T Nation

A New Direction


When one path dead-ends, try a new path! At 24, 155 lbs, and no particular athletic progress in the past year to speak of, it's time to try something new.

In a nutshell, my fitness history is:
15-18: Ran High School Cross-Country as my first serious athletic endeavor. Got decently fast, also weighed 111 at 5'8".
18-20: Joined the Air Force. Trained for an ran my first marathon. Finished in 3:23:31, which meant my first ever marathon was just short of qualifying for Boston!
20-22: Ski accident causing a bruised pelvis effectively ended my running career. Although I am by no practical means disabled, running 40-60 miles per week simply was out of the question. Around the same time, I realized I was extremely skinny and didn't really project the image of a military professional. Began Crossfit with several coworkers and realized how woefully out of shape I was. Got my weight up to 140 and became a very conditioned, though still not very strong person.
22: A big emphasis towards strength work in the CF community led me to try Starting Strength + gallon of milk a day. I reached 170 lbs and at my very peak could do 3x5 Back Squat @ 200 lbs.
22-24: A serious case of pnuemonia/Valley Fever followed by an inguinal hernia really derailed my training. In addition, I couldn't recover from Crossfit-style workouts fast enough to do more than 2-3 workouts per week, and as a result was constantly burnt out and getting out of shape.
24 (Last few months): Quit playing so many video games and took up swimming and rock climbing with friends weekly. Decided to explore more traditional programming. Just finished a very dissapointing 6 week Olympic Lifting cycle. I believe I failed to make any strength gains because I'm not strong enough/conditioned enough to benefit from that type of workout.

All of which brings me to this.

I have started the "8-Week Basic Strength Plan" found here:

I picked this program because with minor tweaks it can be done entirely with a barbell, squat rack and pullup bar; all of which I have at home. It has some progression and variety with loading programmed in, which I know will keep me from getting frustrated with the main lifts. It has been years since I have done a split routine of any kind, and I expect to be very sore for at least the first few weeks.


Week 1: (6-12 June)

Bench: 5x8@125
Incline Bench: 5x8@100
Pullups: 4x8
Bent Row: 3x8@65
Floor Row: 3x12 @ 65
Pushups: 4x8

Swim - 5 sets;
50m Freestyle pull with paddles/bouy
50m Kickboard
50m Freestyle

Squat: 5x8@130
Deadlift: 3x8@185
Overhead Squat: 12-10-8@95
Front Squat: 5x8@95
Bulgarian Split Squat: 3x8 unweighted (tried weighted, but I was completely unable to balance!)

4 Mile walk

Friday: Rock Climbing at the gym

Military Press: 5x8@95
Lat & Delt Raises: 2x12 w/10s
Close Bench: 5x8@ 95
Pullover Skullcrushers: 12-10-8@65
Barbell Curls: 10-8-6@45

Sunday: Rest. Morning Bodyweight: 153

Comments: As I predicted, I was really sore by Sunday. Upper body workouts weren't awful, but the 5x8s in Squat/Front Squat were awful. I hope next week's 4x8 is a litle less mind-numbing. Despite eating a lot at meals I lost two pounds this week. Considering my bodyfat % coming into this program, I'm not terribly concerned. I will, however, plan meals/snacks much better next week. General plan is:

Shake (8 oz milk w/1 scoop True Mass + teaspoon creatine)
Can of fruit (pears/pineapple/peaches or similar)

Morning Snack: Sandwhich

Lunch: Some sort of meat + rice or similar meal plus a serving of fruit

Snack: Clif Bar

Pre-Workout: NO-Xplode (I've gathered it gets a bad rap around here, but I know that large amounts of Vitamin-B really give me energy and makes a difference in workouts. Maybe there's a different and better way to do this, but for now this is what I do)

Post-workout: Another protein milkshake (no creatine)

Dinner: Generally some grilled meat/fish with vegetables and rice/couscous/some other starch

Bedtime: one more shake (w/creatine)


Week 2: (13-19 June)

Bench: 4x8@135
Incline Bench: 4x8@110
Pullups: 13-11-8
Bent Row: 3x8@75
Floor Row: 3x12@75
Pushups: 13-11-8

Swim - 1 Mile. Alternate Freestyle, Breaststroke, Sidestroke

Squat: 4x8@140
Deadlift: 2x8@185
Overhead Squat: 12-10-8@95
Front Squat: 4x8@105
Bulgarian Split Squat: 3x8 unweighted

1 Arm Standing Row: 3x8@36
1 Arm Bench Row: 4x8@36

Friday: Rock Climbing at the gym

Military Press: 4x8@100
Lat & Delt Raises: 2x12 w/10s
Close Bench: 4x8@ 100
Pullover Skullcrushers: 12-10-8@65
Barbell Curls: None (Elbow sore after climbing)

Sunday: Morning Bodyweight: 155
Cable Row (Elbows In): 3x8@80
Cable Row (Elbows Out): 3x8@70
Pullover Skullcrushers: 12-10-8@60
Straight Arm Pulldown: 2x15@80
Lateral Pulldown: 2x15@40
Cross-Body Row: 1x20@30
Shoulder Rotation (Internal): 1x20@30
Shoulder Rotation (External): 1x20@10

Comments: Week 2 went about as planned. I gained two pounds and so am back to where I was before I started this program. Planning my eating out during the weekday keeps my energy up and I'm sure is improving my results.

I'm making two mid-course adjustments here. First, I have more energy/time on weekends, so starting next week I'm moving legs to the weekends and resting on Monday. Second, I could tell the program was not enough back work. I switched from the program's split to a front/back split and put the back work on a weekend, when I can go to the gym without a crowd and use the cables.

Also, although I thought the sore elbow was coming from climbing, after Sunday's workout I believe it is coming from the pullover-skullcrusher combo. I won't be doing that next week, and may not do it again for quite a while. We'll see.


Week 3: (20-26 June)

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 4 Mile Run

Military Press: 3x8@105
Incline Bench: 3x8@115
Bench: 3x8@145
Close Grip Bench: 3x8@115
Pullups: 16-8-6-2
Bent Row: 3x8@85
Floor Row: 3x8@85
Barbell Curls: 8-6-4@45
Pushups: 16-16

Strap Lean-Out: 3x8
Strap Miyagi: 3x8
KB Windmill: 3x8@35


Cable Row (Elbows In): 4x10@90
Cable Row (Elbows Out): 4x10@80
Straight Arm Pulldown: 3x17@90
Lateral Pulldown: 17@50, 17@40, 17@40
Cross-Body Row: 2x20@40
Shoulder Rotation (Internal): 3x12@40
Shoulder Rotation (External): 3x12@20

Sunday: Morning Bodyweight: 156
Squat: 3x8@150
Deadlift: 1x8@185
Overhead Squat: 12-10-8@95
Front Squat: 3x8@110
Bulgarian Split Squat: 3x8@10

Evening: 5 Mile Run

Comments: Week 3 went well. I went to bed every night feeling pretty energetic and excited for the next day's workout. I really like the changes I made to the program. I was worried that I might be overdoing the push day by combining so many lifts but it goes pretty quickly and feels good. Also, having a back day plus a rows/pullups on chest day could have been too much work, but I'm getting strong and don't feel too sore so I think I found a good balance. Leg day sucks, like always, and I'm glad I moved it to the weekend!

I slowed down the weight gain, which is good. I don't want to do another Starting Strength type bulk where I put 2-3 inches on my waist. If I keep my weight constant/below 160 through week 8 I think I'll like where I end up. Also, I am starting to feel a difference in the way my shirts fit across my back, and that's an encouraging and motivating feeling!


Week 4: (27 June-3 July)


Military Press: 2x8@120
Incline Bench: 2x8@130
Bench: 2x8@160
Close Grip Bench: 3x8@130
Pullups: 17-9-6
Bent Row: 3x8@95
Floor Row: 3x8@95
Barbell Curls: 10-8-6@45
Pushups: 20-12

Deadlift: 1x8@200
Strap Lean-Out: 3x8
Strap Miyagi: 3x8
KB Windmill: 3x8@35
Suitcase Deadlift: 3x5@95


AM: Mini-Tri -- Run 1.5 miles/Row 3250m (15:00)/Swim 10 laps
PM: Climb

Squat: 2x8@160
Overhead Squat: 12-10-8@95
Front Squat: 2x8@120
Bulgarian Split Squat: 3x10@10

Sunday: Morning Bodyweight: 155
Cable Row: 3x8@100
Straight Arm Pulldown: 3x12@100
Lateral Pulldown: 3x17@50
Cross-Body Row: 2x15@50
Shoulder Rotation (Internal): 3x15@40
Shoulder Rotation (External): 3x15@20
Tricep Pushdown (Rope Handle): 5x8@40
Cable Bicep Curl (Rope Handle): 5x8@70

Training -- I tweaked the program again. Because 1-Leg Day is too long, 2-I wasn't hitting my deadlifts very well after squatting, and 3-Thursday's "Ab Day" was really lame, I moved deadlifting to Thursday and added Suitcase Deads to beef up the program. Last week my deadlifts turned into spaced out singles at way-too-low of a weight, and I think this is going to result in bother better workout numbers and better results. The Suitcase deads lengthen a pretty brief workout and also add some much-needed core work; who knows, maybe they'll even help my wacky posture/hip problems!

For the next half of the cycle I plan to significantly change up my back workout. After Sunday's workout I'm convinced that the internal shoulder rotations also hurt my elbows, and I think there are some better exercises I can be doing anyway.

Nutrition -- My bodyweight was about 155 every morning but shot up to about 160 by bedtime every day. This is despite eating less this week than I did the previous weeks when I was concerned I was gaining too fast/just getting fat. I cut out evening creatine to help keep thirst from interupting sleep, so I could be losing more water overnight, but am I really fluctuating 5lbs from water weight? I don't know, but I'm going to try to stay in this 155-160 zone for a while while I lean out a bit. I'm probably still at 20%ish bodyfat, and I'd like that to drop down a bit before continuing on. Also, I am adding 10g BCAA to my pre-workout shake. I feel good about this.

Appearance -- A friend who hadn't seen me since I started this program noticed I was looking bigger. I figure she's probably not making that up, so I feel like I'm getting somewhere :slight_smile:

I think the higher volume weeks do a lot more for either 1-Getting bigger or 2-At least feeling bigger, but I understand the benefits of the lower volume/higher weight weeks too. I'm resisting the temptation to see greener grass too soon after some really heavy workouts, so I'm going to complete this 8 week cycle as planned. However, I may find that after this program, my take-away lesson is that higher volume is the way to go while I'm still trying to gain weight as priority #1 over strength. We'll see if these past two weeks of heavier lifting set me up for some significant gains over the next month!


I just realized something very important: the plan as written (week 5 using 5x5) is significantly LESS volume than week 1, even with the slightly higher weight. I definately don't feel like I need to relax my volume at this point in my training, so I'm going to be resuming 5x8 next week. I hope I don't regret this...and I'm pretty confident I won't!


Week 5: (4 July - 10 July)

Military Press: 5x8@100
Incline Bench: 5x8@110
Bench: 5x8@135
Close Grip Bench: 5x8@110
Pullover: 6-4-2@75
Pullups: 9-9-9-9
Bent Row: 3x6@105
Floor Row: 3x6@105
Barbell Curls: 6-4-2@50
Pushups: 10-10-10-10

Swim - 7 laps before lighting closed the pool

Deadlift: 3x8@195
Strap Lean-Out: 3x8
Strap Miyagi: 3x8
KB Windmill: 3x5@56
Suitcase Deadlift: 3x5@120



Cable Row: 5x8@100
Straight Arm Pulldown: 2x15@100
Lateral Pulldown: 3x10@80
Cross-Body Row: 2x10@80
Tricep Pushdown (Straight Bar): 5x8@40
Cable Bicep Curl (V bar): 5x8@70
Attempted some fancy stuff. It sucked.

Sunday: Morning Bodyweight: 157.6
Squat: 5x8@135
Overhead Squat: 6-4-2@115
Front Squat: 5x8@100
Bulgarian Split Squat: 3x6@25

Cable Row: 4x8@120
Pulldown: 3x8@150
Straight Arm Pulldown: 3x10@120
Lateral Pulldown: 3x8@80
Cross-Body Row: 3x10@70
Cable Bicep Curl (Straight Bar): 3x8@100
Tricep Pushdown (Straight Bar): 3x8@60

Training--Not happy with my cable-back training day. I thought I'd really enjoy/benefit from some cross-body cable work but it was just awkward and didn't feel like it worked the right muscles. Next week I will go back to my previous workout, possibly tweaked a bit to reduce elbow soreness.

Also, I can go a lot heavier in tricep extensions, and either I need to use a bar for bicep curls or I need to tweak the way I'm doing cable curls, because I am not feeling the cable curls at all. Saturday's workout was done while very hungover and I wasn't satisfied with it, so I did it again Sunday. I think that was a good choice; I'll find out for sure in a couple days if I can't move my arms.

Appearance--Morning bodyweight went back up a couple pounds. I'm going back to the Bod Pod next week to find out how much is LBM and how much is fat. Hopefully I've improved my body composition in these past 5 weeks!


Week 6: (11 July - 17 July)


Tuesday: Swim:
3x(25 Underwater/25 Breast Back//50 Kickboard Flutter Kick)
3x(50 Freestyle/50 Kickboard Breaststroke Kick)
3x(50 Freestyle/50 Sidestroke)

Military Press: 4x8@110
Incline Bench: 4x8@120
Bench: 4x8@145
Close Grip Bench: 4x8@120
Pullover: 8-6-4@75
Pullups: 12-12-7-5
Bent Row: 3x8@105
Floor Row: 3x8@105
Barbell Curls: 8-6-4@50
Pushups: 15-13-12

Deadlift: 2x8@195
Strap Lean-Out: 3x8
Strap Miyagi: 3x8
KB Windmill: 3x7@56
Suitcase Deadlift: 3x8@120


Cable Row: 4x8@130
Pulldown: 4x8@150
Straight Arm Pulldown: 3x8@130
Lateral Pulldown: 3x10@80
Cross-Body Row: 3x10@80
Shoulder Rotation (External Only) 3x10@40
Tricep Pushdown (Straight Bar): 3x10@60
Bicep Curls - Couldn't do. Elbows hurt too much again. Need to figure this out.

Sunday: Morning Bodyweight: Dunno. Forgot to weigh myself
Squat: 4x8@145
Overhead Squat: 8-6-4@115
Front Squat: 4x8@110
Bulgarian Split Squat: 3x8@25

Training--Lower body training is going well. I may need to tweak the upper body days a bit. The heavy set of bench might be a bit too high, and setting overhead press at 75% of my bench might not last too much longer. I'm still not satisfied with the way my back day is feeling, and something I'm doing is still hurting my elbows. I figure my lats are letting me pull more than my elbows can handle in a few moves...so I'll be changing things up again next week.

Appearance--I went to the Bod Pod this week and the results were great! Between this week and my last test on 21 March, I lost 5 lbs of fat, gained 6 lbs of muscle, and went down 3.2% bodyfat overall down to 19.6%. Even though those results are spread out over a few months, I really do believe the majority of those improvements have happened over the last 6 weeks on this serious training/nutrition program. I'll be excited to go back in a couple months!


Week 7: (18 July - 24 July)


Tuesday: Swim:
6x(Freestyle/Breaststroke/Sidestroke) = 18 Laps

Military Press: 3x8@120
Incline Bench: 3x8@125
Bench: 3x8@160
Close Grip Bench: 3x8@125
Pullover: 10-8-6@75
Pullups: 12-10-8-6
Bent Row: 3x10@105
Floor Row: 3x10@105
Barbell Curls: 10-8-6@65
Pushups: 20-20

Deadlift: 1x8@195
Strap Lean-Out: 3x8
Strap Miyagi: 3x8
KB Windmill: 3x9@56
Suitcase Deadlift: 3x5@125


Cable Row: 3x8@140
Pulldown: 3x8@160
Machine Reverse Flye: 3x8@75
Tricep Pushdown (Straight Bar): 3x12@60
Bicep Curls: 3x12@100
Shoulder Rotation (Internal/External) 3x12@40/40

Sunday: Morning Bodyweight: 158.2
Squat: 3x8@160
Overhead Squat: 10-8-6@115
Front Squat: 3x8@120

Training--Wednesday felt good-I think that rather than scale back the press I will just push-press reps that aren't going to make it. I was surprised that my pullups didn't do very well so I will keep do 36 again next time around and see how that goes. I'll also be switching up Thursday to get in more reps at the deadlift. Saturday was fine except that I probably went too heavy on the rows. Squatting Sunday after helping Lisa move was exhausting and took quite a while, and felt pretty lopsided, especially in my right lower back and right knee.

Appearance--So I did some math on my Bod Pod results and figured that if my body recomposition stays on the same trend (+1 lb lean mass, -.66 lb lean mass /week) that I should continue to gain .33 lbs a week. I'll be setting that as my goal for my Sunday morning weigh-ins until the next time I hit the Bod Pod.

Also, I took some before-after pictures last week at the 6 week mark and even though I see some progress I'm not really happy with the pics. Not sure if it's my results or just poor photography. Either way I will post some pics at the end of week 8.

Nutrition--I cycled of NO-Xplode this week and I definately miss the amazing high and focus it gave me. I'll stay off it for a while to see if sleep improves as well as just to give it a break. I expect to go back on before too long though; I already miss it! Also, I started getting BCAAs + Beta-Alanine and I can definately feel the tingle of the Beta-Alanine.


Week 8: (25 July - 31 July)


Tuesday: Swim:
Run 2 Miles (Schoolyard and back)

Military Press: 2x8@125 (Push Press 2/6)
Incline Bench: 2x8@135
Bench: 2x8@170
Close Grip Bench: 2x8@135
Pullover: 12-10-8@75
Pullups: 14-12-10
Bent Row: 3x12@105
Floor Row: 3x12@105
Barbell Curls: 12-10-8@65
Pushups: 25-15

Romainian Deadlift: 3x5@135
Deadlift: 1x20@135
KB Windmill: 3x11@36


Cable Row: 2x8@140
Pulldown: 2x8@160
Machine Reverse Flye: 2x8@85
Tricep Pushdown: 3x6@70
Bicep Curls: 3x6@110
Shoulder Rotation (Internal/External) 3x12@50/50
Machine Pec Flye: 2x8@70
Diverging Lat Pull: 2x8@(110/120)

Sunday: Morning Bodyweight: 159.4
Squat: 2x8@170
Overhead Squat: 12-10-8@115
Front Squat: 2x8@125

Training--I was pleasantly surprised on Wednesday; I wasn't sure I'd be able to get all my bench reps in, but I did! Squatting was a lot rougher; I only got 2 reps on my heavy set, but I still got the workout done. I think that I need to change up some assistance exercises I'm keeping the weight constant and increasing reps from week to week. By weeks 3 and 4 I just can't keep up. I think I will keep the rep scheme the same but drop weight as needed.

Appearance--I was a bit surprised to hit 159.4 bodyweight Sunday morning, but I know there are some fluctuations that even sticking to the same day/time of weighing myself won't account for. We'll see what I hit next week; I still plan to schedule another Bod Pod visit when I wake up at 160 on a Sunday.

I took my 8-week pictures today. They'll get their own post.

Nutrition--I definately slacked off on taking snacks/sandwiches in the morning and I was very hungry every day by lunchtime. I'm not sure if that set me back/leaned me out/whatever but I will definately be more dilligent next week, especially with the return to high volume.


Week 9: (1 Aug - 7 Aug)


Tuesday: Swim:
5 x (Paddles/Kickboard/Breastroke)

Military Press: 5x8@105
Incline Bench: 5x8@115
Bench: 5x8@140
Close Grip Bench: 5x8@115
Pullover: 6-4-2@85
Pullups: 9-9-9-9
Bent Row: 3x6@115
Floor Row: 3x6@115
Pushups: 13-13-12-12

Romainian Deadlift: 3x5@135
Deadlift: 1x20@135
Shrug: 3x8@210


Cable Row: 5x8@110
Pulldown: 5x8@140
Machine Reverse Flye: 5x8@65
Machine Pec Flye: 5x8@60
Tricep Pushdown: 3x8@70
Diverging Lat Pull: 5x8@90

Sunday: Morning Bodyweight: Dunno. Stayed over @ Lisa and Rob's place.
Squat: 5x8@145
Overhead Squat: 6-4-2@125
Front Squat: 5x8@110

Training--I definately felt more fatigue this week than the previous two 5-set weeks. I feel 90% sure I will do a totally different program for the next 4 week cycle; maybe experimenting with complexes. My right hip and lower back felt very sore during squats; it almost feels like my left and right spinal erectors/hip muscles aren't even doing the same motion. If this continues to get worse as I get stronger, it may finally be enough to show my PCM and get some help for it.

Climbing went amazingly well; I blew away some old bouldering routes I couldn't do before and climbed a 9- quickly and easily as well. I tired out pretty fast, but considering all the routes I accomplished, I feel pretty good.

I've decided the pain in my left forearm is caused by sheering forces on the radius. I cut our windmills and bicep curls and it feels pretty good. I tried one rep of a bicep curl with the rope grip to see if a nuetral hand position would help, and it didn't, so I don't think it's a tendon/flexibility issue. I'll keep the forces on my forearm limited to compression/tension for the rest of this cycle and see how things feel at the end.

Appearance--Not sure if I hit 160 this Sunday since I stayed over at Lisa and Rob's after my (surprise!) birthday party. I did get some compliments on my appearance, and Heather said I lost the "belly" I used to have, so I think I'm still on the right track.


Week 10: (8 Aug - 14 Aug)


Tuesday: Swim:
5 x (Paddles/Kickboard/Breastroke)

Military Press: 4x8@115
Incline Bench: 4x8@120
Bench: 4x8@155
Close Grip Bench: 4x8@120
Pullover: 8-6-4@85
Pullups: 12-12-8-4
Bent Row: 3x8@115
Floor Row: 3x8@115
Pushups: 15-15-10

Romainian Deadlift: 3x6@135
Deadlift: 1x20@135
Shrug: 3x8@210


Cable Row: 4x8@120
Pulldown: 4x8@150
Machine Reverse Flye: 4x8@70
Machine Pec Flye: 4x8@70
Tricep Pushdown: 3x10@70
Diverging Lat Pull: 4x8@100

Sunday: Morning Bodyweight: 161
Squat: 4x8@155
Overhead Squat: 8-6-4@125
Front Squat: 4x8@120

Training--I felt my triceps burning during Wednesday's workout, especially during the overhead press. I think that means my shoulders are stronger than my tri's and now my arms are gonna have to catch up. Either way, it was a cool feeling. My left forearm feels pretty good after a week of no shearing forces, but I can still feel an ache when I test it. I used the overhead bicep curl machine on Saturday and it doesn't hurt very much, but there is a huge discrepancy between my right and left arms; I'd say my left can only do 70% of the right; I'm definately going to start using that a lot more and try to even things out.

Appearance--I took some more photos this week. Although my chest/arms don't really look any different (to my eye) I can definately see my lats have grown out, and that's cool. I prioritized my back to see results fast, and that was definately a good choice. I'll be going to the Bod Pod again in two weeks; can't wait to see where my body fat % is!


Week 11: (15 Aug - 21 Aug)


Tuesday: Rest/ORE

Military Press: 3x8@125 (Push Press 0/2/3)
Incline Bench: 3x8@130
Bench: 3x8@165
Close Grip Bench: 3x8@130
Pullover: 10-8-6@85
Pullups: 13-13-10
Bent Row: 3x10@115
Floor Row: 3x10@115
Pushups: 25-25

Romainian Deadlift: 3x7@135
Deadlift: 1x20@135
Shrug: 3x8@210


Cable Row: 3x8@130
Pulldown: 3x8@160
Machine Reverse Flye: 3x8@75
Machine Pec Flye: 3x8@80
Tricep Pushdown: 3x12@70
Diverging Lat Pull: 3x8@110

Sunday: Morning Bodyweight: 158.8
Squat: 3x8@170

Training--This week felt really rough. I probably overguessed my 1RM and have been struggling to make the sets/reps, but also I think some cumulative fatigue is playing a factor. I couldn't even keep the weight overhead for the OHS; I think next week is going to have to be a deload week for my health/injury prevention/getting ready for working with Terry next week.

My left forearm still hurts and I think that some swelling/compartment syndrome type effects are limiting my ability to climb. I will probably start lifting with straps to take some of the load off them and see if that helps them recover.

Appearance--After learning a bit more about fructose, I decided to completely cut soda out of my diet for these two weeks leading up to my Bod Pod test. I dropped 2.2 lbs in a week on it, so I think it's having huge and immediate payoffs. I'm excited to take my 12-week pics next Sunday!


Week 12: (22 Aug - 28 Aug)

Bench: 1x8@135
----------3x8-10 (10@155, 8@160, 7@155)
Incline Bench: 5x6@ 115, 95, 100, 105, 110
Pec Flye Machine: 5x6@100
Incline Chest Press Machine: 5x8@ (90, 100, 110, 110, 7@100)
Chest Press Machine: 5x8@ (155, 155, 155, 140, 7@140)

Squat: 1x8@135
----------3x3@ (185, 190, 4@185)
----------3x8@ (155, 145, 145)
Leg Press, Top: 3x8@145
Leg Press, Bottom: 3x8@100

Wide Grip Pulldown: 5x8@ (140, 160, 150, 150, 150)
Pressdown: 5x8@ (70, 100, 120, 130, 140)
D Lat Pulldown: 5x8@150
Cable Row: 5x8@ (130, 130, 130, 120, 5@150)
M. Reverse Flye: 5x8@50
Underhand Narrow Pulldown: 4x8@ (100, 120, 140, 160)

DB Front Raise: 5x8@10s
Shrug Machine: 5x8@140
DB Lat Raise: 5x8@10s
Shoulder Press Machine (N): 5x8@80
Shoulder Press: 5x8@60
Shoulder Press Machine (D) 5x8@30
DB Shoulder Press: 5x8@ (15s, 20s, 25s, 25s, 25s)

Weighted Dips: 4x6@45
Con. Curls: 4x8@15
Tricep Pressdown: 4x8@100
Standing Preacher Curl: 4x8@Bar+20
Regular Dip: 4x10
Bicep Curl Machine (Left Arm Only): 15@10, 12@10, 10@10, 12@7.5, 15@5

Shoulder Press (Smith): 5x8@135
DB Shrug: 5x8@55s
Pressdowns: 5x10@(120, 130, 70, 70, 70)
Lat Raise Machine: 5x10@60
Shoulder Press machine: 5x8@ (70, 70, 70, 75, 80)

Sunday: Morning Bodyweight 159.2
Squat: 2x8@135
----------3x3@ (185, 190, 190)
Leg Press Top: 3x8@(145, 150, 155)
Leg Press Bottom: 3x8@(100, 105, 110)
Decline Situps w/DB (5lbs): 10, 5
Calf Raises: 3x15@(70, 55, 55)

Training--First week of switching it up and (trying) to lift w/Terry. Work schedules are making that difficult though. I'm using a lot more machines since we're working at the base gym; even if they're not my favorite I can see how they offer some useful variety. Probably the biggest issue is that lifting w/mirrors around is letting me see how unevenly I have been lifting, especially in the squat. I may drop out heavy squats in favor of the leg press and squat lightly with focus on having my feet and hips even. I hate how everything is always 1-step forward and 2-steps back, but all I can do is keep trying to get this right.

Appearance--I took 12 weeks photos. I can see some gains, although I still think I look skinny-fat in the mirror. Hopefully as my body fat % bottoms out I'll be able to see the gains I've made. Also, just looking at my numbers (weight, LBM, BF, etc) from the past three months is showing me just how bad of shape I was in to start with! Again, all I can do is keep lifting and keep eating.


Week 13: (29 Sep - 4 Sep)

Wide Grip Pulldown: 5x8@ (155, 155, 145, 145, 135)
Pressdown: 5x10@ (80, 90, 100, 100, 100)
D Lat Pulldown: 5x8@155
Cable Row: 5x8@ (130, 130, 130, 120, 120)
M. Reverse Flye: 5x8@55
Underhand Narrow Pulldown: 5x8@ (130, 130, 130, 130, 130)
Wide Pressdowns: 5x8@ (70, 90, 110, 130, 140)
Close Grip Pulldowns: 4x8@120

Bench: 3x8@135
Incline Bench: 5x8@135
Pec Flye Machine: 4x8@70
Chest Press Machine: 4x10@ (130, 130, 135, 135)

Weighted Dips: 4x6@50
Con. Curls: 4x8@20s
Tricep Pressdown: 4x10@100
Standing Preacher Curl: 4x8@Bar+25
Regular Dip: 4x11
Bicep Curl Machine: 5x12@10

Leg Press, Top: 5x8@ (155, 160, 165, 175, 180)
Leg Curl: 5x8@60
Leg Extension: 5x8@50
DB Bench: 3x8@ (50s, 55s, 60s)
Calf Raises: 3x15@ (75, 60, 60)

Decline DB Situps: 3x10@5
M. Pec Flye (Wide): 5x8@70
M. Reverse Flye: 5x8@55
Wide Grip Pulldowns: 5x8@130
DB Shoulder Press: 5x8@30s

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Morning Bodyweight 160.2
Decline DB Situps: 3x10@5
Bench: 3x8@145
----------5x5@ (175, 175, 175, 170, 170)
Incline Bench: 5x8@ (140, 145, 150, 155, 150)
Pec Flye Machine: 4x8@ (75, 75, 80, 85)
Chest Press Machine: 4x10@ (135, 140, 145, 150)
Cable Overhead Tri: 3x10@70

Training--I'm pleasantly surprised with how this week went. I felt especially strong on the Bench on Sunday; hopefully I can put up 225 next week!

Appearance--Still not really satisfied with where I'm at. Last round of progress pics weren't too impressive, and I still feel like I have a lot more visceral fat than I should. However, My weight gain had stopped and I felt like I might be stalling, so I'm going to make a deliberate effort to eat more/better snacks, and also switching my protein to Syntha-6. I put on one pound this week, and I'm hoping it's the right kind of pound! We'll see what next week holds...


Week 14: (5 Sep - 12 Sep)

Wide Grip Pulldown: 5x8@130
Pressdown: 5x10@100
D Lat Pulldown: 5x8@155
Cable Row: 5x8@90
M. Reverse Flye: 5x8@60
Dec. DB Situps: 3x8@10

Shoulder Press (Smith): 5x8@145
Shrugs: 4x8@65s
Lat Raise Machine: 5x10@70
Shoulder Press Machine: 5x8@80
Dec DB Situps: 3x8@10

Weighted Dips: 4x6@55
Con. Curls: 4x8@25s
Tricep Pressdown: 4x10@60 (Single Pulley)
Standing Preacher Curl: 4x8@Bar+30
Regular Dip: 4x12
Bicep Curl Machine: 5x12@10
Cable Overhead Tri: 3x10@ (70, 75, 80)
Dec. DB Situps: 3x8@10

Leg Press, Top: 5x8@175
Leg Curl: 5x8@65
Leg Extension: 5x8@55
DB Bench: 3x8@ (60s, 65s, 70s)
Calf Raises: 3x15@ (75, 75, 60)
Dec. DB Situps: 3x8@10


Bench: 3x8@150
Incline Bench: 5x8@ (150, 150, 155, 160, 160)
Pec Flye Machine: 4x8@ (80, 85, 90, 90)
Chest Press Machine: 4x10@ (145, 150, 155, 160)
Decline DB Situps: 3x8@10

Sunday: Morning Bodyweight 160
Wide Grip Pulldown: 5x8@135
Pressdown: 5x10@110
D Lat Pulldown: 5x8@160
Cable Row: 5x8@ (120, 110, 100, 100, 100)
M. Reverse Flye: 5x8@ (65, 60, 55, 55, 55)
Dec. DB Situps: 3x10@10

Training--I hit a 4-Plate bench this week (225) for the first time ever! I even felt that I had the strength to do another rep, which was awesome. I'm sure I'll get 235 next week. I worked ahead this weekend on Chest and Back so that I can take Monday off due to the ORE.

Appearance--Well..my Back before/after pics are still showing progress, but scale weight is staying the same and my stomach is still rather round. I'm not sure what to do here...if my scale weight flatlines for 4 weeks I'm going to consider mixing things up quite a bit; possibly trying Indigo-3G to see if it's all that it's cracked up to be.

Nutrition--Although my body fat is sill high (eyeball test), my scale weight isn't moving much, so I'm eating more snacks and also drinking a more substantial peri-workout drink. We'll see what happens.


Progress Pics from the past 8 weeks:

17 July:
[photo]34287[/photo] [photo]34289[/photo]

10 Sept:

[photo]34288[/photo] [photo]34290[/photo]


Week 15: (12 Sep - 18 Sep)

Monday: Rest - Worked ahead for ORE today

Shoulder Press (Smith): 5x8@ (150, 150, 150, 150, 135)
Shrugs: 4x8@70s
Lat Raise Machine: 5x10@55
Shoulder Press Machine: 5x8@ (75, 80, 75, 85, 80)

Weighted Dips: 4x6@60
Con. Curls: 4x8@ (30s, 30s, 25s, 25s)
Tricep Pressdown: 4x8@60 (Single Pulley)
Standing Preacher Curl: 4x8@Bar+ (35, 35, 35, 30)
Cable Overhead Tri: 3x10@80
Bicep Curl Machine: 5x12@ (12.5, 12.5, 12.5, 12.5, 10)

Leg Press: 5x8@ (175, 180, 190, 205, 220)
Leg Curl: 5x8@ (80, 85, 90, 95, 95)
Leg Extension: 5x8@ (60, 65, 70, 75, 80)
DB Bench: 3x8@ (70s, 75s, 75s)


Leg Press (Plate): 5x8@ (200, 200, 250, 250, 250)
Seated Calf Raises: 4x8@50
Squat (Smith): 1x8@135
Leg Curl: 4x8@ (95, 100, 105, 110)

Sunday: Morning Bodyweight 159.4
Bench: 3x8@154
----------2x1@235 (help), 225
Incline Bench: 5x8@155
Pec Flye Machine: 4x8@90
Inc Chest Press Machine: 5x8@ (130, 150, 170/7, 160, 150)
Chest Press Machine: 4x10@ (155, 155, 150, 150/8)
Cable Overhead Tri: 3x8@90

Training--Nothing too special. Didn't hit 235 on the bench this week; so I'll try again next week. I think I'll keep most of my training weights the same next week. The leg workout made my legs sore for the first time in a few months, so I think it was worthwhile. I really prefer the plate leg press to the selectorized one.

Appearance--Didn't do any pics this week. My Sunday morning bodyweight went down, so I'm hoping I leaned out instead of losing muscle! I'm really plateauing in weight, so I'm stepping up my nutrition...

Nutrition--I'll be eating more to counteract my dropping bodyweight. I plan to eat bigger breakfasts and have more protein-only snacks throughout the day. I'm adding very short morning cardio to help wake me up and make better use of my nutrition throughout the day. I'm hoping to hit 161 next Sunday!


Week 16: (19 Sep - 25 Sep)

Cable Row: 5x8@110
DB Row: 5x8@35
Wide Pulldown: 5x8@ (130, 120, 120, 120, 110)
M.R. Flye: 5x8@ (30, 30, 35, 35, 40)
Pressdown: 5x10@ (120, 110, 100, 100, 90)

Shoulder Press (Smith): 5x8@ (145, 145, 145, 135, 135)
Shrugs: 4x8@75s
DB Shoulder Press: 5x8@ (40, 40, 40, 35, 35)
Lat Raise Machine: 5x8@50
Shoulder Press Machine: 5x8@ (80/9, 80/9, 80/8, 75/7)

Weighted Dips: 4x6@65
Bicep Overhead Curl: 4x8@20
DB Bench Press: 3x8@ (55s, 45s, 35s)
Standing Preacher Curl: 4x8@Bar+30
Cable Overhead Tri: 3x10@60

Pullups: 4x10
Narrow Pulldowns: 5x10@100
UHN Pulldowns: 5x10@120
Tri Pressdown: 5x10@100


Leg Press (Plate): 5x10@200
Seated Calf Raises: 5x10@50
Squat (Smith): 5x10@115
Leg Ext: 5x10@75

Sunday: Morning Bodyweight 161
Bench: 8@135, 5@155, 4@185, 2@205, 2@225, 1@235
Cable Row: 2x8@130
DB Row: 2x8@45
Pulldown: 2x8@130
M.R. Flye: 2x8@65
UHN Pulldown: 2x8@130
Wide Pressdown: 2x8@100

Training--Got a new job (MSG Exec) and am burnt out on the program I borrowed from my training partner. I was all over the place in terms of performance this week, although I did ramp up quickly to a bench PR on Sunday (235!) I'm going to go back to my original programming to get back into the high volume/low weight--low volume/high weight scheme and let my body get some better recovery. This also lets me train at home during the week. I'm splitting the old whole upper body day into two workouts, doing legs in the weekday, and doing two workouts at the gym using machines on the weekend.

Appearance--I don't think my appearance has changed that much, but my bodyweight did hit 161 on Sunday which put me back on course for where I want to be right now. If I keep up the rate I'm going at, I'll be 167 and lean by the end of the year. I had hoped to be more around 175, but the numbers don't lie...

Nutrition--I've been eating more and I'm gaining the appetite to want to eat more instead of having to force it. Also, I switched my supplements and am trying out Biotest ANACONDA. It's a better deal per unit of protein/carbs/everything else than what I had been doing, although at the prescribed levels it is pretty expensive per workout. (I expect results!) I think my reduced training volume combined with eating more will speed up my weight gain, but only time will tell!


Week 17: (26 Sep - 2 Oct)

Run (22nd and back)

Shoulder Press: 5x8@95
Inc Bench: 5x8@110
Bench: 5x8@135
Close Grip Bench: 5x8@110
Pushups: 4x10

Deadlift: 3x5@205
Pullups: 4x9
Pullover: 6-4-2@95
Bent Row: 5x8@95
Floor Row: 5x8@95

Back Squat: 5x8@135
Front Squat: 5x8@90


Bench: 8@135, 5@155, 4@185, 2@205, 2@225, 1@235
M.Flye: 5x8@70
DB Bench: 5x8@45
Preacher Curls: 5x8@B+20
Cable Overhead Tri: 5x8@55

Sunday: Morning Bodyweight 161.6
Cable Row: 5x8@100
DB Row: 5x8@30
Pulldown: 5x8@100
M.R. Flye: 5x8@50
UHN Pulldown: 5x8@100
Wide Pressdown: 5x8@80
Cable Overhead Bicep Curl: 5x8@20

Training--I am back on a 5-2 program and this being a 5 set week, everything was nice and light. I hit a new bench PR, doing 235 for 2. My legs are pretty sore from Thursday, but everything else seems pretty good. Maybe I'll be more sore next week.

Appearance--Same as last week: not looking/feeling any bigger.

Nutrition--I'm still trying to figure out the Anaconda supplements. Half a dose seems too little, but the full dose seems too much. I might add NO-Xplode back into the mix; I feel like I am missing it and the focus/intensity it helps bring to workouts.