Wednesday, March 28, 2012

12 Week Experiment: Week 3

Day 1: A
Squat: 125lbs.
Bench: 115lbs.
Upright Row: 70lbs.

 Day 2: B
Squat: 130lbs.
Press: 65lbs.
Deadlift: 125lbs.

 Day 3: A
Squat: 135lbs.
Bench: 120lbs.
Upright Row: 75lbs.

I had my Day 1 workout last night. Evidently 125lbs is the point where squats start to "feel" heavy. I was still able to do my full routine with minimal rest between sets. However, there's that moment when you square up, with the bar across your shoulders, and a little voice in your head says "Hey buddy, this shit's heavy!" I got that voice last night.

It's funny, The Mrs. once yelled at me, while I was lifting, saying that I was thinking about it too much. She, at the time, was right. But last night the one point I had on my side is that I knew the weight on my back was only 5lbs heavier then the previous workout. So, I could logic through that if I had easily gone 120lbs only a few days earlier then there was no reason I shouldn't be able to do 125lbs today.

I think that's the biggest advantage of an incremental program. Even if you don't see the same results that you would with a more traditional split program you have the emotional safety net that it's only 5lbs more than last time in the gym. That, for me at least, is a huge help when I hit mental hurdles. Certain weights, regardless of my ability to lift them, always pose a problem. 135lbs, 225lbs, and 315lbs are huge hurdles, mentally.

There's something about that first, second, and third set of 45lb plates that makes my knees weak. Even if I know I can lift a given weight, seeing those plates makes me doubt myself. That's another big gym hurdle. Getting out of your head enough to lift, and lift heavy, but not losing your focus, and the knowledge that the weight on your back isn't much scarier then the weight was two days ago.

Saturday morning, I'll hit one of those milestones. I feel good, let's see if I'm overconfident.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

12 Week Experiment: Week 2

I had a slight hiccup week 1, so I doubled up a workout to start week 2. Once the weights get higher I won't be able to do that, but at the moment the only ill effects I have from back-to-back workouts is a bit of tenderness in my shoulders.

Week 2, day 1, last night was a total of 22 minutes from start to finish. Just goes to show that when the gym is empty, and you know what you're doing you can get in, and out, really quickly.

My weights for Week 2 are as follows:

Day 1: B
Squat: 110lbs.
Press: 55lbs.
Deadlift: 105lbs.

Day 2: A
Squat: 115lbs.
Bench: 110lbs.
Upright Row: 65lbs.

Day 3: B
Squat: 120lbs.
Press: 60lbs.
Deadlift: 115lbs.

One thing I noticed. I should be deadlifting roughly 1.5 times my squat. Lifting a weight from the ground to hip height is easier then a full high-bar squat. However, with my starting weights, until I de-load, my squats will always be slightly heavier. I'm not terribly worried though. My lower back has always been an issue for me, and deadlifts, with a steady increase in weight should help that.

I bumped my Day 2 Row up 5lbs to 65 lbs. For an upright row the bar needs to come to rest between each rep. The smallest bumper plate my gym has is 10lbs. So, 65lbs is the smallest amount I can row without needing to cobble together a riser of some sort. So, I "cheated" and went from 55lbs, to 65lbs. The lifts were still easy, and I'm progressing well.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

12 Week Experiment

This morning my weight was 310.8lbs. Not my heaviest, but close. Evidently the life of a bachelor was not kind on my waistline.

Today I'm beginning an experiment. I've dabbled with StrongLifts 5x5 in the past, with solid results. However, I've often lacked the nutritional component. Now, with the Mrs. and I eating pescetarian the dietary side of the equation should be well in hand.

While I have dabbled in StrongLisfts in the past the goal in this experiment is to allow the program to run it's full 12 week course more or less un-altered. My starting lifts are listed below:

Squat: 95lbs.
Bench: 95lbs.
Press: 50lbs.
Upright Row: 50lbs.
Deadlift: 95lbs.

While StrongLifts recommends beginning with an empty bar, and I will be warming up with an empty bar, I do not intend to start at 45lbs for my lifts. Including this modification will get me to a weight that is still easy, and will allow me to work on form, and technique, without forcing me to wait additional weeks to reach a semi-challenging weight.

Each week I will be lifting three times, most likely Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On those days I will record my body weight and current lifts. At the end of the 12 week cycle, I'll post side-by-side photos from week 1, day 1, and week 12, day 3. I will then begin another 12 week cycle.

My objective with this experiment is not to prove the validity of the StrongLifts program as that has already been done time and time again. I'm looking to prove that I can lift regularly, on a pescetarian diet, without sacrificing results, or incurring injury.

Day 1 : A
Squat: 95lbs.
Bench: 95lbs.
Upright Row: 50lbs.

Day 2 : B
Squat: 100lbs.
Press: 50lbs.
Deadlift: 95lbs.

Day 3 : A
Squat: 105lbs.
Bench: 100lbs.
Upright Row: 55lbs.

Five sets, five reps. I'll see you in 12 weeks.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Religion & Politics

I do my best to keep my religious views to myself. Mostly because I simply don't have the stomach for religious debate. I'm an atheist. I was for a long time an Agnostic, in so much that I didn't know, or really care, one way or the other. However recent changes, recent shifts in the socio-political climate have forced me to re-evaluate my position.

I guess I don't have to be PC, so I'll be blunt. Religion is a disease. Not belief, not faith. Faith is a good thing, believing in something is a good thing. Religion is terrifying.

Years ago a group of fairly smart guys got together and decided to make a country. They decided to do something that was unprecedented at the time. They built a country on a foundation that the church, and the state, should be separate entities. They did not say that there could be no church, only that the government and the church should be wholly separate entities. Over the years this belief has grown, and has been interpreted to mean not just a freedom to practice any religion as you see fit, and to worship, within reason, where, and how you please but that you can be free from religion.

I'd like to stress that point, we as Americans have a constitutional right of freedom FROM religion. Yet in many places being an Atheist, or Agnostic is looked down upon, you're shunned, and reviled, for not believing in God. Furthermore, over the years the line between church and state has blurred. "Under God" entered the pledge of Allegiance. Prayer enter public school, "In god we trust" is on every bill printed. Presidential candidates stand and proclaim their religious fervor, and arrange photo opportunities in church on Sunday.

I have no issue with faith, belief, or the practice of your faith. I have an issue with religion, especially when religion influences politics. Once particular point that has been particularly troublesome for me in recent months is how religious belief is impacting modern medicine.

1) If a pharmacist doesn't believe in contraception he, or she, should not be able to refuse to dispense medicine to a patient with a valid prescription. If they do refuse they should be stripped of their license.

2) A doctor, should not lecture, or attempt to influence a patient based on his, or her, religious beliefs. If a woman comes to you for birth control, an abortion, or any family planning service you leave your religious views at the door. If you cannot then you shouldn't be a doctor. If a doctor attempts to influence a patient based on his or her religious views they should lose their license.

3) Any individual who attempts to mandate a doctors behavior based on their religious views is no more fit for politics then my dog.

I guess, in short, I'm tired of religion running politics, influencing medicine, and public policy. I'm tired of my country falling apart because we're too busy arguing about abortion, and birth control, as opposed to worrying about economic policy, poverty, warmongering, graft, theft, fraud, and a dozen other issues that have crippled this country yet they get no more then a soundbite sandwiched between Rush Limbaugh, and Fox News's latest "reporting".