T Nation

A.P's Offseason

Saturday 21/03/09

OFF DAY

End of week 3 review:

Appetite - 4/5

Still good on this front. Not craving anything and look forward to each meal having found recipes from the PN book that appeal to me.

Sleep Quality - 4/5

A bit more difficult to get out of bed despite 8 hours sleep at least, I’m guessing due to the fatigue of the very high intensity week. How I feel when I wake up is always one of my indicators to getting worn down so I’ll be sure to keep tabs on this.

Tiredness - 0/5

Feel energetic all day still. Had an absymal nights sleep Friday due to noise in house. As stated above, a little more difficult to get get up but still no probs.

Willingness to train - 5/5

Am still super motivated to train.

In addition, I started to feel a little of the feeling that I would call ‘post training anxiety’, which is just a general angst and restlessness that I can get after a high intensity session. Again, this is clearly a symptom of the planned over-reaching nature of this week of training, so I would expect it to diminish during next weeks easier week.

Sunday 22/3/09

Lower Max Workout

General Warmup (20 mins):
Foam rolling/soft tissue work
Dynamic flexibility/activation

Resistance Training:
A)Front squat - 75kg x 3,3,3
B)Dumbell Bulgarian o.l squat - 20kg x 8,8
C1)Glute-ham raises - BW x 8,8
C2)Reverse crunches - BW x 12,12,12
D)Side bridge (one leg) - BW x 30secs,30secs,30secs

A relatively easier session with no reactives and significantly lower volume and intensity. I have halved the carb content of my during and post workout shakes to account for this.

Monday 23/3/08

Active Regeneration Session

Foam rolling/soft tissue work
Dynamic flexibility circuit (all movements for 30 seconds each before moving to next)
Low intensity band circuit x2 (all movements 20 reps)
20 minute treadmill walk

Tuesday 24/3/09

Upper Max Workout

General Warmup (20 mins):
Foam rolling/soft tissue work
Dynamic flexibility/activation

Resistance Training:
A)Close grip pin press - 65kg x 3,3
B1)Neutral grip db bench press - 30kg x 8,8
B2)Chest supported machine row - 47kg x 8,8
C1)One-arm face pull - 6.25kg x 12,12,12
C1)Supine one-arm db protraction - 8kg x 15,15,15
D)Full contact twists - Oly bar +10kg x 8,8

Wednesday 25/3/09

Active Regeneration Session

Foam rolling/soft tissue work
Dynamic flexibility circuit (all movements for 30 seconds each before moving to next)
Low intensity band circuit x2 (all movements 20 reps)
20 minute treadmill walk

Having been watching the ‘Building the Efficient Athlete’ dvd set, I have realised that my hamstring flexibility is awful, and that what I thought was good range of motion here is actually coming from lumbar extension. This would explain why I sometimes get a little discomfort from full ROM deadlifting. As I get no discomfort from foam rolling the hamstrings, I think it is a length issue, so from now on I am going to really concentrate on them during my active recovery sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays with dynamic flexibility movements etc. such as deadlift walks, toy soldiers, front to back leg swings etc.

Thursday 26/3/09

Lower rep/speed Workout

General Warmup (20 mins):
Foam rolling/soft tissue work
Dynamic flexibility/activation

Resistance Training:
A)Box squat - 60kg x 2,2,2,2,2,2
B)Rack deadlift - 152.5kg x 5,5,5
C)Barbell front squat grip reverse lunge - 52.5kg x 4,4
D)Elevated split squat iso hold - 1x60secs
E)Side bridges - one leg 3x30secs

Nice brisk workout again with no reactives and lower volume. I’ve noticed with reverse lunges that when doing them on my left side (i.e. right leg stepping back), my left hip is sagging out straight away whereas on the other side I am perfectly stable. I am going to revisit the Building the Efficient Athlete dvd’s to try and look more closely at this. Hip flexibility was looking very good on the split squat iso-holds.

Friday 27/3/09

Upper rep/speed Workout

General Warmup (20 mins):
Foam rolling/soft tissue work
Dynamic flexibility/activation

Resistance Training:
A)Speed bench - 40kg x 2,2,2,2,2,2
B1)Neutral grip one arm push press - 30kg x 5, 28kg x 5,5
B2)Close grip chin - +10kg x 5,5,5
C1)Push up iso hold - 1x60secs
C2)Db elbow supported external rotations - 4kg x 12,12,12

Think my bench press form is really improving, and feel so solid doing it now with the scapular doing its job, elbows tucked and hips and core driving. Chins have come on leaps and bounds too and am looking strong on these. External rotations much better and elbow much more stable.

Saturday 28/03/09

OFF DAY

End of week 4 review:

Appetite - 5/5

Hungrier but in a good way. Am ready for a meal every 2-3 hours without fail, and actually look forward to the foods I am about to eat, not what I am not going to eat. Praise to the Precision Nutrition recipe book!

Sleep Quality - 5/5

Excellent sleep all week and no probs getting up.

Tiredness - 0/5

Nothing new to report here.

Willingness to train - 5/5

Am still super motivated to train and feel recharged after this low intensity week. Literally cannot wait to start phase 2 of my offseason training tomorrow and a whole bunch of new exercises.

This has been an excellent week of training and eating, and am really enjoying things. Tomorrow will be the start of phase 2 of my training, so I will write up a review of phase 1 as well as taking new pictures and measurements to compare from 4 weeks ago, and any plans I have for the next 4 weeks.

End of Phase 1: 4 Week Review (28/2/09-28/3/09)

4 Week Measurements- 28/3/09

Weight - 163lbs (down 11 lbs)

Neck - 14 1/2ins (down 3/4 inch)
Shoulders - 49ins (up 1 inch)
Chest - 42 (down 1/2 inch)
Upper arm - 14 3/8ins (down 1/16 inch)
Waist - 28 3/4ins (down 1 1/4 inches)
Hips - 32ins (down 2 inches)
Thigh - 24ins (same)
Calf - 14 11/16ins (down 1/4 inch)

Wow, a lot of weight dropped mainly in the right places over the last 4 weeks. However, I started the phase following about 4 weeks of bad eating and training, so water and crap weight obviously came straight off. Nice to see shoulders up a lot - I think this reflects both shoulders and upper back improvements. Waist, hip and neck measurements down marks a good change in appearance I feel. Not pleased about arms, chest and calves going down.

However, there has been no direct training for arms and calves over the last 4 weeks so perhaps no surprise, and chest typically holds some water, so again, that could explain things there. I don’t want to get any lighter in weight really than I am now, so I will make a couple of small diet changes for the next 4 weeks that will hopefully see me add some lean tissue and lose some fat, so hopefully I can weigh in in 4 weeks time at around the same weight but with waist and hips smaller again and other bodyparts up. If I carried on as I am, then I am fearful that I will start to lose muscle.

End of Phase 1: 4 Week Review (28/2/09-28/3/09)

Diet Review and Planned Changes for Next 4 Weeks

I am very proud of myself for my diet over the last 4 weeks. I have adopted the Precision Nutrition eating method with ease and have adhered to it excellently I feel. I enjoy my food each and every day, have a great appetite, have plenty of variety in my diet, and don’t crave other foods I am not eating like chips, sweets etc. I have also managed to cut out my bad habit of nibbling on small bits of junk (on premise of thinking that small nibbles don’t add up). I have missed no meals over the last 4 weeks and all meals have adhered to the rules of PN. I have felt great in the gym and full of energy and endurance, so not feeling depleted in the slightest and performance continues to soar, so diet has been great in this respect.

However, based on my weigh in and measurements, I feel I need to make a couple of changes that will hopefully see me add some lean tissue and continue to drop fat over the next 4 weeks (as opposed to drop fat and maintain/slightly lose lean tissue as I feel I have done over the last 4 weeks).

So, after consulting my PN manual and looking at the suggestions for individualisation, the changes will be:

  1. eat starchy carbs at the first postworkout solid meal (i.e. the one about 2 hours after my postworkout shake) after every workout
    2)eat fruit with each meal where I am not eating solid vegetables (as opposed to just having superfood+ alone at these meals)
    3)ditch the carb-up on sundays (I don’t feel this was having any effect really and is maybe overcomplicating things at this stage - it will be something to re-implement along the line though)

And that is it. Pretty subtle and simple really, but I hope it will help things along. Depending on how things look after 2 weeks, the next step would be to add starchy carbs at breakfast to help along lean tissue gain. I will continue to adjust the size of my workout drinks depending on the intensity of the training week and length of cardio sessions as I feel this worked very well in phase 1.

End of Phase 1: 4 Week Review (28/2/09-28/3/09)

Training Review and Planned Changes for Next 4 Weeks

Training has been excellent over the last 4 weeks. Strength has gone up in everything, as has flexibility and stability. I also feel that having watched the Building the Efficient Athlete dvds, I have been able to make some improvements to my technique in various lifts (e.g. driving the hips through) to make them safer and more effective. I feel my glutes more and more each session and this is making such a difference. I will continue on with the proscribed month 2 plan from the Offseason Manual.

My twice weekly regeneration sessions have also been very good, and I am now starting to see these not as a boring bit on the side, but as an essential component of my training week just as my 4 weights sessions are. Therefore, I am going to try and add a bit more rhyme and reason to them over the next 4 weeks. I have identified that I have tight hamstrings, and a particularly tight left adductor at the top (which I now realise is probably the cause and/or effect of about 5 or 6 left side groin strains over the last 2-3 years). Therefore, I am really going to target these areas at the start of my regeneration sessions with dynamic work to try and lengthen and alleviate the tightness.

Sunday 29/3/09 - Start of Phase 2

Lower Max Workout

General Warmup (20 mins):
Foam rolling/soft tissue work
Dynamic flexibility/activation

Reactive Training:
Low hurdle lateral hops - 4x10 each side
Alternating split squat cycle jumps - 4x6 each side

Resistance Training:
A)ATG wide stance Anderson squat - worked up to 80kg 3rm, then 75kg x 3,3 backoff
B)Reverse barbell lunge - 40kg x 6,6,6,6
C)Stiff leg deadlift - 60kg x 6,6,6
D1)Dragon flags - BW x 12,12,12
D2)Db windmills - 4kg x 8,8,8 each side

Really really good workout. The reactives felt excellent, and could really feel the spring on both movements. Anderson squats were supposed to be to parallel pins, but only have a squat rack at gym so had to go rock bottom here. Was amazed at good flexibility and pleased with form and use of hips and glutes with no back rounding at the bottom. Got up to an 80kg 3rm and could have gone a bit more I think, but didn’t want to push things with the extended ROM.

Also went light on reverse lunges and really concentrated on form, which was pleasing. A little hip sagging but I do believe this will iron out as weights progress. Stiff leg deads were good - weight fairly average but really used hip drive and subsequently the hamstrings, with no lower back at all. Core movements at the end were fun and felt strong, although tightness in left adductor inhibited me a bit on left wide dumbell windmills. Can’t wait for regeneration session tomorrow and upper max on tuesday!

Monday 30/3/08

Active Regeneration Session

  • Foam rolling/soft tissue work

  • Activation and dynamic flexibility work with emphasis on hamstrings and adductors

  • Low intensity resistance circuit (10 exercises for 15-20 reps each)

  • 15 minute treadmill walk

A good session, and my hams and adductors really felt looser afterwards.

My right shoulder is giving me a little grief though (stems from a fall on it during a soccer game 5 years ago).

From my research (mainly reading on functional anatomy and the Building the Efficient Athlete dvds), I am inclined to think that my right supraspinatus is very tight/weak. Using the dynamic assessments presented on the dvd, I can see that my upper trap is compensating heavily on any humeral abduction (consequently it is very tight at the moment), suggesting the supraspinatus. This would also tie in with the nature of the fall I took when I originally injured it, and I guess it would make sense that if I had a bad fall and strained the supraspinatus badly, and then did no rehab on it whatsover, then there will probably be some lasting damage.

Tuesday 31/3/09

Upper Max Workout

General Warmup (20 mins):
Foam rolling/soft tissue work
Dynamic flexibility/activation

Reactive Training:
Broad jumps - 5x5
10 yard accelerations - 4 each of standing start and 3 point start

Resistance Training:
A)Barbell bench press - worked up to 87.5kg 3rm, then 80kg x 3,3 backoff
B1)Alternating incline db bench press - 26kg x 6,6,6
B2)One arm db row - 30kg x 6,6,6
C1)Medium grip seated cable row - 54kg x 10,10,8
C2)Hip height woodchops - 6.25kg x 10,10,10
D)45 degree lying supraspinatus raise - Yellow band x 15,15,15

Very very good session. The reactives were a lot of fun. My broad jump has definitely improved since I did it last a few months ago, and I felt very ‘sharp’ off the mark on the accelerations despite not having run for about 6 weeks.

Was pleased with bench press 3rm. If I can get a 100kg 1rm (225lbs) at my bodyweight of around 163lbs in the forseeable future, then I would be very pleased. My shoulder felt fine benching as I kept the elbows tucked and didn’t press too high on the torso. Also got very good hip drive.

Everything else good. Added in 3 very light sets of band side raises at the end. Apparently lying on the side at 45 degrees means that the upper traps can’t takeover and hike up the scapular, thus isolating the supraspinatus for partial reps. These felt really good, and for a lack of a better term, my shoulder felt ‘looser’ afterwards. I am going to do this at the end of both my upper sessions and see how it goes.

I start a new job tomorrow, so am determined to not let my training performance and diet dedication slip during the following couple of weeks.

Phase 1: 4 Week Progress Photos

Not the most comparable progress photos ever, but I think the improvements are there to see, which is encouraging.

Customory T-Nation side-ab shot

Awful picture quality

WOW!!! I just spent about 15 mins aggressively rolling on a hard tennis ball on the back of my shoulder and infraspinatus and my shoulder feels a million times better already!! The tension has straight away gone from my upper traps and my shoulder now feels more relaxed.

Also, my internal rotation has probably doubled in this time and my shoulder feels ‘free’. Hopefully if I can keep on top of this soft tissue work here on my regeneration days as well as my light band work at the end of upper days, then fingers crossed I can finally see the back of my shoulder problem…

My eating today:

7.45
1 scoop whey protein
250ml low fat yoghurt
Pineapple chunks
Handful of mixed nuts
1 tsp Superfood+
2 fish oil caps
1 cup green tea
Multivitamin, Vitamin C
5g BCAA, 5g Creatine, 5g Beta-Alanine, 200mg caffeine

8.00-10.00 - Upper Max Workout
Sipped throughout workout:
40g whey
50g dextrose/maltodextrin mix
10g BCAA

10.00 - Postworkout
40g whey
50g dextrose/maltodextrin mix
5g BCAA, 5g Creatine, 5g Beta-Alanine

12.00
1 cup low fat yoghurt
1 scoop whey
50g oatmeal
1 cup of milk
1 serving raspberries
Handful of mixed nuts
2 fish oil caps

14.30
250g lean ground beef
50g feta cheese
Carrots and broccoli

17.30
Smoked salmon fillet
Carrots, broccoli and cauliflower

19.30
1 cup low fat yoghurt
1 homemade protein bar (whey and peanut butter)
1 teaspoon superfood+
2 fish oil caps
Kiwi fruit

21.30
1/2 cup of cottage cheese
1 scoop whey protein
1 tsp superfood+
1 tbsp natural peanut butter
2 fish oil caps
Kiwi fruit

Wednesday 1/4/09

Active Regeneration Session

  • Foam rolling/soft tissue work

  • Activation and dynamic flexibility work with emphasis on hamstrings and adductors

  • Low intensity resistance circuit (10 exercises for 15-20 reps each)

  • 15 minute treadmill walk

Thursday 2/4/09

Lower Rep Workout

General Warmup (20 mins):
Foam rolling/soft tissue work
Dynamic flexibility/activation

Reactive Training:
5 star drill - 5 each direction

Resistance Training:
A)Barbell jump squat - 37.5kg x 4,4,4,4,4,4
B)Speed deadlift - 82.5kg x 2,2,2,2,2,2
C)Walking db lunge - 22kg x 5,5,5,5
D1)Pullthroughs - 16.25kg x 10,10,10
D2)Bar rollouts - 10,10,10