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All right, all right, new year, fresh start!

 

I actually don't need a fresh start from the perspective of "I've fallen off the wagon and need to start again", but more like "Time to look back at what I've done and where I can make improvements."  But I don't believe a 'fresh continuation' is a thing, so...

 

To catch everyone up, I'm a skinny guy who wants to build muscle.  I was inspired by one of Steve's articles last summer to pick a routine and stick with it - for months, not weeks! I modified Anthony Mychal's 242 Method to include 6 "marriage" lifts that are performed on 2 days a week and then use a 3rd workout day to "flirt" with other routines I've seen.  I stuck with it pretty well, doing Deadlifts, OHP, and Dips on Mondays and Squats, Floor Press, and Pull-ups on Fridays.  A couple of months ago, I started doing a modified version of Kinobody's Bodyweight Mastery Program for my Wednesday workout, focusing on progressions for Pistol Squats, Handstand Push-ups, One-armed Push-ups, and L-sits.  I'm still enjoying the routines, but I'm taking an opportunity with the new 4 week format to try and change up some rep/set patterns and see if it has any positive impacts on my muscle-building efforts. Oh, also, my previous attempts at trying to bulk up left me with a bigger midsection than I wanted, so I tried leaning down 2 challenges ago, stuck to maintenance last challenge, and now I'm planning to bulk for a couple of months.  Now on to the goals!

 

Diet/Fitness

 

Quest 1 - Add 10# to my sandbag floor press

I lifted 120# for 10 reps on 1/1, but I'm going to try and stick with a 5-rep range from this point forward, so I'll shoot for 5x130# this week and go from there.

 

Quest 2 - Hit 3 sets of 6 reps of seated pistol squats for each leg

Currently at about 4 reps per leg for 2-3 sets.  I'm going to train these twice a week because I really want to master the pistol squat this year.  The sooner the better!

 

Quest 3 - Bulk responsibly - eat at a 250 calorie surplus each day

This should be a relatively easy surplus to do and will work out to about 2 pound weight gain for the month.  The hard part will be tracking my calories consistently.  I hate counting calories.

 

Starting weight = 154.66 lbs (7-day average)

Starting midsection = 34.5"

Starting chest = 37.5"

 

Level Up Your Life

 

Quest 4 - Less focus on my phone, more focus on my family

Goal is no social media or games from 6-9 PM each night and no phone after 10 PM, except for reading my Kindle app.

I'd like to spend the after-work/before-kids-bedtime hours focused on my family and the after 10 PM time reading actual books.  I have 4 books I'd like to read over the next few months, including Steve's book when it comes out.

 

I'm excited to get back into the challenges after a 3 week break and I'm excited to see what everyone else comes up with!

  • Like 1

Level 32 Minifig Jedi Assassin

Current Challenge  | Battle Log | "Epic" Quest

Previous Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6789101111.51213141516171819, 2021222324, 25, 262728293031323334

"A man who wants to do something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse." -Stephan Dolley, Jr.

"You don't get stronger by skipping workouts." - me, to myself, about 3 times a week

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Hey brotha! Subbing along for some TGlee action! You're most definitely my sandbag inspriation, so keep going strong with that :)

 

...More focus on family is key dude. Kids grow up way to damn fast and you never want to miss the stage where they'll still kiss you on the mouth, lol.

 

Wolf

Wild Wolf- LEVEL 2 (but probably more like lvl 50 if I didn't respawn so much)

Class: Howler/ Height: 6'2 / Weight: 192#

Stats: MIGHT: 12 / CONSTITUTION: 9 / DEXTERITY: 11 / PERCEPTION: 10 / INTELLECT: 9 / RESOLVE: 13

Instagram: @ryanwolfbell / Facebook: Ryan Wolf Bell / Bible App (YouVersion) Ryan Wolf Bell

Current Challenge: Omnis Vir Lupus

Spoiler

Last Challenge(s): 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14/15/16

Unchained Predator Saga: 1

Epic Challenges: Welcome to the Fireteam & Wolfpool 

 

Know, O prince, that once the sun burns out and the earth's core becomes solid and cold, there will come a man to provide the endless energy needed to sustain life and for the planets to keep moving. He is the source of light and the warmth of hope back into the hearts of humanity...." - Dark_Raider

 

A wolf rises in my heart; against my darkness; against my demons; against my despair. I DECLARE WAR!

 

Romans 8:28 (CSB) We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.

 

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Hey brotha! Subbing along for some TGlee action! You're most definitely my sandbag inspriation, so keep going strong with that :)

 

...More focus on family is key dude. Kids grow up way to damn fast and you never want to miss the stage where they'll still kiss you on the mouth, lol.

 

Wolf

 

Welcome aboard! I'm going to try and keep up with your challenge, too, but ever since you joined the Rangers, your threads tend to explode with activity...

Level 32 Minifig Jedi Assassin

Current Challenge  | Battle Log | "Epic" Quest

Previous Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6789101111.51213141516171819, 2021222324, 25, 262728293031323334

"A man who wants to do something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse." -Stephan Dolley, Jr.

"You don't get stronger by skipping workouts." - me, to myself, about 3 times a week

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I must have been excited to get started on this challenge - I woke up 1 minute before my alarm was set to go off.

 

Today was a great workout. I expect to feel it tomorrow.

 

DL + OHP + Dips + Incline Bench

Deadlift - 1x150#, 5x225#, 3x225#, 3x225# - I decreased the weight from last week's 250# 5RM PR, but I also decreased the rest time between sets.

OHP - 8x3x80# - that's 8 sets of 3.  I normally would have done 3 sets of 8, but I was reading about trying different set/rep schemes over on T-Nation and decided to give this a try.

Dips - 3x5x20# - My brother gave me a dip belt for Christmas, so I was excited to try it out.  So far, I like it better than putting weights in a backpack. I even went to Dick's and bought a 2.5# plate yesterday to help with micro-loading my dips and pull-ups!

Incline Bench - 6x100#, 6x100#, 4x100# - I usually only do one set of these at the end of my workout, but I'm trying to add some more volume. The biggest DBs I own are 50#, so I'm going to work with these and try to increase the reps for my progressive overload.

Level 32 Minifig Jedi Assassin

Current Challenge  | Battle Log | "Epic" Quest

Previous Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6789101111.51213141516171819, 2021222324, 25, 262728293031323334

"A man who wants to do something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse." -Stephan Dolley, Jr.

"You don't get stronger by skipping workouts." - me, to myself, about 3 times a week

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Challenge is off to a good (not perfect) start.

 

I got home from work around 6 and started checking Twitter while getting dinner started, as has been my previous habit.  I forgot about my new "no social media or games from 6-9" rule until about 6:30.  So, I got off my phone from 6:30 to 9.  I didn't interact with my family as much as I should have.  The kids were being a little hyper and I needed some peace and quiet, so I made myself scarce after dinner until it was time to get them ready for bed.  I need to do better about that moving forward.  Baby steps.

 

I also didn't adhere to my "no phone after 10 PM" rule because I was watching a basketball game and checking twitter to see what others were saying about it.  I stayed up an hour past my intended bedtime and my team ended up losing.  What a waste!

 

As for my bulking, I ate over my planned 250 calorie surplus.  I was fully conscious of my actions, though.  Trying to burn through the last of the Christmas candy rather than just tossing it out.

 

Goal calories = 2340 + 175 from workout = 2515

Total calories was 2820, which equates to 305 calories over my surplus.

402 g CHO, 94 g FAT, 109 g PRO

Level 32 Minifig Jedi Assassin

Current Challenge  | Battle Log | "Epic" Quest

Previous Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6789101111.51213141516171819, 2021222324, 25, 262728293031323334

"A man who wants to do something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse." -Stephan Dolley, Jr.

"You don't get stronger by skipping workouts." - me, to myself, about 3 times a week

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I also didn't adhere to my "no phone after 10 PM" rule because I was watching a basketball game and checking twitter to see what others were saying about it.  I stayed up an hour past my intended bedtime and my team ended up losing.  What a waste!

 

Was it that basketball game? The one everybody's talking about? If it's the one I'm thinking of, I was rooting for Oklahoma too, since I'm required by law to hate Kansas. ;)

Sea Level

Vintage Sea-elf Assassin

Current Challenge: Sea Level I : Respawn
Pro Aris et Focis

"To the Sea, to the Sea! The white gulls are crying, The wind is blowing, and the white foam is flying."

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Was it that basketball game? The one everybody's talking about? If it's the one I'm thinking of, I was rooting for Oklahoma too, since I'm required by law to hate Kansas. ;)

 

Nope.  The other one.  #4 UVA coming up short against lowly (and hated) Virginia Tech.  I guess I can be glad my game didn't go to 3 OTs before we lost...

Level 32 Minifig Jedi Assassin

Current Challenge  | Battle Log | "Epic" Quest

Previous Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6789101111.51213141516171819, 2021222324, 25, 262728293031323334

"A man who wants to do something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse." -Stephan Dolley, Jr.

"You don't get stronger by skipping workouts." - me, to myself, about 3 times a week

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Nope.  The other one.  #4 UVA coming up short against lowly (and hated) Virginia Tech.  I guess I can be glad my game didn't go to 3 OTs before we lost...

 

Bummer. Yeah, I suppose having grown up in the midwest that that game was on my radar, rather than UVA.

Sea Level

Vintage Sea-elf Assassin

Current Challenge: Sea Level I : Respawn
Pro Aris et Focis

"To the Sea, to the Sea! The white gulls are crying, The wind is blowing, and the white foam is flying."

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Day 2 wrap-up

 

Did well on my no phone rule last night.  Was off the phone from 6 to 9 and then put it away and got ready for bed around 10.  Stole my Kindle back from my wife so I could read on it instead of my phone.

 

As for the calorie surplus, I was a little under per MFP, but right on target according to my UP tracker.  I tend to believe my UP tracker since it accounts for how active (or usually how sedentary) I am for the day.

 

Per UP, total burn was 1807 calories and intake was 2065.  Per MFP, goal was 2340.

206 g CHO, 82 g FAT, 86 g PRO

Level 32 Minifig Jedi Assassin

Current Challenge  | Battle Log | "Epic" Quest

Previous Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6789101111.51213141516171819, 2021222324, 25, 262728293031323334

"A man who wants to do something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse." -Stephan Dolley, Jr.

"You don't get stronger by skipping workouts." - me, to myself, about 3 times a week

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Boo. I'm following you.

 

Yeah you are!  Glad to see you back.  I was excited to see your post on FB about Daisy Ridley deadlifting.  Are you going to do a challenge thread?

Level 32 Minifig Jedi Assassin

Current Challenge  | Battle Log | "Epic" Quest

Previous Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6789101111.51213141516171819, 2021222324, 25, 262728293031323334

"A man who wants to do something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse." -Stephan Dolley, Jr.

"You don't get stronger by skipping workouts." - me, to myself, about 3 times a week

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Day 3 wrap-up

 

Bodyweight Mastery Program:

Partial ROM (Seated) Pistol Squats - 5/5, 6/6, 6/6 to a height of about 18"; This kinda meets my quest goal, but I'm going to drop down to 16" next week rather than advancing to assisted full-range pistols

Hands-and-feet-Elevated Pike Push-ups - 5, 7, 7

Hanging Leg Raises (slightly bent knees) - 7, 7, 7

Assisted One-Arm Push-ups (one arm on basketball) - 8/6, 5/5, 4/4

 

Calories burned - 2,131

Calories eaten - 2,408

Surplus - 277

251 CHO, 100 FAT, 153 PRO

 

Managed to stay off my phone from 6-9.  My wife worked late and then had band practice, so I took the kids to Five Guys (yay protein!) and then played with them and got them to bed.  I did not stick to my 10 PM phone shut-off, since I'm here on NF updating my thread, but c'est la vie. All in all a good day.

Level 32 Minifig Jedi Assassin

Current Challenge  | Battle Log | "Epic" Quest

Previous Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6789101111.51213141516171819, 2021222324, 25, 262728293031323334

"A man who wants to do something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse." -Stephan Dolley, Jr.

"You don't get stronger by skipping workouts." - me, to myself, about 3 times a week

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Yeah you are!  Glad to see you back.  I was excited to see your post on FB about Daisy Ridley deadlifting.  Are you going to do a challenge thread?

 Yep, Eilyd Starts Over, in the Rebels (since I'm starting over from so far behind that I don't feel capable of doing ranger-y things). I'm glad to be back and following my old compatriots. :D

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Day 4 Wrap-up

 

Did okay on the phone goals.  I was off social media and games from 6-9, though I'm still working on switching my focus from myself to my family.  I guess it's really two separate habits.  Shut off the phone & computer around 10 and read till 11.

 

I got close on my calorie surplus goal again!

Estimated burn = 1780 cals

Calories eaten = 1963

Surplus = 183

191 g CHO, 82 g FAT, 119 g PRO

Level 32 Minifig Jedi Assassin

Current Challenge  | Battle Log | "Epic" Quest

Previous Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6789101111.51213141516171819, 2021222324, 25, 262728293031323334

"A man who wants to do something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse." -Stephan Dolley, Jr.

"You don't get stronger by skipping workouts." - me, to myself, about 3 times a week

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Week 1, Day 5 workout

 

Squats + Press + Pull-ups

Pistol Squats (seated to 16" height) - 3/3, 4/3, 4/2 - my right leg needs some work, but the drop from 18" on Wednesday to 16" today was harder than I expected

Sandbag Floor Press - 0x130# (tried and failed), 5x125#, 7x110#, 9x100#

Pull-ups - 3x5x20#

Zottman Curl - 5x50#, 4x50#

 

Jelly arms after this one.

  • Like 1

Level 32 Minifig Jedi Assassin

Current Challenge  | Battle Log | "Epic" Quest

Previous Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6789101111.51213141516171819, 2021222324, 25, 262728293031323334

"A man who wants to do something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse." -Stephan Dolley, Jr.

"You don't get stronger by skipping workouts." - me, to myself, about 3 times a week

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Day 5 wrap-up

 

Estimated burn - 2191 calories

Estimated intake - 2735 calories

Surplus - 544 calories

241 CHO, 147 FAT, 132 PRO

 

Day 6 wrap-up

 

Estimated burn - 1853 calories

Estimated intake - 2312 calories

Surplus - 459 calories

294 CHO, 81 FAT, 89 PRO

Level 32 Minifig Jedi Assassin

Current Challenge  | Battle Log | "Epic" Quest

Previous Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6789101111.51213141516171819, 2021222324, 25, 262728293031323334

"A man who wants to do something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse." -Stephan Dolley, Jr.

"You don't get stronger by skipping workouts." - me, to myself, about 3 times a week

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Maybe I missed this, but what does the height on pistols mean? Are you going up that high from a fully bent knee?

That's the height of the bench behind me. I start standing up and then squat down until my butt hits the bench and I stand back up. So, it's not full range of motion, but I'm gradually getting closer to the floor.

Level 32 Minifig Jedi Assassin

Current Challenge  | Battle Log | "Epic" Quest

Previous Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6789101111.51213141516171819, 2021222324, 25, 262728293031323334

"A man who wants to do something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse." -Stephan Dolley, Jr.

"You don't get stronger by skipping workouts." - me, to myself, about 3 times a week

Link to comment

That's the height of the bench behind me. I start standing up and then squat down until my butt hits the bench and I stand back up. So, it's not full range of motion, but I'm gradually getting closer to the floor.

 

Ah! This makes more sense. I like your method of working up to it -- my frustration with pistols was that I could only generally manage a couple with 70% range of motion, and so I couldn't do a lot in the way of increasing reps.

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Ah! This makes more sense. I like your method of working up to it -- my frustration with pistols was that I could only generally manage a couple with 70% range of motion, and so I couldn't do a lot in the way of increasing reps.

 

I've been trying to follow the progression shown here: http://neatstrength.com/pistol-squat-progression/and I got some good tips from Beast Skills http://www.beastskills.com/one-legged-squat-the-pistol/

Level 32 Minifig Jedi Assassin

Current Challenge  | Battle Log | "Epic" Quest

Previous Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6789101111.51213141516171819, 2021222324, 25, 262728293031323334

"A man who wants to do something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse." -Stephan Dolley, Jr.

"You don't get stronger by skipping workouts." - me, to myself, about 3 times a week

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Leaving this here for myself and anyone else that wants to see pistol squat progressions PLUS a troubleshooting guide:

 

http://breakingmuscle.com/strength-conditioning/whats-preventing-you-from-doing-pistol-squats-how-to-progress-pistols

Level 32 Minifig Jedi Assassin

Current Challenge  | Battle Log | "Epic" Quest

Previous Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6789101111.51213141516171819, 2021222324, 25, 262728293031323334

"A man who wants to do something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse." -Stephan Dolley, Jr.

"You don't get stronger by skipping workouts." - me, to myself, about 3 times a week

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I've been trying to follow the progression shown here: http://neatstrength.com/pistol-squat-progression/and I got some good tips from Beast Skills http://www.beastskills.com/one-legged-squat-the-pistol/

Oh those are great! I appreciate the second one's pointing out the (should have been obvious) position to strengthen the passive leg--holding it up high has been one of my biggest challenges.

 

Another passive leg training position I heard is to start out facing a low block, and resting your passive foot on it. Then squat. It enables you to do the motion without the challenge of supporting your passive leg and also makes balance a bit easier.

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