July 17, 2011

What next?

I'm in a rut.  I've been doing some variation of the Starting Strength or StrongLifts template for about 8 months now, and it was all I was doing prior to the 12 weeks I spent on 5/3/1.  I'm hitting failure way too often, resetting too often, and generally regressing on strength.  Time for something a bit different.

Starting tomorrow, this is the workout:

Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday-Friday
Deadlift, target weight, 1x5
Deadlift, 90% of target, 1x5
Press, target weight, 1x5
Press, 90% of target, 1x5

That's it.  I'll be increasing weight in an unstructured wave: going up when I'm feeling strong, falling back when I'm fatigued or sore.  I might add in chin-ups and pull-ups if I have time and I don't feel like those muscles are getting enough work.  I'm going to aim for 5x a week, making it up on weekends if necessary.

This is basically the poorly-named "Power to the People" workout from Pavel's book of the same name.  It's different enough that I think it'll get me out of my rut, and I've been wanting to do something specific for my lagging presses for awhile now.  Plus, it'll give the line of skin on my back that screams "I squat a lot" a chance to fade a bit.

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Workout Log, LACAMP, week 12

Monday (7-11-2011)
squat 265 lb 3x5
bench 195 lb 5, 5, 3, 3, 3
chin-ups 12, 7, 7, ... 7, 5
DB shrugs 70lb 3x10
lateral raises 25lb 3x8

Wednesday
squat 270 lb 4x4
press 110 lb 3, 2, f
press 95 lb 5x2
deadlift 325 lb 2x3

Friday
Skipped so I could be home for some deliveries.

Weight (Sunday, 7-17): 178 lb

Notes: I tried to get some extra shoulder work in on Monday, hoping it would help on presses: huge mistake.  I was still sore by Wednesday, and my press numbers show the dismal outcome.  I'm planning to switch programs on Monday (another post to follow), as I'm starting to really burn out at the moment, and that's bad.

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July 10, 2011

Workout Log, LACAMP, week 11

Monday (7-4-2011)
squat 265 lb 5x3
bench 195 lb 5, 4, 4, 3, 3
chin-ups 11, 8, 6, 6, 7

Wednesday
squat 265 lb 4x4
press 110 lb 4, 4, 4, 3, 3
deadlift 325 lb 2x3 (crappy lockout)
prone bridges 3x60s

Friday
Skipped for a cross-state trip.

Weight (Friday, 7-8): 179 lb
Waist (Friday, 7-8): 32.5"

Notes: Weight crept back up a bit this week, I'll have to be more careful about that now that the weight is getting heavy again.  On the other hand, my waist is smaller than my targeted goal at the beginning of LACAMP, so I've got that.  Nonetheless, I'm not yet really at my desired level of leanness and strength, so I'll continue in this manner for the time being.  Received a needed correction to my squat form on Wednesday, I'd been bending over again on the rise out of the hole.

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July 01, 2011

Workout Log, LACAMP, week 10

Monday (6-27-2011)
squat 260 lb 5x3
press 110 lb 4x4
chin-ups 12, 8, 6, 6

Wednesday
squat 260 lb 4x4
bench 190 lb 3x5
deadlift 315 lb 2x3
prone bridges 3x60s

Friday
squat 260 lb 3x5
press 110 lb 5, 3, 3, 4, 3
pull-ups 11, 8, 6, 5
hanging leg raises 3x20

Weight (Friday, 7-1): 177 lb

Notes: Good week, other than failed presses on Friday.  I got distracted talking to another guy in the power rack and might have tried to do set 2 a little early, though.  We'll see if I can pull off a 3x5 at 110 next Wednesday.  Wednesday's deadlifts hurt a little bit.  I might not have been warmed up enough.  No pain since the lift, but I probably ought to be more careful.

Posted by: leoncaruthers at 05:24 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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June 27, 2011

Workout Log, LACAMP, week 9

Monday (6-20-2011)
squat 250 lb 3x5
bench 185 lb 5, 5, 4, 3
chin-ups 12, 11, 7

Wednesday
squat 255 lb 3x5
press 110 lb 5x3
deadlift 305 lb 2x3
hanging leg raise 3x15

Friday
squat 260 lb 3, 3, 3, 3, f, 1
bench 185 lb 3x5
pull-ups 11, 8, 6, ...7
prone bridges 3x60s

Weight (Monday, 6-27): 178 lb

Notes:  This was a tough week after two weeks off from the gym; my legs were sore through most of it.  All of the benches were occupied on Monday when I was ready to go, so I got to learn why it's important to do chin-ups last, since my bench presses were pretty terrible after a single set of chins.  Squats were hard all week because I'm still doing a ton of work getting the old house emptied and ready for showings, and my mid-back is perpetually sore, enough so that Friday's attempted 5x3 failed outright on the fifth set.  I might lighten up a bit on squats this week while I keep working on the house, just so I don't end up with sciatica or something.  I want to stay in the habit, though, because otherwise the soreness from starting again will leave me like I was last Tuesday: shuffling and limping.  In better news, my weight is continuing to trend down.  I'm cautiously hopeful that my strength isn't necessarily going with it.

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June 20, 2011

Moving week

No workout this week, either, unless you count all the lifting/packing/closing/opening/unshelving/shelving/etc. that I spent most of my week doing.  On the other hand, another week away from the gym and basically only eating one (massive) meal at the end of each day seems to have pushed my weight down below 180 for the first time in at least 5 years.  I'm headed back to the gym today with a 10% across-the-board deload in case I've de-trained a bit in the last couple of weeks (likely).  Today will also mark the start of my first try at creatine monohydrate as part of my pre-gym potion.  I'd been taking 10g of BCAAs somewhat consistently with a couple sips of water or coffee, and I'll be continuing with that amount, but I'm switching to a powdered formula rather than tabs.  We'll see if that has any effect.

Weight (Monday, 6-20): 179 lb

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June 15, 2011

Rest Week

No workout last week, and I was busy getting ready to move, so I'm a few days late with the post.  I'm taking this week off from the gym as well, because I've moved almost everything I own in the past 24 hours, and trying to also hit the gym for a workout would be madness.

Weight (Sunday): 182 lb

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June 03, 2011

Workout Log, LACAMP, week 8

Monday
Skipped for a Tigers game (beat the Twins 6 to 5)

Wednesday (6-1-2011)
squat 280 lb 5x3
bench 205 lb 5x3
deadlift 335 2x3

Friday
squat 280 lb 5x3
press 120 lb 4x2 (failed on 3rd set)
press 115 lb 3x2
press 110 lb 5, 3
press 105 lb 4, 4
pull-ups 11, 9, 6, ... 8, 6
prone bridges 3x60s

Weight (Friday): 184 lb

Notes: I'm pretty wiped after 8 weeks in the gym.  Probably going to take next week off to pack, might go in for a couple of light days just to keep in the habit.  The week after that is a "rest" week for sure, since I'll be moving house.

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May 29, 2011

Workout Log, LACAMP, week 7

Monday
Skipped for more rest.

Wednesday (5-25-2011)

squat 275 lb 4x4
press 120 lb 4x3 (failed at 5th set of 3)
push press 120 lb 1x3
deadlift 325 lb 2x3
chin-ups 10, 7, 6

Friday
squat 275 lb 3x5
bench 205 lb 4, 4, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2
pull-ups 10, 8, 7, 5

Weight (Sunday): 184 lb

Notes: Took Monday off for more rest.  I've decided I prefer 2x3 on deadlifts to 1x5.  My limit now appears to be grip strength, which starts to fail at higher reps.  2 sets rather than one also lets me alternate which palm is supinated for my alternating grip, which should help distribute any asymmetric stresses that such grip induces.  So I'm planning to just stick with that and take 10 lb weekly jumps until I can't.

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May 22, 2011

Workout Log, LACAMP, week 6

Monday (5-16-2011)
squat 270 lb 5x3
press 120 lb 3x3 (failed at 4th set of 3)
press 115 lb 2x3
press 95 lb 1x5
chin-ups 11, 7, 6

Wednesday
squat 275 lb 5x3
bench 205 lb 5, 4, 4, 3
deadlift 315 lb 2x3
prone bridges 3x60s

Friday
Skipped workout for a work thing.

Weight (Saturday): 184 lb

Notes: I got ambitious on Wednesday and decided to jump ahead on my squats and deadlifts.  Friday was my last chance to have lunch with a departing coworker, so I ended up missing the workout.  I was planning to make it up Saturday, but the forecast claimed it'd be the only sunny day for the next week or so, so I made busy with a bunch of outside work on my house and garage.  I'm about 3 weeks away from closing on a new house and moving everything I own, so I'm planning 2 more weeks in the gym, then a rest week to prep for the move, followed by a week of moving.  Hopefully, I'll be back in the gym the week after the move, but heaven knows how I'll feel at that point.

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May 16, 2011

Workout Log, LACAMP, week 5

Monday (5-9-2011)
squat 265 lb 5x3
bench 200 lb 3x5
chin-ups 11, 8, 6, ... 6
prone bridges 3x60s

Wednesday
squat 265 lb 4x4
press 120 lb 5, 4, 3, 3
press 95 lb 3x5
deadlift 300 lb 1x5

Friday
squat 265 lb 3x5
bench 205 lb 5, 4, 4, 4
pull-ups 10, 8, 6, ... 7
hanging leg raise 3x20

Weight (Monday): 186 lb
Waist (Monday): 35"

Notes: No movement on weight, but I'm finally making some long-awaited progress on my presses.  Still didn't do any cardio.  Hopefully my low-intensity activity will pick up enough from the move prep and execution that it won't end up being necessary.  I imagine maintenance and upkeep on the farm will provide plenty of exercise as well.

Posted by: leoncaruthers at 08:14 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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May 08, 2011

Workout Log, LACAMP, week 4

Monday (5-2-2011)
squat 260 lb 5x3
press 110 3x5
chin-ups 11, 8, 6, ... 6
prone bridges 3x60s

Wednesday
squat 260 lb 4x4
bench 195 lb 3x5
deadlift 300 lb 2x3
hanging leg raise 3x20

Friday
squat 260 lb 3x5
press 115 lb 3x5 (!)
pull-ups 11, 9, 7

Weight (Friday): 186 lb
Waist (Monday): 35"

Notes: No weight loss this week either, but my strength is increasing nicely.  The 115 lb for 3x5 on the press was hard, but far from impossible.  I wasn't anywhere near strict on diet this week, even had a Mexican nutritional adventure on Thursday, so it's not a surprise that my weight didn't go down, but a pleasant surprise that it didn't go up.  On that note, I guess I can't do anything for 6 weeks.  I'm getting soft, which is a shame, because the whole point of this is to be getting hard.

Posted by: leoncaruthers at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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May 03, 2011

Workout Log, LACAMP, week 3

Monday (4-25-2011)
squat 255 lb 5x3
bench 185 lb 3x5
chin-ups 11, 8, 7
prone bridges 3x60s

Wednesday
squat 255 lb 4x4
press 105 lb 3x5
deadlift 295 lb 1x5
hanging leg raise 3x20

Friday
squat 255 lb 3x5
bench 190 lb 3x5
pull-ups 10, 8, 6

Weight (Monday): 186 lb
Waist (Tuesday): 35"

Notes: De-loaded presses a little bit this week, added a quart of milk on lifting days only, and my weight (at least week to week) appears immutable.  I'd meant to add some cardio in this week, but just didn't make the time.

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April 24, 2011

Workout Log, LACAMP, week 2

Monday (4-18-2011)
squat 250 lb 5x3
press 115 lb 5x3 (iffy reps)
chin-ups 11, 6, 4

Wednesday
squat 250 lb 4x4
bench 200 lb 3, 3, 3, 2
bench 185 lb 4, 3
deadlift 295 lb 2x3

Friday
squat 250 lb 3x5
press 105 6x3
pull-ups 11, 8, 6
hanging leg raise 3x20

Weight (Friday): 186 lb
Waist (Thursday): 35"

Notes:  My recovery was poor this week.  I'm really noticing it on pressing exercises, but I couldn't do a full set of 5 reps on the deadlift this week either.  Bench-pressing on Wednesday was rough.  I'd meant to do 4x4, but even on the first set the third rep was hard enough to convince me otherwise.  I got trapped under the bar and needed a rescue on the fourth set.  It really sucked.  My plan for Friday was 4x4 at 115 for the press, but my warm-up set at 105 for 3 was hard enough to convince me that that wasn't happening, so I just did 5 more sets of 105.  Ugh.

I feel under-nourished and weak most of the time now.  I don't know if it's the lack of carbohydrate or the lack of milk, but I'm starting workouts sore, even 48 hours later.  I've heard -- anecdotally, but from a half-dozen sources -- that milk can make a huge difference in recovery time.

So, I'm torn:  I'm losing strength, I'm not losing weight, but my waist is slightly smaller, at least at the end of a long fast.  It's been two weeks, so it's not too soon to re-evaluate the approach I've taken.  It's unlikely that I can plow through 11 more pounds in the next 4 weeks, so maybe I should just be focusing on a longer-term approach.  Priority-wise, maintaining or increasing strength is more important to me than the vanity of seeing a six-pack, and from a pure health and longevity standpoint, having a single-digit body fat hardly critical.  Also, I've dieted and trained down to a fit weight about 4 times as an adult, and each time, it gets harder.  Trying to rush it won't help, and is objectively making it worse.  It's entirely possible that my problem isn't energy intake, but energy output.  My weight training is fairly intense, and takes a lot out of me, but I'm fairly efficient at the movements themselves, so I doubt I'm really burning up serious fuel, even with 75 minutes in the gym.

For now: milk comes back, but only post workout, and I have to -- have to -- start doing some regular cardio.  Not high-intensity, barn-burning stuff, but something, maybe just a walk every day, or a short set of sprints or tabata intervals.  I'll loathe it, but it's the only tool left in the shed, and it's worked in the past.  Oh well.

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April 18, 2011

Workout Log, LACAMP, week 1

Monday (4-11-2011)
squat 245 lb 5x3
bench 200 lb 5x3 (some iffy reps)
chin-ups 11, 7, 5

Wednesday
squat 245 lb 4x4
press 115 lb 3, 3, 2
press 95 lb 3x3
deadlift 295 lb 2x3
hanging leg raise 3x20

Friday
squat 245 lb 3x5
bench 200 lb 5x3
pull-ups 10, 7, 6, ... 7
press 95 lb 3
press 105 lb 3, 2

Weight (Monday): 186 lb
Waist (Monday): 36"

Notes: No movement on weight this week, but I had two birthday dinners to attend and veered quite a bit off plan for 2 out of 14 total meals for the week (wheat and cheese at both meals), so no movement is better than I was expecting.  Because I took the previous week off from the gym and didn't do any real de-load on presses, I was sore for much of the week, and it shows.  Monday's bench was considerably harder than the first time I did 5x3 at 200lb, and I flat-out failed at pressing 115lb for 5x3 on Wednesday.  The third set was barely 2 reps, and I could not get it off my chest for a fourth set.  So, after Friday's planned barbell work, I basically took the next 20 minutes and hammered my shoulders in vertical press movements.  Standard presses, hammer machine shoulder press (weights/sets/reps not recorded, heavy and a lot), and then one more set of pull-ups for good measure.  Will the extra volume help?  No idea.  I'll find out later today when I make another attempt at 115lb for 5x3.

Posted by: leoncaruthers at 08:19 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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April 09, 2011

Rest Week (lower back rehab)

This was supposed to be my first LACAMP week, but my lower back was still dodgy on Monday, so I decided to take the week off from the gym and get my diet and fasting schedule back on track.  Dropped 5 lb.  We'll see on Monday whether any strength went with it.

Weight (Saturday): 186 lb

Posted by: leoncaruthers at 04:53 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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April 01, 2011

Leon's Awesome Cutting and Maintenance Program

Because every program needs a name.

So here's the plan, heavily based on the PPNP:

Monday
Wednesday
Friday
Squat
SquatSquat
Bench Press/Overhead Press (Alternating)Bench Press/Overhead Press (Alternating)Bench Press/Overhead Press (Alternating)
Chin-ups
Deadlift
Pull-ups

With abdominal work 1-2 times per week, time permitting.

But Leon, this is exactly like PPNP.  What's different?
The set and rep scheme.  The first occurrence of a higher weight is met with 5 sets of 3 reps, the second occurrence with 4 sets of 4 reps, and the third occurrence with 3 sets of 5 reps.  Target weight only goes up if the current weight has been successfully lifted at least 3 times, once with each scheme.  Failure to hit a set/rep target is met with up to 2 retries, after which the reset is to the last successful scheme with the last successful weight.  The exceptions to this overall scheme will be deadlifts and chin-ups/pull-ups. Deadlifts will increase after successful lifts with 2 sets of 3 reps, and 1 set of 5 reps.  Chin-ups/pull-ups are always 3 sets to failure, with weight added if failure occurs after 15+ reps.

If all targets are consistently met, this means squat and deadlift targets will increase by 5 lb per week, and press and bench press targets will increase by 5 lb every two weeks.

My starting lift values for the program are as follows:
Squat
Deadlift
Bench Press
Press
245 lb
295 lb
200 lb
115 lb

Goals
First, lose no strength, that means no backsliding from the starting weights.  As of right now, I weigh in at 191 lb, and have a waist measurement of 37".  My body fat percentage is somewhere between 20 and 25%, meaning a body weight of 175 lb (assuming no loss of lean mass), will put my body fat at in the 13-18% range, so that weight will be one of two possible goals.  As a caveat, there is always the chance that I'll somehow manage to grow muscle in the midst of the food deficit I'm intending to accompany this program.  It's unlikely, but possible, so my other possible goal will be a waist measurement of 33".  So: a waist measuring 33", or a body weight of 175, while meeting -- minimally -- the initial weight targets on each exercise.  Those are my win conditions.

Diet
Low carb paleo.  Strict.  Far stricter than I have been.  Milk and cheese are off the menu, and absolutely no breaded food or sugary sauces.  Intermittent fasting as circumstances permit, with a 16-hour daily fast to begin immediately following tonight's dinner.  Meat and colorful vegetables will constitute the bulk of the diet, with small amounts of fruits and nuts.  If you subscribe to the "calories in/calories out" accounting for weight loss (I don't, but it's not awful for rough estimates), I should only need a deficit of about 10000 kcal/week.  That oughtta be easy, considering I'd estimate my recent intake at somewhere north of 5000 kcal/day.  All I should have to do is "starve" on 3500 kcal/day, on average.

Duration
I've always said "I can do anything for 6 weeks", so there we go.  Losing 16 lb in six weeks seems pretty reasonable, as it's slightly less than 3 lb a week, and at least some of what I'm currently carrying is almost certainly inflammation from dairy and small amounts of wheat.  That sort of weight falls off very rapidly when the offending compounds are no longer present.

Posted by: leoncaruthers at 04:11 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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