Tuesday, August 30, 2011

135 over my head!

We got into Starting Strength last night and it went awesome!

First off, the group decided to go play basketball to warm up again. I'm not big on basketball, and with my there was an odd number, so I opted to stay in the gym and hit the bag. I got through four rounds of the boxing workout, and then took the gloves off and did 1 1/2 more rounds of shadow boxing. It went very well. I also figured out that I'm turning my body too much on my jab, which has been causing me neck problems. Now that that's solved, hopefully my neck will be feeling better too (though I'm afraid I'll lose some power in my jab).

I like warming up with the bag, and I think this will be a standard warmup for a few weeks.

After that we got into squats. I'm staying at 225 all week to work on form. The guys said I did a lot better, and even though there's plenty of more room to go deeper, I'm getting closer each time. After this week I'll move up, but I can't wait to see where I'm at on form by Friday.

Then we got into overhead press. I've been at 135 for about three weeks now, each time doing one more rep than the time before. This time I actually added 2 reps, one onto each of the last sets, finally making it to three sets of five. And actually, two of the other guys who have been at 135 for a week longer than me also completed it, finally! It was an amazing feeling holding that much weight over my head (see title) and I felt great when it was done. We're all going to repeat this one more time on Friday to really own the weight, and moving up to 140 next week!

Shoulder press is awesome! The shrug at the very top is where I feel a whole lot of power, and my shoulders felt great (destroyed) by the end. Very cool.

We finished with chinups. I did 2x10 and 1x8 last week, and my goal was to complete 3x10 this time. The last one or two were iffy, but I successfully did 3x10 and my goal is 3x11 next week!

The usual ab work came at the end, and then we were done. Overall it was a great day for Starting Strength, and week 8 is starting off very strong.

Tonight the girlfriend and I are doing Kenpo X, as part of her 4 week challenge. It should be fun. After that it's a video game kind of night, and I'm excited for that.

Also a quick note, the roommate and I were talking, and I think we're going to start doing that 5K training program I mentioned a few weeks ago. It's only 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week, so we'd go running around 6am on the 3 Starting Strength days. The plan is to start in two weeks, but it's still iffy. Also I want to start doing pushups in the morning, so after this run will be a great time to do that. My goal is 100 pushups, but I think I'll start with 50 and work my way up. This is all just kind of planning for the future, but I wanted it documented.

The juicing is still going well, and lots of fruits and nuts during the day. I feel good. Also I'm thinking after this week of taking 4 weeks off from supplements. I need to find a better protein powder, like hemp protein or something, that I can use for those 4 weeks after workouts. I'll let you know what I decide.

Lots of random notes in this blog post, so I'm going to wrap it up.

Bring it!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Recap from the last few days

A quick recap of the last few days.....

Thursday I went home sick from work and chose not to work out. Lame, but it's the truth.

Friday we wrapped up Week 7 of Starting Strength. I made a lot of progress on my lifts. 225 on squats (and they were decent....not great, but decent) and I got one more rep out on bench at 185. As for pullups, I stayed at 3 sets of 7. Good, but that was the same as the week before. Hopefully this week I can get that number to go.

Finally, we wrapped up with curls. We'd been talking about doing this for a little while, and I think curls finally have a home on Fridays. Unfortunately, there's no curl bar, and I learned very quickly that curls with a straight bar are murder on the forearms. Expect a curl bar update in the future. I got 3 sets of 5 done at 70 lbs though, so that was a good place to start.

Interesting development from Saturday. No workout, but friends came over to watch the fights. One friend said he could bench 155, and out of curiosity we all went into the gym. He did fine at 155, but then we all tried 155. I did a set without struggling at all, but I noticed that my form was a lot better at this weight (obviously) and even though I got through it, it still felt really heavy. I want my form to get a lot better, specifically going all the way down to my chest, and I don't like that it still felt heavy. I may be dropping down soon to work on form, like I've been doing with other weights. Just wanted to note that.

On Sunday my girlfriend and I did Core Cardio & Balance from Insanity. She wants to lose some weight for a wedding we're going to in October, so I put together a 28 day challenge for her using the DVDs I own. This was Day 1. She and I have done this before, and she did great. There's room for improvement, but I'm proud of her for starting, and I wish her luck on the next 4 weeks. As for me, I love this workout and got a great cardio blast in yesterday. It felt good.

That's the last few days. Today we begin Week 8 of Starting Strength. I'm ready!

Bring it!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My failed attempt at deadlifts

Another day of Starting Strength is in the books. The gang decided to play basketball for the warmup, but I'm not a very big basketball player. I also hadn't finished my preworkout drink when they went to the park, so I stayed behind at the house. I waited fifteen minutes, and then went into the gym to do a warmup. I got through four rounds of Bas Rutten's Kickboxing workout. I actually felt pretty good and could have probably kept going, but the group came back and I felt like I'd gotten a good warmup.

Squats went pretty well. I can always go a lot deeper, but the squats weren't terrible and I successfully completed 220. I'm going to do 225 on Friday, and I think next week I'll stay at 225 all week and work on depth.

I finally got started on 135 on shoulder press. That actually went very well. It wasn't nearly as heavy as I thought it would be. The first set I rocked out pretty well. Sets two and three I only got 4 reps done, and on each rep 5 just stopped completely. Still, that's a lot better than I thought I'd do. I have no doubt that I'll be able to pass 135 by the end of next week.

After that we got into deadlifts. I am absolutely mortified with my performance on deads. I tried 185 again, and I could not lift it. I tried twice, and each time the group said all I did was use my back. I dropped down to 135 and struggled out 5 reps. 135. Fucking unreal. I am terrible at this lift. My body does not bend properly, and I struggle so much on the simplest weights. I felt like a fucking lazy sack of shit and I am sick and tired of being so fucking weak. I can't believe how terrible I did yesterday and am the point where shooting myself seems like a better solution, because trying to deadlift poorly is definitely not working. I really don't know what I'm going to do on this lift.

We opted not to do bicep curls last night. We actually had it on the schedule, but it was getting really late and we realized that even though deadlifts are only one set (so perceivabley shorter), because it's another bar exercise it actually takes us longer on Wednesdays than any other day. I think we're going to try to make them a Friday thing. I'll let you know what we decide.

That's about it. No abs....again, it was getting late, and I was really pissed off about deadlifts and my kitchen flooding (long, unrelated story). We finished, I ate dinner and went to bed feeling defeated.

Man, I want to be strong and I feel like I am not getting stronger at all. This is fucking lame.

Ok, I've said enough negatives in this blog post. My stomach feels like garbage today, so I'm going to try to stick it out at work. No cardio tonight. I need a break.

That's all I've got to say.

Bring it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The return of Kenpo X!

Well, I told this blog a few months ago that I was done with Kenpo X. I had grown out of the workout and wasn't going to do it anymore. Yesterday I made myself a liar, and hit play on Kenpo X!

This is still a fun workout, and after not doing cardio as heavy as I was a few months ago, this thing actually got me a pretty great workout. The girlfriend and I worked out together too, which was fun. We threw the punches (which she's really starting to get down) and kicks like we were on a mission, and by the end I was feeling great. Overall, good workout.

I learned yesterday that my cardio has fallen tremendously from my Insanity days, which was only a few months ago. When it cools off a little (it's hot in the garage) I may force myself to do 2 Insanity workouts per week, or I may try that 5K program that's been sitting on my phone for a while. I hate running, but running may be the way to go to get myself feeling good again.

On the weight front, tonight is another round of Starting Strength. I'm excited to get started on 135 on the shoulder press, but I am not excited for deadlift. My form is garbage on deadlift, and I'm trying 195 tonight. That's a bit of a drop from last week, but when I first started having deadlift problems I went down to 185 and got my set done.

As for today's juice, it wasn't great but the more vegetables I add the less great it is. Fortunately it's great for me, so I'm happy with that and can choke it down.

2 green apples
1 cucumber
1 carrot
1/2 beet
1 handful of parsley
4 stalks of kale
8 asparagus
1 piece of ginger

I think it's the asparagus I don't like. Oh well, I got it in me and have eaten a bunch of fruit since then. I need this damn fat to go away!

I'll let you know how Starting Strength goes tonight.

Bring it!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Week 7 has begun!

Week 7 of Starting Strength has officially begun! We got into lifting last night around 7:30, and it felt good to hit the weights.

I squated 215, and even though I still have some room to go deeper, I'm feeling much better about my squats. Form's improving, and adding +5 has been a great switch.

Bench press at 185 is still difficult. I made it further than last week, doing 1 set of 5 and 2 sets of 4. I'm hoping to pass this one this week, but like I said, if I don't make any progress on Friday I'm going to drop down to 180 next week and build my way back up.

As for chinups, I blew my numbers out of the water! Two sets of 10 and 1 set of 8! I wanted 3 sets of 10, but that third set was just too damn hard. Still, great progress.

During the workout we had a little bit of downtime, and people were hitting the bag and the pads. I asked everyone what they thought of just throwing punches for two minutes straight. The general response was "That sounds easy". I threw in the Bas Rutten boxing workout, and they quickly realized that 2 minutes is NOT easy. We made it as a group through 1 1/2 rounds, and then we called it quits. I think I got everyone hooked on Bas Rutten though, so maybe we can make that part of the warmup sometime soon.

We got to abs, and after a quick debate about which 3 ab moves we'd do, my roommate suggested we throw in Ab Ripper. I forgot how hard this workout is! 15 minutes, but man did it kick my ass. It kicked everyone's ass. But the group hung in there a lot better than I thought, and everyone completed the workout. So overall, great day of Starting Strength.

Also a quick note, my buddy Caleb decided to join us. I've known this guy for over 10 years, he just had a baby (that's adorable!) and he said he was looking to get back into shape. I don't think he's going to join us every night, and it is getting crowded, but it was cool to see him and for him to work out with us.

As for today, I've had my juice, and a few fruits and nuts. The diet's going well this week (it's only Tuesday though) and I'm really hoping I start to notice some weight loss soon.

Here's today's recipe:

2 green apples
1 cucumber
1 big carrot
1/2 a beet
5 stalks of kale
1 handful of parsley
1/2 lemon, squeezed

The juices are noticeably tasting more like vegetables as I add more stuff in, but the apples are still strong enough that they can get me through it.

Come on vitamins!

So that's where I'm at. The girlfriend and I are going to do Kenpo X tonight, and I'm excited. I haven't done this workout in a while, and even though it isn't the most intense workout ever, I like that she and I work out together. It'll be fun.

I'll let you know how we do. Bring it!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fruit, Vegetable Juice and Heavy Stuff

That title sums up my life these days. I've eaten fruit and vegetable juice for a week now. I cheated on Saturday, and Sunday had a pretty tasty breakfast (tasty means not so healthy) but other than that it was a good weekend foodwise. Of course meat was for dinner, and the girlfriend and I made some really tasty flank steak on the grill last night. Good times.

I had a long, amazing, but long night on Saturday and was very tired Sunday. That, plus the poor nutrition for breakfast meant I had no desire to workout Sunday. Instead I got up this morning and hit play on Cardio X. I forgot how fun this workout is. It's just simple little snippets from yoga x, kenpo x, plyo x and core synergistics. I'll be honest, I skipped the core section, and my yoga wasn't very good. I was tired this morning. I'm not a fan of Mondays. But I did get some sort of workout in, and I'm happy for that.

Tonight we get back into Starting Strength with Week 7! I'm looking forward to 215 on the squats and making progress on 185 on bench. I'm giving myself all week to make strides on 185, but if I can't get past 3x3 by Friday, I'm going back down to 180 next week. Also I plan to up my chinups tonight, finally hitting that 1x10 mark. Maybe even 3x10. Wish me luck!

Also a quick note, I've officially had a request for bigger biceps. It'll be a game time call, but on Wednesday I think I'm going to start the bicep curls. This may mean that I need to get a curl bar, but I want to do 3x5 of the basic barbell curl, adding 10 lbs until that's too much and then adding 5 lbs. My biceps have gotten a lot stronger and a lot harder, but not a lot bigger. I'm ready for them to join the club. Officially, that means I won't be doing Starting Strength anymore since I won't be following the routine as written, but I think it's a good decision.

So that's my story. Great weekend. It's Monday. Ya, that's all I have to say.

Oh, today's juice recipe was pretty tasty. I really hate carrots, and I've upped it to 2 carrots now, so we're bordering on too many carrots. It still tastes like apple juice, kind of, but no more carrots after 2.

2 green apples
1 cucumber
2 carrots (gross!)
2 handfuls of spinach
1 piece of ginger

This was not my favorite juice, but definitely drinkable and lots of veggies were in here.

Ok, that's all I've got.

Bring it!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wrapping up Week 6

We wrapped up Week 6 of Starting Strength last night with the usual stuff. A few of the people in the group were out of town yesterday and one person's girlfriend actually fell and hurt herself (FEEL BETTER CANDYCE!!!), so it was down to a group of three tonight. It was actually the original three who started this whole process, so it was kind of fun. Plus we finished a lot quicker than normal. And it's Friday, which means we started an hour early and it's too hot to go to the park, so the warmup did not consist of jogging! (I don't like to jog much)

First was the usual squats. I upped it to 210 lbs, and I finally think I've got the hang of squats. I can definitely go lower, but my depth has increased (or is it decreased....I mean the good one, just to be clear) a ton since I spent that week at 195, and adding in the 5 lbs makes this seem very possible. I should be good for a while now, but someday in the future there will be another road block. I can't just keep adding 5 lbs every other day forever. But ya, yesterday's 210 went great!

We moved on the shoulder press. Over the week I've been thinking about how I struggle with certain weight increases more than others. After all that thinking, I came to the conclusion that just because I complete a weight doesn't necessarily mean I own that weight. If I struggle through 5 reps of something, isn't +5 going to kick my ass? Which is when my form breaks down and I stall? So with that in mind, I decided that even though I finished 130 lbs on shoulder press on Monday, I had to push as hard as I could. 135 just didn't seem possible if I had to struggle that hard at 130. So I decided to repeat 130 last night, and not move up until I can rock through a weight with good form and breathing.

With all that in mind, I did 130 lbs on shoulder press, and it actually felt heavy. I got all the reps, but two times (one in the first set and after the first rep of the last set) my arms just completely stalled. Each time the guys actually moved to help me, but I said I had it and pushed up. But it was only that one rep that would do that. The rest of the reps in the set would pump out very clean.

So, good day on shoulder press, and I will debate moving up on Wednesday. The following Monday for sure, but Wednesday is a strong maybe at the moment.

Finally there were pullups! I did 3 sets of 7. That's 21 pullups!!! And each set actually felt easier than the one before it. It was a very cool pullup day.

We finished with the usual abs, and then went in for dinner.

So about dinner.....
I did not eat well yesterday. It actually (in retrospect) wasn't too terrible of a day, but aside from my morning juice I ate eggs for breakfast (not bad, but not the usual diet of the week), a banana two hours later, and then devoured Mexican food at our team potluck. I made queso dip, and I'll tell you right now there is not a single healthy thing about my homemade queso dip. There were enchiladas and carne asada and spanish rice too, and man did we eat! And then we had a meeting in the same room for 3 hours, surrounded by the food (which I only nibbled on the chips, but just saying). I only really ate about two plates worth, but it was not fruit and nuts like the rest of the week.

After all that and then the workout, plus the Mediterranean dinner that was scheduled, after working out I decided I should do another vegetable juice, just to be safe. Unfortunately, my roommate had eaten all of the apples. I have yet to try (up to this point in the story) a juice without my usual two apples, and keep in mind that I've been commenting how everything thus far has tasted like apple juice.....

This one did not! I don't even remember what was in it officially, and I will spare the world the recipe of this vegetable monstrosity, and but it had multiple carrots, those two broccoli things from the morning, a cucumber and a ton of spinach. And you know what? It tasted like all of those things. It was horrible. It tasted like vegetables again!

So apparently I don't care for vegetables as much as I'd (proudly) felt all week. I just like apple juice, a lot, and if you can make something taste like apple juice I'll eat it.

I did drink this juice by the way. It wasn't pretty, but I chugged it. I needed the vegetables and it was the only way. It was a rough three minutes, and there were chugging breaks.

That's my week. Today I may cheat a little food wise, but I plan on finding plenty of apples and still making a juice at some point. I'll let you know how it goes.

Bring it!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bas Rutten last night

Yesterday I was very good nutrition wise. I brought cherries, raspberries and pluots to work. Unfortunately, I could not stay full, and by the time I got home I was starving! I had very little energy. I ate some meat, drank some water, sat for a few minutes, and finally hit play on two different workouts.

I started with the warmup and stretch from Core Cardio & Balance from Insanity. That went pretty well. After that I switched to the Bas Rutten Workout, and this thing kicked my ass. I pushed as hard as I could, but about 20 minutes into it I was drained. It got to the point where I would throw the punch combination, and then just stood there waiting for the next rather than moving. I decided the 20 minutes plus 10 minutes of stretch I'd done was good enough, and turned off the CD. So not a great workout, but not bad either.

After that we had sushi, and I had the healthiest sushi night of my life. Nothing fried. No cream cheese. No eel sauce. No rolls even! All I got was nigiri (fish and rice) and definitely took advantage of my all you can eat plan. My dinner consisted of many types of raw fish, shrimp and crab, lots of rice, miso soup and edemame. I got an order of spicy chicken at the end too, but it was little. Very good sushi night. I'm going to stick to this plan with sushi from now on. Much healthier, and for $25 I ate $55 worth of food! You can't beat that!

This morning I had another juice, and this time we pulled out all of the stops! Here's the recipe:
2 green apples
1 cucumber
1 carrot
1/2 a beet
a piece of ginger
a bunch of stalks of two types of broccoli (broccolini and something called rotini I think)
1/2 lemon

The lemon was in there because it's supposed to sweeten the beet. That may have been too much lemon though. That's the thing I tasted the most. But strong lemon flavor aside, this was not a bad juice at all. I'd go a quarter lemon next time, but I will definitely use all of these vegetables again.

Today's a potluck at the office and I have queso dip cooking as I write this. Not a very healthy day, so I'm planning on having another juice tonight after the workout, before dinner. Also dinner is homemade gyro night, and I'm excited for that.

Also a big shout out to my girlfriend Heather! She's gotten up at the ass crack of dawn every morning with me this week to help me make my juice. By help I mean she's telling me which vegetables I should be using, how much, then she's skinning the ones that need to be skinned and actually making the juice. Mostly I'm there for support and to actually drink the juice. She is amazing and I can't express how much I appreciate her help as I embark on this journey.

Speaking of juice, I was planning on making this a Monday through Friday thing until I do the juice fast, but I'm going to stick with it through the weekends. I'm supposed to have half of my food during the day coming from raw fruits and veggies, and weekends need to follow that same ratio. I'm not noticing any weight loss yet, but I know it's coming. It's been a very healthy week.

The only problem I'm running into is the lack of protein. I have protein with dinner, but that's about it, and I think my muscles are getting smaller. My girlfriend says otherwise, but I may pick up some spirulina. It's a plant based protein, and I can eat it throughout the day in water. I need more protein. I like losing weight and eating healthy, but my goal is to get big muscles and I can't lose sight of that.

So that's what I have going on. Starting Strength Week 6 wraps up tonight and I'm excited. Shoulder Press 135 lbs tonight! Wish me luck!

Bring it!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Titles are hard to think of

Ya, I'm running out of title ideas. Yesterday I lifted heavy stuff and this morning I juiced. That's the update....I'm not sure how to keep reiterating that in title form.

We got into Starting Strength last night around 7:15. A few of us (myself included) had to be somewhere after working out, so we skipped the usual warmup in the park and went straight into the gym. There was a quick stretch, and then squats. My form has gotten so much better since I worked on it last week and switched to +5. I did 205 last night, and it was immensely better than the last time I tried this weight. I still have room for improvement, but I'd actually call what I did last night a squat, which is not something I could say about my sets two weeks ago.

We went to bench press next. I did 3 sets of 3 at 185. It felt really heavier. Heavier than Friday, and I actually did less reps than Friday too. I'm going to give myself all of next week to complete this, but if I don't see any improvement at all I'm going to go back down to 180 the following week and make sure I own that. I'm realizing that just because I complete a weight does not mean I owned that weight. I struggled through 180 the day I finished it, and even though I finished it still felt like a lot of weight. So with that in mind, I think I moved up to 185 too fast. I'm here now, though, so let's give it some time before I commit to this being too much weight.

As for deadlifts, I am still terrible at these. For some reason my legs don't want to lift the weight, and I end up using all back; that's a big no no. I did 205, which was +20 from what I did last week (when I deloaded). They were very bad deadlifts with the exception of the last 2. I thought I could do this much easily since I'd already squated it, but apparently not. I'm going to repeat 205 next week. Hopefully it will get better. If not, I'm dropping back down to 195.

Since we all had to be somewhere after, we did a very fast ab exercise (just the one) and called it good.

Nutrition yesterday consisted of my morning juice, a lot of fruits throughout the day and some edemame, and for dinner I had corned beef with lima beans. I'm getting healthier!

Today's shaping up about the same, though I have plans to eat sushi after the gym tonight. The juice this morning looked like this:

2 Green Apples
1 Cucumber
3 handfuls of spinach
4 stalks of kale
1 handful of parsley
1 piece of ginger
2 cloves of garlic

I'm just going to say right now, the garlic is not going into the juices anymore. It was noticeable to me, and I like garlic a lot! And I've been burping all morning. Too much garlic. In general though, I don't think garlic should be juiced. Other than that the juice tasted about the same as the rest of the week. That 2 apples 1 cucumber thing really helps a lot!

So that's the update. Tonight I'm thinking Bas Rutten's workout, but I have other cardio routines and might mix it up. I'd like to do Pure Cardio from Insanity, but the Insanity workouts have felt hard lately and that one may be too much.

I'll let you know what I decide.

Bring it!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cardio Challenge

As planned, I went to smoke hookah last night and made up my cardio workout this morning. I opted to do Cardio Challenge from Supreme 90 Day. Aside from the fact that you can't turn off the music and the warmup doesn't have any stretching, I really like the Supreme 90 workouts and this is one of my favorites. Not including warmup or cooldown, it's 30 minutes long, but each exercise is performed for 30 seconds followed by a 30 second break. I've talked about this workout before, but overall I wanted to say I like the format a lot. Knowing I only have 30 seconds to do a specific exercise, and I get a good long break after it, it's really easy to push myself hard. I was pretty sweaty by the end and it felt good to move fast again. There's also a lot of cardio weight moves in here, and that's always an interesting thing when I do it. I can push 130 lbs over my head 5 times no problem, but when I have 10 lbs in each hand but I have to press as many times as possible in 30 seconds, a whole new challenge is presented!

As for food, today I'm sticking to fruits and nuts and veggies. I had a protein shake (powder and water) when I woke up, then after the workout I had my usual juice (recipe will be below) and so far I've had a banana and some peanuts. There's strawberries, another banana and a pluot on my near future, and I may or may not have one more protein shake. Also tonight is corned beef night, which is one of my absolute favorites, so I'm very excited. Plus, somehow yesterday I didn't eat any meat! I had a little protein from hummus and a few pieces of calamari, but most of the food was fried last night and I actually started to get a headache from it. Fried food really needs to leave my diet completely. But ya, no meat at all, so I am very excited to eat an animal tonight!

Juice wise (I told you the recipe was coming) this morning I had the following:
2 green apples
1 cucumber
1 carrot
2 handfuls of spinach
1 handful of parsley
2 stalks of kale
a tiny piece of ginger

That was the most veggies I've done in a juice so far. It was tasty. Not the tastiest of the week (yesterday's gets that award so far) but tasty none the less. I'm noticing that the apples really make everything taste like apple no matter what I put in after. The cucumber also tastes a little like an apple, so that helps. Pretty much as long as I have 2 green apples and 1 cucumber, I can go nuts and it's delicious.

My goal for next week? Beets! Wish me luck on those, because they look nasty!

K, that's all I've got. I'm hungry. Time to find some fruit.

Bring it!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Week 6 Begins and More Juice

So we got into Starting Strength last night, and for the first time in a few weeks I feel like I have a handle on this program again. I increased the weight of the squat by +5 to 200 lbs. I kept good form and went even lower than on Friday. I still have room for improvement, but yesterday was good and I'm happy with that. The +5 wasn't enough that I really noticed the change, so I think from this point forward I'm doing +5 on squats. That's 15 lbs per week (instead of the 30 I was doing) so that's still some pretty good weight increases. Back to 205 on Wednesday, and hopefully this time my form will be decent!

As for shoulder press, I finally conquered 130! I started two weeks ago with 2x5 and 1x3, then last Wednesday I did 2x5 and 1x4, and finally last night I did 3x5. The last one was really hard for some reason, noticeably harder than the other 14 reps before it, but I pumped it out. Overall, though, the weight didn't feel nearly as heavy as it has for the last few weeks. Shoulder press is one of my favorite and least favorite exercises. I hate that if I screw up, I'm probably going to knock myself out, and I hate that if I adjust the wrong way even a little my spine cringes! But when it's over my shoulders feel amazing and I feel like a freakin' beast! It's awesome holding that much weight directly over your head!

Between those two exercises I did chinups. I'm supposed to do them after the weights, but to save time we rotated the chinups in. I did 1x9, 1x8 and 1x7. That's two more than last week, and freakin' 9 was ridiculous! I did 9 chinups at one time! Oh man, I am still blown away by that. In just a few more weeks (like 2 months actually) I'll have 3x15 completed and I can start adding weights. Pullups are another story, but that's ok.

We finished with the usual abs, which actually turned into a pretty brutal ab workout, and then called it good. It was a good workout day overall.

Diet yesterday consisted of my juice in the morning, 2 bananas, 2 pluots, 8 strawberries, a protein shake for lunch and a few handfuls of unsalted peanuts. For dinner I had lima beans, turkey loin and a little bit of mashed potatoes with some soy milk. I'm pretty proud of that day.

Today's shaping up to be similar. I have fruits and edemame for snacks. Dinner will be interesting since we're going to a Mediterranean Lounge, and the food is very delicious there. I might cheat, but I'll try my best to eat well.

As for breakfast today, my juice consisted of....
2 green apples
1 carrot
1 cucumber
4 stalks of kale
1 little piece of ginger

It was a very good shake and I feel great now.

Tonight is dinner out with friends, so I'm going to skip my cardio workout tonight and get up early tomorrow to do it. I'll let you know how that all goes.

Bring it!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A few workout recaps and juice!

Friday night we finished up Week 5 of Starting Strength. It was a better workout than the rest of the week, but still not great. I did 195 again on squats and it's still very hard to get low. My legs are in absolute agony by the end of squats. I wonder if something is actually wrong. I'm going to start adding weight again as of today, but only +5 from this point forward. That puts me at 200 lbs tonight on the squat, so hopefully I can squat low with this amount.

Sunday we went hiking for the day's workout. Unfortunately we ran into a bee sting problem and half of my hike was cut off. I'm glad I at least got the exercise. Also on the way back we ran into the same bees, and ended up turning around spending a good chunk of time looking for another way. We never found that other way and ended up having to face the dreaded bees once more, this time successfully, but getting lost at least got me a little extra exercise.

Also over the weekend I watched a really cool documentary about juicing vegetables called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I do not eat vegetables, at all, and I've always said that that's a texture thing. This video kind of inspired me (especially the truck driver in it...seriously, go watch it!) and I want to start juicing. I don't think I'm ready for a 60 Day Juice Fast, or even a 10 Day Juice Fast yet, but yesterday I went to the store and bought spinach, cucumber, asparagus, green apples and a few other things too. This morning my girlfriend helped me and we made my first juice, which consisted of 2 apples, 1 whole cucumber, a handful of parsley and 2 handfuls of spinach. I've gotta say, it wasn't bad! It tasted like weird apple juice, and I was surprised that I actually felt full at the end. That fullness didn't last very long and I ate a banana when I got into the office an hour later, but I ate more vegetables this morning than I've eaten in my entire life! Seriously, that's ridiculous.

So the new diet starts today officially. My plan is to do a juice in the morning, snack on fruits and nuts throughout the day, do a protein shake (powder and water) in the middle of the day and eat meat at night after working out. I've gotta get rid of this belly, and I think I'm on my way to do it.

I do want to try a 10 Day Juice Fast sometime, but maybe after a month or two of this. I'm definitely not ready yet.

I'll check in tomorrow with the results of tonight's workout. Wish me luck!

Bring it!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Trying to get back into cardio

Ok, I need to get cardio going again and I need to get my damn legs with the program. I threw in Core Cardio & Balance from Insanity last night, and I'll give myself a B+ for my efforts. It was a good workout overall, but WOW, I have not done Insanity in a while. This thing kicked my ass, and this is the recovery workout! Despite dying, though, I kept with most of the program and felt pretty good at the end. My legs were hurting, but I tried to use the cardio as a chance to stretch and work on flexibility. There's a few squat exercises in this workout too, and I tried to go as low as possible.

So ya, decent workout. Not great, but decent.

Tonight I'm finishing up Week 5 of Starting Strength. I'm planning on doing 195 again on the squat, focusing on going lower, and I'm debating going up to 185 on bench. I'm still concerned I didn't go low enough the other day with bench, but I'll leave that up in the air. My pullups, though, are going up! I am promising that to myself!

K, that's all I've got. Bring it!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Yesterday was a freakin' failure!

Dammit! That's what I have to say about yesterday's workouts.

First off Tuesday night my legs were still hurting, so my girlfriend and I decided to do Relief from Asylum instead of a cardio workout. Stretching felt good, but didn't cure my legs from hurting and I didn't really burn any calories.

I woke up yesterday morning and decided to do the All Around Fighting Workout from Rushfit. Unfortunately my legs were still hurting, so I was moving slow and my kicks were crap. I couldn't even finish the 5th round, and just skipped it and went into stretch. I got my heartrate up a little, but as far as workouts go I'd give this one a C+.

Last night I came home and we got into Starting Strength. My legs were STILL hurting so I just walked around the park to warmup. Running just wasn't going to happen.

I decided I still need to go lower on my squats, and actually reduced my weight to 195 (I should have been at 215). I went lower, and by lower I mean maybe half an inch lower than Monday, but that's just crap! I dropped 10 lbs from what I have done and 20 lbs from what I should have been at, and my form was still garbage. I realize the legs were getting in the way, and maybe after a weekend of relaxing I'll be able to squat well, but I was pretty pissed with how squats went yesterday. It really feels like a flexibility issue. I can't even squat low enough without the bar. This sucks.

Shoulder press came next, and I made progress on 130. Last Friday I did 2x5 and 1x3, and last night I did 2x5 and 1x4. That last rep was pretty hard and I bent my back a lot further back than I should have, but I'm glad I pumped that out. Hopefully I can clear 130 on Monday, but I don't want to sacrifice form. Hmm....

As for Deadlift, I might as well just quit weight lifting altogether. I should have been at 215. I could not lift 215. Not without using my back at least, which is a big no no on this lift. It's again because my legs were hurting (and hurting more from the squats I'd done a few minutes before), but I could not use my legs to lift this weight at all. I ended up dropping to 185, and it felt heavy. Very heavy. I cleared 185 weeks ago, but last night I struggled. And my form was still garbage.

So ya, I'm pretty pissed off at myself. Form is the most important thing, and my form is absolute shit. I concede that my legs hurt, a lot, and that's getting in the way, but this is Week 5 already. I've gotta get with the program.

The plan is to do some cardio tonight, either Core Cardio and Balance from Insanity or the Bas Rutten all around workout. Haven't decided yet. Then tomorrow I'm going to squat 195 again and work really hard on form. I'm going to do bench press at 185, but now I'm second guessing myself and wondering if I had shitty form on Monday with 180 and if I should repeat that too.

Man, I hate feeling this way, but there's no reason to move the weight up if I can't keep the form correct. Dammit, I was feeling good about my lifting too. I hate being weak!

K, I'm done ranting. I'll try to keep the next blog post positive, but right now I am pissed at myself for being a weakling and I deserve the bashing. I'll keep you posted how tonight and tomorrow goes.

Bring it!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My legs hurt!

Well, I went lower. I didn't go as low as I wanted, but I went lower than I have been, and my legs are feeling it today! They don't feel like I hurt anything though, just muscle sore, so that's good. I lifted 205 yesterday on the squat, and that number keeps going up! I'm going to keep trying to go a little bit lower each workout, and hopefully in a week or two I'll be happy with my squat height.

As for bench, I finally beat 180! Three sets of 5, and it felt heavy. I've been stuck on this one for two weeks, and inching my way up there. I finally got all of my reps done, so on Friday I get to play around with 185.

We finished with chinups, and I did my absolute best ever! One set of 8 and two sets of 7! I can't believe how much I've increased on my chinups.

That's all I've got. I wanted to document last night's workout, and let you know that I'm planning on doing cardio tonight. I say planning because my legs really do hurt, so that will make tonight iffy. Maybe I'll do yoga or stretch or just throw punches. Or maybe I'll take a night off...again. Not sure. I'll let you know.

Bring it!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Life's been getting in the way

Alright, I have not missed a Starting Strength workout yet, and I don't plan on it. But my cardio...man, life can really get in the way.

(incoming funny story!)
Thursday my roommate was going to jiu jitsu practice at 7 and I was planning on working out after work. Thanks to careful coordination (a combination of Facebook and text messaging) he and I ordered Thai food and had it scheduled to be delivered at 8:30. The plan was we'd both get done with our workouts, I'd be home to get the food, and then there'd be plenty of fresh delicious food waiting for us. That was the plan. Unfortunately the food showed up at 5:15, 15 minutes before I even get out of my office. I came home and instantly got on the phone. After some hostile negotiating (I can be loud when I'm angry) I got the Thai place to deliver our order at 8:30 like they were supposed to. Unfortunately at this point I looked over and my roommate had already started eating, giving up on jiu jitsu for the night. I went into the gym, worked out for about ten minutes with plyo from Rushfit, and then decided I was too angry still and went back in to eat.

So I did not work on out Thursday. Then, as expected, the Thai food did show up at 8:30. No one told us, though, that they wanted the original food back! Crap, we'd already eaten most of it. We boxed up everything that was left and sent the guy on his way, and now we had a fresh order of Thai food. I wasn't hungry, but I did eat a little more. So as far as working out goes, Thursday was kind of a wash.

Friday we did Starting Strength. I seriously need to go lower in my squats. It's not even a weight thing, it's a flexibility issue. I downloaded some stretching exercises to get my squat lower, and I'm debating using a chair tonight to check my form. I'll let you know how that goes. But aside from not squatting low enough, it was a good workout. I got 195 on the squats, and almost did 130 on shoulders. Shoulders were weird. I did two sets of 5 no problem, but on rep 4 of set 3 my arms just stopped working. I even took a break, but after that I could not bust out the last two.

It's weird that things don't start to get harder. I was going fine, and then out of nowhere my arms just stopped working. You'd think it would slow down a little, but this was much more like a light switch. Weird. But I'll make the shoulders up on Wednesday and I'll be right back into the swing of things.

As far as pullups went, I was stoked with my progress. I did two sets of 6 and one set of 5. A year ago I could not do 1 pullup, and I am so proud of my progress! I can't wait to get to 3 sets of 15!

That was Friday. Somewhere between my ten minutes of plyo on Thursday and squatting on Friday I screwed up my right leg pretty bad. I couldn't go up stairs all weekend, it was very painful. Unfortunately I decided to be a good boyfriend and took my girlfriend to see model homes (she digs that) on Saturday. Officially it was her idea, but after a brief yelling fit I realized it was the right thing to do. We looked at 3 story homes, and man oh man I thought I was going to die! Literally tears were coming down my face from the pain. Fortunately after 6 or 7 houses she saw that I was in pain and pretty frustrated and we decided to run some errands instead. The leg hurt throughout the whole weekend, but as of today it's feeling almost 100%. Still some muscle soreness, but I think I'll be able to squat tonight.

Sunday my leg was feeling better, but for some reason I had no energy. I've been running on caffeine pretty heavy the last few days, and no matter how much caffeine I drank it just wasn't happening. I kept falling asleep on the couch and wouldn't wake up for anything. I decided to throw yoga out for this week and did not work out on Sunday. I feel bad (fat) about that, and need to get my cardio back up.

So that was the last few days. Tonight is Starting Strength again. I've gotta get deeper on my squats, but my friends are dicks and will give me shit if I go down on my weight. Wish me luck squatting at 205! I'm going to try the chair trick out tonight. And I plan to finish up my bench from the other day. I can't remember what weight I'm at (this is why I write everything down!), but I plan to dominate it tonight!

I'll let you know how things go. Man, I'm starting to miss being on a program, for no other reason than I am seriously slacking on cardio. Two rounds of P90X, 1 round of Insanity and 1 round of Asylum....you'd think I'd know how to keep on schedule, but apparently not. I've gotta figure this out.

Bring it!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Still lifting heavy stuff

Another night of Starting Strength was last night. We started with the now usual jog through the park. There were a lot of people there last night playing basketball or playing with their dogs. It was pretty cool seeing people actually using the park. Usually it's way too hot to be out there, but around 7 it's not so bad.

After the warmup jog we walked back to the house and hit the weights. I did 185 on the squats, and I felt really good about them. I still need to go a lot lower and should probably be using a little less weight to correct the form, but my friends are dicks and I need to keep up with them for fear of being called a pussy. Fortunately I did go lower than on Monday and felt better about my form. I'll just keep working on the form and will keep getting stronger. I want to keep this weight increase up for as long as I can, so it'll be a while before I have to stall out on this and then can work form and get really low.

After that was bench press. I repeated 180 from Friday, and I almost completed it. I did two sets of 5 and 1 set of 3, and then I couldn't do anymore. That's still better than Friday and I expect to finally conquer 180 on Monday, but man, I was so close! I'd say screw it and just up it to 185 now, but I have a feeling I'll be stuck there for a few days too.

We finished with deadlifts, and I decided to hang with the other guys and do 205. That's +20 from last week, and I really felt it. My form crapped out by the fourth one, and but the first few were great. Wish me luck on 215 next week! Crap, that means I need to buy more weight plates.

The usual 15 minutes of abs was last, and by the end I felt incredible and incredibly tired. My body is slowly getting bigger and stronger and I love the progress I'm making. I hope I keep the muslce increases for the entire program, because with the gains I've had in just the last 4 weeks I can't wait to see where I'll be by the end of the year!

So that's it. Two quick things I noticed last night....

1) I have added 100 lbs to my squat since starting. 100! That's freakin' incredible!
2) My 1,000 club (squat + bench + dead = 1,000) is getting closer. I'm at 570 total now. When I started I was at 415. That's an incredible increase. I'm a ways away from 1,000, but progress is being made!

That's all I've got. Time for work, and tonight is cardio. I'm thinking plyo, but my legs may not agree with me. I'll keep you posted.

Bring it!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

MMA and Cardio

Last night I got home from work, sat on the couch for about fifteen minutes, and then hit play on a pretty damn good workout! I started with the warmup from Cored Cardio & Balance from Insanity. I was planning on doing Bas Rutten, and I realized last time that I do not warm up properly for this workout on my own. Fortunately I own plenty of DVDs with good warmups, and took advantage of that. It felt good to start a workout moving fast with Shaun T (even though this is the easiest of all the Insanity warmups). My legs are still aching from all of the squats, so the warmup was a little tricky, but I think until I get back into a solid cardio routine the squats will always be killing my legs on cardio days.

After the warmup there was a good stretch, and by the end of that my muscles were feeling pretty loose and good.

Then I turned the DVD off, threw in the Bas Rutten Workout CD and got moving. I am a huge fan of this workout. It feels like one of the hard days from my old karate days as a kid. I've talked about it before, but basically it's shadow boxing while Bas calls out strikes to throw, and after somewhere between 30 seconds to 2 minutes he goes into some actual exercises, like pushups for 30 seconds, abs for 30 seconds, etc. It's like that for 30 minutes. I chose this one because I hadn't done regular pushups in a while, and there's some bicep work in there (cardio biceps....as many curls as you can do in 30 seconds) and I felt like my biceps aren't getting the right amount of attention.

Ten minutes into this my shoulders were on fire. The day before I'd shoulder pressed more than I'd ever pressed before, so that makes sense. Strikes became pretty hard to throw, but I pushed through. I was having trouble keeping my guard up too, but I did as much as I could. And pushups were weird. I did all of them on my knees so I wouldn't kill my chest (today is bench press day so I was preparing myself for it), but what I mostly noticed is that after a few sets my shoulders had trouble supporting my body at the top. My arms were like jello by the end of this workout!

30 minutes went by pretty quick and I felt great afterwards. I modified a lot of things because of my legs from squats, but I still had an amazing workout. I've done this one a few times before, and every time, last night included, as soon as I walk out of the gym my girlfriend has said I am soaked. She doesn't say that about every workout, but this one every single time. That means it's awesome! I'm glad I can get such a good workout in.

After the CD I did a ten minute stretch and called it good. It felt good to throw punches and kicks and move around, plus I like the total body workout stuff. This is one I definitely need to do more, and I have more workouts like it that I want to start doing too. Expect me to throw in The Pit workout next week!

Tonight we get back into Starting Strength and I'm actually feeling pretty pumped for it. I have to make up last week's bench press since I didn't finish my sets (I think...I have to check my notes) and we're squatting 185! I'm thinking I can handle that much, but I need to go lower! Wish me luck!

Oh, and for those of you who read my blog and are working out tonight, be prepared for some deadlifts tonight! It's going to be a good night!

Bring it!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Week 4 begins!

Last night we got into Starting Strength and worked really hard! We started with running a few laps around the park behind the house, followed by some sprints. Then we stretched, and went back to the house to get started. I squated 175 like I was supposed to (I was originally thinking about doing 170). I don't think I went low enough, but I did have pretty decent form and held my own. I actually feel really good about these squats. 185 is tomorrow, and my goal is to go low! Hopefully I can do it.

Shoulder press was next and I did 125 lbs. It felt heavy at first, but overall I felt like these were a lot stronger than last Wednesday's reps! I have to muscle the weight up to above my head, usually using my legs to get some momentum, but my arms went up evenly and I was really proud of my progress.

I finished with chinups. Two sets of 7 and 1 set of 6. These numbers are still increasing and I love it. Chinups get easier every week. Now if only my pullups could get better....

We finished with the usual 15 minutes of abs. It was a good workout. There's 6 of us working out now, though, and it's starting to get crowded in the gym. It slowed down the process too. There's a few people that aren't able to lift as much as the rest of the group, though, and I'm thinking they may be better off using the total gym and the door gym and just working out while we work out. It's no insult to them....I just feel like Starting Strength may not be the way they want to go anyways, and this would save us all a little time in the gym. We spent about 2 hours working out last night, and after hour 1 I was ready for food!

So overall, good day yesterday. Tonight I'm planning on doing the Bas Rutten all around workout and maybe some additional cardio from Insanity. I'm looking for a good 45 minutes of heart pounding. I may do plyo or another martial arts workout too. Not 100% sure yet. I'll let you know.

That's all I've got. Bring it!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Starting to hit some walls

Friday we did Starting Strength and I think I'm starting to hit a few walls. I squated 165, and even though I did them all and everyone said I looked fine, I felt like I wasn't able to go low enough. 165 felt like a lot, like way a lot, and 175 sounds a little unrealistic now. I'm debating doing 170 and switching to +5's starting tonight, but let's see how I'm feeling tonight. I may still give it a go. Either way, though, some time soon I'll need to switch to +5's on squats very soon.

As for +5 on my bench, I benched 180 on Friday. Well, sort of. I did not get all 15 of my reps in. I don't have the tracking sheet on me right now, but I think I did one set of 5, one of 4 and one of 3. My muscles just couldn't do any more. On Wednesday, when I get back in to this, I need to try 180 again, but I think now I'll be able to do it!

As for pullups, they felt stronger and better than ever, but with my tired arms and chest from bench I was only able to do one or two more than the previous Friday. Still good, but not great.

So like I said, I feel like I'm starting to hit a wall. With P90X I'd be on a recovery week this week, but this is not P90X. I keep going on this one until I can't go any further. So that's probably why my muscles are feeling weaker. Weaker is a relative term though. Everything looks bigger already, and definitely stronger. And I've added so much weight in the last few weeks, and generally speaking my muscles have kept up. So I'm still proud of my progress.

I am still thinking about adding in biceps on Wednesdays starting next week. I need to add a curl bar into my arsenal, but biceps are not getting bigger and I want bigger biceps. They're getting stronger and harder, but because there's nothing directly for them I feel like they're being forgotten. If the group agrees with me, next Wednesdays bicep curls will be added, and every week I'll start adding in 5 lbs.

So that was Friday. Saturday I did absolutely nothing but watched TV and movies. I watched 2 hours of cartoons, saw Harry Potter, played some craps, watched Captain America (which is freakin' sweet!) and then went home, watched the Incredible Hulk (I have a thing for super hero movies) and then watched the Strikeforce fights. Overall it was an awesome day, and I seriously needed the break.

Yesterday (Sunday) I had to get back into cardio, so I started with some yoga. I did MC2 Yoga, and felt pretty good by the end. My body was exhausted, and not doing cardio for a week really showed through. After that I actually hooked up my iphone to a speaker and did 10 minutes of guided meditation, and I felt outstanding after that. It felt good to relax and let my body just enjoy being tired.

So tonight I get back in to Starting Strength with Week 4! I'll let you know what I end up adding to my lifts. Bring it!