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Waldo

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  1. Like usual, Thursday was when the first hints of cutting came through. Friday's measurements were almost exactly the same as last week, with the exception that waist measurements were 1/8 to 1/4" smaller. Saturday I had big time squishy fat going on, but the scale was high, yesterday the scale dropped and stomach firmed up. Both yesterday and today I've been feeling leaner. So things are moving right along full speed. My snack avoiding motivation is super high. On the downside, my body is definitely starting to figure out that I need to eat something. The question is how long I go. During last Friday's workout it occurred to me that I've made quite a bit of front lever progress, I'm starting to work it twice as much as I'm waiting for my elbows to heal, and historically I make big gains on the front lever when cutting; it is becoming entirely within the sphere of feasibility that I hold a full layout front lever before I leave for the beach. I've been doing the one leg variant for while now for peak sets; I realized my continuous hold time was up near 15s and I should move on. Sure enough, I can hold it for a few seconds each side with one full leg the other knee at 90 degrees (same position as open tuck hold). There is only one more intermediate step, one leg full one bent at the knee, before full layout. I got slightly closer than I am now in early 2014 before I moved, but losing 3-4 lbs in the next 2 weeks (even if some is water weight) could cause a good jump. I had written off ever holding a full front lever, despite training it I didn't ever expect to make it to a full hold, its just a lat and ab exercise, but holy cow if I pull this off. I did try a full front lever on Friday and it was still a fairly uncontrolled negative, but firing the abs right is going to take some practice (and strengthening). Definitely not going to get a full layout without a bunch of negatives first.
  2. And I am back at it on the cutting train starting yesterday. No damages from the diet break, waist measurements are where they were when I started. I have a boss level scenario set up again like the end of the summer, I can overrun an extra week or two, but there is a terminus, the cut is a short and intense finale. I'm basically at where I was when I stopped cutting at the end of the summer; it didn't make much sense to reach peak leanness in October, ready to push on to the next level now. I'm sort of at that middle ground where I have both a bit of spare tire and somewhat all the time visible abs. Hopefully in the next 3 weeks the spare tire shrinks to nothing and the abs get sharper, and I can throw down a marker for future cutting goals; if not that sets up some wonderful spring goals. The scale is still surprisingly high, the peak during the diet break is 2 lbs lighter than the peak while bulking. 206 last night. Low during the last cutting round was 204.2. I don't have any scale goals, but I'd like to end up 200-202. Be nice to see 19X.X again once. Golfers elbow is still an issue, so I'm going to further modify and stop all bent arm pulling (pullups). Instead I'll just train front lever both upper body days until its gone. Its so frustrating how slow this is to heal. I haven't punched my heavy bag or done any weighted pullups in months. Workout-wise when I was bulking I followed the pattern 3-5-1-break-3-5-1-break. But I was also adding on 5x10 after the 531 workout so doing huge volume. Cutting I've followed the same pattern but dropped the break; this week is supposed to be a break week if doing single cycles but I'm doing a double (3-5-1-3-5-1-break). I also dropped the 5x10 work and have been strictly doing the 531 barbell work, with an extra peak set. I incremented the training max of all my 531 lifts 10 lbs this cycle. I started out at 80% of 1RM for a training max when I started bulking (I was less focused on strength than volume when bulking). Last cycle I brought all training maxes up to 5 lbs under my 1RM. Now I incremented all to 5 lbs over. The plan is to retest my 1RM's the final week before Christmas. Last week I hit 4's on my amrap final set on all lifts but OHP, where I hit 7, so a 10 lb increment to training max should be workable. I've made a ton of progress on OHP, I feel like I'm going to crush my 1RM when I retest. Its starting to get cold. My lungs don't like running in cold air, so when its under 50 I ride the spin bike instead; its been a couple weeks now since I last ran outside.
  3. I ended up raising cals yesterday even though the tape around the waist has been stubborn at 32.6", 1/8" up from my target. Technically that is where I was when I raised cals at the end of summer, I dropped another 1/8" early on raising cals. Even though that measure was the same, I checked a few others in the waist and all were showing 1/8-1/4" loss since more complete measurements last Fri, and some are smaller than they were when I started bulking. Either way I'm pretty confident I'm within 1/2 lb of fat mass of where I was when I started bulking. The cut hasn't been hard so I've questioned why I'm raising cals, but I know a break now sets up week #3 next round and I could cut into week #4, the end of that being the end of cutting until spring comes around. But I think I could pretty easily have kept going another week or two. But I expect to be ready to get back at it Monday.
  4. I'm supposed to be starting a diet break today, wrapping up a short cut to get me back to the waist measurement I was at when I started bulking, but I'm still 1/8" up so am going to give it (at least) another day. Cutting this round has moved slower than I've expected, I haven't been counting cals but I also haven't been excessively snacking, I should be losing at a pretty good clip. Last weekend we went to a party, drank quite a bit, that has messed with weight and measurements, even worked out of the system it seems to have delayed things cutting-wise. But it was fun, we all pooled our kids together with a sitter elsewhere; its been years since I was more than moderately drunk, and it was neat to learn that basically everyone we know (kids friends parents) hit the herb as well, I am by no means an outlier. Either way though I'm pretty much at my intermediate goal point, to get back to the same amount of body fat as I was at when I started bulking. This has been a weird cut in that I haven't paid that much attention to it physically in the mirror (not helping that its darn cold, too cold to be shirtless long), but when I do its been a pretty big change in a short time. Unflexed abs are right there, just peeking through. Scale has been up though, not sure what to make of it yet, where it settles, but it seems like I gained 6 lbs of lean mass. I do think that bulking made the fat deposits look a bit nicer at this waist. Can't see the abs as well, but less around the belly button and love handles; I think time evens out the stubborn deposits a bit. After this break I'm set to do another 2-3 week cut to get next level lean then its off to the beach.
  5. I did the last round of measurements for my bulk today. Instead of waiting until Monday to start cutting, I'm going to go ahead and just start now. I've been deloading this week, not lifting at all, hopefully to get rid of the golfers elbow that still is hanging on. Last week it started to outright hurt, which at least is a sign its healing. Feels a whole lot better, but then again it also did last deload, but it came back with a vengeance once I hit the weights again. At least with cutting, I'm going to drop out the extra volume and just do an extra set or two after the 5/3/1 block in my workouts, so that should help. I also incremented my training max (for 5/3/1 calcs) to just under my PR on all exercises, a decent jump from last round, changing to a strength focus for cutting. I dropped counting cals when traveling for work this past week, I don't think I'm going to bother again until after the holidays, I don't need to to cut. This bulk was the 8th one I've done. It was 10 weeks since I raised cals. Its actually shockingly similar to the 3rd bulk I did, back in 2013, both in results and what I was doing before I was bulking (long cut). I gained very similar amounts in almost every measurement between the two. I do consider that one one of the best I did, so I expect that this one too will look good in hindsight. Overall I was at it 10 weeks. Gained 9.2 lbs. Gained 3/4" in the waist. Works out to about 6 lbs lean mass, 3 lbs fat, a 2:1 ratio. My chest gained 1.1" flexed, 3/4" unflexed My upper arms gained 3/8" each flexed/unflexed My forearms gained around 1/4" each My upper legs gained around 1" each My quads gained around 1/2" each My calves gained 3/8" each I really notice it in the mirror in the chest. I'll lose some of it here when I cut, but a good chunk should persist. All n all pretty awesome results, especially now that I'm 9 years older and theoretically shouldn't be able to gain like the young 'uns (should be noted tho that only now am I returning to the max amount of muscle mass I previously had, its easier to regain than build the first time).
  6. Entering the final week of gaining here. I'm up almost 10 lbs total. Definitely feeling fat, I've noticably lost definition in the stomach. Measurements this week show I'm up 1/2" in the waist now, and gaining size at 1/8" per week. I'm very much ready to begin cutting mentally. That said, what a great week of measurements. I've gained about 7 lbs total this bulk, of that 5 of it is lean mass. Now I expect that 2-3 lbs of that is transient (stuff in guts, extra glycogen, etc...), but still I've definitely gained a couple pounds of muscle mass, which is borne out in measurements and workout performance. Just about everywhere gained this week, chest and upper legs saw big gains. It was an anti-whoosh, scale went up and muscles notably inflated. Within the last couple weeks I've gone from thinking the extra chest targeting isn't helping much and I'm barely gaining there, to maybe my measurements aren't capturing it because it looks and feels like I'm making chest gains (and I've gotten notably stronger), to there's no way the tape isn't going to jump, my chest looks and feels huge, and it did. I've always been a chest hard gainer (my good measurements have always been the product of my upper back), this past couple weeks has literally been the most noticeable change I've ever seen, by a lot. Ofc my quads are gaining at a good clip, but that happens every time I bulk. Something I realized looking at measurement data - My upper arms unflexed now are bigger than they were at the end (not beginning) of my first bulk when flexed. My chest relaxed is bigger now than it was fully flexed at the end of my 3rd bulk.
  7. Back to my battle thread from the previous challenge. I decided to sit this challenge out; I've gotten really bad at updating, if I had a goal that was it. I'm in the groove with workouts and diet. Currently gaining for another 2 weeks, then I'm going to start cutting for the beach at Christmas. Bulk started out slow but I've made gains the last few weeks. Looking forward to a wrap up post. Part of the reason I've gotten so bad at updating is the time that I used to do it I'm working out instead. 531+5x10, what I've been doing as a gaining workout plan, has been taking me about 90 min per workout. Hitting it hard.
  8. Challenge wrap up: Well I only had one goal and it was a huge all encompassing goal; stick to the plan. I did. I think the only thing I did poorly is to fail to keep my challenge thread updated. Unfortunately my planning wasn't perfect and I undershot what my calorie target should be and ended up spinning my wheels for muscle gain for much of the challenge. In the past I considered it confirmed that I needed to be >2900 calories net to gain; I reconfirmed it again this challenge. Its a good piece of information to know though, so it wasn't effort wasted. I started at 2800 net cals, and my body pretty much adapted by kicking up the neat. Workout wise went pretty awesome. It was the polar opposite of how I've worked out since 2016. This whole year I've been rediscovering non-minimal training, but doing a 531+5x10 program is waaaay more than I'd been doing previously; I went years doing 3-4-5 total sets per muscle group (incl ramp up sets). By the time I'm done with my upper body days this program, I'm 13 sets in per muscle group (only 11 on leg days). I've focused workout to workout progress in the 5x10 block and did make really good progress.
  9. Its been a while since I updated things here. Deload last week, and a trip to the mountains over the weekend happened. Back at is this week on Tuesday. I didn't count cals when traveling but I was waaay over. My mom always brings a ridiculous amount of cookies and other baked treats, and I went to town on them. Weight jumped a lot, it had been in the 200 area before I left, its been 204.0, 202.8, and 205.0 since I returned. I was able to kick start gaining. I did a set of measurements before I left last Thur and did a set this AM. The tape increased almost everywhere, especially the legs. Calves showed a notable jump. Quads are starting to act like bulking quads; always growing. Damages are a proud 1/8th in the waist; I gained more than half a pound of fat but less than a pound over the trip, which also means I'm up about 2.5 lbs of lean mass in the last week (most is likely water, but I'm confident real muscle gains are happening now, and there is a gaining anti-whoosh effect where gains happen in big chunks). I incremented my workout program for the next cycle; I added 10 lbs to my deadlift training max, and 5 lbs each to bench, front squat, and OHP (training max is used to calc the all the 531 loads). Next time I'm going to increment front squat 10 lbs. This week is the 3 rep week, next week is 5. I missed monday's deadlift workout this week. I had ordered some 70 lb DB's a long time ago when I found them silly cheap on Amazon and it let me place an order for something out of stock. Well they fulfilled it this week (and promptly raised prices on the new stock $70), so now I have a pair of 70's to use for bench volume.
  10. Deload week this week, I was really needing it. I slept in 2 hr later on Saturday than I have in a long time, late Sunday too. Started running out of gas toward the end of my workouts late last week. Good week for it, later this week we're meeting my mom and brother for a weekend at a cabin in the smokies. Measurements on Friday were a bunch of the same. I might have lost a hair on the waist. Muscles were pretty much the same as last week. I'm raising cals +100 more to 2900 net/day. Scale has recovered to the 202 area, but there hasn't been an upward trend of any sort for a while. I have noticed that NEAT has increased a lot. I'm just squirming in my seat all the time, shaking my leg, getting up to pace, I've started to really notice it. I was waaay over on cals yesterday (+700), the first time I've done that in a while. I just wanted to destroy a thing of ice cream. But I've been making an effort to be above 2800 every day and my average had risen >2800 net, even before yesterday. Lesson learned though, my metabolism is still where it was 5 years ago. I did see that there is some new research coming out that herb may raise your metabolism. Now that it can be researched 2 things are starting to really stand out in population studies; regular herb users have a lower BMI than the general population (counterintuitively for most) and long time users have a much lower incidence of alzheimers. The BMI difference is not though to be just mental (many find repetitive physical work more enjoyable, like exercise, esp moderate cardio), but also that there is a real physical mechanism, that the populations appear to show a higher average BMR. I am certainly not disproving this with my personal measurements, my metabolism is definitely running hot. And it isn't a coincidence that about 6 months after I got a regular supply I got serious about losing weight (again) and it stuck.
  11. Weight was still under 200 last night, 199.2. I really have no good explanation for why I dropped weight. Outlier low at the end of my cut was ~195, average was around 197. Since then I've been taking creatine and eating what is supposed to be a small surplus. I should and did have a strong effect from more glycogen and stuff in the guts. A check with the tape shows I may have lost the 1/8th I had gained around the waist. I've been tracking cals about as well as I ever have and making it a point to eat over 2800 net every day. I was going to wait until the end of this 531 cycle to reevaluate diet, but the data is pretty clear at this point that I need to further raise cals. Any loss in metabolism I experienced over the long cut, and I did think that it was lower than my historic 2700 value toward the end, is long gone. Metabolism is running as hot as it ever has right now. Friday's measurements should help shed some light as well, that's when I'll make a decision. Gaining does go in cycles like losing does, there are definite anti-whooshes, this could be related, but more likely its a sign that I need to bump the calories up. We'll see, if the tape is my friend this week i might keep at it. Going for a run later tonight Workout Log - 9.26.22 Heavy Bag - 10 min No gloves or hard punching. It'll be a while, I want the elbows to fully heal, and though they've been getting better since the bad flare up last time I hit the bag hard, it'll still be a while before its gone. Pistol Squat +15 medicine ball - 5/5 16" box - 5/5 +15 mb - 13+/13+ Added to the amrap set. Despite the lack of scale progress I am seeing good gym progress. Deadlift 155 x 5 175 x 5 210 x 3 265 x 5 300 x 3 335 x 4+ Used straps for the 335 set, hook grip for the 300 set, DOH for all others. Belted 300+ Romanian Deadlift 205 - 10-, 10-, 10+ Added 10 lbs as 195 was getting easy. Workout Log - 9.27.22 Wall Slides - 10 Bench Press 85 x 5 110 x 5 130 x 3 160 x 5 185 x 3 205 x 4+ DB Bench Press 60 x 10-, 10-, 10-, 10-, 12+ Its crazy how quickly these are getting easier. Needing a pair of 70's doesn't seem like its that far off. Ring Front Lever Tuck Hold - 15 Open Tuck Hold - 15 One Leg Hold - 5+5+5, 5+5, 5+5 Got a 3rd rep on that first one leg set Dip Bar Tuck Front Lever Rows - 7-, 7-, 7+, 7+, 7+ Front Raise - 15 - 10, 14 Lateral Raise - 8 - 10 Bent Over Raise - 12 - 10 Hammer Curl - 35 - 10/10 Shoulder External Rotations - 12 - 10/10 Got sucked into my phone and lost the drive to do that last set of these. Muscles were quite fried at that point.
  12. These last couple days my weight has cratered, I was down to 198.0 last night. This despite making an effort to err too high on cals each day and bumping up my protein intake. Nothing quite like your weight going down when making a serious effort to make it go up. It has been hard though to get in the cals each day. I'm just not hungry at typical snack times lately. Have had to resort to eating a big chunk of ice cream before bed, though I'm not really complaining, I used to always sit down with a pail each night. I'll update my workouts tomorrow, but this is the 1 week for 531 so the intensity is cranked up.
  13. This week's measurement check in showed almost no movement. All waist measurements are identical, if anything they may have shrunk a smidge. Upper torso (chest/shoulders) and upper legs gained a small amount. Arms are identical. All in all a small movement in a positive direction, a recomp effect that is just barely detectable. My weight trendline is rising but it has slowed to a crawl, gaining rate might be as low as 1 lb/mo. Diet average in the last week is 2751 net cals/day (low), 3364 avg intake and 613 exercise. My protein intake is on the low side and could use an increase, averaging 120 g/day in the last week. At the end of this 531 cycle (2 weeks from now) I'll reevaluate my diet setpoint. Not enough data yet, but I'm getting there. Getting to 2800 net has been a bit of a struggle some days. Workout Log - 9.21.22 Run 2.9 mi in 33:08, 11:27 avg, 151 bpm avg, 176 bpm max Starting to cool down finally. Fall is the best season for running. Workout Log - 9.22.22 Heavy Bag - 10 min Only light hand contact, mostly kicking. Wasn't terribly into it. Pistol Squat - +15 medicine ball - 5/5 Front Squat 80 - 5 100 - 5 120 - 3 130 - 5 150 - 6 170 - 6 160 - 5, 5 Added a rep to the 150/170 sets to make some sort of progress vs last week. DB Box Pistol +30 - 6/6, 6/6, 6-/6- Added a rep to the first 2 sets. Goal is to work up to 10 reps before raising weight. Workout Log - 9.23.22 Wall Slides - 10 Overhead Press (Kneeling) 50 - 5 60 - 5 75 - 3 80 - 5 90 - 5 100 - 5 Seated DB Overhead Press 50 - 10-, 10+ Was hoping to add reps to the 2nd set, definitely had another in the tank the first set. 45 degree Incline Bench Press 50 - 12+, 12-, 13+ Like DB bench on Tue, it definitely got easier. Were I cutting by that point my muscles would be jello. Pullups Chin Over - 5 Chest 2 Bar - 3, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 5, 5 I only had 2 sets of 6 in me last week before dropping back to 5. Started fading pretty hard near the end, didn't have any of the strong reps that earlier sets start with. Hammer Curl - 35 - 10/10, 10/10 Wrist/Finger Curl - 35 - 8/8, 8/8 Reverse Wrist Curl - 12 - 10/10, 14/14 Time to add weight to the reverse curls Also did 2x 10 reps of wrist rotations using a broom both seated and standing
  14. Its been a bit since I checked in, I keep meaning to. Last night the darn power went out right as I was getting to it. I'm still getting strong doms from each workout, this volume is relentless. Hopefully measurements tomorrow show some movement. I'm definitely getting stronger, and feel like I'm getting stronger quickly. Calorie logging has been pretty much perfect. Sometimes I struggle with the why, but I'd really like a good calc of what MFP should be set to to maintain, and that takes time and completeness. I've been running in the 2700-2800 area almost every day, outliers are higher. Elbows have improved a lot since late last week. Knowing how bad rocking the bag caused it to return, I'm guessing that's the main culprit, so I avoided any bag punching this week. Workout Log - 9.19.22 Heavy Bag - 15 min No punching Pistol Squat +15 medicine ball - 8/8 16" box jump - 6/6 +15 mb - 12+/12+ Fell on one of the earlier left reps on box jumps. Added a rep to the amrap set. Deadlift 155 - 5 175 - 5 210 - 3 230 - 5 265 - 5 300 - 5 Had to change to switch grip for the last rep at 300. Romanian Deadlift 195 - 10-, 10-, 12+ Workout Log - 9.20.22 Wall Slides - 10 Bench Press 85 - 5 110 - 5 130 - 5 140 - 5 160 - 5 180 - 5- DB Bench Press 60 - 10+, 10+, 10-. 10-. 10+ These actually got easier until the last set, when my arms were pretty much toast. Able to use leg drive Ring Front Lever Tuck Hold - 15 Open Tuck Hold - 15 One Leg - 5+5, 6+6, 6+6 Tuck Front Lever Rows - 8+, 6+, 6+, 6+, 6+ The TFLR's were done on my dip bars, not rings. I don't have to deal with the swing then, but my arms are wider so I can't do as many. Hammer Curl - 35 - 9/9, 9/9 Front Raise - 15 - 10, 10 Lateral Raise - 8 - 10, 12 Bent Over Raise - 12 - 10, 12 Seated External Rotations - 12 - 8/8, 9/9
  15. Well today's measurements freaked me out at first, but after going back through old data, I see this is totally normal. I shrank a little bit vs last week. And am a hair lighter. Most muscle measurements are exactly the same, but a few that made a big jump last week lost a bit. Importing my calorie data I see that I actually have been under calories quite a bit. Still over 2500 and usually in the 2700 range, but 2800 hasn't happened much in the past week. Two missed days of workouts and creatine this week probably contributed. Funny, I remember now I had a check I used to do measurement days to see if it was going to suck or be great when bulking; my wrists. Simple measurement to make, and mine change with overall "bloat" (not the right word, its more like glycogen fill, but creatine should be a contributor). Big wrists, like last week, big measurements. Skinny wrists, like this week, lose a bit. Used to be the first measurement I'd make, to get the disappointment out of the way right away. Weight was 200.6 last night, lightest I've been in a couple weeks. All waist fat measurements were identical to last week. Its going to be hard to resist the temptation to raise cals more if the tape doesn't move. That's what happened in the past when I tried to start lower. But, no bulk did I really gain much size in the first 4-6 weeks outside of that initial burst when cals are raised. I guess I'm going to try to play the older and wiser card and keep at it with the smaller surplus for a lot longer this time. It isn't like any bad is going to come of it. Workout Log - 9.14.22 Run 2.34 mi in 26:00, 11:04 avg I was sore/tired from the walkabout in DC the night before, and then traveling through airports lugging my bag. Short run was good enough. Workout Log - 9.15.22 Heavy Bag - 15 min 10 minutes without gloves, 5 minutes with. I struck it hard with gloves, I wanted to see how the elbows responded (horribly). Pistol Squat +15 medicine ball - 8/8 Front Squat 80 - 5 100 - 5 120 - 3 130 - 5 150 - 5 170 - 5 160 - 5, 5 DB Box Pistol Squat +30 - 5/5, 5/5, 7/7 This is where I'm going to be looking for workout to workout progress, getting those rep numbers up, I don't want to use lighter weights. Workout Log - 9.16.22 Wall Slides - 10 reps Kneeling Overhead Press 50 - 5 60 - 5 75 - 3 80 - 5 90 - 5 100 - 6 That last set felt pretty easy, I probably could have done 8 reps. Seated DB Overhead Press 50 - 10, 10 45 Degree DB Incline Bench 50 - 11, 11, 12 Pretty good progress on these. Form is improving, adding reps. Pullup Chin over bar - 5 Chest to bar - 3, 6, 6, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5 Looking for progress here, adding reps. Dropped the chin over bar sets at the end in favor of more chest to bar sets. Hammer Curl - 35 - 10/10, 11/11 Wrist Curl - 35 - 8/8, 8/8 Reverse Wrist Curl - 12 - 10/10, 12/12 Wrist Rotations - Broom - 10/10, 10/10 Verdict from last nights workout is that the bag was awful for my elbows, took a step backwards. I can go for a bit without any upper body striking. I have pretty strong doms in the legs as well.
  16. I meant to post this before I had to travel, but better late than never. 9/11/22 was my 11 year fitaversary, here is my weight chart since (I didn't start actually writing down my weight until I was in the 240's, this graph should go into the post above, I started in the low 260's). When on the train I try to weigh daily and calculate the average. I made a similar graphic a month ago when I had covid, but I wanted to update it for my fitaversary and intend to do yearly from now on. Marked in blue is my ultimate goal, that I've been working toward since I finished losing weight in 2012, being happy with my abs (generic 10% body fat) at 205 lbs. I took a goal hiatus 2016-2021 by convincing myself that I achieved it, thus merely had to maintain, even though that was far from reality. The green band bound by red is the hackers diet control band, a keeping it off concept, I should always be within that band and when not immediately take steps to return. Failed hard on that for a few years, starting right before the gov't shutdown. That for me was basically a pandemic dry run, so by the time covid came around a lot of my habits had already shifted to something that would work in covid time. I gained from around 220 to 235 between when I stopped going to the work gym and the shutdown ended, it took 2 and a half years to recover. The grey areas are the 3 different strength training phases I've gone through, with the home gym shifting color toward the end indicating a pretty drastic change to the gym (added greatly to it). This past year, year 11, was one of my best years overall. I did have a gap in the fall where I fell off the weight loss wagon, but my fitness held. I did have an injury I was working around (herniated disc) that severely limited strength work, I was still recovering from in the fall. Over the holidays I really mustered the strength to hit the hyperdrive and get back into a really effective fitness groove and finish losing the fat. By the end of year 11 I was almost as lean as I'd ever been, only in 2017 was I leaner. Muscle mass has recovered now close to previous peaks. Year 10 though is where I started to refind the groove (getting vaccinated and imminent office return was the trigger) but the fact that I was coming up on my 10 year fitaversary was also on my mind and had fallen pretty far from the wagon. By 9/11/21 I did manage to get back to the control band; declaring mission accomplished for that goal was one of the big reasons things went sideways in the fall though. I feel like right now mentally I'm in the same place I was when I moved in 2014, like I got a do-over for that moment. I've spent a lot of time this year reflecting, reading old logs, looking at old data, remembering things forgotten, trying to understand where things went wrong. What went wrong wasn't just one or two things, but a whole lot of individual things. But in general there were two big contributing factors: - Moving in 2014. Don't get me wrong, I love my new house, but it was a pretty significant downgrade for at home bodyweight workouts, which is what I had been doing for strength work. Hence why the work gym "fixed" the problem. Until it didn't anymore, because it was a perpetual scheduling problem, causing lots of skips, thus prompting the home gym to "fix" the problem. Home gym solved the skipping issue, but it was a big step down from the work gym and lacking, until this year when I plugged all the holes. The quality of my workouts and workout program has returned to pre-moving levels now, but it took a long time to get here. - Declaring mission accomplished in 2016. At that point I decided I had enough muscle and was spending too much time strength training, so I changed to a pared back minimal workout plan to maintain my previous gains and hopefully stay injury-free. This became almost like a computer virus in my workout programming; even when I started breaking free of the mindset I couldn't, it infected my workout programming and overall effort so much. Its almost like I forgot how to strength train, only selectively remembering a sliver. The conscious decision to pare back to minimal workouts became very unconsciously maintained and a box I couldn't step out of. I wasn't until I decided that I wanted to build up more muscle mass that I clearly saw the problem; training minimalism that was derived from and strengthened by the idea that I had enough muscle mass. When I decided I didn't have enough muscle mass, that's when I started to remember how to train and rediscovered the motivation to train hard. I'd like for next year to be a lot like year 3. It is starting from a similar point, the end of a long cut. Bulking in the fall, winter, and spring. At body fat low points at Christmas and mid-May. Going to try to apply lessons learned from now, with a smaller surplus, to next summer, spend the summer maintaining body fat levels.
  17. A little bit of both. I mean the trip does give a time bound, but even without it I probably would be doing something very similar. I do have a lot of historical data though: This will be my 8th tracked bulk, I did another in 2015 that I didn't track (between #6 and #7). #5 had a lot of issues, including drastically changing the way I did a lot of measurements, which messed up the lbm calc, but really I didn't gain any muscle mass of note that round (gaining is a bit like losing in that you reverse whoosh, its like muscle is slowly built over time, and then inflated somewhat quickly, it just crossed over from one bulk to the next that time). 7-8 weeks allows for a relatively high frequency bulk-cut, so much so that its unlikely your spouse would notice the fat change. At my typical gain rate in that time I'll gain 1/2"-3/4" in the waist; a typical 2 week cut I lose 3/4" in the waist. The idea with those timings is to be reducing body fat level with each cycle, even if only 0.5% bf. It adds up. #3-#6 were basically continuous, just short cuts in-between, I was notably leaner by the end though; #3 started with me at 158.6 lbs lbm and 28.7 lbs fm, the short cut after #6 (basically a year later) finished with me at 174.0 lbs lbm and 26.1 lbs fm. I usually bulk at a target of 3K calories net. #3 included a ramp up period that was a little lower and it seemed to be some really clean gains. This time I'm keeping the calories lower (2800 net) to try to emulate it, see if I can't gain a little cleaner, even though I've not had issues with excessive fat gain.
  18. I've been traveling for work again these last few days, to Washington DC. I was able to log my food and exercise, but its nowhere near as accurate as usual. I stayed in the area of maintenance (2513, 2465 net cals), backed off from surplus, since I didn't train at all. I intended to on Tue; get in some DB bench at least at the hotel, but it was a nice evening so I went on walkabout for about 2 hours, starting by the Lincoln memorial. I walked about 4 miles total. I did manage to mostly avoid alcohol, only getting a single beer each night with my dinner (hard to avoid that one when eating at the bar). Now that I'm home I'll do the regularly scheduled workouts remaining this week, then repeat this week next week. This is the 5 week in the 351 sequence.
  19. I decided to go full go on tonight's workout with pulling exercises, see how the elbows respond. The curling test I did on Tue went good. I'm still modifying the forms to avoid all hands facing me pulling and staying unloaded, but that's fine, no impact to overall progress. Workout Log - 9.9.22 Overhead Press (Kneeling) 50 - 5 60 - 5 75 - 3 85 - 3 95 - 3 110 - 3 That 110 set was pretty easy. All this weight changing is definitely going to take some getting used to. Seated DB Overhead Press 50 - 10, 10 I'm strict about no arching form on these, that's what incline bench is for. 45 degree Incline DB Bench Press 50 - 10, 10, 10 I'm still working through these feeling awkward, it gets better notably though between the first and last set. Lots of form cues that I miss that first set. Pullup Chin over Bar - 5, 5 Chest to Bar - 5, 5, 5, 5, 5 Chin over Bar - 10, 10, 10 Wasn't sure how to deal with those early 531 sets that are super easy (these are done together, but not a true superset, I give it a minute), so I did 2 warmup chin over bar sets. The 3 sets of chin over bars at the end were notably rougher on the elbows/forearms than the chest to bar pulls. I'm going to add reps to the chest to bar sets, I wanted to see how the dropoff went over 5 sets. Chest to bar pulls have positive bar contact, usually right in the middle of my chest. It took me a while to master the form back in the day, pulling with an open elbow, but its like riding a bike to get back in that groove. Chest to bar pulls "feel" right (unlike db incline bench). DB Hammer Curl 35 - 10/10, 10/10 DB Wrist Curl + Finger Roll 35 - 10/10, 9/9 DB Reverse Wrist Curl 12 - 10/10, 10/10 Wrist Rotations Broom - 10/10, 10/10 DB forearm and bicep series should be rehab for the elbows. The hammer curls don't irritate the elbows at all. Broom is way easier on the left side than right, hits the soreness causing the elbow issue directly. I figured out that if I lead with my pinky fingers my left side doesn't crack each rep on the reverse wrist curls.
  20. Raising cals this week has been very noticeable. The scale shot up a few pounds, into the 202 area the last few days. If I look at my weight chart for the year, I had a 5 lb avg, 7 lbs gross hi/low shift up when I raised cals for the longer 3 week diet break I did in Feb, before the gain stopped. That's where I am with this raise from the low point of the cut. The 2 week period at 2700 clearly was very close to maintenance, it took my body much longer than a typical diet break (where I definitely eat a surplus) to start producing leptin, and glycogen refill was only partial even after 2 weeks. I didn't feel like I was in a surplus, either working out or when eating, and recovery seemed if anything subpar. Measurements stalled out and reversed a little the 2nd week at 2700. That's not what happened this week, just 100 more cals, taking me soundly into surplus, has gone totally different. I have that surplus energy; hard to sit still. Feeling full, no interest in snacking outside of meal times. I'm waking up feeling much more physically refreshed. Despite the increased volume in workouts this week, I haven't been dragging at all by the end. Measurements this week showed the jump in weight. My waist gained 1/8". Took 3 weeks for the transient 1/8" to appear. Almost always raising cals causes it (and vice versa), stuff in the guts and whatnot. Actual measurable fat gain is still hopefully a ways away. My arms didn't gain anything this week. Makes sense, given I've basically done no exercises with high load in the biceps in the last 2 weeks due to the elbows. Shoulders and chest gained a little, every leg measurement increased, some strongly. Workout Log - 9.7.22 Run 2.9 miles in 35:49, 12:20/mi, 146 bpm avg, 170 bpm peak Lol, I was super slow. Didn't tryhard the run, but my hr was pretty high. Workout Log - 9.8.22 Heavy Bag - 15 min 10 minutes without gloves, 5 minutes with. Did not hit it very hard. When the golfers elbow is gone my bag is due a good ass kicking. Front Squat 80 - 5 100 - 5 120 - 3 140 - 3 160 - 3 180 - 3 160 - 5, 5 Mod from the typical 531 bbb here; Wendler (and many other coaches) don't like front squats higher than 5 reps as holding the bar becomes a problem. I did 5 reps at 160 instead of 10 at 140. Loaded Box Pistol +30 - 5/5, 5/5, 5/5 I feel these way more in the hams than any other form of pistol. First few reps are more touch n go, last couple I sit for a split second.
  21. I'm still dealing with some pretty painful at times golfers elbow. A result of doing too many weighted chinups. There are other contributing factors, but that was the primary trigger. I've been making some modifications to my workouts to work around the elbows until things calm down. Definitely headed in the right direction. Workout Log - 9.5.22 Kicking and stretching - 10 min Free form workout, I didn't put up the heavy bag as its high stress on the elbows. Pistol Squat +15 medicine ball - 5/5 16" box - 6/6 +15 mb - 11/11 I didn't push too hard on the amrap medicine ball set. Deadlift 155 - 5 175 - 5 210 - 3 245 - 3 280 - 3 315 - 3 Used a belt for the last 2 sets, straps for the last set. All others were doh. I'm following the 351 format. Romanian Deadlift 195 x 3 x 10 First time doing multiple sets of these after deadlifts. The doms are legit. Workout Log - 9.6.22 Bench Press 85 - 5 110 - 5 130 - 3 150 - 3 170 - 3 195 - 3 DB Bench Press 50 x 5 x 10 Next week I might start at 60. I get a great chest pump from these though, really feel my pecs working like no other exercise. Ring Front Lever Tuck Hold - 15 sec Open Tuck Hold - 15, 15 sec One Leg Hold - 5+5, 5+5, 5+5 sec Tuck Row - 8, 8, 8, 8 The one leg holds are done one leg for 5 sec, pull up inverted, drop into a 5 sec hold on the other leg. I'm going to switch the tuck rows to my dip bars. The swing gets really annoying on rings above about 6-7 reps, it occurred to me earlier today that I could switch to the dip bars and not have to worry about that. Since I stopped doing dips on Fridays a couple months ago, I haven't had a use for the dip bars, so it'll be nice to start using them for something again. Hammer Curl - 35 - 10/10 Front Raise - 15 - 10 Lateral Raise - 8 - 10 Bent Over Raise - 12 - 10 External Rotation - 12 - 8/8 Curl was a test set, wanted to see how the elbows respond, hammer grip definitely irritates the least. Usually I'd do 2 sets of the shoulder series, but I was pretty fried, this is a good bit more volume than I'm used to.
  22. Last challenge I reached the fat loss goals I had set for myself, ending a long, long physical cycle where fat loss was the goal; which I started circa spring 2019, finally got serious about in spring 2021. I can see my abs, somewhat. With the summer drawing to a close, there isn't much point in getting leaner. Last challenge my challenge was in many ways to figure out what to do, where to go from there. I want to get back to chasing muscle gains, something I haven't done in many years. I have some unfinished business, I never did reach the ultimate physical goal I had set for myself (abs at 205 lb), even though I convinced myself that I did back in 2016, and since then I've shrunk a bit (a lot, but I've reagained much of my muscle mass this year). Plus I'm getting to the age where its now or never (tho trt for old guys seems to be all the rage nowadays). Here is my upcoming diet plan: 9/5 - 11/6: calorie surplus (9 weeks) 11/7 - 11/20: cut (2 weeks) 11/21 - 11/27: diet break (1 week) 11/28 - 12/11: cut (2 weeks) 12/12 - 12/23: maintain and recover (1.5 weeks) 12/24: beach My plan for the surplus is to start at 2800 net calories, somewhere between 100 and 300 calories of surplus, and see what happens over time. I will not be eating all the things. I have a lot of old history gaining at 3000 calories, not so much at 2800. I picked back up really detailed muscle measurements a few months ago, that's key to keep track of how the surplus is going. I also am counting cals like a hawk, and with full calorie accounting I'm running a live resting TDEE calc, its still a little early to get great data, but it seems to be around 2500-2700 where I expect it. I started taking creatine a few weeks ago, I should be getting pretty close to full effect For workouts my plan is 5/3/1 + 5x10. I post pretty detailed workout logs. A goal last challenge was to modify my workout plan to one more appropriate for a calorie surplus. Last challenge really set me up for success, this challenge its time to cash in all my hard work and double down on it. Muscle gains are really, really hard. You cant have too much fat or its inefficient. Without workout volume you plateau. Surplus needs consistency. Most important though, its easy to get complacent or question yourself. 2 of the last 3 times I tried to gain muscle mass, I stopped caring about my diet and fell off the wagon mid bulk. Goals: Goal #1 - Stick to the Plan I'm counting calories with the accuracy to calculate resting TDEE. I am running the 531 plan as written, with only minor tweaks to accessories to work around sore spots. I weigh every day. I measure muscles once a week. That's it. The goal includes everything, everything I've built up to, all the planning I've done. This should be the fun part. Gym progress should notably pick up, I've been stalled out a while on many exercises. Watching measurements start to regularly gain will be nice, instead of hoping they didn't shrink too bad. But I need to stick to the plan and land the plane eventualy too. Once the Halloween candy is gone, its time to start cutting for the beach so I have time to get a bit leaner than I am now.
  23. Back from the most recent challenge I'm going to get a thread going in the next challenge, but figured the log was due an update. I stopped cutting during the last challenge and have been at maintenance for the last 2 weeks. Well maintenance+, I think my maintenance is 2500-2600. Historically it was around 2700. I've been at 2700 calories, and counting cals like a hawk to be sure. This week I'm raising to 2800 cals and plan to leave it there a while. Weight had a low point around 196. I've been just over 200 the last couple days, scale average is stabilizing in the 199 area. Tape around the waist hasn't moved at all. I planned out both my diet schedule and strength workouts for the rest of the year last challenge. Diet Plan Today - 11/6: calorie surplus (9 weeks) 11/7 - 11/20: cut (2 weeks) 11/21 - 11/27: diet break (1 week) 11/28 - 12/11: cut (2 weeks) 12/12 - 12/23: maintain and recover (1.5 weeks) 12/24: beach Workout Plan Pretty much 5/3/1 with 5x10 add on accessories. Monday Heavy Bag Pistols Medicine Ball Pistol (1@amrap) Plyo Pistol (1@ amrap) Deadlift (5/3/1) RDL (3x10) Tuesday Bench (5/3/1) DB Bench (5x10) Ring Front Lever Isometric Hold (3x) Lever Rows (3x) Bicep Curl (3x10) DB Shoulder Raises and External Rotations (2x10) Thursday Heavy Bag Front Squat (5/3/1) Front Squat (2x5) DB Box Pistol (3x10) Friday Kneeling OHP (5/3/1) Seated DB OHP (2x10) 45 Incline DB Bench (3x10) Pullups (lots) Chest to Bar Weighted Pyramid DB Bicep Curl (2x10) Wrist Circuit DB Wrist/Finger Curls (2x10) DB Reverse Wrist Curls (2x10) Broomstick wrist rotations (2x10)
  24. For a challenge wrap-up, I pretty much knocked it out of the park. My first goal, to count cals once raising to maintenance, went perfectly. This goal pushed me to try hard at first, get it going, now I want to count cals to hit that sweet spot where muscle is gained most efficient. My wife hasn't said anything, but she has to be confused; I stopped losing, which I had been doing for a really long time, and started counting cals, lol. I don't think I missed a single calorie. My 2nd goal, to adjust my workout plan for the increased cals, went if anything even more awesome than the first goal. I studied, I tweaked things, I decided on a plan to follow, tested my maxes for calcs. At the end of the challenge I have a finished plan ready to carry me to the end of the year; a variation on 5/3/1 BBB where the standard 5/3/1 sets are followed with 5x10 accessories or back off sets. My 3rd goal, to do cardio, went good. I didn't skip at all; keeping up the regular dog walking and wed/sat running or spinning. The only night I missed was when I was traveling for work; I wasn't feelin the elliptical at the hotel and didn't bring running shoes.
  25. Thanks. Work travel has derailed me so many times, whether dieting or training program. Nice to get a pretty good win. Not hurting that it was in Massachusetts, with legal rec dispensaries, so I was able to grab a vape cartridge and almost completely avoid alcohol the whole trip. That's what usually gets me, a bar downstairs that's a stumble to the elevator away from my room. I have way too much history with that; I started my career in 100% travel status for the first 6 years (on-site engineer, I followed the construction), I kept an apartment that I returned to weekly/biweekly on the weekends to stay sane, but otherwise lived in hotels so spent much of my free time in hotel bars. Alcohol never got the best of me like it has so many others, but its why I ended up at 265 lbs not even 10 years after being around 155 lbs at graduation. Scale was back up to 199.2 yesterday. I think 199 is where my body wants to be with the raised cals. While traveling the last hints of low leptin effects disappeared, I felt out of place hunger once at the hotel the first day, haven't felt it since. I had a pretty good surplus on Wednesday, that's what did it. If anything I proved to myself pretty conclusively that I'm close enough to maintenance at 2700 cals net to not be refilling energy stores to full status, and that a powerful jolt well into surplus gets there quickly. During diet breaks usually the effects would be gone within 3-4 days of surplus, whereas it lingered much longer raising just to maintenance (though the effects were much weaker after a few days). Next week I think I'm going to raise cals to 2800, then just leave it there for a while to see how things go. It'll be a surplus, but a small one, no more than 200-300 cals, more likely 100-200. I'm going to try to chase the elusive super clean gains. I think the trick comes down to diet, keeping it pretty tight on cals and avoiding large outlier days. When I was traveling I was able to check off the two bucket list things I wanted to do/see, which were both basically the same place. I wanted to see the bay where the Arabella, flagship of the Winthrop fleet, landed in 1630 (the later ships in the fleet landed south in what is now Boston harbor), that's where the earliest known ancestor of mine set foot in N/A. It landed in the small harbor that is now Salem. And via a completely different branch my family was involved in the Witch trials, as both accused and accusers (most accused became accusers, its one of the things that sustained it). At the museum they had special packets for some decendents (unfortunately my link was not included), but they also had special mugs for descendants, and the owner directed me to a book that was a very deep look at the later Andover part of the witch trials which is where my family fit in. I learned that my 12x grandfather is considered an accuser, albeit breifly, after his wife, sister in law, daughters (3), and step-daughter were accused. One of the footnotes in the book about by 11x grandmother states "It is highly unlikely that any witchcraft suspect from 1692 had more varied connections to other suspects than Sarah Bridges had." Then it laid out all 15 different connections, and my genealogist brain completely exploded. Next on my bucket list is New York. My male line came to N/A in 1654, to New Amsterdam. Was a rather important person back toward the end of the Dutch colony, right hand man to Gov Stuvencent. Used to have Wall st property and Harlem property. There are still some traces of New Amsterdam left to see. I've never been to New York at all, but when I do go that's what I want to see first. New York is one of my sites (Boston, NY, DC), so I'll be traveling there regularly as well now that travel is picking up. Workout Log - 9.2.22 New safety straps arrived, wow, they are so much better than bars, allow for deeper bench rom, its way less distracting to hit them, and they don't damage the bar knurling. I was able to set my old bars high/low as flag grips, and it works! I was able to do a tuck rotation. Bench Press 45 x 10 135 x 5 185 x 3- 205 x 2- 225 x 1- 230 x 1- 235 x 1+ 240 x F, F I thought 240 was going to go up, couldn't get it out of the hole, felt strong going down though. Felt I was too low on the first attempt and too high on the 2nd. Ah well, either way, I got 235 up, which is a PR, I've never had more than 225 on the bar when benching. Front Squat 45 x 10 135 x 5 185 x 3- 205 x 1- 210 x 1- 215 x 1- 220 x 1+ 225 x 1+ 230 x F Whereas on the bench I felt sooo close, not so much squatting. 230 wasn't happening. Well above what I've been lifting lately (205 working weight), but at one time 225 was my working weight. All n all this week I was able to test my 1RM on the 4 barbell exercises I do and have been able to work out the calculations for the first 5/3/1 cycle; I'll get 3 full cycles before my end of year trip to the beach, and will retest my maxes at that time. For the most part 5/3/1 barbell exercises are going to be a short part of my workout, the 5x10 BBB block will be where I make a lot of hay converting surplus into muscle mass. The strength workout plan I've settled on: Monday Heavy Bag Pistols Medicine Ball Pistol (1@amrap) Plyo Pistol (1@ amrap) Deadlift (5/3/1) RDL (3x10) Tuesday Bench (5/3/1) DB Bench (5x10) Ring Front Lever Isometric Hold (3x) Lever Rows (3x) Bicep Curl (3x10) DB Shoulder Raises and External Rotations (2x10) Thursday Heavy Bag Front Squat (5/3/1) Front Squat (2x5) DB Box Pistol (3x10) Friday Kneeling OHP (5/3/1) Seated DB OHP (2x10) 45 Incline DB Bench (3x10) Pullups (lots) Chest to Bar Weighted Pyramid DB Bicep Curl (2x10) Wrist Circuit DB Wrist/Finger Curls (2x10) DB Reverse Wrist Curls (2x10) Broomstick wrist rotations (2x10)
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