Icy Hot Patch

It finally happened. It was a normal Tuesday morning, I had the day off so I was obviously going in on some deadlifts. I showed up just after 11 feeling hyped up after finishing my home made salted caramel mocha protein shake/pre workout. Blasting some Rap God I completed my warm ups and began some light sets of 8. After about a month of sumo stance I decided it was time to go back to conventional. Everything was going great, my gym nemesis was making sure I took note of his lifts, another member was going in on some 450 pound leg press, it was shaping up to be a very motivating day. Three sets in my grip started to give so I took a break and grabbed my straps before setting up for a fourth set. As I attempted to explode through my second rep my back quivers and for a split second I considered stopping to reset; I should have listened. Instead I pushed through a third and that’s when I notice my back wasn’t feeling so hot. As I lowered the bar my whole left side grabbed and I nearly collapsed to the floor in pain, what the hell just happened? I could barely move at this point and as much as some water would be great I doubted my ability to walk across the gym. I then had a moment of pure stupidity followed by some clarity. I began to set up for a fifth set. Yes, after just realizing I couldn’t walk, I for some reason thought another set was a good idea. No pain, no gain right? Brilliant. Fortunately, I remembered how much rehab Gary has gone through to get back to his regular lifts after wrecking his back and I stumbled away from the bar. Unracking the bar was probably the most painful thing I’ve done since breaking my leg. I wish I could tell you I was attempting some ridiculous weight that I’ve never touched before but that’s not the case. It was 225. A weight I’ve been working with for over a month now. If I had to take a stab at what happened I would probably say I didn’t activate my abs properly but I really don’t know. So that’s how I first injured myself working out, almost three years in. It was bound to happen at some point. I was incredibly injury prone, probably due to my girlish figure, in competitive sports (separated my shoulder twice, broken wrist, split open knee, and aforementioned broken leg) and am slightly surprised that hasn’t followed me into this portion of my life. *Knock knock*. I can already hear my Mom saying “I told you you’d get hurt” but you can’t let fear hold you back. I’ll just have to be conscious of it and lift smarter going forward. But for now I’m taking (at least) a week off to rest up. When I do go back I’ll be focused on high rep, light weight work to ease myself back in. The powerlifting style training will have to wait.

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Shut Up and Squat

Two days ago I was scheduled for 7 sets of 5 reps at 80% of my 1RM for squats. I went in after work (roughly 10:30pm) and was feeling surprisingly good considering I skipped last week due to volleyball. I stepped under the bar for my third warm up set, the bar felt light and my knees were tracking perfectly in line, not a common occurrence. So I decided to go a little off program, up the weight and lower the reps, knowing I still had a tough 10×3 day approaching later in the week. But I want to be able to squat 225 for reps before spring turns to summer and here in the Okanagan that line crosses over quite quickly so I knew it was time to take advantage of the situation. I hit 185 for 5 sets of 4 before belting up for a sixth but the fourth rep just wasn’t going to happen; I hit the breaking point. So I stripped 50 pounds off the bar and completed two sets of 135 for reps. Not at all what was planned but a good day nonetheless. I followed up with some lighter hypertrophy work as normally scheduled. This is the first time I’ve strayed off my programming for squats and I think it will honestly benefit me more than if I had just stuck with it. My percentages definitely are on point as there is still the odd day where I am unable to complete the necessary reps and will have to strip some weight. However, other than deadlifts, I rarely stack more weight on to take advantage of a higher RPE. The right programming is an incredibly important piece to making progress yet being held back by programming is not the point. Being able to adapt and take on a higher work load when my body feels good and capable is how I’m going to push through these plateaus I think I’ve hit. I just need to remember that goes for all my lifts and not just when I want to go beast mode on deadlifts.

I Won’t Support a Fake

In our culture it is common place to have someone who you aspire to be or even idolize. This can take many forms, fictional characters, movie stars, or pro athletes. As someone who aspires to work in the fitness industry some day I tend to spend many, many hours watching and learning from fitness personalities. Whether it be more on the informational side of things with guys like Silent Mike, Bart Kwan and Vitruvian Physique or more of the entertainment angle with the Buff Dudes, Bro Science aka Dom, or the Hodge twins I’m never lacking content to consume. With time, I ended up concentrating on two channels specifically; Bradley Martyn and Calum von Moger. Calum’s humor and authenticity really spoke to me, and the guy’s won multiple bodybuilding competitions so he obviously knows a thing or two. Brad had a way of motivating me unlike anyone else, and his appreciation for his fans was exactly what I like to see coming from an ‘internet celebrity’. That’s why it pains me so much to write this. But I won’t support a fake.

Recently Train To Look Good Naked, another YouTube fitness channel, posted a video telling the story of his personal experiences with Bradley. (If you want to hear any of the material I’m referencing please go watch the respective videos as I won’t go too far into them here) Now the number one rule to the internet is always delete your browser history, I mean don’t believe everything you hear on the internet. So I was skeptical at first of his recollection of the events, it’s only one side to the story and when you’re the one being slighted people can tend to over-exaggerate. Add the fact that his channel has done some questionable videos (by my standards) in the past and I wasn’t about to believe everything he claimed, though my interest was definitely peaked. It wasn’t until Calum began tweeting about the video that I was convinced something big had happened.

Calum and Brad later came out with an apology video explaining what had happened between them. In it Calum is visibly distraught and can barely piece his words together while Brad is choosing his words carefully and deflecting accusations or just straight up avoiding some. The video is posted on both their channels simultaneously and I figured that was that. Brad messed up, we all make mistakes, he was righting the ship and moving forward. Or so I thought. Not even 24 hours later Brad deletes his video. This enraged Calum and led to a follow up video where Calum goes into more of the details that Brad didn’t want him to mention in the initial apology. Long story short Brad interfered with Calum’s relationship by telling his girlfriend about a conversation they had in confidence. He then complained about Calum not bringing in as much traffic to their supplement company, Origin, that they had created together, while also going behind Calum’s back trying to work out a deal with their lawyers where Brad would own a percentage of Calum’s website. The site is separate from anything to do with Origin, his own personal website where he sells clothing, lifting gear, and programs. So Calum, the original creator of Origin, completely abandoned the company and walked. There’s much more including Brad’s lawyers threatening to sue Calum, his ex business partner and friend, but you get the basics of the situation.

There’s really no explanation for how I was feeling after learning all this. The best description I can give is just a big ball of anger, disappointment, and empathy for what Calum is going through, all mixed into one. As someone who has spit-balled multiple far-flung business ventures with friends this is my worst nightmare, a power tripping partner who not only ruins your business but destroys a friendship without thinking twice. If you are a fan of Brad’s like I was don’t take this as me trying to turn you against him. However you need to be aware of the truth and come to your own conclusion about whether or not you want to support him. Because if that’s how little he thinks of his friends think about how little he cares about you, one of his nearly one million subscribers. Just something to consider. And for the very few of you who made it through this post without even knowing who these two are I guess the moral of the story is cherish those who are true to who they are, and treat you with the respect you deserve. Whether it’s a personal relationship or someone you’re a fan of. It’s always going to be easier to fake it and not let anyone see the real you so value those who actively choose to be real. And for God’s sake delete your damn browser history. Seriously no one needs to see that shit.

You Better Work Bitch

Tomorrow is 10 x 3 bench day at 85% of my 1RM. With the big day looming just a few hours of sleep away my mind can’t help but ponder what tracks I’ll select to push me through to a PR. For myself music during these workouts is just as important as a good nights sleep and a system shocking pre-workout. On lighter days I don’t always consume pre-workout, nor do I hand pick my playlist. However, on days where I’m focused on being better than I’ve ever been before I find both to be necessities. The right songs can help me forget everyone around me, allow me to focus on my pre-lift checks, and motivate me through sticking points. When I first enter the gym I’ll play songs like Dum Dee Dum-Keys N Krates, Little Bit of This-GTA & Vince Staples, Collard Greens-ScHoolboy Q & Kendrick Lamar or even Work Bitch-Britney Spears. Yes, Britney Spears. All these songs in one way or another remind me to focus on myself and put the work in if you want to see the result, bitch. I’m usually through my stretches and am beginning to warm up with the specific movement for the day when I’m through with these tracks and it’s time to really get down to business. I’ll pull out some Centipede or Boss Mode by Knife Party or maybe Break Your Neck by GTA & Valentino Khan to really get the blood flowing. Next Contestant by Nickelback is a staple and easily one of my favorite tracks. Yeah I said it, I like Nickelback. Or at least this jealous boyfriend themed song anyway. If you know my taste in music you’d have to assume that my go to tracks for my lifts would be largely EDM tunes; and on days where I’m just letting shuffle dictate my pace you’d be right. But when I’m in charge I’ll go back to junior high and high school. Three Days Grace, KoRn, Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach (well Last Resort) and Disturbed are all I listen to. There’s just something special about the way these bands transport me back to those days and invigorate me to best myself. Whether it’s Down With the Sickness, Animal I Have Become, Coming Undone, or any of the ear splitting Limp Bizkit tracks I can feel my teenage self getting ready for a lacrosse game and that sense of competition within myself is a great motivator. This PR is mine.

Change of Plans

It’s 10:30 and I’m already sore from my workout this morning not more than twelve hours ago. Today marks the beginning of my new training style. After approximately ten weeks of high frequency training and even a revision to my program three weeks ago to reduce the volume, I’m still going into workouts sore and am unable to perform to my previous week. Therefore I’m abandoning high frequency training. Six days of training plus 2-4 hours of volleyball a week is wreaking havoc on my body-specifically my hip flexors and quads. Normally I would suggest not to change your programming until you’ve at least been with it for 12 weeks. Obviously I’m breaking my own unwritten rule but when you can’t hit lifts you were crushing two weeks ago it’s time to change things up. Perhaps if I wasn’t playing volleyball I could maintain this frequency but that’s a hypothetical that will probably never come to fruition; I’m enjoying the game too much to walk away. So between possibly over training and not being able to gain any weight I’ve decided to switch to more strength focused training. I’m happy with my physique (at my current weight) but am unhappy with said weight and extremely unhappy with my strength. Even if I struggle to pack on the pounds I can still get stronger at my current weight. After watching lots of Vitruvian Physique, Bart Kwan, Silent Mike, and Omar Isuf I’ve been pretty inspired to lift some heavy ass weight. So here’s my new, simple program:

It’s a four day split: bench, squat, overhead press, and deadlift with 3-4 accessory lifts related to each day. It’s hybrid in structure, but strength in focus.

Week 1: 5×7 at 75% of my estimated 1 rep max.

Week 2: 7×5 at 80%

Week 3: 10×3 at 85%

Week 4: Deload bodybuilding style week

Repeat. Adding 5, 10 or even 15 pounds to my estimated 1RM depending on how easy/difficult the lifts were. At four days a week this will be the lowest frequency program I’ve ever followed but that’s fine. This way I’ll be going in fresh ready to hit my numbers consistently week after week.

 

Curls For the Girls

Before we jump into this I’ve got a bit of a disclaimer. Though I’ve never claimed to be child friendly, and never will, this post is going to be a little more towards the NSFW side. I use colorful language in my writing because I try and write as if I’m having a regular conversation with you. Sure I use some bigger words than I’d ever actually vocalize and I actually tone down the swearing but that’s the tone I’m always going for. So if you’re offended by foul language or don’t want to read a particularly douchey perspective this is your chance to dip out now.

Yesterday as I was near complete my heavy back and bicep day a member of the opposite sex decided it was a good idea to do some half ass romanian deadlifts right beside me. Now to me there are two types of people in the gym, those there for themselves and those who are not. The ladder can easily be identified; ego lifting, showing off, and re-routing your entire routine to follow someone. All three of these go hand in hand but have some differences. When she have could performed the exercise (with awful form) that just happens to show off her cleavage anywhere else because the gym is empty aside from us and two other guys, I assume she’s not there for herself. Now unfortunately for this nice lady I’m past trying to hit on girls at the gym, it was the reason I started going to the gym so I am by no means writing this from some high horse, I’ve been there done that. So I ignored her ass, or more accurately cleavage, finished my set and left. Now if you’re sitting there rolling your eyes like this dude is fucking pathetic, it’s about to get worse. However, if you’re the type of person who’s shaking their head wondering why I didn’t pursue this lovely lady, this is for you. This interaction reminded me of how ironic life is. Two years ago, when all I wanted was to be noticed by girls I was ignored and avoided. However, now that I have grown up (just a touch) and am working for myself I have the odd interaction similar to yesterday’s. Oh well, they say bodybuilding is an extremely selfish sport and it’s true. Other than a minor slip up recently I haven’t been trying to date at all. Unless you both are in love with the sport it can be difficult to both carve out time for each other and more importantly connect on life aspirations and goals. Nonetheless, I have come up with a few ideas that if you are trying to date, can possibly help you along the way. Having been single for a little over three years I am extremely qualified for this position of dating guru; you’re in good hands.

First off, guys stop working out beside and following that cute girl you’ve been eying for weeks. It’s counter intuitive to the way your brain works I know, you want her to notice you. Unfortunately she does notice you, notices that you’re a huge creep that won’t leave her the fuck alone. You know your younger sibling that used to follow you around and annoy the shit out of you? You’re that annoying sibling! ‘But I don’t have any siblings.’ That actually explains itself, you’re doomed you attention seeking asshole. Do your routine, work hard, make gains and pay nobody any attention. You are there for you. ‘Well how the hell am I gonna meet someone if I’m doing my own thing?’ I’m not gonna lie to you, 95% of the time absolutely nothing will happen. Other than you actually making some gains but I mean who the fuck wants that right? It’s that other 5% of the time that there will be so many ‘alphas’ fighting for her attention that she will come workout near you. DO NOT mistake this as her coming to the realization that you’re the best looking bro in the gym, cause you’re not. You’re the one dude minding his own fucking business so she feels comfortable squatting next to you because you won’t ogle her. So don’t fucking ogle her. This also isn’t an invitation to show her how much your ego can curl. You do either one of these things and it’s a fast track to her saying fuck it, no workout is worth this shit and leaves. You have one of two options, first being do nothing. You both complete your workout, go home, and eat ice cream while watching vampire diaries crying about how you’ll be alone forever. Damn that hit a little too close to home. Alright moving on, your second option is to actually communicate with this fine specimen. Unfortunately you’re on your own from here bro. Don’t give me that look I got you this far! I don’t know why the hell you’re taking advice from me anyway! I’m clearly just a meathead with crippling insecurities… But if you do end up talking to her let me know how it goes, asking for a friend.

Lean Bulk: Slipping Consistency

Five days, four pounds. The amount of days I missed going to theĀ  gym while also slipping on my macros, cost me four pounds. Is it a big deal? Not really, I’ll gain it back quickly. Plus it was for good reason, I’m moving to a new location and wanted to enjoy some time with my coworkers. Unfortunately, regardless of cause, being off course for even a short period of time has consequences. The next two weeks will be more difficult due to my insufficient intake of carbohydrates. At least my orders from My Protein should be here this week to help excite me back into training that little bit extra.

Looking back at how the first seven weeks in my program went I have noticed a few things I wanted to change. Lowering the amount of sets I’m doing each day, swapping between two similar exercises to avoid getting bored of the program, and adding a second rest day to lengthen my week to eight days instead of seven. Near reaching my peak weight I was really fatigued going into most workouts and even cut a leg workout in half due to tight hamstrings from dead lifting the day before. I was over training, putting too much stress on central nervous system. I think adding a second dedicated rest day will really help me go into each session refreshed. I’m also rearranging my heavy leg day to be 48 hours ahead of my heavy pull day. Even though I’ve slipped up I’m excited to jump right back in with legs tonight after my shift supervisor meeting at work. Time to get back at it.