Archive for August, 2012

Bench. Stronger.

I went to do military press but the rack was taken.  I did bench.

5×90; 5x 115; 3 x 135; 5×150; 5×150; 5×170; 10x 195

Dumbbell bench 10 x 25; 3 x 10 x 30

Dips 4 x 10

Dumbbell fly 10×20; 3 x 10 x 25 ea

Tri pull down 4 x 10 x 30.

Went to bed by 12am last night.  By 11:30 this evening.  A paleo dinner.  Lots of protein today. 

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Friday Workout

Squats.  I am continuing with the 5/3/1 program – focusing on one major muscle group each day.  Friday is squats.

My routine is like so.  Start off with overhead squats, adding some weights, doing sets of three.  My goal here is mainly to get my glutes, lower back and calves working and my shoulder stretched.  Since I’m not that flexible I don’t go down that far. 

I then do a 3×3 front squats, at a low weight to stretch my forearms.

I warmed up with 5×105, 5×130, 3×160 back squats

My work sets 5×170, 5×200, 8×225. 

I then did three sets of hack squats so that I begin to have some muscle memory and confidence with heavier weights.  3×275, 3×295, 3×325.  My chest, abs and back were immediately more engaged. 

Finishing:  Leg Press (Machine) 12×130, 15 x150, 15 x 130, 15 x 110, 15 x 90.

Leg lifts 5×10. 

Still feeling it.

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No Workout Today

No workout today.  I was a little sad.

The fundamental sadness was being without a partner.  My church decided to purchase a dishwasher for the rectory but they did not consult me.  It’s a first world problem, but one that made me wonder how they thought of me.

I also saw an article about how older men had a greater risk of having autistic children. 

And then I also saw an article about the Cardinal blessing the Republican Convention.  I got over that. 

Today I ate well.  Mainly protein and some wine.  Was cornered by a particularly voluble parishioner who talks in parentheses. 

So tonight my goal – just get to bed.

so I can do squats tomorrow.


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I did my first 5/3/1 routine today.  I got to a set of 12 at 180, which apparently makes my 1 rep max a 250.  Makes sense.  The last set is supposed to be as many as possible.  I think I can get to 315 by the end of the year.

Had one meal, two beers.

Workout after the warmup:

Bench Barbell Press 5x 85; 5x 110; 3 x 130; 5x 140; 5 x 160; 12 x 180.

Dumb bell press:  15 x 15; 20 x 15; 25 x 15; 30 x 15.

Overhead chest pull over 15 x 35

Row: 15 x 55; 4 x 15 x 70

A good workout.   Tomorrow:  the rule.


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Had a funeral today of someone who’d been a member of the church for many years.  I didn’t get my squats in either Monday or Tuesday.  On the other hand I found a workout site that makes life easy.

I had some plans change on Friday evening.

Didn’t eat until 5:30.  Then had a pretty decadent wine tasting.  Lovely.  Fun.  Not great behavior for my goals.   Someone said I could be the mascot for a wine bar being opened.  It was being called the “Stoned Koala.”  I did not eat well, but it could have been worse.

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Behavior and Goals

Today’s weight 185.5. Tannita computes my bodyfat at 26%.  I’m taking photos today.  They will not be published.

Goal 150. But 184 would be fine.

Dan John asks in Never Let Go “do your behaviors match your goals?” Do my actions of staying up late, drinking a Garnacha and shots, watching Breaking Bad or Entourage on my laptop mean I’ll become an engaging writer, a more creative singer or a stronger weightlifter? Will they help me lose my keg around the middle?


I cannot become a producer if all I’m doing is consuming. I will not let my body reclibrate if I don’t change what I do.

Of course, being creatures of ritual and habit, this is difficult. This is why success starts small, changing one habit at a time; a small thing; one that requires little work.  Find the tipping point. And I suspect, for me, it’s sleep.

So my next commitment, after that of writing, is to get sleep, and sleep well.

Anyway, I deadlifted on Saturday.

My warm up:

  • Foam roller; Three sets of waiter walks,
  • Forty push ups
  • Three sets of farmers walks.
  • 3×8 OHS with a broomstick, using a bench to sit on (this helps me get depth, as I’m tight)

Then 3×6 with the bar (one minute rest):

  • Power Cleans
  • Overhead push-press
  • Front Squats
  • Good Mornings
  • Rows

The Workout:  Deadlift

  • Frog snatch stance bar x 45
  • Romanian DL 8×95 (to stretch the hamstrings.  I keep my back tight)
  • Sumo Deadlift 2x8x135 (I’m learning this lift right now, so I kept it light)
  • Deadlift 2x5x185, 5×215; 185 x 5; 135 x 10

This was my first serious deadlift workout in a couple months so I focused on getting the reps out. The 215 was not uncomfortable, and I was watching my rest time.  I tend to seek more rest when I go higher.  My current one rep max as of January is 335.  I’m going to recalibrate that t0 285, and strive for a double of that.

Alright, now I’m going to have a little breakfast. The last few days I’ve been cooking all these extra vegeables from the CSA, so I have an army’s supply of Baighan Bartha (roasted eggplant), Okra Supreme (curried), and a homemade ragu from scratch.  I’ll cook some eggs with the veggies I’ve made.

I’m not sure what to serve the ragu on. Perhaps if I just used a lot of meat it would be enough.

Today, Squats.

I have most of my meals ready.  I will get some ground beef of some sort at whole foods.

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I’ve been off the wagon.

My lifting’s still going, of course.  I look forward to it.  And I’m intentional.  I still have hit a couple prs (150 press; 245 bench).  I’ve got good form.  I’ve moved down a bit with my squats so that I can hold them at the bottom for a moment.  I have a 185 5×5 back squat right now, and I can lift it without momentum.  It’s not particularly arduous, but it is certainly a good work out.

For a couple weeks I was on my way to doing 100 pushups (I hit 54 in a row recently) and 200 airsquats until I was informed airsquats are pointless.  And so, burpees remain the conditioning exercise of choice, but I have not set a goal with them.

How about 100 in 7 minutes?

My goals remain the same:

Back Squat 360 (2x bw); Deadlift 405; press 180.   I’m at probably about 300 for the Squat, 320 for the DL and 150 for the press.   My squat and DL has decreased a little.  I still remain unsure about how to progress, but the 5×5 rule has remained useful.   I’ve generally replaced the DL with Romanian DLs.

I’ve begun to learn the clean and jerk and snatch.  With my form I can clean about 135 and snatch 100.  I’m a novice.   I close out my workouts with jump squats, plyo push-ups and/or dips.   I also would like to be able to run 5k without walking; do ten pull-ups and 20 double unders in a row.

The 5k is proving to be the hardest.

I should probably smoke less.

The primary challenge is mental.  It includes the preparation of what’s going to be in my kitchen; of making hard choices easy; of measuring my progress; and staying committed.  How am to get into that mental state?  I’m alternately convinced by the belief that a 28 day monastic change is necessary; or that small, imperceptible changes are crucial to long term habits.   One says give up booze for 28 days; the other says, drink less, and trick your mind.  One is about willpower, the other is about psychological finesse.

But I know my sticking points.

The first is that I don’t get to bed early enough.  I go to be sometimes at 2am.  I don’t do much at this time except consume culture and drink.  Getting to bed at 11pm would be a big step.

The second is alcohol.  Over the last few months I’ve consumed more beer than wine.  It’s caused a gradual increase in weight.  But, simply put, drink less or give it up for a specific period.

Do I worry about my drinking? For me it is less an addiction than a spiritual response:  I am thirsty, bored and alone.   The way for me to manage this, I suspect, is to simply go to bed earlier; call friends and write rather than the alternative.  And certainly, if I would be a more responsible person around my health, perhaps I might experience more openness.  I’m a heavy drinker, but I know the source of its habit.   I will be working to replace it as a reward.

The third is rice.  Being half Indian, Chicken Vindaloo with rice is my comfort food.   Do I give it up?  Or just diminish it gradually.  On Paleo I replaced it with Cauliflower.  Perhaps I should go out and get a ricer.

And the last habit I have are the Italian Sandwiches at Roosters.  I don’t eat sandwiches any more.  I take the bun off of burgers that I eat.  I tend to resist the bread at Italian restaurants.  Except for those Italian Sandwiches.

So what’s the next step?  My first step, and the primary one, will now be documentation.  I will return  to writing.  It will be like a diary – but with the idea to get to the emotional roots of where I’m stuck.

I have come to believe that I have a fear.  I am afraid of being in shape and healthy.  I wonder if I resist the possibility that I might possibly become physically desirable.   For if I wanted it, really, wouldn’t I just do it?

I will not set many rules.  Just one:  write.  The theory comes from some thoughts I’ve developed since reading Redirect: the Surprising New Science of Psychological Change. I will rewrite my story to include success.

I do have a few other “rules” that I seek to keep.  I will drink water when I’m out drinking; drink in half-pint increments when I drink beer; eat slowly; eat until I’m full – I’ll seek to develop my mindfulness.  I’ll still be fairly carb-restricted.  Half portions when I go out to eat.   This may be a diary of food, but it may not be.   I will, various times during the day, imagine myself turning away sandwiches and rice.

My weight  / appearance  / beach goal is to reduce my waist from 45″ to 38″.   I buy the argument that abdominal fat is particularly pernicious; and most of my excess is there.  I think this will mean that a healthy weight means losing between 28-35 lbs.  My current weight ranges from 180-185; my fighting weight is probably between 150-155.  This would bring me down to about 15% bodyfat.    In terms of calories and protein, I think it’s reasonable for me to consume about 1800 calories a day and have at least 180 grams be protein.

However, I won’t be counting.

One wise trainer said, “if you want to stick to something, tell all your friends.”  I believe he’s right.  Stick with me on this journey.  See me through.

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