T Nation

Monster in the Mirror


Ahoy thar, mateys.

Long time lurker, first time poster here, so be gentle. Thought I'd start a log to hold myself accountable to the good people of the internet (and myself). It's also quite nice to be able to quickly look up what you've been doing in the past if you don't have your paper log with you.

A little background first, in case all of you trainspotters out there care. I'm 29, turning 30 in a couple of months. Got 2 kids - one girl that's nearly 2, and a wee little girl that's 8 weeks this coming weekend. Just with those two finding time to work out is tough, and in addition I have my job (trauma nurse (male) working evenings - 3 to 10) and some schooling going on part time. Time is of the essence, you might say.

I work out in my basement, got a Bodysolid power cage and all the things I need (almost). Still lacking somewhere proper to do dips - as a substitution I'm using a couple of trees with heavy duty branches. Gets it done, sort of. Often when I'm working out my 2 year old daughter is with me, which is both fun and annoying at the same time. Gets a bit heavy when you almost hit her in the head with the bar squatting :stuck_out_tongue:

I'm also verbose. Overly so, but what the hell. Used to work out alot, but got fat and sedentary when we had our first kid. It's high time getting back into it, so I'm starting low and working my way back up. Used to squat 140 and press 80-ish kilos (my 2 favorite exercises), but I'm starting from the beginning and leaving my ego at the door.

1m89cm tall, 111 kg heavy (way too much fat, my wife is a wonderful baker)
Currently started 5/3/1 with focus on leaning out and a long term plan - no short term goals except "keep on trucking". Started squatting like I've never done it before, at 55 kg, to get my motor skills back.

Squat: 55 kg
Bench: 60 kg
Press: 40 kg
Deadlift: 80 kg

Keeping it simple, using time as my friend. 5/3/1 is also perfect because sometimes I need to finish a workout hella fast because both kids are going nuts and my wife has a look of certain murder in her eyes. I love her.


Todays workout, deadlift day.

First week of 5/3/1, really loving the feel of it. Especially the "boring but big" assistance work is burning me like a little schoolgirl.

Deads, 3x5 - 60kg, 70kg, 80kg x 16 - heart pumping and arms shivering from that last set
Deads, 5x10 - 2x70kg, 3x60kg - I can literally feel the grip improving, lots of pain
Good mornings, 3x12 - 30kg, 35kg, 40kg - Wondering about technique, couldn't really feel anything except general fatigue approach rep 12

I love deadlifts, and I'm very tempted to increase their weight faster than the 5/3/1 template, but I'm not going to do that. Stick with it, stop being a moron.


Adding in Wednesday and Monday too.

Monday was squat day, and as described earlier I decided to start 5/3/1 with what I consider to be a low squat to get into the groove and just learn to leave my ego at the door.

Squat, 3x5 - 40kg, 50kg, 55kg x 19 - went well enough, but had some issues getting the technique down properly again, most notably my left knee wouldn't do as I told it to - more practice needed.
Squat, 5x10 - 5x50kg - Went ok, had me panting like a dog and my legs hurting
Lunges, outside, 15kg dumbbells - mother of God, I'm a little weakling. These puppies hurt me.

Wednesday was bench day, my weakest exercise by far.

Bench, 3x5 - 50kg, 55kg, 60kg x 14 - almost failure on last rep, so ended it there. Felt pretty good going through the motions, but noticed a breakdown of proper form towards the end. I suck at benching.
Bench, 5x10 - 50kg - realized towards the end here that I should be ramping the weight down. Arms shivering and a maniacal laughter ringing in the basement.
Kroc rows, 2x20 - used 25 kg dumbbells, what a fucking nightmare as rep 20 approached. Second set I could only hit 15 screaming with idiotic pain. Feels great now a couple of days later, the good kind of sore.


Oh, forgot that I did hill sprints on Tuesday. What an unholy nightmare. Got our 2 year old in bed for her noon nap, and thought I'd do some conditioning before work. Went outside, found me a hill, and sprinted up a total of 6 times. Totally gassed. Went in the shower, came back out, still sweating and breathing heavy. Felt good as hell, gonna try to get in some more of those tomorrow. Hopefully 7 or 8, atleast. If this is my last post, they killed me.


Press day today, Sunday. I hate Sundays, but I don't hate presses.

Press, 3x5 - 30kg, 35kg, 40kg x 15 This was easy, started feeling a real burn at rep 13
Press, 5x10 - 2x35kg, 3x30kg Good stuff, burning all through the sets, almost
Chinups - I was aiming for 50, but I'm a total pussy and ended after 5x5. This is heavy shit for me at 110 kg BW, but I'm gonna stay with it.

Ended with hill sprints. Was aiming for 7, but strained my left calf midway through the 5th sprint due to being a dickwad and not warming up properly. So now walking will be friggin annoying for a few days, and running is out. I think tomorrows squats will be okay, but lunges are probably out. Will most likely substitute situps and some pushups for good measure.


Monday, squat day once again. My left knee is giving me issues, there's something wrong with my technique somewhere. If I go deep I let it buckle inwards on my way up again, and if I don't go the deepest I can go, I'm constantly worried about depth. Good lord.

Squat, 3x5 - 45kg, 55kg, 60kg x 12 Felt pretty decent, but the knee thing was bugging me throughout
Squat, 5x10 - 3x50kg, 2x45kg Not especially heavy, was trying to work technique and depths through all sets. Hips feel very worked.

Shit day today, no energy and all I want to do is sleep. Yesterdays calf strain is bugging me too, so I'm calling it here and hopefully I'll come back to fight another day. So fucking tired.


Wednesday, bench day.

Warmed up today by doing carpenting on the house from 8 to 16-ish. Climbing around on the roof trying to rebuild it, good conditioning, legs tired. As for the actual workout, it went quite well! Felt energetic after a couple of days with absolute lack of energy. Perhaps it was working on the roof all day - I hate days where I am stuck inside because of heavy rains and whatnot.

Bench, 3x3 - 50kg, 55kg, 65kg x 14 - I might have had 15 or even 16 in me, but my 2 year old daughter kept climbing up on my lap while I was working, so I ended it before I got too weak to handle the bar properly in case she did something nutty.
Bench, 5x10 - 2x55kg, 3x50kg - Felt pretty easy all the way.
Kroc row, 2x20 - 25 kg dumbbell (27.5kg including the bar, actually) Went easier than last time. Last set on the left arm got a little clumsy because kiddo started climbing up on the bench and fidgeting around, making me have to move a little so I wouldn't hit her.

Good work out day. Some nice warming up with kiddo on the boxing bag too. She is barely tall enough to headbutt it, but she runs around underneath it hitting it with her little fists while I warm up.


Saturday. Yesterday was supposed to be deadlift day, but I worked so hard and so long on the roof to finally finish it there was no time left for a workout. I was sweating bullets all day long though, and climbing up and down ladders and a steep as hell roof, so there was some good conditioning in there.

Deadlift day was moved to today instead, and I brought all my shit outside to work out, since it's such a beautiful sunny day.

Deadlift, 3x3 - 65kg, 75kg, 85kg x 15 - This actually felt a bit heavy at first, due to my lower back being tired as hell from yesterdays roof climbing and trillions of uncomfortable work positions. But as I progressed it got easy, and I could probably have hit 20 on the last set, except I had 2 little girls running around me asking for something cold to drink.
Deadlift, 5x10 - 75kg, 70kg, 65kg, 2x60kg - Easy peasy.
Good Morning, 3x12 - 32.5kg, 37.5kg, 42.5kg - Still worried about technique, will have to read up and watch some videos.

Going to work later, so that's 7 hours of slow and steady cardio, will try to stay on a minimal carb count for the rest of the day, but not as low as I tired going last week. Made me feel like shit.


Double post, keeping this for tomorrows shoulder press day then.


Looking good mate! I'm another long time lurker betting involved eventually.

Dont know how you manage with a child in the gym!

Some serious amount of reps on your last sets.
Keep up the good work an dI'll follow


Thanks man! The child in the gym is all about keeping her occupied while I'm resting. If I don't, she'll grow tired and raise hell :stuck_out_tongue: It's alot of fun and quite stressful!

Have you got a log going? I'll snoop around your profile and see what I can find :smiley:


Yeah I have, this comment is late because we're already having a convocation on my log though lol

Suppose you could consider the child, 'active rest'


Sunday today, shoulder press day.

What a day. Got up at 5:30 in the morning to get a decent breakfast before work, then after work a couple of hours working in the garden and on the house before I finally got around to working out. Brought the weights etc. outside again, another nice and sunny day. It's hard getting motivated for a hard workout when you're already pretty burned.

Warmed up with some easy dumbbell cleans and presses (15kg), then moved on to 2 sets of 10 reps kettlebell snatches. Thought I'd try them just for the hell of it, and I totally loved them. Definitely going to look closer at snatches in general. Used my 1 kettlebell, 20kg. Some quick stretching too, not much. I'm bad at warmups. Need to improve.

Press, 3x3 - 35kg, 40kg, 45kg x 13 - From 10 and up felt very heavy. I was going pretty good and envisioning hitting closer to 20 reps, but suddenly there was a wall and I was out. Annoying.
Press, 5x10 - 2x40kg, 2x35kg, 30kg - First 3 sets were okay, then I really started to feel the fatigue. I'm pretty sure I'm not giving myself nearly enough rest time between sets. I just put the weight down, dillydally around for a short while, then go again.
Chin ups - Wanted to hit 50 once again, called it quits at 27 or 28, sets of 5, then sets of 4, then 3... form got progressively worse, was no reason to keep going, as they weren't chins anymore.

Also dabbling with changing assistance exercise on DL day from good mornings to RDLs. Too much deadlift action on one day perhaps?

Oh. And there's a pic of my basement today! Wee! It's about -12 degrees celcius in winter, nice and cool in summer.


Oh, and I realized that the "kroc rows" I've been doing are closer to regular dumbbell rows than actual krocs. Will up the weight on Wednesday and see where that takes me.


Monday, squat day.

Pretty early morning workout today, around 9-ish. Wife and baby left for the store, me and kiddo (who turns 2 today, yay!) hit the squat rack as soon as we could :stuck_out_tongue:

Warmup, some boxing, BW squats, a little stretching, general jerking around the basement.

Squat, 5/3/1 - 50kg, 57.5.kg, 62.5kg x 15 - Felt good! No knee pain during warmups or work sets at all, and hammered that last set pretty well. I had more in me, I think, but didn't want to push it to a silly failure.
Squat, 5x10 - 52.5kg, 50kg, 2x45kg, 40kg - These were heavy due to the sheer volume of it. Knee started hurting during second set, because I failed to push it out at the bottom. Also discovered that I need knees further forward for them not to hurt - after I "unlocked" them a bit at the top and pushed them forward before sitting down, pain went away. Will work hard on this next squat day.
RDL, 3x12 - 40kg, 50kg, 60kg - Went light today, as I had to push DL day to Saturday this week, and I was still tired. 3 workout days in a row work and house work feels heavy.

Going to work tonight, 7 hours of walking around.


Post workout food: 2 slices of bread with cheese, 2 glasses of milk, some more low fat cheese, and 3 servings of wifes delicious cake. Squat power: engage!


Wednesday, bench day.

Been working on the house all day, from 8 to about 17. Got two brand new windows in, and replaced a whole load of rotten wood in the wall. It's coming along nicely now, and I'm very happy. Been trying to eat more since the days are quite active, so my energy levels won't fall again.

Workout today was great. I'm trying to add 5 minutes of HIIT activity to both warmup and .. "warm down" parts of my workout. Did some very heavy interval boxing on the boxing bag, then some work with the kettlebell. Also some general warm up stuff, skipping rope and some BW squats (10-15-20 or so, don't know).

Bench, 5/3/1 - 52.5kg, 60kg, 67.5kg x 14 - Felt alright, tried a closer grip than usual, and that worked out well. Was aiming for 16 reps on the last set, but had to chicken out at 14.
Bench, 5x10 - 60kg, 57.5kg, 55kg, 2x50kg - These were no big problem today, first set hurt the most, last two were very easy.
Kroc row, 2x20 - Since I'd been doing more or less strict dumbbell rows thinking they were krocs, I upped the weight to a 37.5kg dumbbell today. Completed the first set, had to give in at 18 reps on the second. Incredibly pumped feeling in my entire body after those 2.

Warmdown, more HIIT stuff, boxing and kettlebell and some jumping.

On an exercise philosophical level, I've been thinking about which of my training exercises I see most gain from in real life situations. It definitely feels like the deadlift is paying off, I'm in countless situations where I perform a similar movement. The press is also something I come across often. But, almost always, we're talking about a push press. When are you ever handing a bag of cement off to your buddy on top of a ledge, and thinking "oh, I'll use a strict movement to get this crap up there"? No, you grab the sack, deadlift it (or something halfway looking like a deadlift) up, and then you push press it up above your head. It's about efficiency, not muscle growth, hypertrophy or reps. I wonder if I should get the push press into my program somehow. Bench is an exercise I feel is pretty much useless in real life. When am I ever on my back needing to move something 60 centimeters above my torso? Seldom, I tell you. The squat is more useful, but still not much. Real life offers few situations where you need to squat down and push some weight that's on your back up. Another strong point for the deadlift is grip strength. Very useful, carrying anatomically moronic constructions all over the place.


If you don't think of lying on your back but the movement your actually doing with your arms (ie forward push) the bench makes more sense. FWIW

Maybe I just spent 2 days building fences and casual labour and i found my lifting made a world of diffence too. 250kg worth of balast in 25kg sacks all needed shifted all day, guess who got that job!

As for the push press a lot of people swear by it as a bench accessory or for CNS activation before OHP.

I can't do any standing overhead work in my gym, I'm 6foot 5 and the celing is too low :frowning: lol


steve, true enough about the bench. Perhaps I'm discrediting it too much :stuck_out_tongue: And yeah, I agree about the payoff of lifting when you need to do work like that.

Friday today, deadlift day. Been feeling real good the last couple of days. I'm eating almost-enough now, so my shape is tip top, and I'm losing a bit of weight here and there. Visited the doctor today for a regular checkup, everything fine and dandy.

Deadlift, 5/3/1 - 72.5kg, 80kg, 90kg x 16 - Crushed that 90 kg pretty easy. The first rep felt a bit heavy, and then I just went into anger-mode and the rest felt like nothing. My grip was slipping as I went into the 16th rep, I believe I could have gone further if it held.
Deadlift, 5x10 - 80kg ,75kg, 70kg, 2x60kg - 80 was heavier than I thought, but the rest was pretty easy sailing.
Front squats 3x8 - 25kg, 30kg, 35kg - Decided to try this exercise for the very first time. Used very light weights to get into it. Felt pretty good, confused by not being able to look down at my feet to ensure they are in a good position before squatting down.

Warmup and cooldown were tabata style kettlebell action, plus some "go all out" on the boxing bag for 4x20 secs with 10 secs rest in between. Had me weathered, I can tell you that much. Good day!


Sunday, press day.

Had a childrens party at the house today, our oldest turned 2 this past week. Great day, beautiful and sunny. Had me some cake and a couple of muffins. Bad boy, but I'll make up for it with healthy eating this week.

Warmup, 1 round of tabata kettlebell work. Clean, snatch, swings and some BW squats in there. Some light boxing bag action, plus rope skipping and stretching. 2 sets of 12 shoulder dislocations too.

Press, 5/3/1 - 35kg, 40kg, 45kg x 14 - Had my heart set on 15 reps, but it just wasn't there. Form was terribad on that 14th rep, so I called it. Otherwise ok. First 5 reps felt easy and light.
Press, 5x10 - 2x40kg, 2x35kg, 30kg - Went up alright, felt fatigued before last set.
Power clean, 5x3 - 35kg, 40kg, 2x45kg, 50kg - Easy weight, trouble with technique. Forgetting to "slam" my elbows in under the weight, letting the bar slip too far in my hand and going to the tips of my fingers, exploding too early.

Another round of tabata kettlebell work after the workout, same routine as warm up, except some pushup sets in there.