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Showing posts from June, 2012

Got in a session with the team

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Since Vivian and I are playing golf tomorrow on account of the long weekend (Canada Day) here, it gave me a chance to get over to the Boyle's for a training session with my Toronto Rex Powerlifting Club teammates.  My plan today was to continue training weak lifts and get in work that doesn't aggravate my rapidly healing leg/back.

I had planned on going much heavier and harder on my first exercise, stiff legged deadlifts with a snatch grip but my hamstrings were too tight from yesterday's squats and leg presses so I just did some light sets to try to loosen them up.

Since I never have a 'camera-person' for training sessions, I decided to take advantage of having training partners today and film myself doing barbell rows.  While they felt fairly sloppy with alot of heaving, they don't look too bad on video.  As I fatigue, it's pretty obvious how I get progressively more upright.  Barbell rows, like leg presses, are another exercise I don't like to do an…

Training is improving, body weight is dropping.

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As an experiment, Vivian and I decided to cut out gluten containing foods while we try to drop some body weight.  While I know that I am not sensitive to gluten, we hadn't ruled that out for Vivian so it seemed like a good time to eliminate it to see if she noticed any changes.  So far she hasn't noticed anything after about three weeks gluten free but I've observed an interesting benefit.  All the foods I uncontrollably overeat contain gluten:  pasta, pizza, hamburgers, cakes, cookies, muffins, doughnuts.  Not eating any of those things has really helped with my weight loss goals.  Prior to the meet on June 2, my walking around weight was 242-245.  Right now it's 235-237 so I'm on my way to my intermediate goal of a 225-228 walking around weight.  I'd love to eat a pizza or a couple or three hamburgers or half a dozen doughnuts but I'm pretty motivated to get my weight down so it's been relatively easy to avoid so far.


Comedian John Pinette pretty much…

Gym time, rebuilding muscular endurance

Back when I first started back in the gym in November 2007 I started out on a 5 day/week schedule where I'd basically work my entire body each day.  Since I was so de-trained, I couldn't tolerate much work each day so I just came back each day and did the same thing.  Low volume, low intensity until my body was conditioned to handle a more intense workout.  I probably did that for the first 3-4 weeks until I could transition to a more traditional every other day schedule.

Since my leg/back issue precludes me from the heavy powerlifts and rules out flat benching and pull ups entirely, I've gone back to a similar schedule in order to re-build my endurance so I can once again handle workouts in the 30 work set/8-10 rep per set range.  I'm doing three worksets per exercise and training for the moment to 1 rep short of failure on most sets.  I'm trying to keep my reps on secondary exercises in the 8+ range.   It's tough to do given how long I was training the powerl…

10 days of rest are over, time for gym

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This past Sunday the Niagara Powerlifting Club held a fundraising event for injured Canadian powerlifting great, Tom Nichols.  The event was hosted by top Canadian lifter, Andy Childs at his gym, Phoenix Fitness in Stoney Creek.  I had considered lifting in it but decided to enter to show support for Tom but passed on actually lifting.  My back or more specifically, my left leg, still wasn't back to normal and there wasn't any point on delaying the recovery.

It's always tough to watch a lifting competition because it's way more fun to participate.  The event was a deadlift for reps competition to determine finalists and the finals were decided with a good ol' battle to the highest 1 RM adjusted by Wilks coefficient.  The men had to do as many reps as possible with a weight equal to a 120 wilks score and the women used a 100 wilks to determine their weight.  Had I lifted, I would've had to rep out with approximately 445 lbs.  Even healthy I would've been luc…

Gotta get serious about dropping bodyweight

After last meet's under-achievement due to the decision to cut weight before my 2 hr weigh-in, I decided that I needed to drop my 'walking around weight' so my training lifts would more accurately reflect an expected meet performance.  The more practical benefit would be reduced wear and tear on my body from carrying less unnecessary weight.

Prior to the meet, I was walking around at 242 lbs, give or take a couple.  As of today, I'm 239 give or take a couple.  My weight has fluctuated over the past 12 months or so, dropping as low as 231 and going as high as 250.  Based on my past, it seems my body wants to hover around 240 lbs so my goal right now is to try to drop that 'hover point' to 230 or less.  Since the weight class limit is 105 kgs or 231 lbs, 230 lbs or less would be ideal from a competitive standpoint even if it's still too high for someone 5' 9" to carry into middle age.

If I were motivated by appearance, it would be easy to take progre…

Deadlift fundraiser for great Canadian lifter, Tom Nichols

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Not long ago, Canadian powerlifting legend Tom Nichols was seriously injured in an accident at a race track.  He suffered injuries that will require a long and challenging recovery and in response, the Canadian powerlifting community is rallying to raise money to assist his family with the new and unexpected expenses.  The Niagara powerlifting club is sponsoring a "Deadlift Fun Day for Tommy" on June 24, 2012.  Link here if you're interested in participating.

While I've never actually met or spoken with Tom Nichols, I have been fortunate enough to fluke into standing on the podium with him.  In my short competition history in Canada, I've really been blessed to lift with some great lifters.  Each one of them is an inspiration and the experiences are cherished memories.

I've only lifted in one National meet in Canada, the 2010 Canadian Powerlifting Union Nationals in Quebec City.  Based on who was entered in my weight class, I didn't expect to have any cha…

Rebuilding a base w/some volume work

The muscle spasm in my back is much better and I can feel the weakness in my left leg starting to go away slowly.  The joint sprain is still there but since sprains heal slowly, I expect I'll have to work around it for a few more weeks.  Since I can't set up in my normal bench press arch, I decided it would be a good opportunity to spend some time with floor presses to complement my incline dumbbell presses.

I was happy that I was able to add an extra work set of 315x5 in the back squat.  As my leg improves and regains strength, I'll keep adding volume until I'm doing three sets of 10 reps with 315.  I'll do sets of 10 for 3-4 weeks before dropping to sets of 8 for the next 4 weeks.

After the short back squat workout, I moved to floor presses.  Before, when I could set up in an arch and use a max width competition grip, the bar would actually touch my chest when doing floor presses so I never spent much time on them.  Now, with a narrower grip and a flat back, th…

Gonna see a physiotherapist tomorrow

Even before tonight's session, I had already booked an appointment to see a physiotherapist about my sciatic pain but after tonight, there was absolutely no doubt it's necessary.

While it didn't hinder my squats or deadlifts in the competition last Saturday, now it definitely seems to be affecting the function of my left leg.  I didn't notice it much on front squats but when I did a test set of 10 reps with 225, it was pretty clear my left hamstring was not firing.

I also tested it out with some single-leg leg curls and my left leg was at least 30% weaker than my right.  It's all kind of puzzling to me because there is no significant pain or discomfort in my back or SI joint area when squatting or deadlifting.  There is pain when I'm standing upright and in lumbar extension as the sciatic pain flares up pretty good when I'm doing overhead presses.

Hopefully my assessment tomorrow morning with the physiotherapist will indicate nothing significantly wrong. …

Back in the gym, working on my plan

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There were a couple people taking pictures of the meet this past weekend and I was fortunate enough to get copies of some of the pictures.  They were excellent pics and I'm grateful to have them.  Thanks to Harnek and my teammate's friend that took pictures of the lifters!


















My goal for the next couple of months is to lose weight and try to strengthen areas that need improvement.  I want to lose weight so I can train under the 105kg wt class limit and gain weight leading up to my next competition on November 24.  By doing this I should be able to carry my training poundages into my competition with greater certainty while also allowing for the building of areas that need improvement, notably my quadricep and abdominal strength.  I'll also be able to train my upper body more comprehensively than ever so I expect I'll probably be able to put on a little muscle there as well.

I don't expect my fledgling Provincial record in the deadlift to last very long but I'm hop…

2012 OPA Toronto Super Show meet report

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Well, today was the Ontario Powerlifting Toronto Super Show meet.  My training had been going very well leading up to the date of competition and I was fully expecting to set a whole bunch of PR's.  Perhaps I was over-confident because of my last meet in the 100% Raw Powerlifting federation where I cut 18 lbs with a 24 hr weigh-in and proceeded to lift right to expectations.   I did set some PR's but there were much less than I had planned.  There were definitely silver linings in the clouds of today's results and I'm looking forward to being much better prepared for Classic Provincials on November 24, 2012.

So, back to the training...it had been going very well, the only thing was, I was training at a bodyweight of between 242 and 245 lbs.  Frankly, I had been somewhat lazy with my diet so I ate a caloric surplus too many days of the week.  It helped add some upper body muscle that had wasted away while I tried to work around my painful shoulder but was I also gained …