The Long Road Back, 2010


In college, I was your pretty typical “pocket Hercules” kind of guy; I was small and lean, but had excellent relative strength and cardiovascular conditioning. I could overhead press BW for a double and pull 3xBW for a single, not to mention run a 5k in under 18 minutes. Not exactly world class, but pretty respectable for a weekend warrior.

Fast forward a few years.

Now, after some injuries, mounds of junk food and virtually no physical activity whatsoever, I’m still small and lean-ish, but also woefully weak and out of shape. In January I recommitted myself to diet and exercise and now I’ve decided to log my daily workouts here to enhance my personal accountability.


Age: 25
Height: 5’7"
Weight: 148 lbs
Experience: About 4 years, but that’s all pretty much been wiped out.
Current OHP: < 100 lbs
Current DL: <300 lbs
Current SHR: > 80 bpm
Current S:W Ratio: 1.4
Current A:W Ratio: 0.4

Goals (EDITED 2/22/10):

Strength: Total “Elite” in the Squat, OHP, DL, and Bench as shown on Rippetoe’s strength standards chart.
Size: Get to a shoulder-to-waist ratio (S:W Ratio) of at least 1.6, and an arm-to-waist ratio (A:W Ratio) of at least 0.5.
Cardio: Get my sitting heart rate (SHR) under 50 beats per minute.

Program Design (EDITED 2/22/10:

Resistance Training: 5/3/1 for main lifts, EDT for accessory work.
Diet: The Anabolic Solution for Bodybuilders.
Cardio: Occasional HIIT to supplement the EDT work.

Stay tuned…

Log for 2/15/10:

Resistance Training (Strength Mesocycle I)

Deadlift (Microcyle I): 240 x 5, 215 x 5
Ovehead Press (Microcycle II): 70 x 5, 65 x 5

*The DLs were pretty easy, so hopefully that microcycle continues on for a while; I’d love to get to 300 before I have to leave for Russia on March 12th.

*The OHPs were pretty easy today too, but I have to focus more on solidifying my technique on these lighter lifts instead of just rushing through them.

Diet (Maintenance Phase I)

2,457 kcals: 30 grams of carbs (20 grams net carbs), 190 grams of protein, 175 grams of fat

*This is pretty much exactly what I want from my weekday nutrition, perhaps a little light on the calories, but I tend to make up the deficit during my weekend carb load.

EDIT: Epic fail in the kitchen today, as I stabbed myself in in the webbing between my thumb and forefinger on my left hand while trying to use right-handed scissors. The wound is pretty deep, down to the connective tissue, so my DLs may be in trouble in the days to come. Tomorrow’s workout should be the true test.

Training Log 2/16/10

Resistance Training (Strength Mesocycle I)

Deadlift (Microcycle I): 245 x 5, 210 x 5
Overhead Press (Microcycle II): 75 x 5, 65 x 5

*DLs were TOUGH today. I don’t know if it was the diet, the extra five pounds, or the stab wound on my hand, but I really struggled with 245 today compared to the easy time I had with 240 yesterday. Hopefully it was just a glitch; yesterday I was very confident about hitting 300 during this microcycle. Today? Not so much.

*To my surprise, my hand bothered me a lot more on my OHPs than on my DLs. I struggled through the top set, but I tightened up my technique and changed up my grip a bit on the back off set and felt fairly strong.


HRM-Assisted Intervals (Mountain Climbers): 3:00 minutes at 168 BPM

*This was a total botch job. I planned on doing the Tabata Protocol with mountain climbers today, but I had my heart rate monitor with me, so I decided to do HRM-assisted intervals. I typically do HRM assisted intervals with 16 kilo kettlebell swings, stopping when my heart rate breaks 100% of my age adjusted maximum heart rate, and starting again when my heart rate drops below 80% of my AAMHR. Unfortunately for me today, the mountain climbers just weren’t intense enough to get my heart rate beyond 100%, so it turned into steady state cardio at about 86%. I stopped after 3:00 minutes due to both frustration and the fact that putting all my weight on my hands was killing the gash on my left hand. Next time I bust out the HRM I’ll stick the kettlebell.

Diet (Maintenance Phase I)

2,394 kcals: 31 grams of carbs (22 net grams of carbs) 192 grams of protein, 178 grams of fat

*Whoo boy. During the first five weeks of this program I held off on moving into the induction phase of the Anabolic Diet and instead simply focused on moving to a clean, low carb, high protein, high fat diet. I was hoping that this would make the induction process for the Anabolic Diet go a bit smoother, and yesterday went swimmingly, but today was not as hot. My general energy was fine, but I didn’t feel as strong in the gym and I had a fair amount of GI distress throughout the day. I can’t wait for this process to be over so I can get back to enjoying my diet.

ahhh u cut ur web?? haha

nice going… excited to follow ur bounce back to herculedom.

good luck with the induction phase. i’ve never had any issues switching to super low carbs… but i know it goes kinda rough for some.

So, yeah. Typically, I’m not one to suffer from training ADD, particularly when I’m getting results. In college I pounded out the Power to the People routine for years and made steady, reliable gains. Nevertheless, during the middle of last week I started to feel as though I needed to make an adjustment to my old template; it just wasn’t cutting the mustard with my current contextual situation.

In college, I didn’t have a gym. I had a barbell and a basement and that was it. I’d do my deadlift sets before breakfast and my overhead presses before dinner. Both workouts took about 10 minutes; I was getting stronger and stronger and it was almost like I wasn’t even working out at all. The program may have been boring and repetitive, but whenyou’re that tight on equipment you have to use what works. Now, however, I don’t have a barbell in my basement anymore, I have a commercial gym membership. I don’t just walk down the basement each morning and each night; instead, I travel 30 minutes each way to the gym for the chance to knock out the same two exercises four days a week.

This seemed unnecessarily boring to me, and even wasteful. For the first time in years I have access to racks, benches and dumbbells. I haven’t squatted or benched since high school, and the temptation to deviate from my workout plan to enjoy the more abundant opportunities I have at my new gym is pretty overwhelming.
So I decided to give in. On Thursday and Friday of last week I went ahead and tested out my overhead press, deadlift, squat and bench so I could get started with 5/3/1 this week. All told, I think it?s a smart decision. I have more variety than with Power to the People, but I’m still sticking to the core principles that I wanted to embrace when I recommitted to getting fit this January. Furthermore, I’m scrapping the idea of cycling in EDT for body composition cycles and instead am just going to do my assistance work EDT-style. My goals, as stated in my opening post, were strength first, size second. By cycling into EDT and away from my core heavy lifts, I was planning to take my eye off the ball for months at a time; my new schedule keeps strength at the forefront and treats body composition as the secondary goal that it is for me.

Here are my training lifts, taken last week:

Overhead Press: 95 x 2
Deadlift: 250 x 5
Bench: 135 x 5
Squat: 145 x 6

These suck. In my defense, the lower body lifts are all pretty conservative, especially the squat, since I want to focus on technique to begin. The upper body lifts are painfully accurate.

Training Log 2/21/10

5/3/1 Cycle I

Overhead Press, Week I

Warm Up

60 x 5
70 x 5
75 x 8 (Rep PR)

*I like the all-out last set, I can see this keeping my workouts fresh.

15 Minute EDT PR Zone (BW Chin-ups and Bench Press with 50 lb Dumbbells)

40 total reps

*I biffed the weight pairing for the PR Zone; it started off fine, but by about 10 minutes in the chins were WAY harder than the DB benching, which was super easy. Next week I’ll have to readjust, though I may choose a different press than the DB bench; it’s a pain in the ass to keep kicking the weights up and down.

Training Log 2/22/10

5/3/1 Cycle I

Deadlift, Week I

Warm Up

170 x 5
200 x 5
225 x 6 (Rep PR)

*I was crazy busy with school and not feeling particularly well physically so I just got in, hit my prescribed reps (plus-1 on the final set), and got out. No accessory PR Zone for me.