Slap bet…

Posted: June 10, 2011 in Posts

Slap bet:

From here on out, I solemnly promise to slap myself in all cases of Training ADD. I’ve learned this lesson over the last month on the large scale, when I abandoned a program after just two weeks and in the small scale when I ignored a workout as written, warmed up with too much weight and too many reps and ended up with a pretty lousy work set.

I get back on my program and great things happen. 330 pound deadlifts pop off the floor and two pounds are lost in the span of a week. What is my program?

1. Do 5,3,1*

2. Push sled**

3. Eat almost nothing but Meat, Veggies and Eggs.


This is going on for six more weeks. That will finish two cycles of 5,3,1. After that, things get a little more complex.

1. Do the 40 day workout.*

2. Push sled**

3. Throw things

4. Eat larger amounts of nothing but Meat, Veggies and Eggs.


I will read this article anytime I feel like changing a program, making my own, or trying any other wrenching change in programming.  I’m posting it on the wall of my gym and carrying a copy in my gym bag.

Before I can over think it, I’m posting my 40 day program:

1. Snatch grip deadlifts / rack pulls – ten singles.

2. Push press / push jerks – 2 x 5 or 5 x 2

3. Power curls – 2 x 5 or 5 x 2

4. Kettlebell snatch – 2 x 5 each arm

5. Planks


*Doing 5,3,1 and the 40 day workout involve warming up with the agile 8, goblet squats, one armed long cycle clean and jerks, doing the program EXACTLY as written and then cooling off with wrist roller, neck work, possibly some batwings and stretching.

**Pushing the sled involves, warming up with the agile eight, goblet squats and one arm long cycle clean and jerks then pushing the sled in whatever manner feels good for the day. Some running or accessory work may be in order. I’m pushing the sled 4 to 5 days a week, typically on upper body days, two of my rest days and sometimes on squat day.


Back, then forward…

Posted: June 4, 2011 in Posts

When you make up a program, you take your own success or failure in your hands. Training ADD, from which I suffer along with exercise hoarding, is dangerous that way. The long and short of if is if you start trying to drop really low in your back squat with 315 while using a lower bar position than you usually do and then go on to front squat 225 for a triple before moving on to the rest of a program you’ve tossed together you shouldn’t be surprised when you have to take a couple weeks off.

Did I say short?

After a lot dull achey pain, stiffness and inflexibility I finally got under the bar again for back squats, hitting 265 x 5 for a decent final set.

The real lesson here is to have faith in programs as they are written. Not any old program, but the few, widely acknowledged, stroke of genius programs that circulate on message boards and websites devoted to this sort of thing frequently. It goes back to item number four in this post, if it works a lot of successful people are doing it.

I should have stuck with the Southwood program for at least six weeks. I need the upper body work. But something about it didn’t jive with me and I wound up going off into uncharted territory and getting my back and hammies tied up in so many knots that not only could I not get under parrallel without a huge butt wink (roll under) and it took me a couple weeks of basically rehab and flexibility work just to untie everything.

Sometimes taking a few steps back is the only way to go forward.

Now I’m working with Jim Wendler’s 5,3,1. I might do better on Southwood, but 5,3,1 just feels better. Both programs are beautiful, but 5,3,1 is the girl who doesn’t have her shields up right now.

I’m still doing something like the green faces diet, and down to 215 now. I’ve been pushing the redneck prowler a lot and liking what it does. I feel sleepy, which I think is the added sled work but nothing feels quite as heavy anymore. It’s most noticeable when loading plates on the bar. They just aren’t that heavy. I’m looking forward to acclimating to the sled and heat (it’s hitting 90’s regularly now), ditching some stress after a major work project is finished and getting a spring back in my step.

I’m also working out the details of getting either my CPT (NSCA certified personal trainer) or HKC (Hardstyle kettlebell certification) out of the way this summer before starting school in the fall. It’s going to be a long row to hoe, but moving from loving to train to helping others with it and getting paid to do so…well, you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.

Why wouldn’t I give it a shot?

Redneckin it…

Posted: May 30, 2011 in Posts

I’ve redesigned the Redneck Suspension Trainer, The new version uses one ratchet strap and is much easier to adjust. You’ll need a 16 foot strap and a shorter sacrifice strap to use fot the loops that hold the handles. You find the middle of the strap, tying a knot there is optional, but it makes the rest of the process easier.

Single point adjustment.

Cut the hook off the strap, tie a simple loop in each end and tie your handles on.

All the quality you'd expect from my recless disregard for safety.

I used 3/4 in PVC for the handles and wrapped it in athletic tape. It takes a two foot loop to get the right size handle. The only real trick is to make sure both the excess strap and the handles are run through the back of the ratchet.

Note where the handle is. Both ends of the strap need to hang below and to the back of it, as shown.

I made five of these, four to take to work and the one shown for my mother. I hung from the handles of all of them and they easily held my 215 pounds.

Now that I’ve had the chance to play around with a prowler sled I’m hooked. I don’t know if it’s the quicker turn around time, the upper body engagement or just the higher mass of the sled but there’s something about it that gets my hear rate up fast and keeps it up for a while. Biggest issue with them is that the cheap ones run about $150, plus shipping.

Yeah, not going to happen. All credit to the folks who came up with the idea, but here’s my version:

Who needs craftsmanship, quality matierials or good looks? Just overbuild the shit outta it.

Low handle, I hate the low handle.

Composite decking. Good stuff.

I’m not going to detail the process of building it. If you can’t figure it out from the pictures you shouldn’t be making it. I used a compound miter saw to make the cuts in the wood and the runners. The runners are made form composite decking, sometimes called Trex. It may be a little pricey, so look for scraps if you can.

There were plenty of other jobs I should have done over memorial day weekend, but these were much more fun and satisfying.

Torture devices…

Posted: May 13, 2011 in Posts

Training with thick grips, like my Tyler Grips, hurts. Largely in that good yet still pretty painful way that sets off an alarm in the back of your mind that says “holy hell this is hard!”

I do all of my assistance arm work, close grip bench, tricep push downs, various curls and all of my forearm work with them. Doing leverage twists with them is particularly devilish. I do them with a dumbbell and you have to squeeze the snot out of that grip to hang onto it.

I put the Tyler Grips on a wrist roller on Wednesday. The experience was so “rewarding” that I went to the hardware store and bought a chunk of two inch PVC to make a full time, big ass wrist roller out of. I expect great things and a lot of pain out of it today…

Status report…

Posted: May 11, 2011 in Posts

It’s day three of my new diet of meat, eggs, veggies, coffee and two pieces of fruit a day. I feel, betterish?

I’m tired, but this is also week two of my return to five day a week training and serious conditioning workouts. I’m sure a rapid drop in carb and caffeine consumption is contributing, but not the sole cause. I am progressing, slowly, in number of reps as I planned. I benched for three solid sets of 5, 5 and 4 with a single at 205 today. Next week I’ll press it for a true 3 x 5 and then bump to 210. My set of 3 squats at 315 was significantly cleaner on Monday, despite feeling really tired for the duration of the workout. I’ll bump that to three sets of two on Friday. Then try for a set of five and a double, etc. until I can squat it for a 3 x 5. I’ll try to triple or add another set on the 225 front squat. I may swap cleans to the first exercise and go up to 185 on Friday also. I’ve been hitting solid 3 x 5 at 115 on press for the last three workouts, it’s time to bump that to 125.

The curls and tricep work have been progressing well also. I’m up to 3 x 10 at 65 on cheat* curls on the Monday/Friday workouts and hit 10, 10 and 8 on preacher curls with the same weight today.  Close grip bench is up to 85 and cable press downs are moving to 120 next Wednesday.

* I use a slight bit of hip action at the start of the curl. Thing is I just can’t seem to keep my left shoulder from shrugging up as I curl, even with ridiculously light weight. The cheat get’s rid of the shrug. I may switch to a different exercise in the future to avoid it. For whatever reason, it’s an ingrained reflex.

I’m holding a decent plank for over a minute now.

Back to the diet, I definitely feel less bloated now. I’m holding steady at 217 so far but it’s only been three days. I feel somehow lighter, less burdened by the weight of my upper body, even though my legs were pretty dead most of the day from Tuesday’s fairly brutal Kettlebell and box jump extravaganza. It could be simply that the felling of a tight stomach that comes with the mild appetite suppressing effects of caffeine are gone or it could be the detox effect mentioned in the Tnation article. Who the hell knows but it feels kinda good.

Biggest issue is boredom. I bought a large variety of frozen mixed veggies. All I can say is that different variations on broccoli, green beans, cauliflower and carrots doesn’t really make for variety. Although the mushrooms in today’s bag of blah were nice. I think it’s time to get a new salad container, I haven’t made salad for a while because the lid to the old one is awol. Yeah, diet salad dressing isn’t on the list but I feel it adds minimal impact if used sparingly and if it keeps me on track in the larger view of things I’m going to use it.The same goes for my stash of Crystal Light at work.

I’m not going to report of other bodily functions here, but it’s evident to me that I’m absorbing a lot of nutrition from what I eat. You can draw your own conclusions from that statement.

Still haven’t gotten a chest and belly measurement yet. My tape is missing. I’m going to try and find it tonight. The wife got her hair did tonight, maybe if I can talk her into taping me I can segue some muscle flexing into romance…

Yup, feelin’ better already.

The impossible…

Posted: May 8, 2011 in Posts

Loosing fat while gaining muscle is supposed to be impossible. It’s considered by many as a biological fact. You can only gain mass or lose mass, some will be fat, some will be muscle. The proportion of each is dependent upon diet, activity and genetics. I intend to test this theory some.

Through no intention of mine I’ve returned to high frequency, high volume (sort of) training. Five days a week of something involving heavy objects, three or four days of something involving a cardiovascular workout on top of the weights. Mondays and Fridays involve my new squat, clean and press workout. Wednesdays see me in the gym at working doing bench press, pull ups and a host of bodybuilding movements in an attempt to get my arms to match the rest of me. Tuesdays and Thursdays see me leading my Kettlebell based strength and conditioning workouts at work.Several times a week I go out and run some kind of interval training as well.

This will continue for at least five more weeks. “Everything works, for about six weeks.” I’ll also be looking for a really fast 1.5 mile run at the end of this.

The impossible part is finding a diet that allows me to progress on those heavy lifting days, replenishes the energy stores I burn on Tuesdays and Thursdays and allows me to hopefully, lose some belly fat if not mass. I’m going with the so called Green Faces Diet.

The rules are simple. If it had a face, or would have had a face, you can eat it.

If it’s a green vegetable, you can eat it.

No dairy, no grain, nothing like this:

Coffee, gloriously plant-based coffe will replace these. Along with gloriously plant-based Truvia. Semantics? Guilty as charged.

Like the World’s Strongest Librarian I’m not worrying too much about the definition of green. I’ll still toss in my daily apple and orange. Bags of frozen stir fry veggies make easy and quick snacks anywhere I can find a microwave, even if they come in rainbow colors. Protein shakes will still be in full effect. Going organic whenever possible? I have a very, very loose definition of whenever possible. It pretty much comes down to whenever I feel like driving an extra mile to spend more money.

As an aside, I really should do that more. As I’ve often argued the more people who buy organic meat and produce, even just on special occasions, the better. The market will grow to support the demand. Right now full time organic just isn’t feasible for a majority of people, but if most people make one organic only meal per week, we’d likely see exponential growth in the industry.

As I’m pushing my limits physically again, portions and snacks will be generous, but not on the level of bulking with Mass Made Simple. Extra snacks will be available when I’m just ravenously hungry after finishing my regular meals. This happens sometimes and I find that while it might not be the best thing for rapid weight loss, for health, morale and peace of mind I feel it’s better to listen to your body. At least as long as you are aware of hunger triggers, didn’t gobble your food and wait a while after eating.

Will I fail by allowing myself coffee, fruit and colorful veggies? Only time will tell. I doubt it. I may get slightly better results by sticking to purely green veggies and no coffee. In the long run, I think the only reason why I’d out and out fail to lose some fat would be if I just plain eat too much. The real test will be if I can maintain or progress in strength and muscle mass. I’ll be measuring again tomorrow night. We’ll see what my chest and waist size is after five weeks of this. We’ll also look at the ratio between the two, as that may indicate a loss of muscle along with fat.

Time to get my grub on…

Breaking the rules…

Posted: May 2, 2011 in Posts

I should have given southwood+ a longer go. I should have done the southwood program as written. I should have done a lot of things. But I didn’t. Fuck it. I may wind up slowing my progress in the long run but sometimes you just want to go by what feels right.

Instead I got bored and frustrated and wanted greater intensity, more volume, higher weight and lower reps. So I downed a bunch of caffeine at a time when I shouldn’t be drinking it if I want to get to sleep and went out the the garage to scream, eat chalk and pound on the walls. I just worked out on instinct, and I’ll continue to do what I did today every Monday and Friday until I decide it isn’t working or I get injured or over trained.

I worked back and front squats. Working up to a set of three back squats at 315 then stepping down to front squat my last warm up weight for a double before stripping weight off the bar for two more sets. The idea is to try and build by adding reps to my set of 315 back squats and the first set of front squats at 225, staying at one over the number of clean, quality reps is at. I got three reps at 315 today, if the fourth is fugly on Friday, I’ll try for four the next Monday until I get it right.

Then power cleans for 3 x 5. I like 3 x 5. I started real strength training doing 3 x 5’s. I’ll stay at 175 on power cleans until I can stop catching the weight before it hits the rack position. It’s the only current hitch in my giddy up there.

3 x 5 again for mil press. 115 for the working sets. These are going up next week.

Then barbell curls, close grip bench, batwings, kneck work and planks. I might toss in some good mornings.

I’m going to curtail the volume of my kettlebell workouts some, and add in a bench and pull up workout on Wednesdays. I’ll do some more dedicate arm work then. Maybe do those good mornings or some SLDLs. Why? Because I fucking want to.

More sleep and more protein is in order.

No idea why I’m in such a pissed off mood. But I’m rolling with the fire in my belly right now. More wieght, more frequency, more food!

Maybe sometimes more is more.