Atlas13 Is back. Let’s Get To Work

Work for today: atlas week 3 day 1

Hang power snatch: 40x3, 50x3, 60x3, 60x3, 60x3

Snatch grip high pull: 60x10

Squat: 45x10, 135x5, 185x3, 225x3, 270x5, 305x5, 340x7 (Sweet Sweet PR)
Backoff sets: 270x5, 270x5, 270x5

Db RDL: 65x10, 65x10, 65x10

Engine work: 4 rounds 12:32
10 40lbs sandbag walking lunges
10 Gorilla row 50lbs
10 sledgehammer tire hits
10 burpees


  • snatches felt fantastic. Strong and fast. Did some high pulls at the end just to give my traps some love. Side note, I find that since the weights it kg, I don’t give a damn about it lol. I mentally disconnect, so I’m just thinking “yeah that set felt good, let’s add a green” instead of worrying what the bar actually weighs
  • really focusing on technique on squats today, recovery was pretty shit this week so the heavy day had me a bit intimidated. Right shoulder is having some trouble keeping the bar In position, pretty painful and definitely limits me. I’m making an appointment with the PT, this shoulder is really beginning to hold me back.
  • that being said, squats moved today. I’m doing 5s pro, this wasn’t supposed to be a PR set. But, my diets been shit this week, so i figured fuck it, better be strong. 340x6 was a hard PR with my sumo stance, hitting an extra rep with my closer stance is a huge win for me. Also did this after 2 working sets, last time I only did light warmups and some singles, so wasn’t as fresh. More impressive that I did this fasted first thing in the AM. Feeling strong.
  • engine work went well, I’ve learned something about myself. If I ever program split squats/lunges as part of my lifting, I will skip them. If I throw them in with conditioning? Will do them happily. Whatever lie I need to tell myself lll



Work for today: Atlas week 3 day 2

Press: 45x10. 95x5, 120x5, 140x5, 155x5, 120x8, 120x8, 120x8
Fat grip Pullup: 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5


  • need to do a weekend write up. Will sum up for the workout and say I came into this extremely fatigued, was a real mental battle to get into the gym at all. Dead tired, the bar felt heavy, just not firing on all cylinders. A bit of sleep and I’ll be back to usual.
  • right shoulder is as angry at me as it has been in years. Very painful. Unsure what I’m doing to irritate it.
  • bloated as hell, both feel and look it.
  • as much as I’m bitching, the weights moved decent. 155x5 wasn’t much of a struggle.
  • didn’t do much else. Today was a “better to do something than nothing” kind of day, already hurting, no progress to be made just digging a recovery hole.

Work for today: atlas week 3 day 3

Trap bar deadlift: 150x5, 240x3, 330x1, 340x5, 385x5, 430x5 (PR, only because first time touching this weight, prolly could have done it before but I was doing higher reps. Had more in the tank on this one), 340x5, 340x5, 340x5

Front squat: 45x10, 135x5, 185x3, 225x3, 225x3, 225x3

Engine work: 4 rounds, 14:59
15 kb swings
15 goblet squats
500m ski erg


  • deads moved well. Still digging the trap bar. Just hits a bit different, but In a good way.
  • cut the cleans. I’m wondering if my god awful Olympic form is what’s making my shoulder so angry, so dropping those for a bit before I end up back at a surgeon.
  • still not entirely recovered, sleep debt is real, but feeling better than yesterday.
  • engine work felt great. Swings were good, goblet squats felt a bit light at first, but I had to break up the last set. Not because it was heavy, but my lungs were absolutely shot
  • not sure if I’ve said this before, but I’m using the ski erg a lot. I like it, but honestly I’m using it for no other reason than it’s location in the gym lol. Good area for me to set up my little WODs

That looks like a great session mate. Strong pulls and then backing it up with some solid front squat. Careful mate with training like this you will become even more excellent.

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Thanks boss, I was pretty pleased with it. Squats and deads are progressing very nicely, now if only upper body would get the memo lol

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Life and training update:

  • in typical fashion, this is a meandering rant of both fitness and general life that somehow connects in the end.

  • I went to my best friends wedding this past weekend. Without exaggeration, this was one of the best weekends of my life. I laughed until I cried time and time again, I caught up with friends I haven’t seen in years, I partied with an abandon I haven’t touched since… I honestly can’t remember. The groom was my roommate at the naval academy, the bride was a Norwich grad. So friends on both sides were active duty. Needless to say, the alcohol was flowing.

  • This is a nebulous concept so bear with me, but I am very happy that I was “that guy” at the wedding. What does “that guy” mean? I’m not exactly sure, but I know it when I see it. I just was on point In a lot of ways. Some logistics crisis before the wedding? Don’t worry, Atlas has got it. Entertaining family and friends at the rehearsal dinner? Was the perfect gentleman. Best man speech? Absolutely crushed it. Seducing the cute bridesmaid? Couldn’t of gone better. I’ve got a sense of confidence, that I had when I was younger, and think I lost for a bit. But man it’s back, and god damn do I like the man I am when I have it.

  • Side note, actually very excited about this bridesmaid, we ended up spending the whole weekend together. Wasn’t expecting it, but I really like this gal. Army logistics officer, sadly on the other coast from me, but we’re planning to see one another.

  • Holy hell am I hurting after this weekend. 4 days straight of drinking from morning until bed, few hours of sleep thanks to little miss bridesmaid, jam packed days. It was a blast, but I need some recovery lol. Looking forward to a clean diet and some actual sleep.

  • I was one of 2 navy guys at this event. Most were Marines or Army. And damn, it still irritates me how much I feel like I just naturally “fit” in better with either of those two groups of people than I do my own. Don’t get me wrong, I have friends at work, I like my peers, and my FITREPS speak for themselves, but everytime I’m around ground guys I just feel like the shared interests and values are much stronger than even within my own. Really, really has me questioning if I should hop over to army after this tour. Marines won’t take me with my knee, but Army said they would… it’s a very tempting offer. As is, this weekend has somewhat solidified to me that I want to stay in some type of government work. Maybe not DOD, but federal law enforcement, national defense industry, security and Intel, something along those lines. I enjoy it too much, I value the people in it too much, and I’d feel on the sidelines if I went civilian.

  • I’m not sure what exactly the future holds, but I do know I want to be ready for it. I’ve enjoyed being a meathead, and I still fully intend to get stronger, but I need to start focusing on some other areas of athleticism as well. I already made that shift somewhat a month ago, so really just an extension of that. Running needs to become a part of my routine.

  • It was with this in the back of my mind that I was reading through Tactical Barbell Volume II on my plane ride back from the wedding. Originally, I was just looking at some ideas for WODs that I could use. Then I saw how they were broken up into different types, and it got me curious, so I read about the different conditioning protocols, which eventually lead to me reading the entire book. I liked it, and thought that the “black” protocol would be the perfect way for me to lay out my conditioning. a little bit of method to the madness.

  • But I read the whole damn book. And the book very, very clearly says “do base building first, then follow up with a program.” I really, really don’t want to do base building. I despise long distance running. I’ve done it frequently in several periods of my life, all for very specific goals, and even when I was fairly good at it (3 miles in 19:15), I still absolutely despised it, and have actively avoided anything of the sort since my knee injury. Training is also going well right now, I enjoy what I’m doing, so I don’t want to mix it up.

  • This is all exactly why I’m going to do base building. It scares me, it seems awful, and doing those type of things are the only way I’m going to get better, become a more well rounded athlete. Additionally, I do think it will benefit me a lot. The book talks about feeling better, more energy, less sluggish. To be frank, I need that. I feel terrible. Pretty much 24/7. I wake up tired, I spend my days in a caffeine induced stupor, and crash hard at the end, only to repeat again. I never feel “good.” And that’s not really a training thing, my Work hours and the disrupted sleep schedule just put me in a bad spot, but I do think that a bigger focus on aerobic work, really bringing down my RHR, might help me manage the fatigue a bit better.

  • Doing the strength first option, using a 531 twice a week plan from the forever book as my strength work. The plan has you working 6 days a week. With my work schedule, that is not possible. I don’t have 6 days a week where I actually get time off the boat. So, some days will be doubled up. Strength and the conditioning. Those days will suck.

  • I expect this to be difficult. I’m fully aware my knee is going to flare up. It will be a painful experience. Mentally, I hate running, so training isn’t going to be enjoyable for the next 8 weeks. As far as lifts go, I’m not expecting to get stronger during this time. But I do think 531 will let me maintain my strength, and I’m honestly fairly content with my strength levels right now. Not where I want to end, but I’m in a decent spot. I also am going to drop some weight, get leaner. Not purposely going to diet, but I know from history that for me, the weight flys off anytime i run. If strength maintains, then I’m alright being lighter.

  • cleaning up my diet a bit. The last two weeks have been terrible, which was a conscious choice to support social events, and I don’t regret it for even a moment. It was the right choice, and now it’s the right move to get back to some healthy options. Knocked out some meal preps after the gym

  • Conveniently, this is the last week of this 531 cycle. Going to finish this up, and then start base building Saturday. I’m legitimately dreading it. Good.

Let’s get to work


Really appreciated this update. I’m excited for this training direction.

I remember you mentioning before getting your testosterone levels evaluated: did that ever come to fruition? It might be worth a look otherwise.

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Great update, love to see the broader life stuff on this site, way more exciting to see people in a good place and developing their whole selves rather than just training logs.

Could have written this myself, caffeine is so high that it’s essentially ineffective, like you it’s a work thing (and a baby thing) but I also know that I don’t help myself sometimes. Very similar to you in thinking about bringing up then conditioning aspect and hoping for some carry over to energy levels.

I know this wasn’t directed at me but I’ve been on trt for 5 years now, definitely worth a look but I’m still exhausted :rofl:


@T3hPwnisher thanks man, I’m excited too. In terms of test levels, I didn’t end up getting them checked. Had an appointment, where the Navy docs told me I was too young to have any issues, and that I wouldn’t be eligible for TRT anyway since I’m deployable. I’m considering just going out in town to get a test, if for nothing else than my own knowledge.

@alex_uk im glad you enjoy the overall updates, I sometimes worry that I dive a bit too off topic lol. I don’t keep a journal, so this log is that in a lot of ways. I feel you on the caffeine, I need 300mg in my system just to meet baseline. Long term, I’m sure I’ll need to address that, but definitely a problem for another day lol


Much of what you have described is symptomatic of someone who has high T.:+1:


Work for today: atlas week 3 day 4

Bench: 45x15, 135x5, 180x5, 200x5, 225x5, 160x10, 160x10, 160x11

Kroc row: 100x27

Db Inc bench: 80x9.5, 65x12

Chin grip pulldown: 190x10-5 (PR), 150x11

Cable overhead ext: 50x15, 50x15, 57.5x15

Engine work: 2000m row: 7:37, 7 second PR


  • lower back a bit sore from deadlifts. Need that to go away before I run tomorrow.
  • bench felt fine. Shoulder not happy, but the weights moved fine.
  • crazy low back pump during Kroc rows lol. I think it’s just the bracing that had it feeling it
  • lost my groove on the first set of db bench, kinda cocked the weight sideways and nearly smashed my face lol. Saved it.
  • loving these chin grip pulldowns. Feeling strong, elbows don’t get cranky at all.
  • happy with my row, especially given I’m doing this workout after an overnight shift. Feeling good.

Last fun workout for a while. Base building starts tomorrow. Bleh


Work for today: Tactical Barbell Base Building week 1 day 1

30 min run, 5.1 mph


  • this was surprisingly not terrible
  • pace is slow, and feel like I could go forever. Trying to follow the guidelines on heart rate, and running always jacks mine up extremely high the minute I put any hard intensity to it. Going to slowly increase speed, but this felt about right for zone 2 work
  • knee wasn’t all that mad at me.
  • I expected this to suck more than it did

Work for today: Tactical Barbell base building week 1 day 2

30 min run: 5.2 mph


  • hit this during my lunch break at work, pulling an overnight today.
  • run still felt easy, definitely could go a lot faster, but trying to find that nice heart rate for zone 2 work
  • bought some new running shoes, had my old pair since 2020. My knee are thanking me already

Work for today: base building week 1 day 3

Fat bar Pullup: 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 5, 5
Press: 95x5, 115x5, 125x5, 145x5, 115x10, 115x10, 115x10

Trap bar deadlift: 150x5, 240x3, 300x5, 345x5, 390x5, 300x5, 300x5

Giant set:
Db row: 105x12, 105x12
Goblet squat: 53x12, 53x12
Band Pushdown: Gx15, Gx15

Poundstone curl: axlex 106

-hit this after 38 hours awake.
-supposed to be 110x5, but was lazy loading weights

  • press freaking flew. Shoulder hurting like hell, but the weights are moving. Gonna cut all pressing besides bench and press, see if that helps.
  • deads flew too. Rest periods pretty short, just sort of robotic with the lifts.
  • workout took a bit long with both press and deads, so did a giant set to knock out accessory work.
  • honestly, shit day at work, today workout was just me getting angry and blowing off steam. Much needed

Atlas’s ramblings

  • when did body image become such a big issue among young men? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and am actually very interested in hearing others thoughts on this. When I was at the wedding, there were a lot of mid-20s guys. Most in fairly decent shape. At one point, at the end of the night, a lot of us jumped in the hot tub. I was very surprised by some of the reactions. A few dudes didn’t join, obviously insecure. One dude who I shared a room with earlier, pretty good physique, probably a 4 pack or so with some good muscle definition, got in wearing a shirt claiming he was bloated from all the drinking.
  • look, I had been slamming beers since 9am that day. I’m not obese or anything, but I’m definitely not lean either, and with all the booze and pizza in my system at the time, I can guarantee I wasn’t looking my prime shape. I can also promise that I did not give a solitary fuck. I was having a great time with friends, laughing, enjoying the night. I legitimately did not spend any time thinking about how I looked until some of the other guys brought up how they “didn’t look so good” because of how bad they had eaten the past few days, and even then I wasn’t self conscious, more just confused because I didn’t get how they could look at me and be self conscious in comparison lol.
  • (interesting side note, but there were a lot of active duty guys at this wedding, and regardless of physique, I didn’t see an ounce of self consciousness on how they looked.)
  • I love working out. I don’t really do it to be pretty, but I like how it makes me look. And I’ll admit, I look pretty damn jacked in a well fitted shirt, maybe not so great shirtless though. And I definitely feel extremely confident in myself, to include when it comes to women…. But I also felt extremely confident when I was 50lbs heavier. Now I’ve had a pretty successful career, and I’m a pretty gregarious guy, so that definitely helps, but I think it’s insane how these guys, who really looked far better than most people, were so self conscious of how they looked that they couldn’t even relax with a few beers in the hot tub because a few cute bridesmaids were there.
  • also on that note, I was ultimately the only one who managed to woo the sole single bridesmaid, and I did so while shirtless, fairly intoxicated, and joking that if they thought my chest hair was bad, they should see my ass. I’m not saying looks aren’t important, they definitely are, but I was certainly not the best looking dude there. Self confidence is sexy, and idk when so many men started to lack it.
  • on a slightly different but related note. I compliment people frequently. Not frivolously, but if I see something positive I can point out, I try to. Habit I picked up leading sailors, goes a long way with them. We had a fellow at the wedding, part of the bridal party. Nice guy, kind of quiet, short stocky fella. Bit heavy, had played high school football with the groom, and you could tell he was a lineman. When we were all getting dressed for the wedding, I saw him in his suit and just said “looking sharp boss, fits you well.” This guy looked at me so damn cautiously and said “you mean it?” Like it was some prank. It felt a little odd, but also very vulnerable, so I went over and straightened his tie a bit and said “yeah man, you look good, gives the broad shoulder look. Ladies are gonna love you.” I’m not kidding when I say I think I made that guys week. Which, is still kind of odd to me, and goes back to my original question of “when did guys become so self conscious?”. But also, compliment the friends in your life. Some of em seem like they really need the boost.

100% social media. The further I got away from social media and fitness influencers the better all body image issues got. I never had serious issues but it’s definitely shifted toward everything being overall more positive now.

I think the super narcissistic nature of posting social media content with perfect lighting and angles made it seem like that was the “norm” for young men growing up and seeing posts like that. Like I see people post on the college snapchat story stuff like “UREC lighting go crazy”. While this might just be a whatever post, I think it largely highlights the fact people care too much what they look like and need some level of validation from others. Progress pics are one thing but I would never post one to a platform where lifting culture isn’t the focus (like a campus wide snapstory)

I think the other issue is the overall confidence of people going down and people viewing lifting as a grind. I think Tom platz said something like “we use to have bodybuilders like Arnold who lived a life of excess but now the bodybuilders live a life of restriction”. I think this quote shows a lot into what physical culture as become. A lot of the guys i know look good but lack the confidence to believe it thereby leading to this body image issue and needing validation because they live such a life of counting calories and optimal workouts.

I find this topic interesting and want to flesh out my thoughts better but that’s my 10:10pm write up after waking up from falling alseep on the couch.


Work for today; Base Building week 1 day 4+5


Squat: 135x5, 225x3, 235x5, 275x5, 305x5, 235x5, 235x5, 235x5

Bench: 135x5, 160x5, 180x5, 205x5, 160x10, 160x10, 160x10

Chin grip Pulldown: 195x11-5 (PR), 150x11

Cybex row: 90x10, 90x10, 90x10

Overhead db ext: 80x15, 80x15

Endurance work:
50 min run, 5.2 mph


  • running off 9.5 cumulative hours of sleep since Monday. Week from hell at work, caffeine is being measured in grams. That being said, passing out as soon as I finish typing this, should get a solid 9 hours tonight.
  • work another overnight tomorrow, so gotta combine days to fit it all in. Little less than ideal to do my longest endurance day after squats, but I’m also jogging on a treadmill, so not exactly a Herculean feat lol.
  • squats moved fine. Bench felt fine.
  • chin grip pulldowns felt strong as hell, I really feel like I get a lot out of those movement.
  • deliberately trying to avoid taxing my lower back, as that’s normally the first thing to give when I run. I know I’ll need to work it again, but I can give a brief pause for base building.
  • run went well. I feel like I could go essentially forever at this pace. Slow jog, but still happy that at 215 and having not run more than 2 miles in years, and generally only running like 20x total per year in that time, I can still knock out longer runs like this. Endurance is feeling pretty decent.
  • wore a cotton shirt today since I was squatting. Bringing a nylon shirt next time for my run. Nipples chaffing like hell lol

Which book is this, is it “Tactical Barbell II: Conditioning”? I checked the Tactical Barbell site and the author’s Amazon page and couldn’t find an exact name match, closest thing was that one.

Good luck on the new direction in training, it looks pretty solid!

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Here’s a link to the one I’m referencing

I really do think it’s fantastic. I’m not as sold on their first book on strength, but when it comes to conditioning, it’s a goldmine