Thursday, July 28, 2011

Week 19 Midweek Workout

Last night I just wasn't feeling right. During my warm-ups for squats I felt stiff and tight and like I didn't have my usual range of motion. I warmed up and went into my work sets, 230 lbs. First set, last rep, I paused like I sometimes do and just couldn't hang on. I reracked the bar and finished the other 4 sets. The last set felt easier than the first couple! So I will be staying at 230 lbs for Friday's workout.

Overhead presses went well as expected, deloaded to 90 lbs and switched to 3x5. I am hoping 3x5 means I will progress up over 120 lbs on this lift.

Deadlifts. So I warmed up at 135 lbs. 1x5 no problem. I then loaded 225 on the bar. I was going to do a 1x3 before loading up to 250 lbs. That's when I knew I had a problem. My left hip joint was screaming trying to do 225. I completed one rep and called it a night. It just wasn't happening. Left hip still bothering me. I will keep an eye on it and determine what to do about tomorrow's workout. I can't imagine doing squats if my hip is hurting like this. It isn't sore, it is very tender and there is a sharp pain if I make certain movements.

Overall disappointing. I guess all lifters deal with an injury now and then, but into my 19th week of lifting I was hoping I was out of the woods.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Week 19 First Workout 1

225 lb squats, 130 lb bench press, 150 lb barbell rows.

225 lb squats, though a couple of the reps were tenuous, I was able to complete the 5x5. A couple of the reps I was down a while, but was able to fight it and get the squat! It felt great. 225 lbs didn't feel nearly as heavy as 215 lbs used to. And adding 50 lbs after the 5x5 and doing a walkout is working great. I feel stronger than ever on my squats. At this rate I should be able to continue to progress. I would love to be over 250 lbs before another stall.

130 lb bench press. Didn't feel as good as last week. Struggled on the 5th rep on almost every set, and just couldn't power the last rep up. So I went 5-5-5-5-4 again! Hopefully Friday will be the charm.

150 lb barbell rows. Wasn't happening tonight. Went 3-5-5-3 on these. My form wasn't great. I will try the next two times at this weight but I think a deload is in my future!

Felt great on squats, alright on BP, and terrible on rows. A so-so workout.

Not sure I've mentioned this but last week I started doing 1000 mg of L-Glutamine in the morning and another 1000mg before bed. Maybe that is why my squats are progressing again.

Also, saw a guy doing 435 lb squats at the gym today, though he wasn't going quite parallel. Impressive none the less.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Week 18, Final Workout

So yesterday at 8am I hit the gym. I had a long day ahead of me with several events scheduled through the day.

Work softball game.
Family birthday party.
Church seminar.

So I had to get my workout in early. First, squats of course at 220 lbs. Remember that Thursday I went 5-5-5-5-4. Well, yesterday I completed the 5x5! And I felt like I could have done 225 lbs no problem. After completing it I loaded an additional 50 lbs and did a walk-out.

If you are doing SL 5x5 I recommend the walk-out. After doing your 5x5, load another 50 lbs on the bar and just put it in the squat position on your back, walk back, but don't squat it. This build tendon and ligament strength and I believe it will help you be successful in lifting heavier squats in the future. (And so does Mehdi!)

Overhead press was next, 105 lbs. No surprise, I plateau'd. So down to 3x5 on this lift next time. If I stall again I am going to spring for the fractional weight set Mehdi recommends. I would love to eventually get to 135 lbs on this lift, even if only for a 1x5.

Deadlift. 240 lbs. My previous, all be it premature, plateau. 240 with good form seemed like it was going to be impossible. I just didn't feel I was going to budge that weight. But I keep my back arched, and gave it a try. Nothing.

I then remove my shoes and gave it another go. I completed the 1x5!! Mehdi recommends lifting barefoot or with lifting shoes. The shoes I wear are not air pocketed or anything like that, but the apparently have enough cushion to matter. I think I am going to invest in a pair of these:

http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/products/mens_footwear.htm

I see other lifters wearing them and they make sense. Kind of funny looking but I am not there to win a fashion contest.

So tomorrow I go for 225 lb squats! What an accomplishment that would be with 2 45 lb plates on each side. Also 135 lb bench presses, again an accomplishment with a 45 lb plate on each side. And then 150 lb barbell rows. I am going to watch my form on these closely.

I did my official week 18 weigh-in today. 189.8, with 16.4% body fat. Plus my pants have been fitting well. So it is obvious I am still progressing despite switching back to skim milk. Nutrition is the key!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Midweek Workout Week 18

220 lb squats (PR), 130 lb bench press (PR), and 145 lb barbell rows.

After stalling at 215 lbs, and then finally busting through my previous plateau, I was a little concerned. But after my first work set it seemed easier than I thought it would be. It felt good. And I knew that completing all 5 sets would mean 2 45 lb plates on each side next time. That was good motivation!

The second set felt just as good as the first, and so did the third. The fourth set got a little more laborious, but without being in danger ofnot completing a rep, I was confident for my fifth set. The first rep of the last set was hard, the second was even harder, the third required a lot or strain, and the 4th just wouldn't happen.

5-5-5-5-3. So close

Bench press. 130 lb, a new high since I started 5x5. The first set was tough, but then I remembered Mehdi saying to squeeze the bar, and act like you are trying to bend it in half. The second and third sets came rather easily after that. The fourth set, especially the last two reps was tougher.

The fifth set started well, but by the third rep I knew I'd be lucky to complete the set. The 4th rep barely made it. And on the fifth rep I just didn't have it and had to put the bar in the hooks.

5-5-5-5-4. Even closer!

Barbell rows, 145 lbs. Been at this weight before. I completed all 5 sets with the only form problems being on the last rep of the last two sets.

Good news, since dropping whole milk again my weight is down 1.5 lbs and and a .5 to .6% lower body fat. I am happy with that. Glad that I experimented with whole milk but it was just too much.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Week 18, Workout 1

What happened to week 17's 3rd workout? Skipped. Due to some commitments I couldn't make it to the gym. This week I also have some scheduling issues, so I am working out on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

So tonight was 215 lb squats, 105 lb overhead presses, and 230 lb deadlifts.

215 lb squats. After a deload at this weight, then a stall last time, I was feeling confident. And I completed the 5x5 without much of a struggle. I was never in danger of not completing it. So next 220 lbs. I am hoping that the strength I have gained will shoot me right past these next several weights.

Overhead press. After not coming close last time at 105 lbs, I was not confident. But my goal was to complete at least the first three sets. That way if I have to switch to 3x5 on this lift (and I will if I can't complete 5x5 on Saturday), then I can at least continue to progress. I went 5-5-5-4-1. So that is a good sign! I will obviously try to complete the 5x5 on Saturday, but if not this will be the first lift I switch to 3x5 on.

230 lb deadlift. The deadlifting has been kicking my butt lately. And even though I've been at this weight before I was a little worried. But I powered through it without too much effort. It was tough, for sure, but I completed it with good form. Now on to 240lb, where I stalled before, all be it, prematurely.

Nutritionally I have been doing well. Maybe a bit too well. I am not happy with the amount of fat I have gained, so I am going to back to skim milk. And I am going to cut my calories a bit. Though I am still going to do high protein.

I'll check in after Thursday's workout.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Midweek 17 Log

215 lb squats, 125 lb bench reports, and 135 lb rows.

The squats were feeling so good! I powered through the first four sets. And was confident I was going to conquer the 215 lb level. Then on the very last rep I just couldn't bring the weight back up. So I went 5-5-5-5-4. I think that I will get past this with the third try. Then hopefully my strength gains will let me continue to progress.

Bench press. YES! All 5 sets of 5 at 125 lbs, my previous plateau, and really never in danger of not completing them. I was a little rushed because the gym was closing at 10. I started these at 9:30pm and wanted to be done by 9:45pm to have time for rows. It was so satisfying to lift that last rep! Again, hopefully I will be at the 135lb level (or higher) with 2 45 lb plates before I have a stall again.

Rows. 140 lbs. Been at this weight before. Due to time I couldn't rest, or warm-up, and I had to rush these. On a few reps my form was crappy. But I think I will advance to 145 next time because I've been at these weights before.

Overall, a good work-out considering that I was rushed at the end. Weighed my self last night and came in at 188 lbs even. So the nutrition continues to be doing well. Wearing a pair of 34" pants today that tend to run small, and they are still comfortable!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Week 17 Workout 1

Well, my fears were realized. I stalled on squats and overhead press last night.

On the 215 lb squats, I went 5,0,5,5,5. Just couldn't come back up on that first squat in set two. Not sure what happened. Rest felt okay though it was difficult. I had hoped deloading would have helped me bust through this plateau, but no can do. I think I will be able to complete 215 next attempt, but we'll see.

On the 105 lb overhead press, I went 5,5,1,3,0. I knew I was going to struggle since last time I busted through 105 lbs on this lift I was really doing the push lift. But after the first two sets I thought "wow, I might pull this off." Very next rep took a lot to complete, and then the next rep just wouldn't come. I managed 3 the next set, but didn't even attempt a the final set.

220lb deadlifts went well. I think my form has improved the most on these than any other lift. Now up to 230 next time which is where I maxed out last time.

So Wednesday, 215 lb squats, 125 lb bench press, and 140 lb rows. We'll see.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Final Workout Log Week 16

So Saturday morning I headed to the gym to wrap up my week 16 workouts. 210 lb squats, 120 lb bench press, and 135 lb barbell rows.

All of the lifts were challenging, but not as much as they were the last time I was at these weights. The squats were difficult, but I was able to complete all 5 sets. I was never in danger of not completing them, though I was delayed coming back up on a couple of the reps. I really had to push through to complete those reps. This means I am a little skeptical regarding the 215 lb level, which is where I plateau'd previously.

120 lb bench press went better than I expected. I had stalled once at this weight, but then completed it on the next attempt. I then plateau'd at 125 lbs and had to deload. I think I will probably be successful this week at 125 lbs, and will probably struggle at 130 lbs the following week. Just a hunch, we'll see.

135 lb barbell rows. These seemed more difficult than last time I was at this weight. Which is probably because I have been forgetting to put the weight back down quickly. I concentrated on that, pulling the weight up quickly, then letting it drop, while keeping my form.

A couple of notes. I had one guy using a machine next to the power-rack try to pump me up as I prepared to start squatting by saying something like "Let's get ready! No pain like squat pain!" LOL It was funny, and I agreed with him.

I struck up a conversation with another guy that came in as I was finishing my row sets. He started squatting. He was squatting 325 lbs, with impeccable form. So I asked him how long he had been squatting. Turns out he used to compete and is just getting back after recovering from an accident. When I complimented him on the weight he was squatting he told me he set a world record by squatting 783 lbs! As easy as he was squatting 325 lbs I believe it.

He also gave me some good advice regarding squatting, on how to work on my form. He said he does most of his squatting with a broomstick. And that he'll squat facing a wall to make sure he is staying back.

One other note, I started doing walk-outs after squatting. After my work sets I add 50 lbs to the bar and just unrack it, step back, hold for a few seconds, then rerack the bar. Mehdi recommends this for strengthening your ligaments and joints for squatting heavier weights later on.

Nutritionally I continue to eat high, clean calories, with as much protein as possible. My official weigh in for week 16 was 186.8 lbs, and 16.4% body fat. Again, the body fat is an estimate, using a body fat measuring scale, which is probably lower than reality. In September, at the 6 month mark, I will have a trainer at the gym give me another assessment and I'll get a true body fat measure then.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Week 16, Midweek Workout

So yesterday afternoon I hit the gym for my workout. 205 lb squats, 100 lb overhead presses, 210 lb deadlifts.

On squats I did two warm-up sets, 135 lbs and 185 lbs. I then went into my work sets, resting for 4 minutes between each. Concentrated on form. 205 lbs felt heavier than I remembered it. Since I plateaued at 215 lbs I am worried that deloading isn't going to work and that I am going to stall at that weight again. That is rather disappointing as I had hoped to hit 250 lbs before having to switch to 3x5.

100 lb overhead presses were, as expected, challenging. Now that I am not doing the push press (didn't realize the difference) I was still able to do the 5x5, but the last rep of the last two sets was a struggle. I did get the weight up though and now I move on to 115 lbs, my plateau weight from before, next week.

210 lb deadlifts were challenging. In fact, I don't remember 210 lbs being so heavy last time I was at that weight. For historic purposes, I was progressing nicely on this lift until I hit 240 lbs. I stalled twice and mistakenly considered that a plateau and deloaded. I then deloaded voluntarily following my Florida trip. I am considering all of that one legitimate deload. If I plateau again, I will deload and switch to adding 5 lbs instead of 10 lbs. Again, this is disappointing as I was hoping to be much closer, or even at, 300 lbs before I changed this.

I have tracked my nutrition the last two days. While my calories are about where I had wanted them, my protein is down 10-20% from my target. I hope to fix this by upping my whole milk consumption. I am going to try to do 1/2 GOMAD, which is 64 oz of whole milk a day. Right now I am at about 40, so I need to get two more 12 oz glasses of this a day. This will add 600 calories and 32 grams of protein to my consumption.

I weighed myself last night. I consider it unofficial since I don't do my official weigh in until after my next workout, but I was a little over 188 lbs, and the body fat reading was 16.3%. That is probably more like 19% since the scale isn't very accurate on its body fat measurements.

Nutrition: July 6th, 2011 Eating Log

So I thought I would try this one more day:

6am: 8 oz whole milk, serving of ON's 100% Whey powder, 1/2 cup of quick oats.
Estimated calories: 406
Running total: 406
Estimated protein: 38g
Running total: 38g

9am: packet of GV Cinnamon Roll instant oatmeal, 1 serving of cottage cheese, 1 banana
Estimated calories: 308
Running total: 714
Estimated protein: 19g
Running total: 57g

12pm: Combination plate: Fettucini Alfredo, Lasagna, and Chicken Parmesan, w/Tossed Salad
Estimated calories: 1310
Running total: 2024
Estimated protein: 110g
Running total: 167g

6pm (post workout): 8 oz whole milk, serving of ON's 100% Whey powder, 1/2 cup of quick oats.
Estimated calories: 406
Running total: 2430
Estimated protein: 38g
Running total: 205g

7pm: 6oz venison sloppy joe, 2 servings baked beans, 12 oz whole milk
Estimated calories: 1030
Running total: 3560
Estimated protein: 73g
Running total: 278g

9pm: 2 eggs scrambled, 12 oz whole milk
Estimated calories: 490
Running total: 4050
Estimated protein: 29g
Running total: 307g

Not bad, 4050 calories, 307g of protein. Remember, my targets are 3700 calories, and 370 grams of protein.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Nutrition: July 5th, 2011 Eating Log

I got this idea yesterday when I was blogging about my nutrition. To take a day, log what I ate, and then try to estimate the calories and figure out how much I took in. So here goes:

Got up at 5am to get ready for work.

6am: 8 oz whole milk, serving of ON's 100% Whey powder, 1/2 cup of quick oats.
Estimated calories: 406
Running total: 406
Estimated protein: 38g
Running total: 38g

9am: packet of GV Baked Apple instant oatmeal, 1 serving of cottage cheese, 1 banana
Estimated calories: 308
Running total: 714
Estimated protein: 19g
Running total: 57g

12am: 2 grilled chicken breasts
Estimated calories: 329
Running total: 1043
Estimated protein: 103g
Running total: 160g

3pm: baked sweet potato, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon Olivio, cinnamon
Estimated calories: 213
Running total: 1256
Estimated protein: 2g
Running total: 162g

6pm: 8 oz. kielbasa, 4 servings baked beans, 1 avocado, 1 tomato, 1/4 onion, 1 tblspoon olive oil, 12 oz of whole milk.
Estimated calories: 1443
Running total: 2699
Estimated protein: 68.5
Running total: 230.5

9pm: 1/2 serving ON Serious Mass, 12 oz whole milk, 1 banana
Estimated calories: 934
Running total: 3633
Estimated protein: 38g
Running total: 268.5

That was my day yesterday. 3600+ calories, 268 grams of protein. At 185 lbs, and being severely ectomorphic, my goal is a minimum of 3700 calories, and I want to be at 2X grams of protein, or 370 grams.

As you can see I fell short of that. If I add 3 more glass of milk a day, that would put me at an additional: 612 calories, and 36 grams of protein. That would get me closer to my goals.

As you can see, I am taking in 6 times a day already. I could eat more at various sitting, but when I do that (eat more for lunch) it seems I can't eat as much as dinner. And so the struggle goes!

Also, the dinner I ate was not ideal. Kielbasa is processed meat. Baked beans have a a lot of sugar in them. But it is what the wife made last night so I ate it, along with Rachel Ray's avocado and tomato salad (which is really really good!). I try to avoid the processed meats, and try to limit my sugar intake.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Week 16 Workout #1

With a busy July 4th schedule, I headed to the gym earlier yesterday to get my 5x5 in. Since I had skipped Friday's workout (circumstances beyond my control), I was scheduled for squats (200 lb), bench press (115 lb), and barbell rows (130 lb).

I completed all lifts, 5x5. Of course these are all weights that I was at before, to that is no surprise. I am anxious to see how I do as I approach my previous stall weights on the lifts.

Switched to whole milk for all of my milk drinking/usage. And also started drinking more milk. Trying to see if this will increase my weight gain. Mehdi is insistent that if you aren't taking in enough protein and calories then you won't keep progressing. So I continue to try to take in as much as I can, but there are limits on how much one can eat! I may start taking a log of my consumption to see if that helps.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Want Your Muscles To Recover Quicker? Drink Orange Juice

Found this article on a study that was done regarding the effects of orange juice on muscles following workouts.

Click here for article: Drink This Juice for Better Energy

Interesting findings. I had cut orange juice out of my diet to try to limit my sugar intake, replacing it with more whole fruits and vegetables. I might have to add a glass a day back into my diet and test this study's findings out.

Week 15, Midweek Workout

As I posted yesterday I had to move my 2nd and 3rd workouts this week to a Thursday and Saturday schedule due to my daughter's birthday.

So yesterday afternoon I got Week 15 Workout #2 in. 195 lb squats. I don't remember 195 lbs being this hard before! But since my deload on squats after a stall at 215 lbs, these last two workouts on squats have been difficult. I did have last week off so that doesn't help. Also I was still really sore from Monday's workout. The soreness lasted through my warm-up sets, and my first workout set, then was replaced by a tightness. I still feel the tightness this morning but the soreness is gone. I completed all 5 sets.

95 lb overhead press. Since discovering I was actually doing push presses, this exercise has just become flat out hard. I struggled on the last two sets, especially the last rep of each set, but I was able to complete them. 100 lbs is going to be trying to say the least.

200 lb deadlifts. Again, I don't remember 200 lbs being this difficult before my voluntary deload on this lift. I did go back to the overhand grip as I read on Mehdi's site that I shouldn't be using mixed grip until the loads get heavier. I had been using the mixed grip from the beginning.

Nutritionally I have continued to struggle taking in enough calories and protein. I have upped my usage of protein powder to every morning, and then after workouts, and the mass gainer powder in the evenings of non-workout days. That should help. I still am considering GOMAD, but am more put off by the cost of that than anything else. We'll see.