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Becoming Canis dirus - SvenG's Training Log

Becoming Canis dirus
27 June 2021

TLDR: Learned a lot in first half of 2021, looking forward to finishing off the last half with new programming and a new mindset.

Today I’m starting Prep and Fat Loss Training from 5/3/1 Forever, which will carry me for the next 6 weeks. I’m also planning to pursue 5/3/1 programming for the remainder of 2021, at least. Not 100% sure what will follow the 6-week prep work, but it’ll be 5/3/1 something-or-other.

I’m really excited to get going, because I’ve definitely lost some strength in my squat (and probably in some of my other lifts, too) over the past several months.

I’m also excited because I’m shifting my focus from physique-centered to strength- and conditioning-centered, with the expectation that if I actually get strong and conditioned, I will also look strong and conditioned.

And I have @ChongLordUno, @T3hPwnisher, @aldebaran, @antiquity, @ejones1, @kdjohn, @kleinhound, @oldnattychris, @simo74, @TrainForPain, and lots of others here to thank for that shift.

I apologize to any members I failed to mention specifically. The whole community here has helped me to see that I’m not a Lonely Pup, and I don’t have to be a Lone Wolf. So thank you, members of the T-Nation Forums!

My near-term strength goals are 1/2/3/4 on press/bench/squat/dead.

Not sure how long that’ll take, not sure it really matters. But…

I hit 135 on press back in November 2019, and I’m not too far off right now.

I hit 265 on bench in March 2020, and I could get that again now if I was pretty fresh. I’ve been doing multiple sets of 6 reps with 2 plates (plus/minus a little) for the past 10 weeks at least, so really I can start progressing toward 3 plates here already.

I hit 300 on squat in mid-February 2020, but missed 315 six weeks later (late-April 2020). I’m no where near those numbers now—SI joint and sciatic nerve injuries late last November forced me to stop training the squat until sometime in March or April, and I’ve been doing front squats since then. Lots of room for progress here.

I hit 355 on deadlift in late-February 2020, but haven’t been working near those numbers lately. It’s also been awhile since I’ve trained the conventional deadlift, as BDWP - PI had me focused on RDLs. Hoping this one moves quickly, too.

My long-term strength goals are 2/3/4/5+ on press/bench/squat/dead.

No real timeline for this long-term goal, just going to focus on 1/2/3/4 for now.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still have physique goals, too.

I’d like to drop this spare tire for good.

As a happily married, (nearly) 43 year-old father of two, I’m not sure why my physique matters so much to me, but it does.

I suppose I’m trying to make up for lost time: from 18-38, I spent my time focused wholly on academic/intellectual pursuits while totally neglecting my body and developing terrible nutrition/sleep habits.

I think maybe a honed physique is, to me, an indicator of success in these previously neglected areas, much like my body of academic work indicates success professionally.

And let’s face it: I do like to succeed.

On the other hand, maybe it’s just a mid-life crisis…

Either way, I’d like to see all 6 of my abs and get rid of these love handles permanently.

That said, I’ve come to learn a chiseled physique is not worth the mental anguish I inflicted on myself and my family with disordered eating. (Just to reiterate, I did not fall so far as to have an actual eating disorder; but my habits and attitudes were disordered and mentally unhealthy.)

But together with what I did learn while meticulously tracking every gram of food that went into my body, in my short time on these forums, I think I’ve gained some sane, sustainable strategies for progressing these physique goals without killing my family’s happiness.

Nuff said.

I’ll be running the Prep program with 4 days of lifting, 3 days of easy conditioning, and (at least) 2 hard conditioning workouts with the sled. I’m starting with the following TMs:

Press - 110 lbs
Squat - 225 lbs
Bench - 230 lbs
Dead - 265 lbs

There’s lots of opportunity for progress with these numbers, which is key.

Despite JW’s recommendations re: conditioning, I’m doing the sled work because it’s just too valuable to leave out. And I may even add another day of hard conditioning a la @ChongLordUno (burpees, etc.), depending on recovery.

I am in no way smarter than JW, but I’d like to see if I’m capable of more: I will introduce the extra conditioning work slowly over the first several weeks and see how I feel.

I’m super pumped to see how I respond to this programming. Too many folks have demonstrated that 5/3/1 just plain works, so I’m expecting big things over the months ahead!


A Lone Wolf, or Just a Lonely Pup?
29 April 2021

Hi everyone.

Long-time reader, first-time poster. I tend to be an introvert, so putting my log up here is actually kind of a big deal…

I’m looking to learn and find some community, and to do that I need to step outside my comfort zone.

I’m a 42 year-old married father-of-two (daughter, age 10; son, age 8) with a flexible but sedentary day job.

I train alone in my garage, which I’ve been doing seriously for 3-4 years (and with a modicum of intelligence for about a year or two).

If I’m being honest, I’m driven by vanity first and health/wellness second, though the latter is becoming increasingly important as I age—my family history conspires against me in that regard.

My current focus is sustained fat loss running Coach Thibaudeau’s Best Damn for Natties, adapted to my equipment.

Height: 5’ 7"
Weight: 170.1 lbs
Waist: 34.00 inches
Body fat: 15.3%***

Current goal: reach (and then maintain) 164 lbs at less than 12.0% body fat by mid-June 2021

I am also concerned about maintaining muscle and strength while under caloric restriction.

I’m down from 185.2/36.50/18.8% since 03 Jan 2021, and from 208.0/41.25/21.8% since 05 Jan 2020.

My best so far in 2021 was 166.3/33.25/14.6% in late-Mar, with an overall best of 164.2/33.00/13.5% in late-Sep 2020.

Fat loss sucks: I’ve obviously had quite a few missteps and setbacks over the last 16 months or so, but during that time I think I’ve finally found out how to get my body to respond positively and to reduce negative impacts on my psyche while dieting.

What I lack most, I think, is patience.

My wife and kids tolerate my habits, strange as those habits are.

Actually, that’s not fair: they are incredibly supportive. But they’re not exactly full-time cheerleaders: I can be hard to live with sometimes, particularly on days when food (sugar?) cravings run rampant—and sometimes my attitude on those days brings all of us down.

With regard to nutrition: When I’m on, I’m on. Like rigidly so. But when I’m not, I binge. I’ve developed some really bad habits in this regard—I have lost any ability I may have once possessed to eat intuitively.

However, I can only fix so many things at once, so I’m just trying to keep the cravings at bay—and improve my demeanor while resisting them when they hit—in the short run.

More as interest dictates, but this post is long enough—time to get on with the log already.


*** - I use one of those handheld body fat monitors for this metric. Yes, I know they’re awful. But I’ve been using it long enough to correlate its measurements with other metrics—particularly how I look in weekly progress photos—and I don’t really care too much about the actual number: the monitor is just one of many tools I use to track progress.

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BDWP - PI - c0w3d4 - 82.5% tmax

29 Apr 2021
Metrics: 170.1/34.00/15.3% at 0520
Kcals: 221p/69f/155c
Workout: Push 2, 1220-1310 (50 minutes)

Warm-up
a) SL CR - mtor - 15x6, 20x6 | 25x6 + isofail: 30s
b) Leg ext - dset - 130x6, 150x6 | 170x6 + 130x8 + 100x10
c) Pec flye - mtor - 30x6, 35x6 | 40x6 + isofail: 20s
d) Z press - hdrp - 65x6, 75x6 | 85x(6+3+2)
e) Dip - hdrp - 45x6, 50x6 | 55x(6+3+2)
f) Quad vac - 3x60s

Got a late start and was hungry headed into workout. But the weights just seemed to fly up today… Felt great!

In fact, easily had more to give on Z press and dips, and probably on pec flye iso hold as well. Revisit tmax for those after next week’s deload?

That said, ROM on leg extension work set was a bit sketchy—not fully contracted at top. Maybe stick with 160 after deload and really focus more on concentric squeeze?

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Also, since today is some kind of start, here’s a current pic.

BDWP - PI - c0w3d5 - 82.5% tmax

30 Apr 2021
Metrics: 170.4/34.25/15.1% at 0520
Kcals: 221p/69f/155c
Workout: Pull 3, 0925-1015 (50 minutes)

Warm-up
a) CC - mtor - 50x6, 55x6 | 65x6 + isofail: 30s
b) Cable kickback - mtor - Xx6, 5x6 | 10x6 + isofail: 15s
c) Sup lat pulldown - ds - 95x6, 110x6 | 125x6 + 95x8 + 70x10
d) Cable row - mtor - 85x6, 100x6 | 115x6 + isofail: 15s
e) DB hammer - ds - 20x6, 25x6 | 30x6 + 25x8 + 20x10
f) SPU - 3x10 - purple

Back to a more normal schedule today, but didn’t feel as good as I had hoped; maybe there’s something to a later workout on an empty stomach.

Not sure the cable kickbacks are working my glutes the way I’d prefer; perhaps it’s time to revisit bridges, hip thrusts, etc.? (But even the thought of that make me a bit nervous…)

Fleeting pain in right arm (biceps back through to lat) continues. What did I do to incur that?

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BDWP - PI - c0w3d6 - 82.5% tmax

01 May 2021
Metrics: 170.6/34.00/15.0% at 0520
Kcals: 221p/69f/155c
Workout: Push 3, 0720-0815 (55 minutes)

Warm-up
a) SL CR - mtor - 15x6, 20x6 | 25x6 + isofail: 30s
b) DB split squat - mtor - 35x6, 40x6 | 45x6 + isofail: 20s
c) Incline DB press - dset - 50x6, 55x6 | 60x6 + 50x8 + 35x10
d) Incline front raise - mtor - 12x6, 15x6 | 20x6 + isofail: 20s
e) Rope pushdown - dset - 20x6, 25x6 | 30x6 + 25x8 + 20x10
f) Quad vac - 3x60s

Getting 2nd Pfizer vaccine this morning, had to workout really close to breakfast; normally I hate that, but it felt okay today.

Split squat eccentrics and iso holds had my quads screaming… But that felt surprisingly good.

Heart rate was way up on front raise iso hold and rope pushdowns!?!

Too much body english on rope pushdown x8 and x10 sets.

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Welcome to the forums! I hope you find the community here helpful and supportive; I know putting myself out there was one of the best decisions I’ve made, as everyone here has pushed me to be better than I ever thought I could be.

Count me in for this log. I’ve been interested to see how Best Damn plays out for someone in actuality.

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Thanks for coming along, @kdjohn! Glad I made the decision to sign up and get on with it.

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Looking good @SvenG My man.

Great home garage set up as well.

Let’s get the ball rolling in here man and tear this shit up.

Let’s go

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BDWP - PI - c0w3 - summary

02 May 2021
Metrics: 170.5/34.25/15.0% at 0600
Body comp: +0.9 lean/-0.4 fat (-0.3%)
Waist: +0.25 inches

Hope for the week was, “more lean gain + fat loss” – check. Now, keep your down, Sven, and get back to work. Just get to work.

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Thanks, @ChongLordUno! Never been more thankful for my setup than during the last year, that’s for sure.

And thanks for checking in on my log—I appreciate the encouragement!

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BDWP - PI - c0w4d0 - 77.5% tmax (deload)

02 May 2021
Metrics: 170.5/34.25/15.0% at 0600
Kcals: 220p/104f/100c
Workout: Conditioning, 0945-1025 (40 minutes)

a1) SPU - 3x10 - purple
a2) Seated vac - 3x60s
b) Thurster - 5x20s/40s - 15 - M: 16x, 5; m: 16x, 5
c) Bike@120 bpm - 16m

24-hours post shot, no ill effects beyond a sore shoulder; that needle really got me good.

Legs felt like lead today, but squeezed out an extra rep on every thruster round—I haven’t been working hard enough, have I?

Goals for the week:

  1. Don’t blow it on Saturday.
  2. Actually try to enjoy yourself on Saturday.

How’s that for some cognitive dissonance, eh?

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Details aren’t important, but enough is enough: Today I’m beginning an attempt to recapture normal eating habits. The baby-steps approach I’ve been using this year has simply replaced old extremes with new (albeit healthier) extremes, but extremes nonetheless. And that’s just not compatible with my family’s well-being anymore…

So, any advice for progressing fat loss without driving your family crazy?

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BDWP - PI - c0w4d1 - 77.5% tmax (deload)

03 May 2021
Metrics: 171.0/34.00/15.3% at 0550
Workout: Pull 1, 1025-1115 (50 minutes)

Warm-up
a) RDL - hdrp - 155x6, 185x6 | 210x(6+3+2)
b) Pullup - hdrp - BWx6, 5x6 | 10x(6+3+2)
c) RD3x - dset - 12x3/3/3, 15x3/3/3 | 20x3/3/3 + 15x4/4/4 + 12x5/5/5
d) BB curl - hdrp - 50x6, 60x6 | 70x(6+3+2)
e) CC - mtor - 50x6, 55x6 | 65x6 + isofail: 30s
f) SPU - 3x10 - purple

Feeling lack of sleep today, but likely won’t hit for real until tomorrow.

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BDWP - PI - c0w4d2 - 77.5% tmax (deload)

04 May 2021
Metrics: 170.8/34.25/15.7% at 0525
Workout: Push 1, 1000-1050 (50 minutes)

Warm-up
a) Front squat - hdrp - 120x6, 140x6 | 160x(6+3+2)
b) Bench press - hdrp - 160x6, 185x6 | 210x(6+3+2)
c) DB lateral - dset - 12x6, 15x6 | 20x6 + 15x8 + 12x10
d) Lying tri ext - mtor - 15x6, 20x6 | 25x6 + isofail: 30s
e) SL CR - mtor - 12x6, 15x6 | 20x6 + isofail: 30s
f) Seated vac - 3x60s

Slept surprisingly well last night—could it be… food? More on that in a minute.

Front squats were harder than they should’ve been today. First move—maybe body/mind just wasn’t quite warmed up?

Everything else felt pretty good. Slightly faster pace than usual today.

So, food. Didn’t measure or track anything yesterday, and that felt good. Breakfast was bog standard (cottage cheese, eggs, and turkey bacon), as was post-workout snack (blueberries, strawberries).

Lunch was basically same as usual too—broccoli, some chicken tenderloins, and some dill pickles. That said, a few of the chicken tenders had some low-sugar buffalo sauce (wasn’t great), and I also had some marinated steak. Probably ate more than I would have when tracking, but I didn’t lose control.

Similarly for dinner: sweet corn, tuna sandwich—yeah, that’s right: I ate some bread!—some tater tot thingies, and… something else. Don’t remember. Definitely more carb-y than usual, but again, I didn’t lose control.

Pre-bed snack: casein shake, granola, protein bar. Definitely more granola than usual, definitely felt full going to bed. Not that I’ve been going to bed hungry—fullness, satiety, etc. have been pretty good for several months now. But…

Did that help with sleep? Or carb intake in general? Or overall lack of stress because I didn’t spend the day being preoccupied by the next meal? Let’s pay attention to that and see where it goes. Better sleep alone might be worth any initial mis-steps.

Anyway, I’m not going to write down what I eat everyday, but I do want to log it for a bit, just until I develop a better sense for how I’m managing in this Brave New World.

Also, doesn’t hurt to remind myself that I’m still trying to lose some fat. Not Obsessing != Cheating. Summarizing intake for just a bit yet should help with that.

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Welcome here! As a fellow introvert stepping out of his comfort zone more as well, I feel you!

That’s a good choice! I did this programe thrice, and last time was precisely one year ago during lockdown, and during fat loss. I was simply coupling it to some walks and a little bit of cardio

Why does it make it nervous? If you don’t really like an exercise, just change it. the Best damn is about muscle building, which is highly individual.

Tmax? This program has tmax now? :joy:

I think it all helps. Carbs lower cortisol. Less stress means less cortisol. Meaning better sleep…

We all have our demons. I used to be carb-phobic, but now I eat quite a lot of them and less fats, fats are often less satiating for me which is a bummer because I’m a sucker for most things fat (French people and their cheeeese)

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Thanks for welcoming me and for reading through my log, @aldebaran! I’m enjoying CT’s BDWP—fits nicely with my current goals and availability for training. I’m just following the version he published here on T-Nation awhile back, not the paid-for version. (Guess I’m just cheap!)

The general approach in his articles of late makes a lot of sense to me, and it seems to be working, too: I had been going nowhere on the eat-less/work-more horse for far too long, but I’ve made some good progress after learning more and implementing some of his fat-loss suggestions, which also fit nicely in BDWP.

Yeah, that’s a strange comment without context. I spent the first two or three months of 2021 rehabbing my right glute and hamstring after an SI joint/sciatic nerve injury that I aggravated with hip thrusts… It’s the glute bridges and hip thrusts that make me nervous, not switching out an exercise. :slight_smile: Both the ortho and PT cleared me awhile back, but my head’s still in the way on that transition, I think.

LOL! Again, strange without context: That’s just my notation for tracking load and progression week-to-week. Like I said, I was too cheap to spring for paid-for version, and he doesn’t specifically address loading/progression in the article IIRC. So I came up with something I thought sensible, and that’s just how I annotate where I am in that progression.

So I can justify a piece of cake (or three) tonight on the basis of sleep, right? :wink:

French people—and my wife! :joy:

Your raise a good point about fats v. carbs. I became carb-phobic in my early attempts to drop fat, and only later learned enough to understand their role in training. Like so many other areas, I’m now undoing years of naive, uninformed behaviors and habits.

Anyway, thanks again for checking out my log. Hang about and comment all you’d like; I’m here to learn and to contribute where I can.

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@aldebaran You mentioned you ran Best Damn three times. I’m curious about your experiences with that. How long did you run it each time? What kind of progression did you use? Did you make any modifications? What were your results like? It must have worked well for you to use it three times over. :slight_smile:

Yes I was going to answer all of this and I forgot ahah

Jee whiz the first time was around when it come up so almost 4 years ago already… To be honest I don’t remember all my lifting experience during that period. But I remember the program felt great and I made good progress with it.

I dug up some of what I wrote back then. I ran the program as written. Back then, no version 2 or paying version. When I could do 6-3-2 on the rest-pause sets I would increase the weight.

The second time I did it was a few day after my wrist surgeries ahah and obviously since they were in a cast I replaced some exercises with what I could so… (yeah I’m insane). I could do neutral pull-ups a few days afterwards, but no pressing, so I would just do machine flyes pressing the handle on my forearms, or I would zercher everything lol, like I was doing Zercher DL instead of RDL.

Third time was during lockdown at home and I only had 70 kgs of weight so for instance the squat was replaced by zombie squats with 5 secs eccentrics, but I kept the spirit of the program alive.

On the mTOR and drop sets sets, well I would aim for 0 or 1 rep in reserve before the drop/hold. If I had more I’d just increase. But I wasn’t concerned too much with the weight. It’s a bodybuilding program so I go more by feel. Like on RDL sure I can use 160 kgs but then I feel less my hamstring so I’d rather use 120 and stretch them and feel them as much as I can

Oh yeah I feel you. After my knee surgeries I was afraid of sports on the rgass for many years (still not 100% confident doing these or skiing lol). There are also other options for glute work: cable pull-throughs, glute hyperextensions, deficit lunges and so on

If only… The Grand-parents are here so the house is literally full of chocolate, cake, biscuits, ice cream and other delicacies and I see everyone eating those in delight rofl but I guess I have enough resolve!

In any case if you start having trouble sleeping and all, consider having some carbs…

I have noticed myself I can get sometimes “snappy” and angry as of late. Fat lcan be hard on the body and we don’t always notice it…

I mean I love fat but 100 gr of fat is 900 cals and 10 of carbs is 400 so the choice is easily done… I found (I try) a balance between both to keep me a bit full

BDWP - PI - c0w4d3 - 77.5% tmax (deload)

05 May 2021
Metrics: 172.0/34.50/16.3% at 0530
Workout: Pull 2, 1015-1110 (55 minutes)

Warm-up
a) Leg curl - dset - 70x6, 85x6 | 95x6 + 70x8 + 55x10
b) EZ pullover - mtor - 55x6, 65x6 | 75x6 + isofail: 12s
c) CS DB row - hdrp - 30x8, 35x8 | 40x(8+4+3)
d) Preacher curl - mtor - 65x6, 75x6 | 90x6 + isofail: 30s
e) CC - mtor - 45x6, 55x6 | 60x6 + isofail: 32s
f) SPU - 3x10 - purple

So I gained 1.2 lbs over yesterday morning, and I’m up 0.6% body fat (1.0% since Monday AM). I know the change in eating habits will take some time for me to recalibrate—gut contents alone can swing these numbers quite wildly—so I just need to remain focused:

No need to measure, no need to track, no need to worry. Just do what I know how to do, work hard, and this stuff will figure itself out.

Workout itself was alright, but felt like it didn’t hit the right intensity. Maybe my head just wasn’t on quite right today…

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Throw the fucking scales away.

They’re another tool designed to turn you into a panicky gimp.

Train hard as fuck and reward the body with good food my man

Let’s do this shit

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