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Horse Barn Diaries

I have decided to track my progress here. Online logs are something I’ve attempted in the past but usually stop using in favor of good old paper logs, but I thought I’d give this a try again.

Some stats and precursor:
I weigh between 170-175 pounds. I’m 30 years old and I’ve been lifting pretty religiously since about 15. I have been visiting this site since 2007, about the age of 16/17.

Back in Jr High my wrestling coach got me into lifting weights. In 7th grade I wrestled varsity so I was practicing with the big boys. Wrestled and played football throughout grade school as probably many of us did. Played a year of college ball, and went on to compete in BJJ where I am a simple white belt, and did a tour in professional wrestling. I was trained under Harley Race and held the NWA Missouri Championship twice before retiring it. This belt was popularized by Race and was used back in his day as a stepping stone to the NWA Worlds, which he is most famous for.

Anyways, I’m not 100% sure how this will go. My methods frequently rotate between a select few things that I have found to work supra well over the years, as far as training and diet are concerned.

At the moment I am predominantly eating meat (mostly pork, I am a 6th gen hog farmer, sometimes beef or chicken, and more infrequently, fish), eggs, and fermented vegetables (which I make at home, my favorite is beet and red cabbage kraut but I also fermented tomatoes, radishes, green cabbage…).

Kind of awkward to start one of these on a Sunday, as today I won’t be training. This week will mark Week 3 of a Russian Strength-Skill / HP Mass type of hybrid.

Week 3 will look like this:
*on these first 4 workouts, these are cluster sets
*on the last workout, this is a back and forth between exercises
*I also usually do some kind of hip/groin stretch or downward dog between reps
*I will also do a variety of different types of chin-ups throughout the day or the workout, towel grip, rope grip, underhand, overhand, etc)

hip thrust (upper back is elevated by about 4 inches)
205 x 9 x 1, 165 x 3 w/ slow eccentrics and pauses
zercher lift (done from the floor, see Thibadeau for reference)
165 x 9 x 1, 115 x 3 w/ slow eccentrics and pauses

hip thrust
205 x 10 x 1
zercher lift
165 x 10 x 1


KB windmill (from a snatch)
35 x 9 x 1, 20 x 3
KB snatch
44 x 9 x 1, 35 x 3
some push ups and dips

KB windmill
35 x 10 x 1
KB snatch
44 x 10 x 1

KB snatch
35 x 30 x 1, 20 x 2 x 5
zercher lift
95 x 30 x 1, goblet squat 53 x 2 x 5

I am always experimenting a little with meal timing, but I use a time-restricted approach. I don’t time anything or worry much, I just try to maintain the habit.

I’m usually drinking coffee all morning, and lately have been training fasted. About 3-4pm, after I’ve trained, I’ll drink a concoction of green tea, Power Drive and Superfood while I cook food. Then I’ll have some meat, eggs, veg, but not a particularly big meal. Usually go back to work or whatever, and have another meal a couple hours later with some Elite Pro Minerals.

Twice this week I have my first meal before lifting and that went well also, so I think I am going to start having lunch again. The kicker is making sure I don’t over do this meal or I will become quite tired and require a nap. So; coffee, lunch, lift, dinner, bed.

I also occasionally enjoy marijuana products, but in waves. So the last bud I was using worked REALLY well for this cluster style of training. Just a one-hit made me hyper-focused and the movements felt so good. Not all kinds do that, so I cherish when I find one that does. Last December I was doing Mass Made Simple and happened to find a great bud that got me through the best squat training of my life. I’m guessing this is due to dilated airways.

I also make my own edibles but don’t really use them in conjunction with training, unless post-workout, and only after supra-intense stuff that would typically give me trouble sleeping due to high heart rates. Think, Litvinovs, 30-10-30’s, these things usually have me wired for a very long time, so an edible will help mitigate that.

Once I complete the third week here, I will probably drop the hip thrust for now in favor of single leg variety of glute bridges. Other than that I will also probably stick zerchers on Saturday’s only with light KB snatches. I’m thinking for the work week practice sessions of doing snatches, bent press/windmill, deadlift and goblet squats. I may even do some wave loading instead of clusters, I guess we will see. Dips, push-ups, chin-ups, extra deltoid work, stretching and some ab or band work always find their way in so I don’t plan or worry about it. I was gonna try floor pressing here too so maybe I will.

Any nutritional changes that I can foresee may be making my own fermented whole grain German style bread, and possibly adding rice and potatoes back into my diet once or twice a week. I also considered doing a week of a quart of half&half per day (a pint 2x/day then dinner), followed by a week of Metabolic drive (2 scoops 2x/day to replace the half&half, and then dinner per usual), and then a third and fourth week of regular diet, meat & eggs twice a day, with 1 or 2 carb feeds a week (potatoes, rice, figs). Maybe work some nuts back in there.

Anyways, what else is there?

Oh, did I mention my home gym is in a horse stable?

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How does this go for you? You notice any difference one way or the other?

Pro wrasslin’ hog farmer barn workouts while high? Your log is off to a pretty great start.


Ya know, I can’t honestly say I notice a consistent difference. I tend to naturally gravitate towards training before eating. I’m a bit neurotic and I have a hard time putting an end to my work to eat, sleep, read, do other things. So I’ll finish my work, practice my lifts, and then use my post-practice rituals to wind down, clean up, eat, read, chill. I’ll typically go back out in the evening to walk dogs and enjoy the outdoors.

Having said that, a small lunch or breakfast can do wonders. So really I try to feel it out day-to-day.

Strength-skill straining, in my experience, is suited for fasted training because it doesn’t require many resources up-front, so to speak. A hard set of 10 or 15 or even 5 is going to require some resources in the blood, but 10 singles, even with 85%, doesn’t seem to have that requirement. Different energy systems. People talk about fasted training wasting muscle, but I just don’t believe that happens with this type of training. If anything, it teaches the body to retain muscle when fasted.

About half way through the Odyssey, when Odysseus is disguised and staying in the swineherd’s hut back in Ithaca, the swineherd makes a comment about the farmhands breaking fast at dawn before they begin their days work, and that little detail just kind of stuck to me.

Having some food in your stomach before a day of work seems to be an age old practice. It stands to reason and it works. But like I said, personally I’m rather neurotic so it’s get up and go for me.

If I am doing any kind of higher volume or higher intensity training though, I’ll probably not do it fasted. IE; GVT, HIT. Since this isn’t the manual-labor-esque type of training, you can’t just rely on your motor skills to get through it. You’re gonna want a heavy reservoir of resources that is ready to go for two reasons: 1) having the energy to do the session, 2) you’re gonna want to be ahead of the game, as something like 30-10-30 will put you in a pretty big energy deficit and you don’t wanna get caught playing catch-up with something like HIT. The only case I could make for a fasted HIT session, is to rapidly induce autophagy, but it would take a week just to bring your heart rate down.

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So, use common sense? :grinning:


So, I’m up early. Well actually I didn’t go to sleep. I started having some issues getting to sleep Saturday night, and last night I tossed and turned until about 2:30 am so I figure, I’ll nip that in the bud.

How so? I made a pot of coffee, had a few soft-boiled eggs and started writing… Today will be a grinder but it’s good for ya kid. Will sleep like I’m dead tonight.

There has been some interesting research and development on sleep deprivation and it’s possible use for resetting the biological clock and being used as a recovery agent for depression. It is a radical method that I have used sparingly with success.

Okay, this looks interesting… are you still in Missouri? I’m assuming so since you normally don’t up and relocate a farm.

I am in my home-state of South Dakota. I was based in Missouri during my professional wrestling training and tour.

Represent :fist:


@jshaving, yeah brother!

So today I had coffee up until noon, and a lunch consisting of 2 pork sirloins and 4 eggs.

My lifting session, after working in the yard through the afternoon:

no warm-up

Hip thrust - my upper back being supported by 4" of puzzle mat, I don’t like doing these flat
205 x 9 x 1, 165 x 3 w/ 5 sec pauses at the top
**these felt great after all the desk work from yesterday and today

Zercher lift - I’ve been doing the initial deadlift from 4" block, but mainly so I can drop the weight after I’ve Zerch’d it
165 x 9 x 1, 115 x 3

Did a couple of easy chin-up singles with various grips; supinated and towel grip.

Tomorrow will be more of the same; 10x1, minus the triples. These singles have a rest period of about 15-30 seconds.

Dinner tonight? 2 more pork sirloins and 4 eggs.

Forgot to mention I had a scoop of Power Drive when I woke up.

Some goals that I will be working toward with the next few phases of training (10 weeks or so), that will build on the current beta-phase:

  • Deadlift 350# for a double at 175# bodyweight
  • Bent press 53# kettlebell
  • Zercher lift 185 and carry it the length of my horse barn and back; not sure of exact length but will measure it out later. The return trip will require a second Zerch.
  • Chin-up 45x3+; I did 45 for a really easy double about 3 weeks ago, while I’m at it I’ll probably hit the same on the Dip

Some old lifts just for fun, when I was way more huger:
**all-time dead is 510# trap bar dead and 405x3x2
**all-time power clean & jerk is 275 (or maybe 265) and 225x3x2
**all-time snatch is 235
**all-time bench is 305
**all-time push press is 265 or 275
Can’t remember some of these, as it’s been a while. All were done at a body-weight of around 235, and most done when I was competing in BJJ before my pro wrasslin’ years (except the C&J and 405 deadlift doubles).

That’s some very carnivorous eating there, hoss. Are you aiming to gain any weight back, or just get as strong as you can at 175#?

Also, how tall are you? I’m trying to picture the height at which 175 and 235 both fit on the same frame… Of course, at 5’7" I’ve gone from 140# in college to 200# now, but I imagine you were carrying a lot less fat at 235# than I am ATM.

Short answer: no, and yes.

I am about 5’8" - 5’9". When I started wrestling in 7th grade (what is that like 12 y/o or so) I was competing in the 103 weight class. I jumped 10-20 pounds per year; by the end of 10th grade I was about 170 and really wanted to start on the football team. Ma and Pa found me a used Bowflex, which was my original Horse Barn Gym. Later that summer I attended a 4-week Strength & Conditioning camp for HS kids at a local college. I ran a 4.47 and had the fasted 300-shuttle time as well. My bench press and squat were super week but I hit rep PR’s at the end of camp. Every single other person in the camp was from our rival school, and you wanna know something? Every one of them supported me during that time. I was the only damn kid from my football team placing myself into that position, and that garnered respect from them, and that was just cool. Cause this was a pretty arrogant private school.

Anyways, I started football my junior year. Goal had been accomplished. I broke the HS sack record that year, and my senior year went on to help captain our team to a state championship bout, which we lost. When I graduated high school I was about 185 pounds.

After my first year of college I was up another 20 pounds, but I was really really bloated. I did not continue my college education, but at the end of the present year I was up ANOTHER 20 to about 230 pounds. I was fat and unhappy, quite frankly.

At this time I did an abbreviated version of the Velocity Diet; a 2 week run with Mag-10 fasting as a part of the diet. I believe Schugart may have been experimenting with that change at this time. That brought me back down to about 210 pounds. Within another couple of years (I’m probably around 22 or something at this point) I took on a pretty serious bout with depression and within a month was looking at a scale weight of about 185-190 again.

At this point I started working in a gym and began my personal training practice, and really trying to reframe my life and my thinking. This ends up becoming a common theme in my life. At this time I was training and eating hard again, and worked my weight up to an all-time high bodyweight of 247. That didn’t last long though, and I found a more consistent bodyweight in the 225-235 range, where I then began practicing BJJ. I was a much healthier 230 than before.

I was big, but honestly had a good chunk of fat on me. My lifts were strong, but not relative to my bodyweight. At any rate, I was very mobile and explosive, busting cartwheels and jumping over stuff just at random to impress people. I had no trouble being mobile and strong on the mat.

My BJJ trainer (a Caesar Gracie and Phil Torres student) weighed about 325 (and he was my height) and my main training partner was about 6’2" - 6’3" and 265 pounds. So we didn’t fuck around. We often went to the local college BJJ club to scrap with much much smaller guys than us. One of my other training partners was a pro fighter who walked at 220 and competed at 180.

By time I took my leave to Missouri and begin my professional wrestling training camp I was hovering at 230. Again, I had no trouble in the ring learning mechanics and doing our conditioning, in-ring and out. I had a lot of unnecessary fat, though.

I moved down to Harley Race’s academy in Missouri in the Spring of 2014. I lived in his gym. It was a big old warehouse that had previously housed a gym, but had since been emptied. So basically I’m living in huge warehouse. The main section had 2 wrestling rings and all of our weights and conditioning tools, and a kitchen in the corner. There were a couple of offices, a locker room and laundry room, a lounge, and a bedroom with half a dozen mattresses on the floor. Pretty fucking hardcore.

Anyways, by late 2015, after the intense year of training I had undergone, I was competing in BJJ again at 220 (and now touring), and within another year I was at 210, and another year 195. At this time I was showing sick abs, obliques, serratus. My training and diet was as focused as it had been through my entire tour; I was looking great and putting on really good matches. My in-ring work was ahead of it’s time. The only people doing what I was doing in the ring at the time were the guys over at Evolve in New York. I know this because I traveled extensively, and worked security at Evolve shows. I was actually out of place everywhere I went, despite the fans love for me. I had a good stamp on my ass, having been a Harley student and held the NWA Missouri title (a brute from Rome and I feuded for it across MO, IL, and TN for 2 years).

Anyways, I was too “rough” and “stiff” for the boys, but really indy wrestling is just full of pussies. Sorry to say it honestly. Professional wrestlers of just 30 years ago would scoff at what goes on these days. I would meet old-times and they would take one look at me and say, “you’re a shooter aren’t ya kid”.

So it’s 2018. I had undergone training with Harley Race, George South, Bobby Eaton, and had had beers with fuckin Ricky Morton and Jerry Lynn. My crew and I had been “sons of Smothers” in Kansas City, a gimmick that Tracey Smothers uses. For 3 years I had travelled the country, wrestling every major city from Winnepeg to Austin, and hundred of gymnasiums and VFW’s in between. One of my best matches was a main event at a festival in Austin with former indy wrestler ACH, now Myles Jordan in NXT. As I mentioned I had held the most beautiful title, the NWA Missouri, which was an unbelievable honor.

At this time I decided to make a move back home. One of my crew-mates and I opened up a wrestling club down in Arkansas, and the other crew-mate was in STL doing his thing. I wanted to be around the farm and family again, and my tour was at a point where I could cut it off. I think good things need to be ended before they are ended against your will.

So a couple years later now (2020) and I’m down another 15-20 pounds, at 175. I am able to maintain 175 without any effort. I can fast consistently or I can stuff my face with French toast consistently, scale doesn’t seem to fluctuate much. Any given day at any given time, I’m between 170 and 178 or so.

My theory is that this is just my natural bodyweight. My great-grandfather on my dad’s side and myself share the same body structure. Short, stout, and asshole. Looking at old pictures of him, and no shit, you’d think it was me.

Most people on my mom’s side are very naturally thin, although there is this funny recurrence in my mom’s side of large blonde women. It’s sporadic (and a little cliche maybe idk), but there are 4-5 that I can think of off the top of my head. Just carry bodyfat too easily. There is also recurrence of a larger fatter male, but there are way less of them, maybe 1 per generation.

My mother’s background (following her paternal side) is Swiss, so we are Germanic. Our family history is actually quite well documented as far back as the 1500’s. We are from the Alemmenic tribe, one of the founding tribes of the Swiss Confederacy. Our people were military contractors for several hundred years, and I have ancestors who fought for Napolean on contract as well as in the Civil War on contract. The family did not migrate until later though. Every marry-in is either Dutch, Danish, or some kind of German-Russian hybrid. For all intent and purpose, my mom’s side is 100% German(ic).

Dad’s side is said to be Irish or Scottish. Depends on who you ask. If you ask me? Well our last name is an English surname, and frankly, from my research and study, I believe our family line to be a Saxon one, ergo placing me back in the Germanic Europe.

So there is some family and life history.

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Mostly on my hips :laughing:


Starting my day with coffee while I write. I typically start everyday this way. Shortly I will be training dogs. We have 8 dogs, and have had upwards of 15.

Our patron mother is growing very old, so a few years ago after a litter almost did her in, we had her fixed. Now every year we foster a pregnant dog from the shelter, and adopt out her pups. Ya, we end up keeping a few, so once they are weaned in the Spring I begin their training. I teach commands in German, but typically consider my training to be “routine, etiquette and manners training”. At a certain point we allow dogs free-range, so I like them to be aware of perimeters and to come when called. I also have a “four paws on the ground” rule for interactions and communications.

This post will be updated throughout the day to contain today’s log entry.

Broke my fast early today, around 1pm.
Steak, eggs, and some fermented green cherry tomatoes

Training session:
Took this years pups and last years pups (and 1 from a previous year, 6 total) for a long walk. Longest one for the new pups yet, probably a mile or so, taking walk around our alfalfa field, to a duck pond and back to the yard. I have not introduced treats to their training (which I’m learning can actually be a mistake and may be unnecessary if you have the pups from birth). They are doing wonderfully at coming to a whistle and following me long distances at the heel. We have been training this in the main horse arena for some weeks now. I know that this may change as their comfort-ability with the farm site grows. I have not decided if I will leash train them.

The one dog that I personally consider mine (from last years batch), Woola, has had the most concentrated one-on-one training with me. He is extremely reliable at coming to a whistle and walking at the heel. If he is in ear shot of a whistle, he’s comin. He has had extensive perimeter and loose-leash training, and has rightfully mastered it. For this reason, I no longer train him, and I rarely issue him commands unless they are important in the moment. Despite this, he has proven extremely faithful and follows me when others go ahead. When I do need to command, he knows that it’s needed. His two siblings are reliable to a whistle as well, but that’s about it. This evening I watched the female catch a pheasant during our walk (she actually caught it, lost it, and caught it again, lol).

Hip thrust 205 x 10 x1
Zercher lift 165 x 10 x1

Some downward dogs, deep cossacks, and bar hangs mixed in there.
I end every session with at least one sternum pull-up done gripping a towel.
Took a supine position for a few minutes and did some neck flexion and rotations to calm the CNS; after a brief walk I’m getting ready to clean up and make some dinner.

steak, eggs, fermented tomatoes
possibly have some green tea, I like green tea after any sort of activity

Damn, that’s a lot to unpack! It looks like you packed a lot of living into a very few years before deciding to go back to your roots. I’m not going to return the life story favor here in your log because it would take up wayyy too much space and time, seeing as I’m almost twice as old as you are, and this is your log anyway. I’ve got snippets of that interspersed through my log if you’re interested, but it’s a slog to get through. Not crazy long like Jmaier’s but pretty long.

@OTHSteve, Feel free to post me a link brother.


I’ll be brief. On the road all day.

Walked a mile morning and evening with dogs.

KB snatch 44x9x1
Windmill 35x9x1
KB snatch 35x5
some chins in there and was in a hurry cause I had some more errands to run and it was late.

rotisserie chicken
couple of eggs, loaf of bread and a pint of milk

Didn’t plan my day all that well. An instance of not being able to stop working, but since I was on the road a lot today I was pretty antsy and wanted to go-go-go. Ate too close to bed time and slept like shit. Nutrition got a little bit away from me today as I was gorging late at night.


Farmstead perimeter walk with dogs maybe 1.5 miles
Worked on the farm all day.
Broke fast around 10am, pork steak and eggs with a big portion of spinach
Worked until 6 or so and took another perimeter with the dogs.
Windmill Left 35x10x1
Windmill Right all 35x10x1 <–the distinction here is that up until this day I had been alternating
Snatch alternating 44x10x1
*I wanted to test my Trap Bar Dead somewhat today, so:
**after rep 5 I pulled 265 from 4" blocks
**after rep 8 I pulled 265 from 2" blocks
**after rep 9 I pulled 265 from the floor
**after rep 10 I pulled 265 from 4" again

Supine lying neck stuff 10 flexion, 10 rotation ea side, 10 lateral ea side
Seated Band Good Morning for neck ext exercise 10 reps mini band
Mini band pull apart 10 reps

Tomorrow’s scheduled workout, to round out the beta, would be 30 singles on KB snatch @ 35, and 30 singles on Zerchers @ 95. However, for three reasons I will not perform this workout, but instead will rest and take a casual day of work:
Reason 1: these past 4 weeks have been beta/testing some things and it’s gone well
Reason 2: macro-cycle (built with the accumulated knowledge of the past few weeks) begins Sunday
Reason 3: I did not expect to test my TBDL today, but I want to use them at the beginning of the macro-cycle so I thought it would be good to get a feel for the weight I intend on using.

Anyways, in a future post, probably done later tonight or tomorrow, I will outline the details of the next 9 week macro-cycle.
For now I will just say it’s based on 3 meso-cycles, each consisting of 3 weeks. The principles practiced will be based on strength-skill training.
I will cycle in new exercises for each new meso-cycle, as I believe in conjugating, but all exercises are based on a common theme and goal. I will also cycle calories on a weekly basis.

Horse Barn Diary - Day 1

Okay folks, today is Day 1 of a new Macro-Cycle, and officially the start of Horse Barn Diaries, now that I have run a beta and given some background.

Today, Sunday, 5/17/20:

  • Woke up a little after 730, slept great. Began my day with a glass of cold green tea, with half a scoop each of Superfood and Power Drive.
  • Took a cold shower. Will be doing these twice per day.
  • Took the dogs on a perimeter walk of the farm, over a mile, maybe 1.5. I find myself periodically busting out into a run or some long strides, mostly out of excitement and joy.
  • Went to my mothers for brunch - started off with some coffee and pistachios, had a pork loin, a bunch of eggs and some broccoli. Then went to work in her garden, ma, sister and I.
  • Back to the farm for another walk, and now as I write this I plan on taking another cold shower, and then sticking my nose in a book as I wind down and cash in early. Current book, The Odyssey.
  • Cheers, Howie