T Nation

The Man In The Cellar


Just a warning, folks. I enjoy writing. I write a lot. You've been warned. Oh, and my workouts will be in here, as well. This is a re-introduction, if you will.

 Funny how these last couple of months have gone.  Between realizing how close I came to self-destructing, to stumbling onto the correct path, to having a vital organ stolen from me (not really vital...more like vestigial), it's been a real lesson in patience and humility.  It's also been a lesson in seeing people's true colors.  Those that I thought were cool, and those that I thought were thieves of oxygen turned out to be the opposite.  More on that later, though.

As most probably know, I train a lot. So much that it's a part of my DNA. Lifting, throwing, hitting, flipping, punching, kicking, running, just getting downright dirty is something that has become a large part of my life. So much so that my favorite parts of the day are when I wake up at 4 in the morning, and when I leave my office/tent in the evening. That's when I am free to let the man in the cellar out.

 This is where I will probably sound a bit psychotic.  I refer to that man as Mr. Black.  In situations I have ended up on auto-pilot (blackouts), as well as when I'm off my meds (like the past several months), that is when he is free of the cellar and is running buck-wild.  With him behind the wheel, I'm either beating someone into a bloody pulp, destroying something, or just downright pissed off at the world and lashing out.

The last is an accurate depiction of my behavior prior to September. Having been diagnosed as bi-polar, along with chronic depression and PTSD, I was put on a regiment of medication that leveled me out noticeably. I was the epitome of cool, calm, and collected. Mr. Black was locked up tight in the cellar. Prior to ramping up for deployment, February, I was taken off the drug that combated the BPD.

Having not dealt with it in so long, I didn't think about the repercussions of coming off the drug. What ensued was a lot of conflict. From dumping my girlfriend, to isolating myself from everyone, to "expressing" myself in ways that gained certain people's attention, I was a runaway train running out of tracks, and Mr. Black was kicked back on top with a drink in one hand, and a Cuban in the other.

 About the only good that came out of all of that were the 40 pounds I dropped, and the moment of clarity I had that showed I needed to part ways with the military.  The weight-loss came as a result of training to the liking of Mr. Black.  Just balls-to-the-wall training.  Since coming to my senses and throwing Mr. Black's ass back into the cellar, I've managed to keep that passion for training going.

And just as I was reaching new heights, a stomach ache, then a robbery took place and placed me on the sidelines for almost a month. During that time away from all things physical and freeing, I lost my love of writing, grew a pretty sexy beard, and got pretty depressed. When I mentioned stepping foot into the gym, even for walking on the treadmill, I was threatened with certain death by an unassuming, soft-spoken Mexican chick (my boss).

So, with nothing else to bring me piece of mind, I turned to a quick source of comfort. FOOD. I have been "nom-ing" on a daily basis. My personal favorite would be the Leche Cake our dining facility makes. That and sweet potato pie. Slices of heaven here in hell. Mounds of hell here in my belly. One look in the mirror yesterday, and I knew what had to be done.

 While sitting on my ass in front of my laptop, I went down into the cellar, unlocked the cell door, released the shackles, and brought Mr. Black up to the light of day.  Figured I could put him to work.  Getting a feel for the situation, we took a secret trip to the gym last night.  First test was the bench press.  We managed to get under the bar with little pain, and knocked out a few reps.  Feeling no pressure on the abs, we opted to work with 135#.  The workout went as follows:

Bench Press
135 x 15 (medium grip-5 sets)
135 x 12 (close grip-5 sets)

Overhead Triceps Ext. (Dumbell)
20 x 15 (4 sets)

 Felt pretty good afterward.  And slept like a champ.  And so, with that completed, a union has be formed.  I have 59 days until I touch American soil.  53 days to go insane and train like the madman Mr. Black, and myself, so enjoy.  Granted, most of it will be strictly for hypertrophy, but I am now motivated, excited even, to get down in the trenches and sharpen both my body and mind.  Cry Havoc!! and let slip the dogs of war!!  And with that, I'm off to bed.


Good to see you back at it Beast. Good luck with training, take it easy at first as to not destory yourself, but you'll make some insane progress in no time.

Semper Fi, Soldier.


Very good to be back at it, Ink. Now...time for legs.


Day three of my lil partnership, and so far, so good. Except the diet. We had a meeting of the minds on that one. I'll indulge myself for the next two days. After that, there will be no compromises. With that said, today was another "feeling out" day. The focus: legs. The tests: 5 mile ruck march in the morning, squats in the evening. I just finished the squats.

Dynamic warmup (didn't feel all that dynamic, really)


135 x 10 (2 sets)
135 x 15 (5 sets)

I felt pretty good doing them. No pain at all. I felt so pumped, in fact, that I decided to test the waters with some Romanian Deadlifts. Mental note: Doing nothing for over three weeks causes changes in flexibility. They turned into quarter lifts, my hammies were so damn tight! After 8 reps, I said fuck it. I'll include those in the full speed workout next week. After lots of warming up and stretching.
On a whim, I decided to see if I could execute a pullup. I'll only say "no." Better luck next time, I suppose.

 On a non-workout note, I have a friend in Canada who is a single mother, works as a nurse, and is preparing for a figure competition next month.  She is featured in a special edition of Oxygen titled "Off The Couch."  Now, I mention this because it touches on an observation I've made.  It's neither positive or negative, really.  In the first few months of a deployment, it's always interesting how so many friends come out the woodwork and make contact.  They send daily or weekly emails, letters, some even send care packages, and so on.  Then after around month four, it all just seems to stop cold.  Not a peep.  This doesn't faze me, usually, as I'm oftentimes in my own world, however, I recently got hit up on the bookface, asking where I've been and why I haven't been in contact.  I had to raise an eyebrow at this.  Mr. Black was itching to make an appearance.  I, on the other hand, thought it best to respond in my way.  I copied the last email I had sent to that person, showing that it was they who didn't respond, and left it at that.  While I am trying to be more...open for people, I can't help but not have much faith in them.  At least those who I deal with.  Nine times out of ten, I'll be left standing alone.  That's actually something I've come to accept, really, but it does irk me when those very people try to put the onus on me.  Like I failed to keep in contact.  Unless I'm trying to call you my girlfriend or wife, I chase after no one.  
 I bring this up because upon finding and reading the article mentioned above, I send an email to the friend in Canada, congratulating her and such.  She actually responds, apologizing for not responding or keeping in touch for so long.  This is something that was discussed previously, so I could only tell her to make no apologies.  She has one hell of a life to lead, so it's understandable that communication is at a minimum.  And par for the course, no response.  People are funny.  That's my thought for the evening...time to eat.


After Wednesday's fun, I opted to take yesterday off. Keep having to remind myself to take it slow and easy. Today should be fun, though. Shoulders!


And the missing man has returned. Was pretty much out of it for the past week, as my stomach was too busy lecturing me about the importance of rest and recovery. This left me in quite a bad state, as I had waayy too much energy and such flowing thru me, but was unable to do much. Mental note, if I get that manic, and have no way of blowing off steam, the pendulum swings the other way and makes Beast and Mr. Black very depressed.
But, I got the green light today, upon waking, and so, I got after it. The festivities are broken down below:

Ruck March x 6 miles (w/30lb pack)- Awesome as I did it under the ethereal glow of the moon. Pity the temperature dropped drastically and I had to cut the last 2 miles off. Very underdressed for that.

Bench Press-135lbs x 12 x 10- I am following the German Volume Training with my lifting, as it seems pretty intense, and I am shooting for hypertrophy for the next 6 weeks. Gotta hit the states looking even stronger and leaner than my avi pic!

OH Barbell Rows-135 x 12 x 12- Same as above.

This evening, I went back to the gym and decided to up the ante a bit, as the morning lifts felt good, but I needed to burn off my second wind.

Dumbbell Press-70lbs x 10 x 10- A bit more challenging than the standard bench press, surprisingly.
UH Barbell Rows-135 x 10 x 10- I just like these as it's another compound movement that doesn't aggravate my abs.

I attempted to do lat pulldowns, however, the weight stack was ridiculously light. Pity I can't do any pullups yet. One step at a time, I suppose.


The past few days have been pretty good. Doing a bit of writing, and training again, although, still won't be going heavy for a while. Having one of the surgeons in the gym at the same time I was in was interesting. So, on Thursday, 28 October, my workout consisted of:

Elliptical (HIIT-laps) x 30 minutes

Sumo Deadlifts
135 x 10 x 10

Friday, 29 October:

225 x 10 x 10

Shoulder Presses

95 x 10 x 10 (Yeah, I know...almost laughably light, however, didn't want to put much strain on my abs with the overhead movement.)

I opted to take yesterday off, as I'm still not at 100%. Hell, I'd say I'm at around 75%. And after what appears to be a mix-up with my sleep med, I missed my cardio this morning. Not happy about that...but, today is legs, so that's going to be fun. Still have to work on pressing away from the dessert tray, though, that should be easier as I found some of the items were spoiled. Makes it a bit easier.


So...the leg workout for today had to be postponed, as my incision site is a bit sore. Kinda odd. Better to er on the side of caution, I suppose. In the meantime, back to writing!


Beautiful November is here at last! And with it comes the cooler temperatures in the morning. Lovin it. I've been getting the training in on a more consistant basis these past few days, although, I have sacrificed a bit of cardio in order to to keep up with my lifts, but that's alright, for now. After taking the break on Sunday, I got my squats in Monday morning. Good times...

1 November 2010:
135 x 10 x 10 (after a dynamic warmup...not really dynamic, though.)

Standing Leg Curls
45 x 10 x 2 (this was just very uncomfortable for some reason. And I can't do the lying version yet.)

Bench Press
165 x 10 x 10

Dumbbell Press
70 x 10 x 10

Didn't do any isolation work for my tris, as I had to stop early. Was feeling a lil bit of strain in my abs. Ended up taking the following morning off, just to rest them a bit. But, I was back at it last night.

2 November 2010
Sumo Deadlift
135 x 10 x 4 (Warmup)

Barbell Rows
135 x 10 x 5
155 x 10 x 5

Inverted Towel Pullups w/22lb. chain
BW+22 x 20 x 5

Barbell Curls
Barbell (45lbs) x 20 x 3

It was a pretty good workout, overall. I still long for picking up the heavier loads, but, I'll continue being patient. Not like I have much choice. Especially with the surgeons working out at the same time I'm in there. Good times!


Nice to see you back logging it. Keep kicking ass man.


Thanks, Dove. Hate not working with heavy stuff, though.

Past couple of days were alright. Took yesterday off, as I woke up all kinds of "wrong." No pain, but was in a depressed state for some reason. Took most of the day to shake it, unfortunately, so, no workout. I figure if I can't maintain focus and sum up any amount of intensity, I should keep my gimpin ass out of there. Of course, when I woke up this morning, I again found myself dipping my toes in the pool of despair. No clue why.

As far as I can tell, my thoughts haven't been on anything of a "down" nature. Hell, when I go to bed, I do my damnedest to empty my head of all thoughts. This time, rather than cancel, I went and did a little bit, although, I think I ruined myself a bit.

5 November 2010

Elliptical x 10 minutes (warmup)

Jump-rope x 50 revolutions... this was the ruination. It hurt to do this. Never had I felt more lame, than now. Hitting the heavybag in frustration didn't help matters, either. That hurt, too.

Circuit consisting of shoulder presses and lunges.

Shoulder presses (65lbs x 25)
Lunges (BW x 20)

I called it a morning after four sets. Was still a bit disgusted. But, the day was pretty good. Ate very clean, and managed to squeeze in 20 minutes in the evening my leg workout. Your favorite and mine:

Evening workout

135lbs x 10 (1 set)
185lbs x 10 (10 sets)

I didn't go to depth, as I didn't want to brace my abs tightly, at all, so I went down close enough to parallel. Pretty decent workout though. Stomach is a lil sore, but, it's not bad at all. Now...time to put in some work on my story, then sleepy time.


I truly believe the big pharma fucked my medication dosage up. This sleeping pill is twice the size of my normal one. Fuckers. I say this because although I went to bed at a very reasonable hour last night (930), I didn't wake up until 730 this morning. That's ten fucking hours!!! That basically set the tone for the day. Foggy, loopy, unmotivated, whatever, I was that. So, no morning workout. By the evening, I'd managed to come out of it a bit and got a quick chest workout in, although my abs weren't too pleased.

6 November 2010

Bench Press

135 x 10 (Warmup)
185 x 10 x 10 (And I do these with my feet on the bench, so that I can keep from tightening my abs. Works.)

I attempted to do some incline dumbbell presses, however, my abs finally said 'no.' So, I put on my teacher hat and went over basic boxing skills with a dude flailing at the heavybag. I was alright with it.

Now, time for bed. Here's to hoping I wake up at my normal time...


Woke up at my normal time yesterday, and had a damn good workout. 15 minutes of HIIT on the elliptical, then a good paced circuit. All was good until I stepped outside and felt the drop in temperature as the sun was rising!

The circuit consisted of:

Military Press (75lbs x 15); Horizontal Pullups (BW x 10); Lunges (BW x 20)-did this for five sets. Then:

Behind-The-Neck Press (75lbs x 15); HPs (BW x 10); Squats w/35lb K-bell (20) for five sets.

Now, as far as last night went, I went with the intention of conducting a back workout, however, I had a Soldier come in seeking training in boxing. As he was eager to learn and had all of his gear with him, I happily obliged. So, he is now my first "unofficial" personal training client. Unofficial because I'm still studying for my cert. Good times.


Today's morning training consisted of waking at the sound of my alarm at 4 in teh morning, shutting it off, and rolling back over. What started off as a very hot night's sleep, thanks to some retarded ass TCNs (third country nationals), turned into a very chilly awakening. As soon as I uncovered my arm to turn off the alarm, I knew I wasn't going to step out into that frigid reception. So, sleep it was. I think I made up for it this evening with my back workout.

8 November 2010

UH Barbell Rows
155 x 10 x 10

OH Barbell Rows
155 x 10 x 10

The gym was unusually crowded this evening, so I decided to end the workout there, and proceeded to training my "star" pupil. There is a term we have in a lot of black communities for brothas who are lacking athletic inclination. We call them "non-athletic brothas." The pupil is one of them. At the moment, he feels that some froo-froo nonsense from a Men's Health magazine is going to get him in shape and strong. Rather than beat my drums over how a good basic lifting routine and a cardio routine is all he needs, I'll allow him to follow that path for a lil bit. Maybe a couple of weeks. Then I'll ask what gains/losses has be reached. I know the answer already, as he's been following this program for a month now. He doesn't even know how to squat or perform a proper row. We'll see how this goes. But, he's into the boxing, so that's a good thing. Time to do some studying and writing...

 At present, I'm sitting here listening to Imogen Heap, drinking both water and gatorade, and researching something that does not interest me in the least, but I have to give a class on it.  Everyday seems bring up the same question, over and over.  "Why am I still in this damn uniform?"

I am surrounded by lazy, inept, retards, who refuse to get off their asses and get an inkling of an idea of what happens, or doesn't happen, around them. I had to force my boss's eyes open, and when things came into focus, that person didn't like what they saw. Conflict ensued. It typically does, since there ain't shit else going on out here. Everyone has their own personal bubble encasing them, and heaven help you if you come near it.

 To make things even more interesting, because there is a new regime taking command down south, certain folks want to begin cheesing and join in on the territorial pissings.  Things such as saluting, more and new clothing restrictions, just general dumb shit that means nothing when the shit hits the fan.  We actually received a book of rules and standards last night.

I found this to be extremely annoying, but humorous at the same time. The authors of the book, most assuredly, have not stepped out of their comfy, cushy offices and walked outside, both at their base, and the FOBs and COPs that surround them. Eh...I'll stop the rant here, I suppose.

This morning's training session was pretty good. I warmed up with some cardio, then performed a pretty decent superset.

9 November 2010

Elliptical -HIIT x 10 minutes

SD- 155 x 10 x 10
BP- 135 x 10 x 10

Thinking about relaxing this evening and just teaching boxing.


So...the boxing lessons didn't take place, as the dude didn't have enough sense to knock on the door of my tent. Keep in mind that he was 15 minutes late. I'm dealing with a winner here. But, I took last night off, as I was feeling pretty out of sorts. Not necessarily down, but not good either. So, I should have slept easy, and awakened refreshed this morning, right? No. Overslept, again. Instead of cancelling, though, I put my new finger-ninja-shoes on and went to get my workout in.

10 November 2010

Elliptical x 15 minutes

Barbell Complex x 5
upright row x 8
barbell row x 8
military press x 8
good morning x 8
lunges x 8
squats x 8
calf raises x 8
behind-the-neck press x 8

Incline Dumbbell Press supersetted with D-bell Rows
50lbs x 20 x 3
50lbs x 15 x 3

And now, at 2 in the afternoon, I'm having to depend on an influx of caffeine to make it thru the rest of the day. I think I'll get my 2d wind later this afternoon. Going to need it, as today is a leg day.


This has been a not-so-bad. Besides a couple of major annoyances in the office, I've been able to go a lil harder in each outing at the gym. I'll go ahead and dive into what I've been up to these past few days.

185 x 10 x 10

BW x 20 x 10

BW x 20 x 5

Military Press
115 x 10 x 10

Shoulder Press w/dumbbells
50lbs x 10 x 10

This morning's workout consisted of:

25 minutes walking on the treadmill with max incline

B-T-N Presses: 75 x 15 x 5

Kettlebell Squats: 50-some lbs. x 20 x 5

For this evening's fun:

Incline Bench Press
155 x 10 x 10

Dumbbell Press
75 x 10 x 10

Triceps Pushdown
50 x 10 x 3

OH Triceps Extensions
30 x 12 x 3

I then discovered that I could do a partial pullup, as well as dips! I'm excited by this. I can also jump rope again! Things are looking up, I suppose!


Wowzers, lots of volume! :slightly_smiling:
You're a great writer, and I'm glad you're back in the gym


Thank you, Ms. Lady. And the volume is what I've been limited to, as I can't yet go heavy. But, it's going pretty good. I think I'm getting a lil bigger.


Hmm...past couple of days have been a bit on the manic side. So much so yesterday that I walked out in the middle of my morning workout. I was just too agitated. That feeling only got worse as the day progressed, and it left me in a foul mood, really. I figured keeping exposure to people to a bare minimum would be wise. So...no gym last night. I just stayed in the tent, watched Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, then allowed Trazadone to take me away.

I'm undecided if that was a good move or not, as it's 1 in the afternoon, and I'm still quite fuzzy in the head. Hopefully it clears up this evening, as I have a leg/shoulder workout tonight. Gonna have to wear as little as possible for this one. Gonna be a sweaty night. But, going back to my back workout on Monday, here are the stats:

225 x 10 x 10

Barbell Row
135 x 12 x 10

Single Arm Lat Pulldown
80 x 10 x 8

For now, here's another pic.

Edit: Sorry. Forgot to turn the pic upright.