Friday, January 29, 2010

Week in Review

I think I've taken the proper progressions so far. It's always been conditioning/fat loss workouts for me. I love those workouts and will never abandon those approaches that have worked so effectively for me over the years.

At the end of last was essentially bodyweight stuff. Something I enjoyed doing but not exactly getting the full benefits of the program as my diet stunk during the holidays. I enjoyed it however, as it did help alot with giving my joints a break from lifting weights for the most part of the year. Resting my shoulders and knee joints and minimizing alot of road work (i.e. running, kettlebell swinging)...has definitely been beneficial.

Going into the New Year...I had already started basic strength training. Starting with the 45 bar working up to 225 lbs. It's safe to say I'm definitely a way am I a true powerlifter by any means. That's for the big boys. That takes years to develop if you're really serious about going that route.

But I do want to get big and work on some lean mass...but I know this is going to take some planning. I'm trying to find a program that would allow me to do both effectively at home or at a gym. Some of the exercises are best done at the gym than at home. Most of the stuff I have at home are ideal for conditioning and strength work. Muscle building programs - definitely the gym is where it's at for me, so hopefully I can get a schedule that allows me to get those workouts in good standing the next few weeks regardless of where I'm at. If not, I don't mind modifying a little if I have to do them at home.

Have a great weekend! Don't re-invent the wheel...just keep on turning em!

Train safe!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Time to Get BIG (ger)!!!

Ok time to get bigger (if I'm not big fat as it is)...

5 weeks of strength training, I know I've said I would never do this in my life but I'm confident to focus on improving on some lean mass. Yup, "mass build" is what they would call it in the bodybuilding world but I would like to call it - improving on lean mass.

May keep the Texas method on here with the program I'm going to start next week. Will use strength training (lower rep range, heavier wt) still as a focus at the begininning of some workouts or at the end of the week to reach some personal records on some loads of various lifts (i.e. trying to improve on moves like the squat and deadlift; improve loads on the dumbell press) but will transition that into mass building with higher reps (i.e. bigger chest, arms, butt) the next 4 weeks.

Surprisingly, I was not as sore with strength training than I am with hypertrophy training. I was never a big fan of hypertrophy training for those who have read my blog over the years. But what I did feel with this stronglift program was I was getting stronger each session as the weights got heavier. Maybe it was the low volume of strength training and familiarity with the movements that really wasn't an issue at all while on this interesting approach to strength training. But one thing for sure: my form has definitely improved significantly.

But I also realized that I can't go up more than 1.2 x my BW at my current fitness level - so I guess I'm fairly average if that. I probably can - but I think I can work on that again come October and the winter months. I just know that I've improved on the strength department so thats definitely a plus.

I only began feeling some soreness when the weights were probably at 155 lbs..but succeeding weeks not as much. I guess that's how strength training works.

I remember I did a Turbulence Training Program that I completely sucked at and only did 2 weeks of because I was throwing the weight loads all over the place. Hopefully this time, I can be more systematic with my approach and hopefully improve on some lean mass. 4 weeks I'm giving myself here and we'll see where this goes.

My bodyfat has been a bit skewed these past several weeks. But I'll be honest - it sure aint like the guy you see to the right of this blog with his hat on. I've lost my abs, I have some flab to show for...but honestly, I think that really comes with the territory here - and that nutrition will come full circle here soon enough. Come March, I hope to get back into circuit training and metabolic supersets to lean out some with more of a calorie deficit approach. Just not right now. That's not the goal...well at least for now.

So I'm eating like a madman basically to get strong and hopefully to get big! But eating SHOULD not mean to eat anything in your sight of vision (although I pigged out yesterday as it was my birthday). Got to get that mindset back of eating the right way as opposed to eating because I know I'm not eating to get lean sort of thing. That's just the wrong way to go about this. Eat but eat right. You lose control of the nutritional part - you'll lose control for sure. I'll get it down. March for sure...

Monday, January 25, 2010

225 lbs - Goal ACHIEVED.

Got to 225 on the 5x5 this morning. This was a longer session than I thought or expected (but again this is much heavier weight). I had to take this to the gym today because I just don't feel safe without a spotter or a squat station with pins just in case I need to drop the weight. Todays workout was workout A of the stronglifts program which was essentially squats and bench press day. Did really good on the squats but at around the 3rd set on the bench press, I was definitely feeling my strength I took it to the squat station and finished off the last 2 sets there. On the negative, it was assuring to have the safety bars on the sides just in case. I was slightly touching them on the negatives but it felt so good getting that weight up over my chest on each rep!

But now it's time for the Texas method. Same weight with the days split up by volume (5x5, adding 5 lbs every week), a recovery day (10% lighter than the volume day 3x3) and an intensity day (personal record 1x1, 1x2 or 1x3). May be able mix it up a little with some complexes after each workout or on off days.

I'm still doing HIIT after every workout..essentially treadmill sprints. Not doing much circuits or complexes. Today wasn't any different. Cals are up but I don't really worry about that too much but still making healthy food choices like brown rice and continue to avoid eating crap as best I can (well at least that's the mindset I've taken with this challenge). I just want to get stronger. If I can work on getting stronger - I believe I can definitely take advantage of future programs I intend on doing (and I do have a few on mind already).

I've realized you just can't put 2 different goals together. You want to lose weight - go fat loss programs. You want to get strong, do strength programs. You can definitely do both - but I'd rather focus on one particular goal than to mix them up. Usually that's a bad approach for the average guy or gal - because it only leads to disappointment I like to think. Focus on one goal and concentrate on that. When it's time to cut - then that's when you do everything you can to cut. Right now, it's all about strength training. Conditioning and fat loss will come around. It always has for me in the past. But I need to do this for my own benefit. I personally think the past few years I've been lifting lighter weight than I should - maybe because of my diet and goals were more geared towards fat loss - so it was obviously different then. What am I going to do with all this strength training? Toss cars around? No..that's not the intention of all this. I just know what I need to do to get better results and I know I'm getting there.

That's the whole concept right now for me. Strength development. 1.2 x BW...may sound puny to the hardcore fit guy. But honestly...this is definitely a personal accomplishment today for me.

~ a.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Weekly Update

Up to 195 lbs on the lifts as I've said yesterday. BF: 15% at 175 lbs. Lifting heavier weight than my current weight is definitely positive strength progress indeed.

I just want to take back a post that I was going to go back to treadmill cardio again. No, that's just not me to even consider going back to those lame ol boiring cardio routines. THAT'S NOT ME AND WILL NEVER GO BACK TO THOSE DARK DAYS OF FITNESS. That's what the uninformed do.

I just never had time to really put any good interval sessions last week because of my muscle soreness I had from playing volleyball last week.

So this morning I got up, did some foam rolling and did a nice HIIT session on my treadmill and followed it up with some core work consisting of scissor kicks, fast cross body mountain climbers, planks and blast strap roll outs (I call them supermans).

The end of this week officially completes Week 4. I intend to get to the point of being able to lift 225 one more week of this program and it's off to doing the Texas method with some conditioning routines, for a short bit and then back to a new program come mid February.

So far, so good...very happy with my strength gains to this point and happy to be close to achieving that goals for strength that I set forth starting the year.

Gotta pick up the kids! Have a good weekend!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

195 lbs on the 5x5

Up to 195 lbs on the lifts of Workout A this morning. What a workout program - you just can't go wrong with the basic lifts to develop strength. You just can't deny that this is simple yet very effective if strength is a goal. There's just no bullshit, unnecessary stuff to do. You just do the exercises as they are written and you're good to go. No need to overthink why and what you're doing. Just do it.

Got my friend Ed into the program and he's enjoying it too.

This is my 4th WEEK and after this week, I should be at 225 lbs which is my goal. Will have to decide whether I want to keep going or not but may mix it up and go the Texas Method route the next 4 after that.

Still keeping my form as strict as I can. And yes - I'm loving squats!

What I haven't been doing is much conditioning work. I just don't have the desire right now to be focusing too much on that for off days. I've always enjoyed them and will do them here and there but if it's an off day -I'll do some light cardio work on the treadmill, heavy bag or bike and continue my core exercises and foam rolling as usual.

I'm quite happy with the stronglifts program - it's very satisfying to add the weight on there every time even if it was just another 10 lbs each time (I was supposed to add only 5lbs each time but I found this route a litte bit better for me, as I'm not a beginner beginner here). There's just no end to this routine with just basic movements. May just do some light runs for off days and core work.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

185 lbs and Brown Rice

Up to 185 lbs on the squats and deadlifts. Didn't feel confident with the Overhead Presses so I scaled back to 95 lbs on that exercise. Do not necessarily want to get strong on the overhead press. It sure would be nice though but I think going up to 135-155 lb range on this exercise is a-okay for me. But everything else: I hope to improve on those numbers.

If the loads get way too heavier for me and if and when I do hit 1.2x my BW - it's off to the Texas Method of Strength Training which is a hybrid approach to the stronglift philosophy, it's just sticking to the same weight for the whole week and then adding weight every week on out.

After that it was some extra stuff with some glute ham raises, shoulder rotations, and more chins for extra work.

Was at the commercial gym this morning. Rainy day here in San Diego and working out in my garage just wasn't something I intended on doing this morning. So I took it to the gym and enjoyed a little sauna at the end before picking up the kids from school.

Brown rice...I think I have finally acquired the taste for it. I don't know why but I always hated brown rice. Back in the day I would never take brown rice over white rice...but damn, it is really good!!

Intervals tomorrow...

Monday, January 18, 2010

I've been hurtin'!

Happy Martin Luther King Day to all...

I miss volleyball. It's been 3 full months that I haven't hit the volleyball court. Hey, when you're're just... busy. But definitely not busy to keep this blog going. I may never give this up!

So I head off to one of our local volleyball gyms here in San Diego for the first time in ages last Wednesday (I even worked out that morning with strength workout A from strong lifts. Wasn't sore at all when I started playing that evening. Up to 175 lbs - which by the way is my current weight as we speak so I am at BW with my 5x5 lifts. I'm loving this workout!!). Anyway, same guys out there which was nice to see. Early on I felt I may have lost it some (I was so worried that I lost my jumping ability) obviously my hit trajectory was more to my unliking.
So I started warming up with some ball walling, some lunge stretching, torso twists and arm swings...and it was off to warm up where we just start doing some hit drills before our actual game started.
Pretty intense game...I was really having a blast and best of all - I truly believe I still got it.
I got home that night...and ate like a lion. But I also felt some soreness around my swinging arm (right shoulder) and yes, my knees again (I really think it's tendonitis). So it was some ice and Motrin and it was off to lala land. I swear...I must have tendonitis like you can't imagine!
So I get up the next day, and I feel like my entire torso got a pretty good workout too. I mean my whole torso was sore, from my mid section to my obliques. Only tells you one thing - I haven't challenged my body so hard in sometime.
So I haven't started week 4 yet of my program. It's been 5 days since my last workout...only because I felt beat up from volleyball the other day. But damn was it fun! Just have to remember to ice up everytime.
I feel recovered, so it's workout B tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ad Lib Off Day Routine

Conditioning workout today was 2 circuits sets of a Kettlebell circuit (35 lb KB,) 2 circuit sets of a barbell complex (bar only) and 3 sets of a core circuit. My finisher was a 1.5 mile jog (1st distance run in sometime. Don't know why I did it). And some foam rolling to top it off.

Nothing else today...strength workout tomorrow --- and the kids 1st day back to school to start 2010.

Good night! Gotta get up early...


Monday, January 11, 2010


"The worst days of those who enjoy what they do are better than the best days of those who don't." - Jim Rohn

Didn't feel like working out today...don't know for some reason, I wasn't 100% mentally. But I got up at about 8:30 am, put on my hoodie, walked in my garage and warmed up to some wicked tunes to get me up and going and it was on.

I knew coming in today's workout, I was walking into a heavier load range - 135 lbs. This is in fact my 3rd week and was a bit scared of the load as it involved OH presses.

Barbell Squats, you got to love leg work...I know I have appreciated squats more over time than any other exercise that I know of (other than deadlifts). My form is at it's best right now - squatting below the knees and all the way down and up. I think this exercise alone has actually made my knees even stronger believe it or not. Looking back, I think I doubted my own form on this movement in the past. What a revelation.

But it was on the overhead press where I kind of felt a bit intimidated starting off. I literally was staring at the bar in front of me with my hands securely wrapped around it - getting mentally ready of the task before me. I warmed up with just the bar before I started my true sets but on the first 2 sets I did only 2 sets of 3 reps because I felt like I would mess up form if I went any more. I honestly doubted my own strength here...underestimated it a little because it actually felt like a warm up! DOH! Honestly, I should have warmed up a little more before doing the actual sets and reps because on the last 3 sets I was able to explosively lift the weight at 5 reps each set (with rest periods of about 2-3 minutes between sets) - to finish it off. That's ok...I'll leave the OH presses at a half assed effort today. I'll remember next time. But 3 good sets out of 5 is pretty good in my book. Condsidering the loads are heavier, I'll just remember to have a more effective warm up set to get those muscles activated alot quicker than with just a bar. Lesson learned!

Again, train smart...and train safe. That's the mindset!

Deadlifted at 175 lbs at 1 set...that's my BWx1 as it is. So forward progress there as well!

Don't let time pass you by. Make the time...and reap the benefits!


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Week 2 Round Up

Off day conditioning routine yesterday…full body strength work this morning Week 3 (new week starts every Saturday as this works around my schedule to get a good workout in. One of my goals which I’m definitely adhering to): Workout A – in the wraps. Up to 125 lbs on the squats and bench presses. Inverted rows and push ups are to failure and I’m currently ranging around the 15-20 rep ranges each time. Linear progression I guess (although I wouldn't call it such right now as I'm doing some conditioning routines as well). Doing really good and really am learning a lot as I go along with this program. My goal is to get somewhere around 1.2 x my BW by the end of this program. That would be 5x5 lifting about 215 lbs on the bench, squats and oh presses. Very, very doable maybe can do better than that but will have to make some adjustments. Somewhere along these lines soon I’m going to have to drop conditioning work to maybe once a week now and focus strictly on strength training.

One thing I noticed after doing deadlifts at 135 lbs followed up with pull ups to failure – my lats, rear delts and traps again had that nice type of soreness. Plus my sleep is very much improved to months past which has been a plus for me. Not konking out mid day, not overtraining at all and the body is responding rather well.

Slow steady progression for the first 2 weeks so far. Weights are definitely going up each time. Definitely enjoyingthe “process” of this fairly new approach to training. BF now at 16.5% could be skewy but I did this 3x yesterday and I’ll take it. Not worried about weight scale numbers right now. If there’s any type of weight I want to gain is the load on the barbell and some muscle if anything that might come with this type of strength training program. Weight I want to lose: B O D Y F A T! Surpisingly my diet is at a cal surplus as I need it to sustain this program (approximately 2500 – 2700 cals/day) and I’m not gaining any inches around the waist at all. This is amazing.

Haven’t taken a 2 week progress pic yet. Should hopefully do that tomorrow. What I’m really impressed with is my form. All movements are done with good form – absolutely no cheating even on the bodyweight routines (something I’ve been able to do from time to time which isn’t good).

And best of all – my knees are healthy. Yup. I'll take that. And I'm not going to anything stupid to ^&*$ it up even more - anymore (well hopefully!). Smarter training is going to be the mindset!

Tomorrow is a complete day off. Nothing on schedule.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Off Day Routine: Core + Cardio Circuits

Slept like a log last night. I woke up this morning and felt pretty recovered from my glute and quad soreness. Yesterday's strength session may have helped. Hardly any muscle soreness today.

So this morning, ws planning on a bike ride but I changed my mind. So I got up and did some stretching, shoulder rotations and foam rolling. Didn't realize how tight my IT bands were though. The rolls surely did help some.

Loosened up...instead of a bike ride, I went and did this for an off day routine.

Core Circuit x 2
Blast strap Torso twists
Ab wheel roll outs
V ups
Prone bridges

Cardio Circuit x 1
5 minute blocks
a) Jump Rope
b) Heavy Bag
c) Treadmill run
d) Band Pulls

That was it. Happy Friday ya'll. Workout A tomorrow of the 5x5.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Morning Workout

Rise and shine...loads getting progressively heavier. After a nice dynamic warm up and a few warm ups at the squat station - it was on.

Took about a minute to 2 minutes to recover between sets. Good form all through out. Had the rack safety bars just below shoulder height for the overhead press.

6 am

Squats (Olympic style) 105x5x5
OH Press 105x5x5
Deadlift 135x1x5 overhand grip
Pull Ups 10, 8, 8 (3 sets done to failure)
Prone bridges with 3 x 30 sec hold

No intervals.

Looks easy? Give it a try. This whole routine with warm up took me 40 minutes to complete. Gave myself enough time before proceeding with the next strength set. All good form. Very basic, straightforward routine that hits your whole entire body.

Day off tomorrow...but may do some light jogging or a bike run around the neighborhood in the morning.

Lovin' it!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sprint Intervals

Got up this morning and did some sprint intervals. Back to back sessions...loved it.

Feeling my quads, chest and glutes soring up this morning. I'm really enjoying this 5x5 program by I'm glad I did some intervals this morning as it somehow really helped the soreness a little. After that it was a nice little cooldown and some stretching of sore muscles afterwards.

Tomorrow it's Workout B with squats, overhead presses and deadlifts. I can feel the weight is definitely getting up there.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My First Trip Back to the Commercial Gym for 2010

First time to take a trip to the commercial gym. Was expecting a huge crowd at exactly 9am...but that wasn't the case this am. Parking wasn't a hassle either...

So I walk in and I see guys doing one arm dumbell cleans, guys doing pull ups, some doing supersetting routines, some fit girls doing stab ball rotational exercises and a few doing planks. I mean the stab balls were all taken in the gym this morning. Not that I was planning on using any of them today - but the fact that I see more and more people resorting to free weight exercises versus machines I guess is a good thing.

One thing I saw was the ego lifters going half way down on a leg press machine with a good amount of weight on it. None of my business but I couldn't help watch their form. Was it right or wrong? I don't know, haven't done them in a while, but it sure didn't look right to me. It's those things that make you wonder I guess. Oh well.

And then you see the guys and the girls hanging out leisurely...guy A who appears to sweat coming down his forehead and the girl A with her little sippy cup of water chit chatting for minutes on end. Then you have guy b with girl b - helping out girl b with an exercise and a few giggles in there as well. Yep the meathouse mentality set in again for me once again.

It doesn't bother me - but geez man - take it Starbucks if all you want to do is mess around in a gym.

Anyway, here I am - in my gym observation mode this morning entering in...observing, watching as I start my own routine. I'm not one to train much at my commercial gym anymore unless I need a change of scenery...and I'm glad I did this morning. But I slowly realized the why's as to why I like to workout at home or at work vs commercial gyms.

Less drama.

Anyway, here's how my workout went this morning, loads getting up there ~

a) Strength
Squats 95x5x5
Bench Press 95x5x5
Inverted rows 15, 13, 12
Push ups 12, 12, 8
* skipped the core for later

b) Intervals

Treadmill Sprints for intervals for 8 cycles 45 s work/60 s recovery

c) Core Training (2 circuits)

Planks (yep, more planks)
ab wheel roll outs (using olympic bar and some plates)
side Planks
Reverse ab crunches

Less than 45 minutes was all it took for this routine. After that it was steam and a nice trip back home. Took a nice little power nap after 2 pm which helped. But my nutrition has been getting much better. I know so because the body just feels like it's in "cleansing" mode right now. I love it!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Psychological Benefits of load progression

So my workouts have been going good. Slow steady progress. Nutrition is getting better but not where I want it to be just yet. 2 days of cleaner eating, you'll be surprised how much water weight you can drop in just a few days. It's quite interesting but the fact is - BF doesn't lie to you!

Tomorrow it's workout A of the program with an 85 lb load on the squats as well as the bench. Starting lighter than normal was a change up, but I like this approach especially haven't done a pure strength program ever. Can't wait til I get up to the 100's - but I'm taking my time. The psychological benefits of starting with the bar truly helps. Mentally, it's like you're breaking records every single time...the weights are light but really develops mental fortitude as you get better. The mental development aspect of this program is really eye poppening.

I'll get there...

Loads have progressively gone up obviously. Not heavy enough for those hardcorers out there but just enough for me to get down proper form. You can really work it with these strong lifts. Everything from handling the bar, proper technique on the lift - really being aware of form here. I just know that once I reach 25 lbs plates on each side of the bar - the challenge gets even more challenging with the 5x5. For off days...I've been doing cardio circuits that are more metabolic demanding but don't want to let this interfere with my strength program. They really do compliment the 5x5 routine!

Anyway, I've split it to be a 6 day workout week for me. It will be strength training 3x/week. Everything else is supplementary to that - be it cardio circuits, power circuits, complexes, intervals for off days as well as stretching and foam rolling.

I just know in due time, intervals and circuits may need to be limited. Don't want to overdo things here. Right now - I definitely can benefit with added conditioning these next few weeks. By the end of week 4, I hope to have at least shed some fat here.

Yesterday was an interesting circuit for me:

5 rounds, 30 secs each exercise, 1 minute rest between each round:
Speed rope (I'm getting really good at this!)
Running High Knees with 5 lb db's
KB swings

After that it was 3 rounds of a core circuit:
Turkish get ups with KB
Seated KB Torso twists
Side Planks
Mountain climbers

Today is an off day.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Cheers to 2010

Where did 09 go? Are you ready for 2010? I'm ready.

Already anticipating this current program to get harder and harder. Bring it on. Although I do believe in some of what this system puts out there for the user - by doing, I'm quickly understanding. With some patience and understanding the body - I like my chances - but I know this program gets harder and harder.

But I still want to lose some unwanted holiday weight here so nutrition will play a big factor. Calories will be up but just enough to keep it going instead of flaming out by week 3. But I have to be very aware of the pitfalls that come with strength training. You got to eat...but with the understanding of what and why you're eating it.

So I cleared out our fridge of all that junk food (except for the kids of course). Will convert back to brown rice over white rice. Eat more whole foods over junk foods.

Now to my plan of attack to achieve these goals with the tools that I have at hand.

- #1 Plan of attack. Keep that nutrition nice and clean once again. I get into nutrition slumps by October it seems. So this year, will keep those bad diets to a minimum as best as I can. One thing I want to do is drop my bodyfat %. I feel so sluggish at 17.5% bodyfat. If I can get it down to 12% - I'm good to go here.

- #2 Progress Pictures. But one thing I will certainly do when I get the chance today - is to take an Official Day 1 Progress Picture (won't post here but hopefully will post with a before and after pic at or around the 12th week mark). I'm not a good measurer of bodyparts, but progress pics tell me a better picture for me, along with BF measurements from an electronic scale.

- #3 Weigh Weekly. This will be done every Friday. This weight I took today is so off as I had tons of food and drink in my system the night before as well as the morning of New Years. But that's skewed as it is...more motivation for me to do the right thing here on out. :)

- #4 Be accountable with pictures and posting my workouts here or through a forum of likeminds with similar goals. I will take weekly pictures again and see my body transform into one that's leaner but more stronger. I will take videos from time to time on my form on some workouts and critique every single aspect of each strong lift performed. Will incorporate conditioning routines as part of interval training too. Will not deny the benefits of high intensity interval training here - that is one tool I will never change.

- #5 Remember to keep the mindset of doing if for myself. I owe this to my body and no one else's.

- #6 Make the time as opposed to finding the time. The mid part of last year was a wake up call for me. Twins are in school now...double the efforts? HELL YEAH IT IS! So we've quickly learning that everything doesn't have to evolve around them - and me and my wife still have a life here (even with a 2 year old son right behind the 2older boys). Work, family..exercise - They must be coordinated and balanced to continue this on. I'm well aware of that and will tackle it head on.

- #7 Stay injury free. Hey, if I can't lift a weight and I know I can't - at least this program allows for deloading. So that I will do when I do feel like I'm not progressing in weights. WARM UPS, STRETCHING AND TONS OF FOAM ROLLING!!!