2017-07-28 training log

It was a day.

Given how things went last 3-weeks, this 3-weeks starts with lowered weights. This is more where it should be, where the work is good, the intensity reasonable, but it’s not sapping me — given the depleted energy reserves.

I can do this for another 2 weeks, right?

Starting to firm up plans for the anchor cycle. It’ll probably be a fairly straightforward 3/5/1 for powerlifting cycle. 3/5/1, no rep PRs, singles on the 3 and 1 weeks — likely per 3/5/1 for Powerlifting, not Jokers. Minimal assistance work, like maybe between press warm-ups do band pullaparts or face pulls, chins between main sets. Then FSL 5×5 and some other back work in there (e.g. rows). Finish with whatever may work to round things out, like some curls. Done. Squat/deadlift days would be similar workup, FSL, probably nothing superset there (tho I am toying with the idea of light pull-ups). Then finish with a few sets of leg curls or extensions depending on the day. That’s it. Focus on the main lift.

In other news, man… sodium.

The chicken breasts? Because I go through so much, we buy these bag of frozen breasts. Normally it’s not an issue and cost is a big consideration. I looked at the bag. The Tyson brand? like 200mg sodium per 4oz (and I usually have 8oz at a time, perhaps 2x a day). The local grocery store brand? 440mg per 4oz. Yikes! So yeah, no wonder I’m so damn bloated. Couple that with a little extra salt/electrolyte supplementation because it’s 100º+ in Austin right now… sigh.

5/3/1 Prep & Fat Loss Program

Bodyweight: 242
Rest Period (seconds): 75

  • Deadlift – 155 x 5
  • Crunches – BW x 20
  • Deadlift – 195 x 5
  • Crunches – BW x 20
  • Deadlift – 235 x 5
  • Crunches – BW x 20
  • Deadlift – 275 x 5
  • Dips – BW x 16
  • Deadlift – 310 x 5
  • Chin-up – BW x 5
  • Deadlift – 350 x 5
  • Dips – BW x 10
  • Deadlift – 275 x 5
  • Chin-up BW x 5
  • Deadlift – 275 x 5
  • Push-ups – BW x 15
  • Deadlift – 275 x 5
  • Inverted Row – BW x 12
  • Deadlift – 275 x 5
  • Push Ups – BW x 15
  • Deadlift – 275 x 5
  • Inverted Row – BW x 8
  • Push Ups – BW x 12
  • Inverted Row – BW x 10

The Situation with Paul Martin

My post about medical kits got a nice mention in The Situation with Paul Martin, episode 006 (July 27, 2017). It’s a new video series by my friend Paul Martin.

Good stuff. Thanx, Paul!

 

2017-07-27 training log

I’m trying to find some good amongst all this frustration.

It’s frustrating when you’re doing shit you don’t like, that is no fun, but you know is for a purpose and reason, yet that isn’t panning out. My bodyweight is not dropping but just keeps sitting in the low 240’s. I KNOW there’s water retention going on (I suspect the Tyson chicken breasts I’ve been eating were brined and thus loaded with salt) because I struggle to get my wedding ring on and off. So I have to believe progress is happening, it’s just hard to see. So I stick with it.

But what’s something I realized today?

For sure, my work capacity has increased.

This week is basically a repeat of week 1, and it’s not really kicking my ass. Furthermore, it’s more work now. Then it was 90 seconds interset rest, now it’s 75 — that 15 seconds adds up. I’ve also added 2 more sets of assistance work (in this case 2×25 KB swings). The cardio work has been upped to 30 minutes from 20. What’s interesting there? The elliptical take take heart rate and I’ll watch it go from the high 140’s to the low 120’s during the course of that 30 minutes – while my pace and workload increases.

So I think it’s pretty safe to say my work capacity has increased, which is one purpose of the programming.

I can be happy about that.

Still, it’s not my primary goal. But I’ll keep at it.

That said, I do continue to have evolving thoughts on “what next”. For example, I didn’t squat this past Tuesday because whatever it was I did to my neck/shoulder on Monday’s press session? It was painful and very limiting Tuesday morning. I’ve had this happen before, and it’s just a matter of massage, stretching, and time. So I took the day off, kept up with the recovery work, and today it’s not totally gone but it’s workable. But I also noticed my legs/knees are feeling very good. No stiffness when I try to sit or stand. To give them that rest was good.

It’s just manifesting what I’ve known over the years of doing 5/3/1 — that it eventually beats me up and I need to step away from it. It’s one of the most productive programs, but for middle-aged me, the wear-and-tear builds up. I do know that I will finish this prep program, do the 7th week protocol, then a single 3-4 week cycle for an “anchor”, then done with 5/3/1 for a while. But what to do I continue to rethink.

3 days/week to give me a little more rest? Basebuilding? Mass building? Pure bodybuilding? Something basically to give me a change of pace and my body a break. But then I started to think about keeping on some track with my greater goal (the 3/4/5 bench/squat/dead) and with my squat being so weak compared to the other two lifts, I thought maybe about squat focus, like squatting 2x week (one heavy, one light), with a 3rd day for other stuff (upper body), and MAYBE a 4th day too, no deadlifting at all, but I don’t know. It’s a combination of a change, a body break, yet wanting to not stray too far from my core goal.

5/3/1 Prep & Fat Loss Program

Bodyweight: 243
Rest Period (seconds): 75

  • Incline Bench Press – bar x whatever
  • Incline Bench Press – 90 x 5
  • Face Pull – 65 x 25
  • Incline Bench Press – 110 x 5
  • Face Pull – 65 x 25
  • Incline Bench Press – 135 x 5
  • Split Squat – BW x 15e
  • Incline Bench Press – 155 x 5
  • Split Squat – BW x 15e
  • Incline Bench Press – 175 x 5
  • Pull-up – BW x 5
  • Incline Bench Press – 200 x 5
  • Pull-up BW x 5
  • Incline Bench Press – 155 x 5
  • Pull-up BW x r
  • Incline Bench Press – 155 x 5
  • DB Row – 65 x 20e
  • Incline Bench Press – 155 x 5
  • DB Row – 65 x 20e
  • Incline Bench Press – 155 x 5
  • KB Swing – 40 x 25
  • Incline Bench Press – 155 x 5
  • KB Swing – 40 x 25
  • KB Swing – 40 x 25
  • KB Swing – 40 x 25

Refilling my medical kits

What do you have for medical kits?

Where do you have medical kits?

Hopefully I don’t need to ask why one should have a medical kit.

I’m working on revisiting my med kits. Some need to be rethought. Some need to be replenished. Some need to just exist. Realize that med kits are purpose-built, and there really is no one-size-fits-all.

Around the House

At the house, we have what most people probably wouldn’t even consider to be medical kits. This would be stuff like:

  • adhesive bandages (Band-Aid brand strips, etc.)
  • ibuprofen
  • sunburn creams/gels
  • isopropyl alcohol
  • etc.

But do you perhaps need more or other things? And what about amounts?

  • Does anyone have allergies? Do you need an EpiPen? How about Benedryl?
  • How many people are in the house? Having enough to ensure everyone is covered.
  • Do you live in particular regions where “speciality” equipment may be needed? For example, if ticks are common, do you have tools for addressing them?

We’ve got a lot of such things around the house, and even some “extras” like burn gels (because cooking happens).

The one thing I actually need a little more in the house? Trauma equipment. For example, some house-specific tourniquets and hemostatic agents. What if something happens from yard and garden tools? Or falling off a ladder? I have this equipment, but I want some dedicated to the household (not part of another kit that just happens to presently be at the house).

Briefcase

My briefcase carries typical trauma gear: tourniquet, QuickClot-infused gauze, pressure dressing, sheers, etc.. But it also carries some mundane stuff, like adhesive bandages. This is another context matter, because it’s not uncommon to just have a simple paper-cut while on the road working or at the office.

Speaking of, go check the first-aid kit in your office – hopefully your office has one, or maybe multiple depending how large the office is. If it’s not properly stocked, if it’s not up to date, talk to whomever would be in charge (someone in HR?). And if they won’t get on the ball and keep it stocked, then do yourself – and perhaps your office mates a favor – and carry some essentials in your bag.

My Truck

I carry more stuff in my truck, because I can. I have a few Olaes bandages – which I think are the best bandages, but they are VERY bulky – so they work well in the truck. I carry multiple pressure dressings. I also carry some of the larger Adventure Medical Kits because I’ve got my truck at the range, or just when I’m out and about with the family; it rounds out the bill. I have the ability to carry a little more gear for whatever may happen, so I do.

This is a point of comparison. I love Olaes bandages, but they are very bulky. It works in the truck because I have the space. In my briefcase? I don’t have the space, so a smaller 4″ pressure dressing goes in there.

One thing I realized I was missing? Space blanket. I have one in my IFAK, but not in the car kits. I really should. A possible situation for the car kit? Happening upon a wreck. That asphalt is going to be hot, and anything to provide some insulation between a body and pavement is good. In fact, space blankets are small – I’ll probably add a few.

My Gym Bag

This is one place where I’ve lacked any med gear, and that I’m going to remedy.

But my bag is small, and the situation is limited. This probably won’t have much: maybe just a TQ and some QuickClot. Or as I think about it, it may be gloves, a C-A-T, a SWAT-T, and some QuickClot infused gauze.

My Person

I can only carry so much, and this I’m working to reevaluate what I can do.

But one thing that I took as a cue from my Dad – forever the Eagle Scout?

Carrying a band-aid in your wallet.

Over the years I’ve seen him pull that band-aid out of his wallet a few times. It takes up no measurable space or inconvenience. But boy, it’s handy.

Don’t tell me you don’t have the ability to at least add that to your life.

It depends

So what I have and where I have it, it all depends.

What I carry in my gym bag vs. what I can put in my truck are two different things.

I look at why I stock my truck vs. why I stock my gym bag vs. why I stock my home. They have different contexts, different needs.

Different trade-offs.

I have some places to improve, and I’m working on that.

But all this gear? It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how and when to use it.

Get some training.

Check with your local Red Cross, or a group like Dark Angel Medical or Lone Star Medics (disclosure: I’m not affiliated with any of those 3 groups, but have taken training with all 3). Gear is cool, but it’s useless if you don’t have good training on how to properly use it.

As seen in The Tactical Wire

Looks like my series on Minimum Competency for Defensive Pistol got featured in the July 25, 2017 issue of The Tactical Wire.

As well, a nice nod to my two primary mentors, Karl Rehn and Tom Givens.

2017-07-24 training log

I’m sick of this.

It’s a program that’s not much fun. I’m hungry. I’m drained. I feel weak. I’m getting those “not enough carbs in the diet” dizzy spells. And I am not seeing the needle move on the scale.

Well, I do. But it’s up and down. Which tells me it’s other things in the mix, like water retention. And I know there are other factors to measure progress – like how things look in the mirror, and to that I can say my gut is reduced a bit.

But it still gets old to see the scale weight bouncing around and not showing the desired longer-term trend. I do expect it’s been from some salt and water retention. Diet’s been a bit salty lately, but in part it’s 100º+ right now so I’m trying to keep my electrolytes up as well. It’s just a battle.

But this where discipline trumps motivation. And yes, I’m going to stick this out at least another 3 weeks (for the total 6 weeks of the program). And I do want to do the 7th week protocol, then at least 3-4 weeks of an anchor template (still undecided as to what). How I adjust my diet during those last weeks is TBD based upon where I am when I get there. But I am pretty sure that once I’m done, I’m going to change gears and have some fun for at least a few weeks (I’m looking at Basebuilding).

As for today.

Since this is the 2nd 3-weeks, 2 more sets of the assistance work is to be added. So I add in 2 more sets of the KB swings at the end. 100 KB swings total.

During the top pressing set I did something in my shoulder/neck. This is not uncommon, because of the way my neck/shoulders are these days. There’s a hint of pain, but it’s just going to require massage and stretching of the upper traps and neck muscles. I had considered stopping the session, but it was TBD based upon pain — things got better, likely because there wasn’t more heavy stress on it AND it continued to pump additional blood to the area. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. 🙂

So yeah, shit’s getting old and tired. But just keep plowing ahead.

Oh, and in terms of weights? I have opted to keep my gym weights mostly the same for this 3-weeks cycle as the prior 3-week cycle. I’m going to be dropping the rest periods down (75 seconds this week). I’m getting weaker from lack of carbs. I’m allowing myself to go up on assistance work as it makes sense (e.g. if I can do more pull-ups, do more pull-ups). So press, squat, and bench all remain the same. Deadlifts tho? I went back and recalculated to use 80% of the training max instead, so it dropped session weights around 20# or so. I expect this should work better for me to get in the work, in light of circumstance.

And I am happy to have gotten as many pull-ups today as I did. Strict (total dead hang, to chin above bar, no kick/kip/momentum). This is slowly improving, which tickles me.

5/3/1 Prep & Fat Loss Program

Bodyweight: 243
Rest Period (seconds): 75

  • Press – bar x whatever
  • Press – 70 x 5
  • Face Pull – 65 x 25
  • Press – 80 x 5
  • Face Pull – 65 x 25
  • Press – 105 x 5
  • Split Squat – BW x 15e
  • Press – 120 x 5
  • Split Squat – BW x 15e
  • Press – 140 x 5
  • Pull-up – BW x 5
  • Press – 155 x 5
  • Pull-up BW x 4
  • Press – 120 x 5
  • Pull-up BW x 4
  • Press – 120 x 5
  • DB Row – 65 x 20e
  • Press – 120 x 5
  • DB Row – 65 x 20e
  • Press – 120 x 5
  • KB Swing – 40 x 25
  • Press – 120 x 5
  • KB Swing – 40 x 25
  • KB Swing – 40 x 25
  • KB Swing – 40 x 25

Sunday Metal – Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour has been around for a while, but it wasn’t until their 2017 album Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora that I started listening to them.

I like what I hear.

This is “Those Who Survived”

 

Which Tourniquet Should I Choose?

Severe bleeding is bad. “Bleeding out” can occur in less than 5 minutes.

Average response time for EMS in the USA? 8 minutes.

This is a strong argument for carrying a tourniquet on your person, every day.

It can’t stop everything, as it’s only useful on extremities (arms, legs), but it’s still quite useful. It’s also been awesome to see tourniquets gaining more mainstream attention. For example, at the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, tourniquets were used and reported on by the mainstream media. At the 2017 Ariana Grande Manchester attack, people used tourniquets to save their own lives.

But there was one problem? They were all improvised tourniquets.

Yes they were better than nothing, but it’s well-established that purpose-built tools perform better than improvised (it’s why you might be able to use your shoe to pound the nail into the wall, but a hammer works better).

My Current Choice

Presently, I carry a SOF Tactical Tourniquet Wide (SOFTT-W) from Tactical Medical Solutions. I carry it in a PHLster Flatpack TQ Carrier.

Why?

The other big choice in tourniquets is the Combat Application Tourniquet (C-A-T). I’ve used both, including through scenario-driven classes with Lone Star Medics. Both are proven and TCCC approved, and really either one is fine. I came down on the side of the SOFTT-W for a few reasons.

The metal windlass is nice, because plastics can degrade and break. Yes metal can too, but far less likely.

The detachable buckle is useful, facilitating getting around things you can’t move. While you can pull the strap out of the C-A-T buckle, you then have to re-thread it, which is harder to do than simply latching the buckle.

Slim. Look how thin a flatpacked SOFTT-W is:

I have no problems putting that in an inner pocket in my cargo pants every day. It’s very easy to carry.

C-A-T Revisited

During the Dark Angel Medical D.A.R.T. class I took, Kerry preferred the C-A-T, and we got to work with the new 7th generation C-A-T’s.

I have to say, they weren’t as bad to work with as my past experience.

Applying them one-handed was generally much easier than the SOFTT-W. That I could just pull through the buckle and hit the hook-and-loop closures ran smoother (and thus faster) than through the friction/tightening mechanism of the SOFTT-W’s buckle. I was able to get things tight and not have the TQ shift around on me, nor worry about “angle of pull” to get things tight. And of course, the big windlass retaining hooks on the C-A-T are so simple to use. That is one thing that’s hard with the SOFTT-W in one-handed operation: getting the windlass into the retaining triangle. I think the SOFTT-W’s retaining mechanism is more sturdy and provides better retention, but for sure it’s not as easy to engage.

But I did say generally easier. I have larger and longer legs. Trying to apply the C-A-T around my legs wasn’t easy, because that great hook-and-loop that holds holds always. So when the TQ is staged, the loop isn’t big enough to fit around my legs – plus I have to thread it all the way up my leg. Else I have to rip the hook-and-loop apart, then pull the strap out of the buckle, then thread it back through. OR I have to stage it with a very large loop, but then it became more difficult to apply to smaller diameter areas like an arm. It’s something I’ll continue to work with to see if I can find a happy medium.

Looks like you can flat fold a C-A-T as well:

but it still won’t be as flat as a SOFTT-W. Also notice that if you do flat fold it, there are some issues you have to work with on deployment – will you remember that under stress (and blood loss)?

In the end, I’m a little more open to the C-A-T, due in part to the 7th generation improvements.

Anything else?

One TQ that Kerry Davis (Dark Angel’s honcho) brought out was the SWAT-T. If you will, it looks like a long, wide strip of rubber. Just wrap it around and go.

Hrm.

There’s some controversy about this TQ, questions of efficacy. Kerry sells kits that only have the SWAT-T in it, and he said to me that he would have no problems if that was his primary and only TQ. No qualms, no reservations. So take that as you will.

To me, the jury is still out. There’s information, but not enough for me.

But that said, one thing I found compelling about the SWAT-T is versatility. It can be used as a TQ, or it could be used as a bandage or pressure dressing, along with other uses limited only by your imagination. That sort of versatility can be welcome when you have only so much room for gear, but have to fill a lot of roles. Plus, the SWAT-T, in its original packaging, is much smaller than the C-A-T or the SOFTT-W. However, life has taught me that when you need the best, unitaskers – things that specialize, focus, and strive solely to fulfill that role – generally work better than multitaskers, since the multitasker generally has to make compromises to fulfill the multiple roles. Life is often about tradeoffs, so trade as your context and risk-tolerance can afford.

My changing perspective

My EDC will remain a SOFTT-W in a PHLster Flatpack, because it’s proven and fits my every day carry.

When I need to buy more TQs for other roles, like the larger kit in my truck, in my briefcase, around the house, etc – places where size/bulk aren’t much of an issue, I’ll probably add C-A-Ts to the mix. I’m not saying I’ll replace one with the other, but I’m willing to supplement. I find both the SOFTT-W and C-A-T to be strong, but still have their drawbacks; neither is perfect to me, but the quibbles are minor.

And I might even see where a SWAT-T could fit in. I am not willing to make it a primary, but I could see it as a supplement in a kit. That it provides for some different uses can make it useful in a tight kit, including being a secondary TQ if needed.

Don’t take my word for it.

Get training. It could be from Dark Angel Medical or Lone Star Medics or another reputable source. Work with the equipment, see how they work, their strengths and weaknesses, their pros and cons. Figure which will work best in your situation, and realize that you may have multiple situations and they could require different solutions.

Just don’t delay. You don’t get to choose when bad things happen in your life, and you don’t want your last 5 minutes to be wishing you had a tourniquet.

2017-07-21 training log

That didn’t go as planned, but it did go as I thought it might.

I missed the last rep on the top set. There’s zero reason to be missing, so why did it happen?

I was exhausted going into this session. I didn’t want to get out of bed, I didn’t want to go to the gym. That’s a sign of fatigue. The bodyweight work up front isn’t much, but it was still harder to do than usual — another sign. I also know that the 2 deadlift sessions prior were taxing and I felt like they may be overcalculated for the work involved: the lack of carbs, being the last session of the week, etc.. So no it wasn’t the plan, but I can’t say I’m surprised I missed.

So after that top set? I called it. There’s no point in adding to the fatigue. I did go 30 minutes on the elliptical instead of 20, but 10 more minutes of that is hardly adding to fatigue.

What now?

Well, I’m not 100% sure. Obviously I won’t increase the weights on the deadlifts, but what will I do? Going to think about it. Part of me thinks to leave deadlifts at the same weights. Part of me thinks that I’m just going to be worse off as diet will remain as it is, so maybe I should reduce the weight some (tho how much?). Part of me thinks that maybe across the board I should keep everything the same (all weights, all exercises) because of that same reason. I even have thoughts of total change-up, but I do think I should strive to stick with this for the whole 6 weeks at least.

Much thinking. I’ll see where it goes.

5/3/1 Prep & Fat Loss Program

Bodyweight: forgot to weigh myself
Rest Period (seconds): 80

  • Deadlift – 165 x 5
  • Crunches – BW x 20
  • Deadlift – 205 x 5
  • Crunches – BW x 20
  • Deadlift – 250 x 5
  • Crunches – BW x 20
  • Deadlift – 310 x 5
  • Dips – BW x 12
  • Deadlift – 350 x 5
  • Chin-up – BW x 3
  • Deadlift – 395 x 4

2017-07-20 training log

I miss carbs. Not just because they’re delicious, but because you just lose so much in the gym. Weights feel heavier, can’t get as many reps, etc.. It’s my own fault tho. So here I am.

Pressing did feel heavy, but admit it’s hard to tell if it’s just the lack of carbs, the increased workload, or most likely both.

Nothing much else to report then. It’s just getting through the week.

5/3/1 Prep & Fat Loss Program

Bodyweight: 243 (ugh… I hope it’s just some water retention)
Rest Period (seconds): 80

  • Incline Bench Press – bar x whatever
  • Incline Bench Press – 90 x 5
  • Face Pull – 60 x 25
  • Incline Bench Press – 110 x 5
  • Face Pull – 60 x 25
  • Incline Bench Press – 135 x 5
  • Split Squat – BW x 15e
  • Incline Bench Press – 165 x 5
  • Split Squat – BW x 15e
  • Incline Bench Press – 190 x 5
  • Pull-up – BW x 4
  • Incline Bench Press – 210 x 5
  • Pull-up BW x 4
  • Incline Bench Press – 165 x 5
  • Pull-up BW x 3
  • Incline Bench Press – 165 x 5
  • DB Row – 60 x 20e
  • Incline Bench Press – 165 x 5
  • DB Row – 60 x 20e
  • Incline Bench Press – 165 x 5
  • KB Swing – 40 x 25
  • Incline Bench Press – 165 x 5
  • KB Swing – 40 x 25