — at least for the remaining 3-4 weeks I plan on doing for Basebuilding.

Oh – for some reason I forgot to bring my belt (yeah, that’s where my head isn’t at!). The gym has a few belts, mostly the tapered silly kind. But there’s one that’s old but passable as a proper belt. It’s double-pronged (ugh), but the hardest part was it was too small for me. I had to really suck in to get to the first hole! I only used the belt on the fatigue singles, but geez. That’ll learn me to not forget my belt.

  • Squat
    • bar x 5
    • 135 x 5
    • 165 x 4
    • 195 x 3
    • 205 x 2
    • 225 x 1
    • 195 x 5
    • 195 x 5
    • 195 x 5
    • 195 x 5
    • 195 x 5
    • 225 x 1
    • 265 x 1
    • 295 x 1

2017-11-13 training log

Decent day.

The bar is moving better while benching. Pain is still not a problem. I’m generally happy. Happy as well to remain focused here to work on technique. I’m still trying to dial in my bench technique again, after such a long away period AND the new gym equipment. It’s getting there. Ensure I crush-grip the bar. Good head/back/butt/feet position. Unrack and short pause to settle in. Slower descent. Touch and pause. Then go. All the rest of the reps can be touch and go, but full lock-out each time. Leg drive. The work sets went better, faster, than last week. But I can still milk this, so I’ll keep the weights the same next week and just push harder.

Opted to do a heavy day with farmers walks. I’ll try one heavier day, one lighter day. So heavy and shorter distance, then lighter and longer distance. Today I used the girder handles and put a 45# plate on each end. So that’s 165# in each hand, 330# total. Oof, that was heavier than I expected. 🙂 I opted to only do 6 trips, because I could feel my grip just starting to give. Yeah, part of me wants to push myself, because that’s how you’ll get better. But there’s also something to be said for minding overall training volume and stresses, and starting slow and working up from there. For sure, I’m digging walking.

  • Bench Press
    • bar x 5
    • 135 x 5
    • 165 x 4
    • 195 x 3
    • 225 x 2
    • 245 x 1
    • 195 x 8
    • 195 x 8
    • 195 x 8
    • 195 x 8
    • 195 x 8
  • DB Incline Bench Press (350 Method)
    • 50e x 22
    • 50e x 14
    • 50e x 12
  • Press
    • 115 x 10
    • 115 x 9
    • 115 x 6
  • DB Lateral Raise
    • 20e x 12
    • 20e x 12
    • 20e x 12
    • 20e x 12
  • Farmers Walk
    • outside, girder handles (75# each)
    • 1 plate on each end of the handles (165# each hand)
    • 15 yard trip
    • 6 trips
    • 30-ish seconds of rest between trips

As instructors, we have a grave responsibility

I used to ride a motorcycle.

If I’m honest with myself – and I haven’t admitted this publicly until now – part of the reason I gave it up was I wasn’t a good enough rider. I wasn’t capable enough to handle the realities of riding a motorcycle, especially in town. While the fault is ultimately my own, speaking as a long-time teacher – and one that currently teaches people in dangerous activities – I can recognize and lay some fault at the hands of my riding instructors.

On the roads in Austin, there are just too many people engaging in distracted driving – like with their eyes on their mobile phone instead of the road. I had far too many close-calls with people simply not paying attention to their driving (almost rear-ended by a dump truck was particularly harrowing). That’s scary enough when you have a protective steel cage around you (like in a car), but it’s far worse when you’re naked and vulnerable on a bike. I just got tired of dealing with the constant fear and realities of too many close-calls.

Part of the fault was my own, because I didn’t have the skills and abilities I should have to successfully/defensively ride a motorcycle in town. I was too excited to get out on the open road on my awesome motorcycle, be a part of that lifestyle, and all the cool things that came with it. I was not prepared for the realities that came as well.

Let’s look back on my motorcycle rider safety course.

I did OK in the class. But the final test? I passed it on a technicality. The riding portion involved navigating a skills course. You lost points for mistakes, bigger mistakes losing more points. For example, if you laid the bike down – foot pegs touch pavement – you basically failed. I don’t recall the specifics of my run and points, but I was executing a tight S-turn, didn’t do it right, and started to go down. Since the bike was a Kawasaki Eliminator 125 (weighs 300 lb.) and I’m decently healthy and strong, I was able to easily save myself: I put my foot down and was able to keep the pegs from touching pavement.

I looked right at the instructor running the course. She said I was good and let me continue.

She shouldn’t have.

For all intents and purposes, I laid the bike down. I failed the skill. But because I’m strong and the bike weighs nothing, I was able to prevent the loss of points. Correct to the letter of the test, but NOT to the intent.

But I didn’t care. I passed! I could get my motorcycle license, get my motor runnin’, head out on the highway, lookin’ for adventure, and whatever comes my way!

The instructors said nothing to me. Beyond that look of “you’re fine, continue along”, then the handshake on the way out the door, nothing.

At the time, I didn’t know any better. I leaned on and expected if the instructors thought I was OK, then I was OK.

That was my naive mistake.

Because as I got out on the road, while I had no problem with most things, I just didn’t have the level of skill necessary for emergency action. I didn’t have the ability to do things like make tight turns, nor the confidence in knowing I could do such things if suddenly called upon. I look back and wish I had failed the test – or been failed – so I would have put more work into those skills, or at least not been let out on the road due to a technicality.

As I look back on my experience, I now think to myself that I don’t recall the instructors from the class actually caring whether we learned or not. Maybe they did, but I don’t recall any impression they truly cared. That they understood the gravity of what they were doing, and how what they were teaching may be that vital bit that could affect the rest of someone’s life. They seemed to just want to run the class, sign the certificates, and get paid.

Or maybe they did care, but after hundreds of classes they were jaded and/or complacent. Or maybe they thought failing people wasn’t good for business. I really don’t know why they did what they did. All I can do is learn from this and strive to do better in my own realm.

I know ultimately the responsiblity and fault is my own. But when you’re a n00b; when you don’t know what you don’t know; when you have to rely and trust the guidance of someone claiming to be your teacher – you hope they have your best interests at heart and will do right by you!

I’ve been a professional firearms instructor for 9 years. At KR Training we have classes that end in a test and require a passing grade in order to proceed to the next class. Sometimes the students squeak by, technically passing the test. But I and the entire KR Training cadre take the time to be straight with the student about their skills and abilities. We point out where they need work. We strive to put their skills and testing into perspective – even if it’s not fun to hear. Yes we want people to succeed, but helping a student feel good and get a gold star when their skills really aren’t where they need to be? That’s doing a grave disservice to the student. This is a time for honest assessment. We want true success, real success – even if today it means failure.

As instructors – especially instructors of skill that affect life and death – we all must remember the gravity of what we are teaching. Even if a student technically passes the test, we must speak with them honestly and work with them earnestly to help them have a true assessment of their skills, even if it injures the ego. Because if we do not give our students correct assessment of their skills and abilities, that could lead to them getting hurt or killed.

As instructors we have a deep responsibility, and we need to always remember that responsibility and live up to it.

2017-11-10 training log

I miss carbs. Carbs make life happy, and make workouts better.

It’ll all be good in the long run, but for sure I can feel the loss in the sessions – just can’t work to the same level. Everything felt heavy. But I do want to stick with it, because I have to manage my weight-gain.

I also think arm day here is what’s making my elbows unhappy, especially the triceps work. All things considered, I’ll probably scale back a bit to get things under control.

Not the greatest day, but it registered out OK.

  • EZ-Bar BB Curls (elbows in, wider grip)
    • 25 x 10
    • 45 x 10
    • 65 x 10
    • 65 x 10
    • 65 x 10
    • 65 x 9
    • 65 x 8
  • Close-Grip Bench
    • bar x 10
    • 145 x 8
    • 165 x 7
    • 185 x 6
    • 205 x 5
    • 235 x 4
    • 255 x 3
    • 225 x 9 (AMRAP)
    • 225 x 4 (50%)
  • Cross-Body Hammer Curls
    • 35e x 12
    • 35e x 12
    • 35e x 9
  • Skull Crushers
    • 75 x 12
    • 75 x 12
    • 75 x 10
  • Cable Curl (hold/sqeeze at top)
    • 50 x 40
    • 50 x 29
    • 50 x 21
  • Rope Pressdowns (First 20, twist out hands at bottom; remainder straight hands pushed to failure)
    • 65 x 40
    • 65 x 32
    • 65 x 20

2017-11-09 training log

Inconsiderate people just provides opportunity elsewhere. Always look for the positive.

Today was a general back session. Nothing monumental to report. Still fine-tuning the new program, but overall things are fine.

Farmer’s walks. I’ve been doing them on the inside turf, but today I couldn’t. The gym was packed — and it wasn’t January 1st. A bunch of new faces. And there was just a lot of equipment hoarding and setup, people setting up obstacle courses and such on the turf — then leaving. There were a couple people doing some sandbag and KB runs, and they were weaving in and out of this other person’s setup. There was no way I was going to be able to do farmer’s walks.

But that’s fine. I’ve been wanting to try the outside setup — I just had to figure out logistics. And today I got to figure them out. 🙂

Inside handles are just the bars, about 20# each. The outside handles look like steel girders with upright posts for added plates; they weigh 75# each. There’s potential for longer distance outside, and there’s a slight grade to the parking lot (for drainage). It was also 45º outside this morning, so the handles were ice cold.

But no matter.

I put an extra 30# on each bar for a total of 210# to walk with. I could walk further out here, so I paced off about 40 yards. I would start at one end, get to the other as quickly as I could, set down, rest maybe 30-ish seconds, then go again. I did a total of 10 trips.

It’s still light work, but it was work. It actually felt a little easier than the runs inside. I reckon I’m starting to adapt.

I’ll probably continue doing the walks outside, because it’s fun. I like the girder-handles better too. First, the plates stay on — the inside bars have a slightly smaller diameter so the collars don’t lock firmly and the plates move and I’ve had them fall off. I’m not sure how well things will balance with 45’s on the girder bars, but we’ll eventually find out. Second, overall the girder bars just felt better in the hand. There’s more weight distributed throughout, instead of just at the ends. I can’t really describe it, it’s just a better feel. Plus, they look cool, and we know that’s the most important thing, right? 😉

I’ll probably only do them inside if I can’t do them outside (e.g. raining).

Oh yeah — the forearm pump was awesome. You MUST crush grip the whole time — you can’t just let things fall into a hooking grip. I’m going to love the results from this.

  • Face Pulls
    • 65 x 25
    • 65 x 25
  • Barbell Rows
    • 95 x 8
    • 115 x 8
    • 135 x 8
    • 155 x 8
    • 155 x 8
    • 155 x 8
    • 155 x 8
    • 155 x 8
  • BB Shrugs (3 second eccentric)
    • 185 x 20
    • 185 x 20
    • 185 x 20
    • 185 x 15
  • Cable Row (close, fat grips)
    • 155 x 12
    • 155 x 12
    • 155 x 12
  • Wide, Pronated-grip Pulldowns
    • 120 x 12
    • 120 x 12
    • 120 x 11
    • 120 x 10
  • Farmer’s Walk
    • outside (girder bars)
    • 105# each hand
    • 40-ish yards
    • 10 runs
    • about 30-ish seconds rest between runs

2017-11-07 training log

Carb depletion negatively affects performance. Period.

I’ve been feeling bloated. The trip 2 weeks ago, Halloween, some social events, some family life necessitating eating out a little more than usual. Bleah. It’s simple enough: manage carb intake. The easiest way I’m finding for MYSELF to do that is minimize it during the day. Have some with/after workout/breakfast, then in the evenings. But mid-day, lunch, mid-day shake/snack, etc. — minimize carbs. Try to avoid them entirely, but if some slip in incidentally because whatever, that’s ok.

Anyways, so I’m certainly feeling less bloated, but as a result, I have no gas in the tank. Very evident during squats today. The top weights felt very heavy. The AMRAP set was WAY below my prior run. Ah well.

I also picked up one of those tripod things so I could use a spare iPod Touch to video myself. I’ve wanted to do some form checks. Squat form was pretty good. Depth good. Bar path good. I’m going to review them again, but quick checks was positive. The main thing I wanted to look at was my deadlift, because while I FEEL like I’ve got a flat back, I’m not sure I do.

Sure enough, I don’t.

But that said, I think there may be a physiology reality here — that may just be as flat as I can get. Granted, I do think I can greatly improve my glute/hamstring flexibility, and that’s something I’m working on. But I think I’m as flat as my body lets me get. Still, I was able to tweak it a bit — basically feel like I’m arching my lower back hard, and that gets me flatter (flatter – no actual arch, just feels that way). So, video was good. I’m going to continue to video as I can.

Anyways, blah. Today was what it was. Not thrilled, but something positive came out of it.

  • Squat
    • bar x 5
    • 135 x 5
    • 175 x 4
    • 205 x 3
    • 255 x 2
    • 285 x 1
    • 315 x 1
    • 335 x 1
    • 305 x 3
    • 265 x 8 (AMRAP)
  • Deadlift (conventional)
    • 135 x 3
    • 225 x 3
    • 315 x 3
    • 335 x 3
    • 335 x 3
    • 335 x 3
    • 335 x 3
    • 335 x 3
  • Bodyweight Squats
    • BW x 30
    • BW x 20
    • BW x 10
    • BW x 10