Sam's No BS Log

This log is to keep myself accountable and to learn a few things from people who know a whole lot more then I do. I’ve been snooping around these forums and the LiveSpill like crazy and reading just about anything Dave Tate wrote. I’m not going to post any pictures because that would be pointless seeing as how I have nothing special to show. My stats are:

22 years old
5’ 9"
142.5 lbs. (down from the 147 I’ve been for forever)
BF% is around 8percent right now. I’ve never been above 12 before. I tend to loose weight pretty easily.

I just graduated (degree in Television and Radio Production) and I’m studying to be a personal trainer now. The way the body works interests me and I want to see how I can manipulate it to make it look the way I want.

My diet hasn’t changed much until recently. I decided that I want to put on some size for as long as I can and then cut down. My family and I are going to see my sister in Florida on December 22nd and that is when I am going to reach my goal of a solid cut. I tried to eat as much and as clean as possible for the last few weeks to add some weight, lost 5 pounds in the process. I’ve got all of my training and most of my diet written down in a big-ass notebook and I will post it tomorrow along with what, at the moment, is what I plan on being my training program.

I’ve been lifting on and off for the last few years and I’m sick of doing nothing. The last few weeks my car has been off the road so I have only been able to train here and there. So I’ve been reading the LiveSpill’s and old articles and coming up with a training schedule. I’ve decided to use a Pull-Push-Legs-Rest split. After reading all the stuff that Thib’s has been putting up, I’m not sure if I want to use any of the eccentric-less training or the activation training because I’m thinking that it might complicate things to much. I may throw some activation training in there just for the pure experimentation.

I’m looking for people to help me. I know that means hard work, I’m used to it. I know that means being criticized, I’m ready for it. I don’t really have a support system around here except for a friend who just left for UVM and one other person, neither of which are into anything exercise related so they don’t understand it at all.

But what I got is determination.

Don’t you just love it when life gets in the way of what you want to do…


The Goal: in 15 weeks, my family and I are headed to Tampa Bay to see my oldest sister and brother in law. Brother in law is in the Nation Guard and is in pretty good shape and always gives me shit about how he looks better then I do. It’s all in good fun but I want to be able to show him otherwise when I see him. So, I’ve done a little research and picked two goals of 15 weeks.

The First 5 Weeks, I wanted a program that was easy to understand, hard to do, but gave damn good gains. After reading up on some of my favorite authors here at T-Nation, I decided to go with Dave Tate’s Extended Tension Program ( My Greatest Gains Ever: Dave Tate )

The concept is that muscles grow best when they are under tension for 30 - 45 seconds. So Pick two exercises per body part,and do them not for reps, but for time. Takes about 4 and a half weeks, and workouts are relatively short. Pretty cool I though.

So tomorrow is going to be Day 1 of this program for me. If anyone has done this, what were your thoughts on the program and what kind of gains, if any, did you see?

Woke up at 5:30 this morning and just decided to get up since I was awake and get my workout in early. The workout was a bit odd. I have never done sets to time before so this was new to me. Today was chest, shoulders, and triceps. Two exercises for each muscle group done for 30 sec w/ 90 sec rest for 3 sets right through till the end.

DB Press 3 sets of 30sec w/90sec rest
3 sets @ 35 LBS.

Flys 3 sets of 30sec w/90sec rest
2 Sets @ 15 LBS.
1 Set @ 10 LBS.

DB Military Press 3 sets of 30sec w/90sec rest
2 Sets @ 20 LBS.
1 Set @ 12 LBS.

Lateral Raises 3 sets of 30sec w/90sec rest
2 Sets @ 12 LBS.
1 Set @ 10 LBS.

Skull Crushers 3 sets of 30sec w/90sec rest
2 Sets @ 22.5 LBS
1 Set @ 20 LBS

Press Downs 3 sets of 30sec w/90sec rest
2 Sets @ #3
1 Set @ #2

First 2 sets I was trying for anywhere from 12 - 17 reps. For the last set, I dropped the weight a little and went for max reps. Triceps feel good, Shoulders are alright but I may go a bit harder on them next time, Chest I am thinking of switching the DB Press and then Flys to The Flys and then DB Press. I vaguely remember reading something about what I think was called Pre-Exaust Training or something to that effect. Going to up the weight a little bit for chest next time too.

I’m considering doing this same workout again today… maybe I’m just to much of a gym rat but would it be that bad of an idea?? At the very least I might go do an Activation Workout that I heard Thib’s talk about on the live spills.

24 Hour Update:
I’m glad I didn’t go workout again yesterday. Woke up this morning and took an assessment of how the muscle groups I worked yesterday feel.

CHEST feels tight and a little sore, almost the exact amount of soreness I shoot for just a little less.
SHOULDERS are are a bit less sore then I thought they would be, will not change weight at all though
TRICEPS are actually the complete opposite of what I thought they would be and I can barley tell that I worked them. I might try a different set of exercises for them. The Skull Crushers and the Tricep Push-Down I have been doing for a while so I’m going to try something else. Give them something they have never had before.

I forgot to take measurements before I started so I’m going to do that today at some point. I’m thinking later tonight so that any swelling will go down as much as possible.

Anybody know the best time to take measurements? I know weight you should take in the morning as soon as you get up but I’ve never heard when the best time to measure was. I’ll post what I get later tonight.

Assuming that I am measuring at the right points for the shoulders and leg, these are my beginning measurements:

Right Arm: 12.25"
Left arm: 12.5"
Right leg: 21.5"
Left leg: 21"
Right calf: 14.5"
Left calf: 14"
Waist: 31"
Chest: 35.5"
Shoulders: 42"

Today’s workout was a lot better a I think. I got a lot more used to going for time instead of reps.

Goblet Squats 3 sets of 30sec w/90sec rest
2 sets @ 25 LBS.
1 set @ 20 LBS.

Stiff Leg Deadlifts 3 sets of 30sec w/90sec rest
2 sets @ 25 LBS.
1 set @ 20 LBS.

Bent Over Rows 3 sets of 30sec w/90sec rest
3 sets @ 55 LBS.

DB Pull Over
3 Sets @ 25 LBS.

Bar Curl (wide grip)3 sets of 30sec w/90sec rest
2 Sets @ 10 LBS. + bar
1 Set @ 5 LBS. + bar

Hammer Curl
2 sets @ 20 LBS.
1 Set @ 15 LBS.

Felt pretty good after. Arms were burning, legs felt good and back I’m only feeling a little but we shall se what tomorrow brings.

Alright, here is two workouts ago on the 12th:

Decline DB Press
2 Sets @ 35 LBS.
1 Set @ 30 LBS.

Decline Flys
2 Sets @ 15 LBS.
1 Set @ 12 LBS.

Military Press
3 Sets @ 35 LBS.

Rear Lat Raises
2 Sets @ 12 LBS.
1 Set @ 10 LBS.

Skull Crushers
2 Sets @ 22 LBS. Bar weight
1 Set @ 20 LBS. Bar Weight

Standing Tricep Extensions
2 Sets @ 12 LBS.
1 Set @ 15 LBS.

And here is today’s workout:

Leg Extentions
2 Sets @ #4
1 Set @ #3

Leg Curls
2 Sets @ #4
1 Set @ #3

Lat Pull Down
3 Sets

Low Row
1 Set @ 70 LBS.
1 Set @ 90 LBS.
1 Set @ 70 LBS.

BB Curl (wide grip)
2 Sets @ 25 LBS.
1 Set @ 20 LBS.

Hammer Curl
3 Sets @ 20 LBS.

This is actually the end of the first cycle of the program. After a day of rest, I use the same guidelines but add 5 seconds to the exercises. For the next 8 days, it will be 3 sets of 35 seconds with 105 seconds (1:45) of rest. I have a feeling that this is going to start sucking even more then I had originally thought. Should be fun though.

I don’t think there has been much “mirror” improvement in the way I look but I feel stronger, muscles feel more full, and I feel bigger overall. Just with the improvement on the way I feel physically, I’m very happy with the first 8 days. If I can still feel the same way mentally when this is over, and even have some measurable improvement in size I will be very happy with the results.

There are a few things I need to do though. I need to start stretching my legs a few times a week. They are my weak spot and I don’t feel like they are getting the punishment they deserve. And also, I need to work on something that will help my recovery out. My upper body seems to recover at a rate that I am fine with, but my legs seem to take longer. I’m guessing this is from neglecting them for so long. Any suggestions from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

When I started this program I read all of the forum discussion on it so that I was sure I knew what I was doing. I came across a discussion on why, at the end of the article, Dave said that he would never do this program again. People were wondering why he had said that since, well, he’s Dave Tate for God sake. A few posts later, someone said that Dave had e-mailed him an answer.

“Tell them the reason I won’t do the program again is because it bored
the hell out of me. I don’t like watching the clock while I train. I
made great gains on it but there are many ways to skin a cat and I
already skinned that one.”

I can now say that I know exactly what he was talking about.

Today was the first day that I had to up the time by 5 seconds. So now I have 35 second sets with rests of 1:45. You have no idea what a pain this is. I’m almost regretting this now but I’m still going to stick it out. I have to find a better way to time it though. Trying to set up the bench so that I can see the clock is a pain. Plus the guys that usually work out at the same time have taken up talking to me… might have to start waking up a half hour earlier to get the the gym by 6:30, just be ending when they get there.

I’m fighting the urge to start practicing the Deadlift. When I got there someone had left a barbell with 215 on it. I honestly didn’t think that I could lift it. I’ve never lifted heavy at all. Ever. So I wasn’t really sure what I could and could not lift. I stepped up, set up as best I knew how, took hold with am overhand grip, and lifted it. And then I did it again. I was kind of surprised that I could lift so much. But now I’m dieing to figure out what I can lift. I think as soon as this is over, I am going to start really training for it. I’ve heard there are entire programs built around it. I’m going to have to look some up.

Anyways, here is today’s workout. I stayed with the same weight because people were talking so I was trying to just keep the intensity up as much as possible.

35 Seconds sets
1:45 Seconds rest

Flat Bench DB Press
3 Sets @ 35 LBS.

3 Sets @ 12 LBS.

Lat Raises
3 Sets @ 12 LBS.

Standing Military Press
3 Sets @ 35 LBS.

Tricep Extensions
3 Sets @ 25 LBS.

Pull Downs
3 Sets @ 25 LBS.


After the last post, I got kind of annoyed with the entire program. It was really hard to keep everything intensity wise with having to stare at the clock for the entire program. While I did finish the program completely, I stopped reporting on it because it was just like reliving the stress every time I wrote about it.

As soon as I was done with it, I started to focus more on the 3 major lifts. Each workout, I would pick one of them, and the entire workout would be that moment for anywhere from 4 sets when I first started to 6-7 sets a week or so ago. I would also throw in whatever accessory work I felt I needed after. It was nice to be able to move a lot of weight and, for lack of a better reason, I got addicted to it.

Each workout (total of about 4-5 a week) I would do a 2RM the second to last set and try to add at least 10 lbs more then the last time I did it. The last set would be a lower weight with about 10-12 fast reps trying to squeeze the muscles as much as possible. Hurt like hell but felt really good. Up until last week, my maxes were a 245 Deadlift, 165 Bench, and 185(?) Squat. I tried to focus on technique as much as I could and I think my bench technique is pretty decent, deadlift form is much better thanks to some help from IronAbrams, and my squat isn’t to bad (although weight needs to come up a lot).

My seasonal job ended and I went a few weeks without a job and was living off eggs, whole milk, and tater-tots. So for the past week or so, I haven’t been training very much. But now I’m back with a bunch of food and a much more concrete goal in mind:

Focus on the 3 main lifts and when I have a gym total of about 1000 lbs. start looking for a meet. I would really like to hit at least an 1100 - 1200 total in my first meet but that is a little ways off for right now. Right now, get stronger, and fix the obvious weak points (lower back being a big one).

I’ve had a few workouts but I’m going to start posting them consistently now until the end of the week. Then it’s off to sunny Tampa Bay for Christmas with my sister. I might try to sneak away at some point to a session down at Elite Strength and Conditioning with the Swole Patrol guys. I’ve never pushed a Prowler before and I think it would be a lot of fun to go hang out and work out with those guys for a few hours.

S.S. Kinda Day (12-12-2010)

When I get back, I’m going to be doing either Starting Strength or 5/3/1 but I have yet to decide which yet. I’ve been using the SS set-up to a certain extent with the 3x5 although I’ve been going up in weight each set.

110x5 135x5 150x5

105x5 125x5 145x5

145x5 165x5 185x3(easy)


Constant Tension Curl:
20x6 20x6 20x6 Super-Set with

Reverse Curls:
20x6 20x6 20x6

BB Curls and Reverse curls (squeeze the hell out of the bicep with a static hold at the end)

SS Kinda Day (12-14-2010)

Bench Press:
115x5 135x5 150x3

115x5 135x5 135x5

155x5 185x5 205x5

I mixed up the order because someone was using the rack when I first got there so I just started with the bench which might have been a bad idea. I’ve got this little tweak in my right hip. Not sure if it’s related but it’s kind of annoying when I walk so I’m going to have to keep an eye on it.

Deadlift felt really good. I only used chalk on the last set. I also got so funny looks from a few of the guys training at the same time I was. He was either shadow boxing or doing some form of Tai-Bo between his sets of 135 pound squats on the smith machine. Was kind of funny.

Havn’t been able to update in a while because the internet was down for over a week. What a pain that was…

For the past week I’ve been doing a Starting Strength kind of program. I’ve just been ding the Squat, Bench, Deadlift because I haven’t had a chance to actually study the actual program. That will happen in the next day or so because I have time. Today was pretty simple:




I was playing around with boxes for the squat but couldn’t really get the feel for them. Either the box was to low or to high each time I used it.

The bench I tried to set up the same way every time and I’m getting closer and closer each time. I figured out how to lay my head and my upper traps on the bench to get the pressure all up there. My foot placement is also a lot better.

Deadlift still felt to light. I’m fighting the urge to up the weight by about 20 next time instead of 10.

Yesterday was my off day so I decided to do some sled pulls. I made a sled out of an old tire and finally took it down to the field to use it. I’ve never done anything like that before and I really enjoyed it. I paced out a 20 yd stretch, and went down and back 5 times total and had a 20 lbs DB in the tire for weight. I was surprised that my quads started to burn when I was done but I didn’t really get any DOMS from it. I know that’s what’s supposed to happen but it was still weird. I’m gonna keep doing these probably once a week and take a few walks up the hill during the week for my conditioning.