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Showing posts from July, 2012

Week 3, Day 1 Bench Press workout

As I'm writing up this training log post, I can hear the greyhounds next door have caught another rabbit.  Being a city boy all my life, it's not often I ever heard anything other than cats fighting.  I don't like hearing rabbits scream, that's all I say can about that.

My back felt significantly better today.  Whereas it used to hurt at an 8-9 out of 10 when I would set up to bench press, now it's down to a 6 or 7.  When it gets down to a 4 or 5, it'll just blend in with all the other aches and creaks and feel perfectly normal.  As it is, with the pain down to a dull roar, I was able to bench press with more of my attention focused on the bench press and less on ending the set so I could sit up again.

I was able to hit my chest with significantly more pressing volume which was sorely needed.  My repetition endurance is very low and if I'm going to bump my bench press up over 150 kilograms, I need to rebuild the foundation with a base of repetition work.  H…

A cautionary tale about passion and youth

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It's amazing what one can find stored away on an old thumb drive that was used to archive files from an old computer.  All I really needed was something to take some files from work to a local Staples so I could print needed documents in colour.  I grabbed the first thumb drive I could find in my desk at home and when I looked at the files saved on it, I was pretty surprised.  Some of the files on it were over 10 years old.

As I looked back at the contents of this digital time capsule of my life, I realized that my memories of the past  have begun to glaze over details, romanticizing some and taking the rough edges off of others.  In addition to old pictures and videos of myself, I also found some scanned pictures taken in the era of film loaded cameras in the days before the internet.  Seeing these pictures and videos were a welcome reality check as I near the end of my 5th year of recovery from obesity.

In today's age of Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest (I still don't kn…

Deadlift and Squat accessory work with Toronto Rex Powerlifting Club

On account of all the golf we played earlier this week in Michigan, there was no golf on the schedule for this weekend so it meant I could meet up with my team, Toronto Rex Powerlifting Club, for a workout at the Boyle's garage.

Training in a team environment is always a nice change from my usual solitary workouts at the Oakville YMCA.  On my current programming schedule, my weekend workout is based around accessory movements for the three powerlifts.  Today I would concentrate on the squat and deadlift since my back is still fairly intolerant of the position needed for my bench press set up.



Since I've been unable to make many of the weekend sessions, I haven't had a chance to meet many of the new lifters that have come out to train at the Boyle's but today I got to meet a lifter and certified personal trainer named Jenn Pratt.  Like a number of members of the team including myself, her passion has helped her battle back from being overweight and now she helps others …

The gym that time forgot in Lexington, Michigan

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Just got back from a nice golf getaway with Vivian and her parents. We stayed at Lakeview Hills Golf Resort in Lexington, Michigan. I get the impression that Lexington's days as a cottagy getaway for Detroiters has passed but there is still alot of charm in the little town on the lake. Lakeview Hills Golf Resort boasts two 18 hole golf courses, a hotel, and some uncommon amenities. For one, they have a 16 lane bowling alley available if there is enough demand and two, they have a fitness facility that is truly a hidden gem if you're an old meathead like myself.


In the pictures on their website, one gets a hint of their 'fitness center' but it's not until you descend the stairs into the basement of the main building and turn on the lights (it was empty both days I used it) that you are immediately transported to the year 1992 or 1993.

Unlike most resorts, there is no charge to use the "Ultimate Fitness Health Club", this despite it being far better equ…

Day 3, Week 2, assistance exercises

Good session today, extra volume on front squats and bumped up the weight a little bit for the barbell row/stiff-legged deadlift supersets. Enjoying that super-set combo for some reason. Didn't get to the leg press today but will have to figure out where to slot it in for future weeks.

Back is still barking a bit so I haven't been able to push the overhead pressing very hard and it took a little longer than usual to limber up during the front squats but overall, much improved over my condition a month ago.

Looking forward to three days of golf with Vivian and her family in the next week, the club we're staying at has a gym so hopefully I'll be able to get some time in with the iron in between hacks with my irons.

Front Squat: 135x10, 185x5, 225x5, 225x4, 225x5, 225x5 Lost my groove on the second set but found it again for sets 3 and 4.

Overhead Press: 135x5x2 sets, 185x3x3 sets, 165x5x2 sets

Barbell Rows/Stiff-legged Deadlift supersets:

135x5, 185x5, 235x5, 2…

Day 2, Week 2, Squat and Deadlift day

I'm starting to realize why I only worked out twice a week back in 1992. Squatting and deadlifting on the same day is tough even if the volume is low.

It's been unseasonably hot and humid in Ontario this week and I felt like not training today. I knew it was just a side-effect of the hot weather so I trudged to the gym knowing that everything would be good once I got into the workout.

I was still working on getting my hips through and keeping my chest higher--tweaking my form yet again and felt like there will be some dividends to reap from this remedial work. I believe it is every over 200 lb man's birthright to raw squat 500 lbs and since I haven't done this yet, I will keep trying to optimize my form until it happens.

Aside from the form changes, I feel like the last 6 weeks of training for my last meet while taking pre-workout ibuprofen masked alot of aches and pains because I've never felt this busted up after a meet for so long. I also trained wearing kne…

Stuff I read on a daily or near daily basis

I used to link to a few blogs on the right side of the main page but it dropped so far down that no one would ever see it.  Also, the list of blogs and training logs I read on a regular basis is so long that it's impractical to put the list on the side of any page.

As a result, I created a separate page with links to all of the training logs and strength, health, and fitness sites I review whenever they post new content.  The page is called, "Sites I regularly read" (link in the menu bar at the top of the page) and if you're curious and want to add to your list of sites you check out, you can look at my list and see if I have any that you might've missed..

Day 1, week 2 of my new/old program

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I didn't get in my third accessory exercise workout last week because Vivian and I went to the driving range to get the swings in order for our upcoming golf trip with her parents.  Normally it wouldn't be much to ask to workout and swing a golf club on the same day but lately my back has been allowing one but not both.

I recently downloaded an app for my iPhone 4s called, SloPro.  It is a free app and got a decent review on some iPhone blogs so I thought I'd give it a shot at the driving range.
Using the SloPro app, that's my swing in all of its injurious, high handicapper glory.  It's painfully obvious why I both don't hit the ball very far and don't hit it consistently straight.  Too narrow at the top--over-swinging to maintain swing tempo because I don't have the mobility to make a proper shoulder turn and a pretty bad case of the chicken wing (left arm) due to the apparent inability to rotate my hips fully and lead the clubhead through and past imp…

Squat and Deadlift day like it's 1992

On the second day of my 'back to 1992' training split I had squats and deadlifts on the schedule.  I can't remember the last time I actually had a training session where I did both on the same day.  In theory it should be an easy day from a volume standpoint because I was only doing two exercises with about 7 or 8 work sets.  In reality, it turned out to be fairly hard even though I'm still using light weights relative to my current competition maxes.

Based on last week's squat workout, I used 325 for my 5 rep work sets.  While my previous 1992 training log suggested that I did 3 work sets in the 'good ol'days', I decided I'd do 4-5 work sets today.  The only other powerlifter that trains at my gym in the evenings happened to be there and gave me some feedback on my form after my third work set.  Keying on the form cues he suggested was difficult but I got through my 4th set.  My rep speed was too slow on rep #5 so I ended the squat workout there.

T…

First day on the new old training split

After re-reading my old 1992 training log, I decided that if the split I used back then worked, I should go back to it.  The overall training load was significantly less than what I've been doing yet I made better progress.  In addition to deciding to re-visit the protocol that led to my best successes of the past, I have also spent the last couple days reading articles on a great blog written by Jim Steel.  His site, Bas' Barbell Club, has some of the best training and training philosophy articles I've read in a while.  I don't know how I missed it all these years but I'm glad I found it.  One of his recent articles, "Lift the Weight" resonates with me as I ranted about something very similar in my training log.

It could be that we're both at the "Get off my lawn!" stage of our lives or it could be that we're equally frustrated by how confused some lifters get due to the over-abundance of information available today.  All I know is, bac…

Building up training volume and a review of my 1992 training log

While rooting around in the basement looking for an old pair of B&O headphones I thought I still had
(I didn't), I found my training log from 1992.  1992 was a significant year because it was the last year I competed (I moved to Toronto in October 1993) and it was the year I pulled 644 lbs, to this day my all-time PR deadlift (done raw with a belt).  Since I couldn't remember what I did to build up my deadlift to that level--a level I still haven't reached in my 'comeback' since I resumed competition training in late 2007--I was excited to see what I had done.

To say I was surprised or befuddled is a bit of an understatement.  I had nothing at all logged between January and March 8th.  This is not too much of a surprise because I was just over a year into my career with Enterprise Rent A Car and as anyone who has worked for ERAC (now EHI) knows, back in those days, there wasn't a lot of time left in the day after work was done and what time one had was usua…

Almost back to normal

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I had a great Canada Day weekend.  Vivian and I played golf on Canada Day.  I forgot to take some pre-round ibuprofen so my back got pretty sore midway through the round.  Since the course was packed and playing very slow, my reduced mobility and the crowded course gave me the opportunity to work on some short game shots.  I played most of the back nine using a punch shot 6 iron.  Avid golfers will recognize the shot as the 9 to 3 drill.  Not only is it good impact position practice but I never know when I'll need to hit a low running shot that goes about 160 yards so might as well have that shot in the bag.  My lack-of-mobility induced practice almost resulted in my 4th hole in one.  On the 17th hole, I hit a punch 7 iron on a flat hole measuring 134 yards.  The ball rolled up on the green and tracked right to the hole, stopping only a foot from  going in.  While not a hole in one, it was my first tap-in birdie.  Vivian played very well and beat me handily but she has never gotte…