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Everything posted by Waldo

  1. My latest mental innovation has been using it as a threat. As in "if you want to eat those snacks, you'll have to first know where you're at in myfitnesspal for today to see if you have space." Helps to up the motivation to stay out of the cupboards.
  2. Nice, I'm glad I was able to inspire you. My logs read as one sided, but my wife plays a big role as well. We both work out regularly. She has her own journey that looks a lot like mine, delayed by about a year behind each major point. She lost a ton just like I did, but starting in 2012, not 2011. If there is one big difference between 2021 and 2022 for me, its the intensity of exercise. I definitely inspired her to up her game in the gym after losing weight earlier last year. She asked for an EZ curl bar for her birthday, which was the kick start of the latest round of gym building (that still continues unabated, lol) which is the trigger for greatly improving my strength workouts. As much as working out has a gravity that pulls in diet eventually, it also pulls in your spouse. My journey has very much been a team effort with her (even though we don't actually work out together at all). My brother has been doing the see all the national parks bucket list task for years now. We're headed to great smoky mountains with him this fall; its been a long time since I've done any hiking.
  3. Oh I'm not that good at meeting goals, but working towards something at least is better than not. Keeping it off is one of the great challenges, one of the reasons I've at least tracked my weight, that single data point daily over time is so insightful. There's a whole lot of stuff out there about losing weight. Hardly anything about keeping it off. One thing I've always embraced is the idea that I'm going to dieting to lose fat again , probably relatively soon, and that's always going to be the case. That comfort level I have with doing it. I think its interesting, and I really didn't realize how strongly the effect was before, that I can trace almost all out of control weight gain to a few key events/time periods, kid #2, kid #3, and the government shutdown. The pandemic kind of, but the gov't shutdown a year before was such a disaster to my health and fitness that I started changing my habits and situation due to it, so it was easier to handle the pandemic early on. Not that I did particularly well.
  4. Back to my battle log for the challenge intermission. I'm just finishing a cut cycle, today is start of a weeklong break, though I haven't broken my deficit yet (I might wait until after tonight's weigh-in, one more shot at under 200). Going into the last challenge I thought this last round would be the last one, but I want to do one more round to get rid of the last bits of gut. Its hard to really stick the landing, I'm close enough to abs showing all the time that I'd rather cut than not at the moment. Even though I do want to raise cals and focus on gym gains. This past cycle was a bit more intense than they have been, I lost 3/4" in the waist in 13 days, but at day 14.5 I still really haven't broken it. I'm not feeling the side effects much at all, but I don't think I could sustain another 3 weeks, so break it is. After that I'm just going to open ended cut, stop when I'm happy where I get or when my body tells me to, 2 weeks-ish. As much as anything I want to throw down a marker in measurements. The better data I have in measurements, the easier this time is in future cuts and the easier it is to plan.
  5. Challenge Wrap Up: Well what I have here is a bit of poor goalmaking; they served their purpose, but by any measure reaching my goals has been a bit of a bust. Goal 1: Stay on Target - This one, though I expected to reach the end of this overall weight loss effort this challenge (yesterday actually), I left open the possibility that I was going to keep going, and that's exactly what's happening. Its hard to figure out the endpoint of a cut, expecially a point like visible abs. Even with tons of good old data, it always takes longer than you expect. Goal 2: Workout Time Begins at 1030 - This goal was a near total failure. At the start of the challenge I managed to do it a few times, but stopped caring before long. Really this goal was a failure of imagination, I tried to create workout space by starting a bit earlier, but now I'm beginning to think it'd be hugely beneficial to move my workout time up a lot, to 8-830, swapping the way I order my free time. This is the time I used to do it back in before 2014, right after the kids went to bed. Now the younger ones are at least in their room at that time. The older one could stand to watch dad lift a time or two. Goal 3: Run Faster - I did start trying more on faster runs and it made a difference. I work my HRM at times to see how much capacity to speed up I had. That said I didn't speed up all that much and had a couple wtf runs that were way slow. All n all a C effort. Goal 1 is offset by goal 2, and goal 3 was worth a C.
  6. Getting toward the end of the challenge here. The tape moved to 31.0" yesterday, and I'm hoping to see it hit 30.9" tomorrow, which is the goal I had set for this cut. Today is going to be a huge deficit day (running 5 miles makes that easy to do). Today I started really feeling the side effects of the cut, right on cue 2 weeks in. Overall Friday's measurements kept muscle size while dropping about 1/2" in the waist on average (across a few different measurements) vs last week. I feel like there is a decent chance I have size gains coming this upcoming break; I've made progress in the gym recently, I'm repeaking after the deload a few weeks ago. The scale continues to taunt; Wednesday was another new low at 200.4. Since I've been at 201 and 200.8. Just go under 200 for goodness sakes. Hopefully tonight's long run will make it so. I'm not going to write anything about trying to get in the gym by 1030, thus far that goal has been a total failure. But it hasn't been that big a deal, I haven't missed many sets recently, speeding up my time between sets has mostly blunted the effect, and I've never been later than 1045. Workout Log - 7.20.22 Run 2.93 miles in 32.48, 11:11 avg Better than I had been the last 2 weeks, but not as fast as I was on 6/29. Going to take the win though, over a minute and a half faster than I was the last 2 weeks. Workout Log - 7.21.22 Kicking and Footwork - 10 min I didn't put up the bag as my forearms were a little sore. Pistol Squat +15 lb slam ball - 8-/8- Front Squat 135 x 5 185 x 5- 190 x 5-, 5-, 5+ Front squats are going to be on the 5 rep plan for the foreseeable future. Hitting 5 across at 190 means 195 next week. Workout Log - 7.22.22 Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press 40 x 8 50 x 8- 60 x 6*, 6+ 50 x 11+ Aw yeah, I've hit 6 before, but never multiple sets. The first set at 60 I needed to find an extra gear to get that last rep up. Those connections made, the 2nd set was notably easier. Pullup BW x 8 +35 x 5-, 7+, 6+, 6+ Nice, making progress here, a few weeks ago it was at 5 across. Dip BW x 8 +60 x 10+, 7+ New PR here on weighted dips Chinup +35 x 8+ +60 x 4+ Matches recent PR's at both weights. Overall I killed it this workout.
  7. Ok, I decided to take a look at them and do some comparing. Turns out in fact I have a birthday pic from 2016. One of the last shirtless pics I took (though I do have a series when I bought my gym in 2019, a before pic for the first in the series of diet misfires 2019-2021, at 230 lbs, almost the halfway point between 2016 and now). In many ways 2022 has almost been an heir to 2016 to me, I made a wrong turn right about when that photo was taken, at least from a health and fitness standpoint, right around when I stopped trying to gain, and thus stopped caring about progress. I managed my weight just fine for a bit, then the wheels fell off after kid #3. 2022 vs 2016: Its really awesome though to find this pic from 2016 to compare, because I have very detailed measurements and workout logs. Per measurements my waist is a little smaller now, about 1/4" or so. My chest and shoulders measured about 1.5" bigger in 2016, my arms 1/2" bigger and my legs 1" bigger. 2016 was by no means the leanest I got (2013, 2014, and 2017 I got leaner), but its at least in the ballpark. My beard is a lot more grey. I was just under 208 in 2016, just under 202 in 2022. I had a pump from a workout in the 2016 pic, not so in the new pic. I think my upper chest used to look thicker, but my tummy was a bit softer (that actually surprised me, I would have expected to look softer now). Phone tech has gotten a lot better and my home bathroom has much better lighting. Strength-wise nowadays I'm stronger at everything in the upper body but core and curls. I was holding one leg dragon flags for 15 sec back in 2016, now I can barely hold one leg front lever 3 seconds and am primarily core limited atm. On bench I was putting up 205x3 in 2016 vs 225x3 nowadays. The legs otoh I was a good bit stronger in 2016. Did a 405 triple deadlift in 2016, I finally just managed a triple at 365 a couple weeks ago. I was front squatting 225 and 235, vs 195 and 205 of today. One more cut undulation and I should be in the ballpark of as lean as I've been. I'm not yet ready to declare victory on the epic quest for abs, but I'm getting close.
  8. I went for it and bought a new bench. My old one really has been bothering me, it interferes with my feet when benching, I trip on it, and I can feel the cantilever flex when benching. Halfway funded by birthday gifts, so its for my birthday. Bought the nice one (within reason, I'm not spending $600 on a Rogue bench), the Rep adjustable bench. Tape moved today, to 31.1". The pace has been strong thus far and today is going to be a huge deficit day. I'm not really feeling many side effects of the deficit. Scale is still a little up (201.4) from the new low. Every day I hope today is the day I drop below 200. reasonably decent chance today with running in the plan. Workout Log - 7.18.22 Heavy Bag - 10 min 5min gloves off, 5 min gloves on Pistol Squat +15 slam ball - 5/5 16" box - 5/5 +15 slam ball - 10-/10- Slow and steady progress here. Added a rep to the plyo set, I've done 5 reps before but its been a bit and this was much stronger. Deadlift 155 x 3 245 x 3 335 x 3- 355 x 3- 375 x 1+ I dropped the ramp up set at 315, just went straight to 3 big plates, instead adding a set at 355 as I'm moving up to 375 for peak sets. Workout Log - 7.19.22 Bench Press 135 x 10 185 x 5- 205 x 3- 225 x 3+ 185 x 8+, 8+ Same as last week. Last week was a good step forward, consolidating gains. Ring Front Lever Tuck Hold - 15 sec Open Tuck Hold - 15 sec One Leg - 3 sec x 4, 5 negatives Tuck Row - 12+, 11+ Back up to 12 reps on the rows. Added a one leg hold rep. Ez Bar Curl 89 x 5+, 5+, 5+ Come on rep #6. Getting closer at least. Shoulder Raises Front (12 lb) - 10, 10 Side (8 lb) - 10, 9 Rear (12 lb) - 10, 11 I got pretty good DOMs from these last week, they really fry my shoulders.
  9. I've been off on a challenge for a bit, but I do want to make a post here about a new weight chart I produced, my whole recorded dieting history, just after 9/11/11 to now (I have no records prior, just a vague notion that I was about 185 when I got married, about 155 when I graduated from college, 165 at my heaviest in college): I've spent a lot of time reflecting this year about my diet and fitness history, and I want to focus on what went wrong, and what I'm doing right. Despite it being basically the same thing as the myfitnesspal weight chart, this one has one key difference; gaps. Gaps where I wasn't checking my weight. Or watching my diet. or working out very hard. The first gap, where I gained 25 lbs in just a few months, was when kid #2 was born. Prior to that I have almost 4 years worth of unbroken weight data. That cut just before kid #2 is the first big outlier, I had hurt my shoulder (frozen shoulder) and wasn't strength training at all, but I was still running, so despite losing weight, I was actually leaner late summer 2014. That cut was also the start of a new pattern where I began to sync diet to season, prior to that I was basically max efficiency bulking or cutting. 2015 and 2021 are the only years I have no strength training history for; 2015 I didn't do it, 2021 I didn't write it down. Not strength training I knew was a problem to correct and I did, by hitting the work gym in 2016. My workouts changed though late summer 2016; I realized I was spending too much time in the gym so I greatly simplified my workout to 1-2 exercises and did 2-3 work sets. And that's what I did in 2017 and through 2018. I missed days here and there, becoming more frequent by later 2018. But I do have lifting history throughout; I did peak in strength in summer 2016 and again summer 2017 (I was dieting and working hard in the gym, even if doing simple workouts), but strength basically declined through 2018. I was back in the gym immediately after kid #3 in 2017. It sucks to gain weight and get weaker despite working out, which is basically what I did in 2018. After the gov't shutdown in early 2019 I bought my gym and changed back to lifting at home at night. And I haven't stopped lifting since, though I reduced the amount of leg work then hurt my back and took a break from shoulder and leg work. I have no records of lifting in 2021 but I did. One thing that is apparent in my workout logs; from shortly after the point I change to simple workouts onward, only briefly in 2017 and 2019 when my gym effort is high do I ever make any gains of note. Until 2022. Cardio-wise when I go though my history, I was a runner before I ever did any strength training, back to 2011. The only year I did not run was 2017, but I walked huge amounts playing Pokemon Go. By late 2018 I had stopped the walking for Pokemon Go, stopped running (I did a hybrid run/play thing in 2018, unlike 2017 when I just walked) as it started getting cold, and the holidays/shutdown knocked me out strength training (at work). I gained 15 lbs during that winter, which prompted getting a gym and getting back to proper running in early 2019. It also marked the end of an era really. I decided in summer 2016 that I was at a physically "good enough" point. I cut like a madman when my wife was pregnant in 2017, but it was very crash diety and didn't last at all. That 2016-2018 time I was mostly happy with my appearance and didn't think much of it, didn't see the need to try to diet. I kept in shape doing cardo and lifted fairly regularly. Didn't spend much time shirtless in public and didn't care when I did, was till fairly lean. Starting in 2019 I was back to unhappy with my appearance. Being happy with my appearance explains why that first cut after kid #3 fizzled. I was still fairly lean, lean enough, and just didn't see a reason to try hard. Overall the seeds for success were planted in 2019, even if it took a while to realize. That's when I started to get back to work out every day no excuses and when I started running for real again. The problem was I didn't care so much about my diet and when I did I couldn't sustain it. And I just kept getting derailed. But the exercise stuck, and eventually that has a gravity that will pull the diet in. I can't point to anything in particular that derailed my 2019 cutting effort, but that time was about the most stress I'd been under in my life as I was applying to various jobs, including the one I'd been working toward for the past 10 years. In many ways it was the relief of that stress, getting promoted, that sinking in over the holidays that led to a super strong start to 2020, even though I was starting in a hole compared to the previous year. But a serious stress fracture that ended any cardio for months coupled with the start of the pandemic put an end to that. It took a while to get the diet right, the pandemic really completely upended my life (for good). I used a walk a fair bit to and from the train to commute, and just around the office in general. Telework all the time was a big drop in total daily activity. Early on I tried walking on the treadmill periodically and kept that habit up for a while (the treadmill has since died). Getting a steady supply of herb (+the munchies) was not at all helpful just as I was getting my workout groove back. But still, I think overall from 2019 on, once I got back to a very steady workout plan, success was going to come. What finally made it click though was some goals. I have always been a believer in the hackers diet concept of a control band, that you stay within a weight band, once outside, diet back to a point. Which means weight regularly. The gaps are when things are out of control, almost always when I'm mindful of my weight, I control it. The first vague goals I had in the 2019-2021 time was to get back to that control band, which meant get under 215. That was pretty much the situation 2016-2018 that I was happy with. First goal was to get back to that. That's where I was aiming in early 2020 and where I eventually petered out late 2021. That was my first big mistake, I stopped having goals. Once I started having goals again, things started moving the right direction and eventually staying that way. I've long known that when I weigh regularly I control my weight. One of my first goals when redoubling effort this year was to dust the cobwebs off of that, weigh every day unless I have a darn good reason not to. I was really successful in 2017 using a workout plan of 5 total exercises and just a small number of work sets of each (a plan I started doing in 2016). It was fast and efficient and a I made slow and steady gains and all my old injuries seems to melt away; I had no overwork pains. In 2017. It just stuck with me, and followed me home to my new gym in 2019. After a while I just stopped caring about any sort of progress as well (and in 2021 stopped even keeping track). But it finally became clear that I had taken it way too far, put forth far too little effort, and in many ways was just wasting my time. Trying hard is important. When I started always trying hard every workout again, something that used to be the norm for me 2011-2016, progress started happening again. Progress is important. The gym is a lot more fun when you're making progress.
  10. I have a chart now. My whole weight history since I started tracking data (start point should be 263 on 9/11/11, but I don't have any actual good data for another month and a half, as I didn't write it down early on) On top of what I wrote the other day, the two times I got super light relative to about the weight I'd been, 2015 and 2017, both times there was a kid on the way, I cut like a maniac while my wife was pregnant. I gained 25 lbs quickly when kid #2 was born and 18 lbs when kid #3 was born. I wasn't strength training very much either time, cardio was my main workout. My shoulders were really messed up in 2015 and in 2017 despite going to the gym, I wasn't going regular enough to make any progress. That does explain when I was outlier light. Right now measurement-wise I'm physically very close to where I was late summer 2014, which incidentally is about the leanest I've gotten while also strength training (summer 2016 was close, within a lb or two of bodyfat). One notable item about 2016 size and weight, that's the only time I took creatine and I'm a fairly strong responder; so there was at least 2-3 lbs creatine water weight and larger muscles, but I still think even without I've lost muscle mass since then. Despite being about the same weight as now, 2017 is the leanest I ever got. Edit - I'm going to make a post in my battle log as well, I really want to dive into what went wrong and failures, and also what worked. Having a diary of what I'm thinking here can be really helpful to future self, and also to current self, as I tend to work things out a bit more this way.
  11. Tape measure ticked down a notch strongly this am, down to 31.3". I was expecting it, my diet compliance has been very good, most cuts I haven't been getting to down 1/4" from the end of the previous cut by day 8 (monday), its been taking an extra day, so this round is off to a great start. 3/8" more to go. Scale continues to rise since I set that new low, 202.4 last night. I finally got back to making myself my special cutting lunch this week. Pile of pastrami on a slice of rye (cut in half) with spicy mustard. Costco has some crazy good pastrami. Its silly, despite being a rather sizeable little sandwich, its still only like 350 calories. With the kids home over the summer I've been making other stuff, its nice to get back to this. Because its so low cal and I like it so much, I decided to only make it for myself for lunch when I'm cutting. I might pull the trigger on a new bench here pretty soon. I've been focused on a new barbel, but I'm keeping that tied to goals. I have the super cheap #1 bestseller bench on Amazon. Its done the job but I had to recover the top part (due to step ups). I hate the front T support, it gets in the way of my feet. The rollers fall off from time to time and its all around flimsy. But for <$100 I can't complain, a much nicer bench wasn't in the budget at the time and bench is a must have. The homegym reddit pretty universally suggests the Rep Fitness adjustable benches, that's probably the way I'm going to go. I took some shirtless selfies yesterday on my birthday. Maybe I'll make that a birthday tradition. Thought they are just sitting in my phone untouched.
  12. Thanks! I was hoping that that loss would continue and that I'd finally surpass 200. Nope, not yet, 201.0 then 201.4 since Wed. Today is a running day and typically running days are light, maybe today is the day. Tomorrow is my birthday, the big 44. Unfortunately the abs aren't showing as much as I'd like. I tried, it was a good goal that motivated me and I got close. It wasn't for lack of effort and heck I've surpassed every measurable goal I set toward that goal, my body is different than it used to be, its just further away than I expected it to be. I don't feel bad in any way about missing this goal. I think by the end of next cycle, 4 weeks from now, I'll be close enough to count. After doing my weekly measurements on Friday, which always seem to leave me super happy, I decided to resurrect another portion of my old spreadsheet, the weight tracker (in part to add a more accurate weight # to the measurements spreadsheed). This was the very first part of it and was at one time the most important part to me. Its simple, just a plot of weight over time and a moving average trendline (+weekly rate of change calc). When myfitnesspal added weight charts its utility faded. I also had added on a diet tracker to calculate my bmr, but that only works if you track cals every day, which I haven't done for a long time. The reason, the charts in excel are waaaay better than myfitnesspal charts. Fortunately myfitnesspal has all my weight data so it was just a matter of importing it. It took a while to enter all the data, but I went all the way back to where I stopped using the spreadsheet in 2016. It was enlightening. I've spent a lot of time reflecting on my diet and fitness history this year. I don't have any fancy printouts to share, but a big difference between the excel charts and MFP charts is that I can have trendline gaps where there was no data, MFP connects the dots. MFP's charts give the overall impression that there was more consistency than there was, gaps let you see where the consistency is. What really stands out to me is the period before things stuck this time. When I first bought my gym in 2019, that was really part of an overall effort to lose weight, the first time I did since before kid #3 in 2017. From spring 2019 to spring 2021 I did 5 distinct diets, the first 4 last a couple months, have a gap, then I start over again at a higher weight. Each time there was a key transition point that I missed and I fell back to square 1 despite excellent progress. The one that almost stuck had the double whammy of a foot fracture and start of the pandemic derail it; that one and the one last year that finally made it "look" the same when charted, the first one just fizzles. Those 4 mis-starts and another right after kid #3 with largely the same pattern are the only real dieting failures I have going back to when I was first successful in 2011 (2009 had a similar pattern I think). If I go back and try to connect success, what my current diet pattern looks like, I have to go all the way back to 2016. I've had to re-evaluate what I remember about 2017, despite it being the leanest I ever got, it was very crash diety and short lived, I don't remember it well (and have no logs of it here). That time I went from 220 to 198 in a span of 3 months, then had gained most of it back 3 months later; the end was when kid #3 was born. 2016 is the last time I had a consistently good workout program paired with a good diet, even though I went through fits and starts the last few years. Incidentally 2016 is where I got that stupid minimal workout idea in my head and where a lot of my physique motivation petered out (I was able to coast through much of 2017 and 2018 on prior success). I had a decent workout program starting in 2019, but it came and went until this year finally when I greatly expanded gym capabilities. I used to say that despite weight and body fat levels being almost 100% diet, the root of success is a consistent good workout program. And I've really reproven that to myself. I do kind of disagree with the idea that you can't outrun a bad diet because its counter to the concept that appearance follows fitness. If I look at the last few years before things stuck, while I went a time period stuck in the mud, the fits and starts were powered by a mediocre but consistent workout program. When I got back to zero skipped days and a full lifting program, that's when things clicked again.
  13. Yay, I set a new low weight, 200.6!!! I was not expecting that at all. June 1 was the last new low, 200.8. As the scale ebbs and flows twice I've gotten close, including 3 days of 4 toward the end of last cut where I was at 201.0. Last week's diet break ended with the scale in silly zone; I've gone from in the 206's Sunday to 200.6 last night, an extremely rapid loss rate even for carb-locked water flux. I'm feeling good that this is going to be the cut I go under 200, I appear to have gained nothing persistent last week so hopefully I snap right back into scale and tape alignment. Though for true tape-scale alignment since my last low weight on 6/1 I'd have to be at 196-197 right now. Somehow in the span of a single week diet break in early June I gained 4 lbs of lean mass that has persisted through a cut, diet break, and back to cutting. Also very much appearing in measurements of muscles; my quads gained 1/2" each and my arms 1/4" each. Ive done bulks 2-3 months long where I didn't gain that much. I know its much easier to gain back what you once had, but this is ridiculous. And even harder to explain that 3 weeks prior and 2 weeks after the exact same conditions were made, a weeklong diet break (and largely the same foods to boost cals, breakfast cereal and ice cream), and there was no detectable LBM gain in either of these other breaks. Its almost like a fat loss whoosh, where fat loss builds up invisible on the scale until one day you pee like crazy and shrink a few pounds, weeks of fat loss showing up over the course of a few hours. I've never heard of muscle building following the same pattern; if it does it would seem to make the case for undulating bulks where most time is at maintenance, with occasional week or two calorie peaks to collect your gains. Tape was 31.5" this am, which means loss has started, I lost the extra 1/8th I gained last week. I'm thinking instead of being strict with time goals, I'm going to be strict with progress goals, stopping this cut at 3/4" total lost, or a 30.9 target. Its feasible but moderately difficult to achieve in the time box I had set (2 weeks), but a day or two extension makes it (hopefully) easy to achieve. A shorter diet break next round won't kill me. Workout Log - 7.13.22 Run 2.92 mi in 34:24, 11:45 avg pace Aww come on man. I tried and it wasn't that hot (tho uber humid). Why was I so slow? Only explanation I have is that the doms from Monday's deadlifts are legit, not entirely sure why I have unusually bad doms from Monday's workout, but I do.
  14. I think the trick with resolve is to limit the amount of time you have to use it. Because it is hard to be consistent. I'm off to a good start this round, compliance has been pretty good, today is going to be a big deficit day. Sore throat is totally gone, I did a deload recently so I don't have a ton of accumulated fatigue. After going crazy the last few days of the break (>207), the scale has now returned to a more normal zone, 202.4 last night. I expect to start seeing the tape move in the next day or two. Fat is starting to get squishy. Workout-wise I've been crushing it this week so far. More than anything what I'm most looking forward to with raised cals once I'm done with cutting is a few months of really making good gains in the gym. I've been starting to really hit the wall on some exercises. Workout Log - 7.11.22 Heavy Bag - 10 min 7 min without gloves, 3 minutes with gloves Pistol Squat +15 lb slam ball - 5/5 16" plyo box - 4/4 +15 lb slam ball - 10+/10+ Deadlift 155 x 3 245 x 3 315 x 3- 335 x 3- 365 x 3+ !!!! finally got that 3rd rep at 365. I hit 3 reps @ 355 back in mid-April, been trying to get 3 @365 since. Time to move up. Going to drop the 315 set, just go 245-335, adding a set at 355. Workout Log - 7.12.22 Bench Press 135 x 10 185 x 5- 205 x 3- 225 x 3+ 185 x 8+, 8+ I've been losing a bit on bench for a bit. I hit rep #4 at 225 back late May, then couldn't get more than 2 reps up 2 weeks ago. I was most consistent with bench in 2019-2021 of any exercise, so it makes sense that it'd be the one to really stall out first. Was able to get rep #3 this time, and it wasn't even an RPE 10 rep. I've hit 185 x 8 once before recently, but never 2 sets. Ring Front Lever Tuck Hold - 15 sec Open Tuck Hold - 15 sec One Leg - 3s+3s+3s, 5 reps Row - 11+, 10+ One leg is where these start to transition to being a brutal ab exercise well, its going to be a while before I get to any longer duration holds. But I am slowly but surely seeing progress week after week. EZ Bar Curl 89 x 5+, 5+, 4+ This is a good weight, I'm going to focus on bringing up the reps here for a while. 5 reps is low for curlz, but a little progress should fix that. DB Raises Front - 12 x 8, 10 Side - 8 x 8, 8 Rear - 12 x 8, 10 The first few reps I'm definitely not firing my delts well; it feels like I've stumbled upon a real weakness of mine and doing these regularly will pay diviendends (in addition to the aesthetics).
  15. The sickness that I had starting last cut finally boiled over on Friday as I had a crazy sore throat so went to the doc; I have strep. Been on antibotics which have cleared it up pretty quick. That does explain things. This past week has been a diet break. I was hoping it was going to be like last time, with a big jump in muscle mass, but measurements on Friday showed no muscle gain (I did pick up an 1/8th inch in the waist). More like the previous diet break where I didn't gain anything. Odd that it happens every other or every 3rd diet break. The cut starting next week should be much easier. The kids are going to be at day camp all week for the next 2 weeks, which means smaller lunches for me and time to walk the dog at lunch. The effects of the bug I've had should be gone. I'm running out of summer, no reason to take it easy. I've been changing things up in the gym a little. In many ways in anticipation of raising cals and being done with cutting for a while, get things ironed out before that happens. During all my strength workouts I've been spending the majority of my time between sets on the ground on a mat stretching and foam rolling. Much more productive than my phone. I had been doing a curl-fly-extension DB circuit since I got the DB set as an accessory on Tuesdays after bench and front lever/rows. A couple weeks ago I decided to move on to doing curls (preferably EZ bar), included with the bench/row superset (once I move on to rows from front lever). I do want to continue to focus on curls, even more than I had been; curls are an exercise that I really haven't done much of despite being the vanity exercise, its always been easy to skip them. In place of the DB circuit on Tues I'm going to keep doing the curls (in effect I'm upping the curl set count) along with DB raises for the shoulders. I've got the light weights I need to really hammer all angles of the deltoids, and really its an all around great shoulder prehab thing to do anyways. Thursdays I'm going to stop doing weighted pistols in order to do more sets of front squats Fridays I haven't done any pullups for max BW reps in a bit, I had it at 17 reps, but I've only been doing loaded sets these last couple workouts. I might stay in lower rep ranges for a while. This upcoming cut I'm going to stick with not counting cals, but being mindful (and strict). Thus far that has worked well, and if anything with the kids away during the day it should go extra easy. Trying to be in the neighborhood of 1K/day deficit.
  16. Geez, I missed posting all week. I'm pretty sure I made it in to the gym by 1030 only once. That goal has not gone so well. This week I really took a step forward toward the future. I've been so focused on plan abs that I haven't really put much thought into what comes after, I guess I was waiting for inspiration to strike and it has. As a background, the leaner I get, the more I realize that relatively speaking my shoulders are pretty small. This didn't use to be the case, so its a new area of physical concern. Part of the issue was simply being able to do good shoulder exercises, which was corrected early this year. But I used to think of my shoulders as big, and I do have thick traps; big shoulders and small chest is a classic bodyweight look. But between injury and apathy, I've missed a ton of workout time for the shoulders over the years. A few weeks ago I bought some workout posters for the gym that just give a bunch of basic exercises (barbel, bodyweight, dumbbellx2). Partly for decoration, partly to remind my wife and I of options, and partly for the kids one day (I'll be able to write with dry erase). One that struck me as something I'd overlooked are shoulder raises, and I gave them a try a couple weeks ago. Anyways, July 4 we took the kids to go see fireworks. In the crowd in front of us entertaining people was a guy and girl, mid 20-somethings, juggling and doing acrobatic things. Both clearly worked out a lot. He was wearing a tank top and really had huge shoulders. In hindsight I was rather jealous of the guy and his big shoulders. I have clarity now what I need to do. I'm going to cut as long as it makes sense to do, which is 2 more cycles. I'm surely not going to be 100% happy with where my abs are at the time, but by then summer is ending, might as well wait until winter time, cut before going to the beach at the holidays, then again next spring. I've moved on to next year mentally with reaching my ultimate goal, even though I want to get a lot closer in the next few weeks this summer. Once I'm done cutting though, I'm going to try to eat maintenance+, but be ok with deficit days. Slow lazy gain, which what my body likes to do. And in the gym I want to really focus on shoulders with accessories and volume, really try to put some meat on my bones there. I picked up some 8 lb and 12 lb DBs (already have 10's, though worth upgrading), Target is selling nice rubber ones nowadays at $2 a lb, which is the best you'll do anywhere for rubber ones. I think I'll need the whole set 8-12 to really hit all angles of the shoulders right with raises. Raises are one of those exercises I've never done for ego reasons, but its ok to lift little weights, and heck a good excuse to extend the lower range a bit with new weights.
  17. Last day of cutting today. Its been an I feel fat kind of weekend which has helped keep my eyes on the ball, but not really how you want to feel at the end of a cut. Tape was 31.5" today; I was hoping to get to 31.4", but it was not to be. Scale was back down to 201.0 yesterday, hopefully today is the day I finally set a new low, I'm so close, 3 of the last 4 days have been 201.0, need to get to 200.6. Really I'll like to see under 200 at some point, getting past big round numbers for the first time in many years always feels like a great accomplishment. Part of why I've felt fat; pinch tests can give a pretty good sense of how thick the fat is in various areas, the leaner you get the truer this is. I realize I have a new area, the side of my pecs, under my armpit, where I have a lot of stubborn fat, joining my belly and love handle areas. This area I didn't used to have have when I was younger, don't really care for it. This does explain in part why my chest measurement has been decreasing though. I feel pretty good and think I could keep cutting, though I'm going to stick to the plan and take a break. Earlier this cut was pretty rough, it was almost like I hadn't taken a break. I'm sure getting sick played a big role in that. Workout Log - 7.1.22 By 10:30? No Dumbbell Overhead Press 40 x 8 50 x 8- 60 x 4+ 50 x 10+, 9+ Kicked the weight back up this week, but I kept the rpes in check, Pullup BW - 6 +35 - 5+, 5+, 5+, 5+ I'm going to drop the race for more pullups for a bit and focus on loaded reps Dip BW - 5 +60 - 6+, 8+ Chinup +60 - 3+ +35 - 6+ I've been treating these as sort of a bicep accessory Workout Log - 7.2.22 By 10:30? Yes Run 4.17 mi in 46:49, 11:13/mi pace, 428 ft elevation gain. Speeding up even my Saturday run. I wasn't really trying to run faster, but it becomes a habit. It was super hot, so I was surprised at how fast I was.
  18. Measurement Friday today. I realized that one of the measurements that I hadn't really considered much as a progress measure, circumference right at the bony points of the hips, seems like it might be worth paying more attention to. It doesn't move as much as the area over the belly button, but it seems like one of the more accurate measures of the area. Comparing old historic data on that one, I probably am going to need one more cut cycle to reach my ultimate goal. My core isn't as thick as it used to be, lol, going to have to be a little smaller for abz. I probably need to lose about another inch in the waist, which is 3/4" smaller than my original target. My arms maintained, legs ticked down a notch, but still up from where they were at the end of the last diet break. My weight has been 201.0 the last couple days, right on the cusp of setting a new low, which I haven't done since June 1, when I was 200.8. Size and weight gain from the last break really has persisted, and I'm about to start another. Hopefully this upcoming break I get another big burst of muscle gain. Workout Log - 6.29.22 By 10:30? No Run 2.94 mi in 31.35, a 10:44 pace Yay, I was successful at running faster simply by trying a bit harder. It was also not quite as hot as it was last week. Qualified for a "C" already. I did a personal best on one of the segments that I've now run many dozens of times. When I checked the time it was faster than I expected, I didn't really try all that much harder. Workout Log - 6.30.22 By 10:30? No Heavy Bag - 5 min Mostly active stretching and agility kicking practice. Light and low impact. Also did an additional 5 min without the bag. Pistol Squat + 15 lb slam ball - 5/5 I'm going to change this workout a bit, ease back on the pistols for more barbell work. Still want to do a set or two for balance and mobility. I really like using the ball. Front Squat 135 x 5 185 x 5-, 5-, 5+, 3+ I've been mentally hating on squats lately, but really I don't dislike front squats. I should do a lot more, so I'm going to up work set count with the barbell for a while. Still deloading, so I didn't go over 185 and didn't do any max effort. Deload has helped a lot, and the cold I've had is clearing up. Overall soreness and exhaustion is down. Once the cals are upped next week I'll be full steam ahead.
  19. This cut has been a lot harder than they've been recently, seems like of combo of being sick, overworked muscles, and getting leaner its been a struggle. Hungry, weak and sore all at the same time. Progress continues though, 31.6" on the tape today. Scale has been in the 202's all week. Squishy fat is at that point where it really feels like little grape bunches or caviar. Sickness has evolved to basic head cold. I still haven't totally decided what I'm going to do once I reach my end goal diet-wise, but it really isn't all that important as long as I keep up the lifting volume. I'd like to get back to some of the sort of lifting you don't do while cutting; pyramids, drop sets, rest-pause, etc... and maybe a little higher rep work. Running later tonight, going to try to run fast again, maybe it'll work this week. Workout Log - 6.27.22 By 1030? Yes Heavy Bag - 10 min 3 min kicking, 5 minutes with gloves, 2 minutes kicking/stretching Pistol Squat +15 lb slam ball - 5/5, 5/5, 5/5 Replaced the plyo set and volume set with easy sets, trying to bring down the recovery load. Deadlift 155 x 3 245 x 3 315 x 3 335 x 3 Sticking with the deload theme, I skipped the top set. Workout Log - 6.28.22 By 1030? No Bench Press 135 x 5 185 x 5- 205 x 5-, 5-, 4+ No 225 sets, stayed at 205 instead. Last set I stopped because the bar speed was slowing. Ring Front Lever Tuck Hold - 15 Open Tuck Hold - 15 One Leg - 3 sec + 3 sec Tuck Row - 8-, 8- Concentration Curl 40 - 7/7, 6/6, 5/5 I had been using the EZ bar here, but doing sets at 205 instead of 225 on the bench meant that my 35 lb plates were on the barbell. DB Raise - 10 lb - 5-5-5, 5-5-5 Front-Side-Back. Front and side are standing upright, back with back parallel to the ground. I want to start doing a deltoid specifc accessory this workout, this seems like a good one.
  20. Wow that's awesome. Did you use a router jig? Pretty impressive you managed to get through a knot without the finger breaking. That's a great design.
  21. Today was one of those days where I feel like I could see the fat loss through the day. We'll see later if the scale agrees, but it followed the physical track of a whoosh; squishy fat in the morning which had firmed up by the night, doing so by shrinking in size. I've been second guessing how far I have to go a lot lately, day like today makes me think I might be right on track. Belly button is starting to change to flattened. Which is right on cue for where I should be around at the end of this 2 week cut. Tape this morning was 31.8". Tomorrow will be the start of week 2, but since the tape moved today I don't expect it to move until Tue or Wed. I'm on track to reach 31.4" by the end. Scale has been trending down, 202.2 last night. I'm definitely sick, a cold of some sort (negative on Covid), but its pretty mild. Good time for a deload. Workout Log - 6.24.22 By 1030? No Seated DB OHP 40 x 8 50 x 8 45 x 8 40 x 8 35 x 8 30 x 8 Played a game of run the rack with 8 reps. All sets were fairly easy, at least a rep in the tank always. I was going every 5 min, the ohp supersetted with pullups. Pullup BW - 5, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10 Followed 8 presses with 10 pulls. These got a little hard toward the end, but still, left some in the tank. Dip BW - 5 +35 - 5, 5 I eased back the load and volume a lot on dips to keep the recovery load light. Chinup +35 - 5, 5 Superset with dips, I just hop right up on the bar with the dip belt on. Workout Log - 6.25.22 By 1030? No Run 3.92 mi in 45:07, 11:30/mi pace Seriously, Wed I tried really hard to run fast and was not fast at all. Saturday I chilled and went with the flow, and ran faster (and over a longer run)?!? It was cooler, which is the likely explanation, but still, annoying. Due to getting sick and deloading I didn't run as far as I usually do (lately) on Saturdays.
  22. I'm not sure if I'm getting sick or if its a case of needing a deload running smack into a big calorie deficit, but holy cow the last few days I've had some pretty epic soreness. All week my tendons have been sore, which is to me the biggest sign of needing a deload, and my muscles have just been exhausted. Last night I yielded to it and modified my workout. Fridays are measuring day, a habit I picked back up 2 months ago. Though it had been a long time before that, I do have a huge amount of historic data 2012-2016, 176 lines in my spreadsheet now. I maintained most of the gains from last week with the exception of the chest, a measurement that is hugely influenced by a little pump and gets harder and harder to take the leaner you get (a little fat keeps the tape in place, otherwise it likes to fall down as you become increasingly V shaped). Once this overall cut is done with, I'm guessing I've still got a fair amount of easy size gains to go. Here's why: Right Bicep - This is ofc the crown jewel of muscle measurements and easy to take reliably. My very first measurement was 14.3" on 2/5/12 (shortly after joining NF), it declined to 14.0" by the end of that looong cut 6/10/2012. First reached 15.0" on 12/30/12 at the end of a 6 month bulk (I gained 15 lbs total, 1" in the arm). 16" was first achieved 11/17/2013, 2 long bulks after hitting 15". All n all those 2 inches on my right bicep took over a year of calorie surplus (with an additional 6 months of cutting as well). And that was the end of easy gains, 9 months and 3 bulking cycles later, I made no gains of note by the end of 2014, peaking at 16.3" (notable though I was doing only bodyweight work at the time). In 2016, lifting in the gym at work I was able to make gains, peaking at 16.6" at the end of a short bulk 6/22/16. My first measurement this year, after nearly a 6 year measurement hiatus, was 15.5", now its up to 16.0". I'm hitting my biceps as well as I ever have, I think 16.5" should be pretty easy gains. Right Quad - Instead of only measuring the top of the leg, I started measuring the quad peak as well 11/25/12. Its not quite as defined as a point as the top of the leg, but its less prone to fluctuations from body fat and (obviously) more quad heavy than ham. The first time I measured it was 22.9" (this was after my first bulk, I didn't take this measurement originally). That 2nd bulk where my arms gained 3/4" my quads gained 1.5". Also like my arms, gains totally stopped after the 2nd bulk during my bodyweight era, peaking at 24.6", despite a few more bulk/cut cycles. However once in the gym in 2016 my quads were let loose again, and I rapidly gained, peaking at 25.8" at the end of a short bulk in June 2016. Today my right quad was 23.8". My legs are still waaaaay smaller than they used to be. The size has atrophied a lot over the years. While my chest and arms are now close to the biggest they've ever been, there's still a little bit to go, but my legs aren't even in the same zip code yet. Waist was 31.9" today. Tape is now moving with the cut. I was 203.0 on the scale last night. Workout Log - 6.22.22 By 10:30? Yes Run 2.91 miles in 33:48, 11:39 avg Well I tried to run faster, but it didn't pan out. It was HOT, like road was an oven hot, even at 11 pm.. I wore my HRM to get a sense of how much unused output I had and my conclusion is zero. By a little over 1 mile my HR was up to 169 at the top of a hill and it never went back under 150, spent most of the rest of the run over 160 bpm (max was 175). If my HR is over 150-155 I have very little capacity to increase output and sustain it. The slowing effect of heat was enough to blunt the increased effort. Were it 50 degrees I bet I would have been a whole lot faster. Workout Log - 6.23.22 By 10:30? Yes Active stretching, agility, and kicking - 10 min Basically an easier version of the workout I do with the heavy bag, but not using the heavy bag. Pistol Squat +15 lb Medicine Ball - 5/5 x 6 The recovery load had become crushing or I'm getting sick, so I big time eased up, instead of my usual sqaut workout, settling on doing sets of 5 pistols each side holding the medicine ball. By the last rep of the last set I was starting to slow.
  23. Have come out of the blocks in a sprint again this cut cycle. Last cycle I didn't count calories, this one I'm not going to either, the one before I did. Basically counting calories is a diet mindfulness and correction tool. My diet is structured around 2 meals; those 2 meals sum to 1500 cals or so. There's a baseline of other stuff (coffee sugar/creamer and a little chocolate before bed), but I still have a couple hundred calories of snacking to work with even when cutting hard (2K gross cals is a deficit of over ~1200 cals most days). I count calories to fill that space. In general I turn to it to see how much I can snack. When I'm super motivated to cut, I decide against that first step to extra snacking, figuring out if I have space. I don't bother, because I'm not aiming for a specific speed, rather as fast as possible, within reason. Counting calories doesn't need to serve as a mindless TPS report. The big difference is my afternoon snack. When on a break I'll wolf down half a box of cereal, 1000 calories of carbs alone. Today I'm probably going to go for 2 turkey sausage sticks and a serving of vanilla wafers, 220 cals in total. There's just no need to write down calories if I can shift between basics like this. After I reach my goal I should count again for a bit to get a sense of the middle ground. In a 1 week diet break I'm aiming for a surplus, not breakeven, every day, so like with cutting I don't go through the effort to count. I didn't measure the waist today but I'm pretty sure I lost the 1/8th I gained last week already. Fat is already becoming squishy. 32.0" exactly is a pretty noticeable point physically, I felt like I lost it late last week but regained it already. Scale was 204.2 monday and 203.2 yesterday. Going running later. Wednesdays are the days for goal #3, to run faster. Workout Log - 6.20.22 In gym by 1030? Yes Heavy bag - 10 min 4 minutes without gloves, followed by 4 minutes with, then 2 more without. Kicking, punching, agility. Pistol Squat +15 lb slam ball - 5/5 16" plyo box - 5/5 +15 lb slam ball - 9+/9+ I started using this little medicine ball I got dirt cheap at aldi, held out in front of me. It makes it slightly harder than bodyweight, however balance is much easier, and I feel like it keeps my core engaged better. I barely made it onto the box for rep #5 with either leg during the plyo set. Deadlift 155 x 3 245 x 3 315 x 3- 335 x 3- 365 x 2+ Rep #3 wasn't happening at 365. I've been stuck here for a while now. Probably need to raise cals for a more prolonged period to break through. Workout Log - 6.21.22 In gym by 1030? No Bench Press 135 x 8 185 x 5- 205 x 3- 225 x 3+, 1+ 185 x 7+ I lost all tension in the hole after unracking the 2nd set at 225. Pushed it out, but was done after that so only that 1 rep. Ring Front Lever Tuck Hold - 15 Open Tuck Hold - 15 One Leg - 3 sec + 2 sec + Neg One Leg - 5 reps Tuck Row - 11+, 11+ reps The first set of one leg I dropped into short holds, first 3 sec, then 2 sec, then I couldn't stop the 3rd try. 2nd one leg set was just reps with no hold at the bottom, pull back up immediately. First set of tuck rows I had a horrid swing going on so I had to stop mid set to correct. EZ Bar Curl 89 x 5+, 5+, 5+ Changing up the accessories for this workout a bit to just focus on EZ bar curl. The tendons in my arms and shoulders have been sore and that likely isn't going to change until I'm done cutting. These are a little lower stress than the DB circuit. Plus it feels boss to curl with 35 lb plates on the bar, finally now strong enough to do that.
  24. Alright, and we're off. I was super heavy last night, in the 208's, but we had gone out for ice cream for fathers day so I wasn't expecting to be light, but still... Waist measured 32.1" this morning, I gained an 1/8th over the diet break last week. Thursday will probably be the first day the lowered cals show up on the tape. As I alluded to, I was pretty blown away by Friday's measurements. I wasn't just a diet break effect, this didn't happen last break and it didn't happen historically (I keep track of diet state each week, surplus, maintain, or cut with measurements). Forearms, calves, biceps, quads all gained. Forearms and calves have been stable since I started measuring again; all 4 gaining size the same week is virtually unheard of in my data, even when gaining muscle at max bulking speed. I'm totally a foreversmall guy when it comes to calves and forearms, just no way to plump up these twigs, so the tape moving on them was nice to see. Earlier today I went to the pool with the kids (had off of work), it wasn't that busy so I was able to swim a fair bit. I know kind of what I'm doing (except for fly), but am in no way in any sort of swimming shape (nor did I ever swim competitively), so swimming one end to the other is still a pretty good workout. We're a few weeks in though, I was in noticeably better shape today. I'm at that point you hit with running where you're in good enough shape that you can start sustaining a run instead of mixing running and walking. I can go one end to the other without breath being a huge factor anymore. I'm not doing turns at the wall or swimming laps, but its a 25m pool. I did around 10 lengths total, mostly freestyle, but a couple were breast stroke. I'm starting to get a pretty fast freestyle; deadlifts and lots and lots of pullups really help move some water, watching the kids practice and at meets (I end up timer a lot) has helped to improve my form a lot. My kids have a loooong way to go to ever touch me in a race, lol, though the teens on the team would crush me, for now. Later tonight I have some time with the heavy bag, then some plyo pistols followed by deadlifts. I always look forward to this workout.
  25. An so I enter the final chapter of the grand quest I've been on, climbing to the top of 6 pack mountain. I've now been in an overall state of "losing weight" since last March, at 240 lbs, when I got rd 1 of the covid vaccine and return to the office clearly became imminent (lol). That's when I decided to really buckle down. I'd been off and on again trying to lose the gut for a few years, that time it stuck. Now the goals of this epic quest were not formed until well into the journey, it was in fact at a stopover on the journey that the destination came into focus. I fell off the effort wagon at the end of last year, as you can see by the gap in the weight chart. Along the way during our family vacation at the beach I decided it was time to level up and beat the game again. Being shirtless in public was ok, I had dadbod going on, bit soft but clearly work out. But I could do a lot better, and really the part I did in 2021 was the hard part. So returning to the quest, the full journey now apparent, I returned here to NF. Regularly stopping by to add thoughts about what I was doing, and more importantly thinking about what I was doing has really helped propel this journey. As where it appears Obi Wan is headed, I've found the Force again. Here were my overall goals from my first challenge post this year: So where do I stand? I've stuck to the plan almost perfectly. I refined my goals a bit (switched to tape measure from scale as primary judge of progress). I cut the surplus period back to 3 weeks, more of a long diet break, then began an undulating diet pattern of 3 weeks cutting, 1 week break afterward. The cut periods have been rather intense, the breaks I've tried to eat a surplus each day. I'm now at the end of the 3rd cycle, changing the pattern to 2 weeks cutting : 1 week break as I'm lean enough that hormones drop fast, right at 2 weeks last time it hit hard. I tried doing a refeed, which helped for a bit, but its effects were too short lived to be useful going forward. Scale recently has gone bonkers again, it was as low as 200.8, but since a refeed I did 2 weeks ago and a diet break this week its been around 205. For a couple months there the scale had been following the tape perfectly, settling down after a crazy period. However I definitely gained size in my muscles across the board this week (unlike last diet break), so crazy scale looks like its explained by muscle gain. I had been expecting/hoping for another gain like this; I've "gained" quite a bit of muscle mass since the start of the year, really regaining what I had a few years ago, rapidly during diet breaks. I wasn't expecting to much when I started, but I didn't think things had atrophied so much until I started comparing to old data and measurements. I started doing measurements of my muscles (again), which I have a ton of historical records of, and realized I still am a few pounds of muscle mass down from where I used to be, so figured another jump might be on the horizon, and it was. On the tape I'm at 32" on the waist. Each undulation my goal has been 1". Going forward 1/2"-5/8" is more realistic for the shortened cuts. My first time measuring I was at 36.5"; overall by the tape measure I've lost 14 lbs of fat. You can always see hints of my abs now, the outer wall is always there, and they show up pretty good when flexed. But there's also a little spare tire. My belly button flattened when under 31.5" previously, that's one of the last things to happen before the abs show all the time. I think I'm going to make it this challenge. The timing works out perfect. I'm just finishing the break at the end of a cycle, ready to jump into an intense 2 week cut. I'll have time then for a break and another 2 week cut, which should be where I achieve my overall quest goal and rock a 6 pack. What I need to fight against is the horseshoes and hand grenades effect, the closer you get the easier it is to say well its close enough to count, good enough, and call it quits too early. Anyways, this is a challenge, let there be goals. Goal #1: Stay on Target The challenge now for me is to not call it good enough and quit early. Which is one of the big reasons I'm coming back to doing challenges from my workout log; now I've got to finish the challenge. Just a few more weeks of cutting to go. I was not very specific when I said abs, but I tend to think of it as the point where you can always see all 6. Maybe my body's different than it used to be and I have to lose a bit more, so next challenge is where I make it. Either way, don't give up until I reach that point. This one is all or nothing. When I get there, I'm going to take photographic evidence. Keeping me on target is that I decided upon successfully completing this epic quest, my primary weapon, the broadsword of the modern warrior, aka my barbell, will be upgraded to max level. I have my heart set on a 28.5mm Rogue Ohio Bar in black oxide without center knurl. It is, I believe, the perfect bar (for me). Maybe I'll buy more bars in the future and change my mind, but for now, it seems to be the one. But I can't pull the trigger on it too early, stay on target. Goal #2: Workout Time Begins at 10:30 This was a subgoal of one of my goals from the first challenge this year, and really the single most valuable bit of mindfulness that I stuck to. Since then this has slowly begun to drift later, starting as late as 10:45 way too much, which hurts my available workout time. I work out 6 days a week, 4x strength and 2x cardio, on the same schedule each day (wife does similar). The grading will be A-F, just like school, in 0-100% blocks of 20% each (thus 40-60% compliance = C), yes no each day. Goal #3: Run Faster I guess I've made it no secret that I don't particularly enjoy high effort running, which generally includes efforts to run faster. However my running workouts are split speed/distance and now the distance workouts are pulling their weight, over 5 miles lately on Saturdays. Wednesdays I run ~3 miles, I should be speeding up. And I am, I can run faster without even trying at times, push up the effort a little and I should be able to speed up a good bit. Problem is I like to just zone out, and I totally forget that I'm supposed to be running faster. A challenge goal should help me remember to push a bit more. I always run the same course, 2.92 miles, 310 ft of elevation gain. This past week it took me 33:57, a pace of 11:37. This is about the pace I've been doing lately. Ultimately I'd like to get the pace under 10:00 (which is still a rather pathetic pace), that would be the highest score (A). Under 10:30 would be great (B), under 11:00 pretty good (C).
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