T Nation

Weak Become Heroes

“Weak become heroes then the stars align”
-The Streets

I’ve been seriously lifting for about a year, and reading T-Nation for about the same amount of time. Right now, I’m at or near my PR’s in the three major lifts, but I’m very eager to continue growing. For future reference my current 1 RM for these lifts are:


Pictures are available at:


As I explain on that thread, I’m currently doing a hybrid crossfit/bodybuilding. I have been doing the Crossfit WOD followed by one or two compound lifts.

I like CF, because it adds a conditioning element to lifting, and gives you a way to benchmark your strength and compete with a large group of people. Competition motivates me more than anything else.

That being said, I realize the shortcomings of CF. That is, T-Nation has taught me that if you’re not lifting very heavy weight, you’re not gonna grow a lot of muscle.

It was suggested in the RMP forum that I begin my workout with the compound lift and finish with the WOD. I like the way this sounds, and it’s what I’m going to do for the next month. After that, I will evaluate my progress and adjust accordingly.

In my day-to-day life I interact with very few people that are passionate about lifting, so I’m looking to hear from anyone on this forum with advice, comments, criticism or support. I will try to post my diet and workout every day, as well as whatever random thoughts I’ve had about lifting.

Train Hard!

Workout Log for 06/13/2008:

A1. Squats:
135 x 10
185 x 5
225 x 5
225 x 5
245 x 0 (failed)
135 x 10

A2. Pull-Ups:
10 x5

B. Front Squat:
105 x 10
105 x 10
115 x 10

C. Leg Press
350 x 10
350 x 10
350 x 10

D1. Back Extensions
50 x 2

D2. Crunches
50 x 2

A-C are my compound lifts for the day. The goal was to exhaust the legs, since I’m taking tomorrow off. As you can see, I was lifting for reps at my 1 RM, but I was unable to set a PR, because I was pretty tired by time I attempted 245.

D1 and D2 are the crossfit components of today’s session. I cut out the running, due to a sprained right foot. Thankfully the foot injury is not interfering with my lifting.

As for the final set of 10 squats at a low weight, I like to do this after I’ve failed at a high weight, to really finish off the legs. I think this is an acceptable protocol, but if anyone thinks otherwise, let me know.

I’m now going to take the dog on a 45 minute walk. Tomorrow is a rest day, and then it’s back to the gym on Sunday.

You hit 225x5 but then missed even one rep at 245? What happened there?

[quote]Defekt wrote:
You hit 225x5 but then missed even one rep at 245? What happened there? [/quote]

I think it’s a mental thing. Once I try to move past a PR, especially on a relatively heavy lift like squat, I tend to get really anxious under the bar. I think the cure for this is to focus on developing really solid form at 225 until I’m confident enough to make the jump to 245.

Thatll do it. I’ve found that music helps, Ill put on a song that has a sudden bust of noise, or something else I can use as a “command” like someone yelling “go” or something.

When that happens I just give it my all, no matter what happens. I think of it as I’m doing the job for the guy screaming at me, not for myself, and then it gets done.

After the set I judge how hard it was and whether or not to add weight. It works pretty well for PRS.

If you think it’s a mental thing try this:


I have not tried it myself but it was an interesting article.

Good luck with your progress.

For the next couple of weeks I’m going to stick to my normal diet, plus as many extra snacks that I can possibly hold down during the day. My digestive system is definitely a weakness, and I spent much of today feeling nauseous. Hopefully that will go away as I adopt to a higher caloric intake. Here was my eating for the day:

3/4 Cup of Oatmeal with 1 scoop Whey Protein
1 Large Chicken Sausage Link
1/2 Cup Blueberries
3 Fish Oil Capsules (1 gm each)
1 Multivitamin
2 Vitamin E Capsules (400 IU Each)

Lunch (Split into two separate eating sessions):
Stir Fry-
1 1/4 Pound Beef
1 Large Onion
2 Green Pepper
3 Jalapeno Peppers
2 Broccolli Crowns
Stir Fry Sauce

6 Cups of Coffee (!)

Post-Workout Shake:
1 Banana
1 Scoop Whey Protein Powder
5 Gm Creatine
2 Tbs Peanut Butter


8 oz Grilled Mahi Mahi
2 Cups Mixed Greens with Brocolli, Carrots
Champagne Light Salad Dressing
1 Large Avocado

Night-Time Shake:
Same as Above
1/2 Cup Blueberries

Night-Time Snack:
3 Slices Thin Crust Papa Johns Pizza with Green Peppers, Olives, and Chicken

So for today, my main accomplishment was to eat a very large Stir-Fry lunch and to stuff down those three slices of pizza. At that point, pizza was the only thing I could imagine keeping down. It’s not something I plan to make a habit of, but I figured it was a good way to kick off this bulk.

I am currently just about as full as I’ve ever been. From my morning weigh-in to my night-time weigh in, I went up about 4 pounds. Granted a lot of that is water weight, and I’m not counting that towards muscle growth by any means. But at the very least, it’s an encouraging sign with regards to my intake.

A couple of notes on the above. I’m fairly lactose intolerant, so dairy products are not a very viable option. I can stomach some cheese on a pizza, or a cup of yogurt, but much more does me in. I’m currently trying to learn to love Lactaid, but it’s fairly nasty. Lactose intolerance also limits my choice of protein powder. Optimum Nutrition includes Lactase in their Whey mix, so that’s what I’ve been doing. It’s also relatively cheap.

As for the 6 cups of coffee, it’s a bit of a hole I’ve dug myself. Over time, I’ve built up a resistance to caffeine, so that I’m needing this much to get me really going. I’m going to try to scale back, and see if that hurts my workout intensity.

Overall, today was fairly good. I would give my workout a 6/10, and my eating a 7/10. Until tomorrow.

I’ve been away in Newport Beach for the last couple of days. Been eating out, but trying to keep the diet relatively clean. Yesterday was a rest day with the following food intake:

3/4 Cup Oatmeal
1 Large Chicken Sausage

Lunch 1-
Chicken sandwich with 10 oz sliced chicken and 2 slices low-carb flax bread
2 cups fruit medley (melon, pineapple, and grapes)
1 Advantage Protein Bar

Lunch 2-
Cobb Salad (2 cups lettuce, 2 hard-boiled eggs, 2 slices bacon, 1 avocado, 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, 2 tablespoons blue salad dressing)

Dinner 1-
Chipotle Chicken Salad (12 oz. chicken breast, 1 cup lettuce, 5 oz. black beans, 1 Tablespoon Corn, 1 Teaspoon cream cheese, 1 teaspoon cheddar cheese)

Dinner 2-
5 Chicken Breast Strips (roughly 10 oz)

If this diet was missing anything it was quality vegetables and fish oil. I didn’t bring my caps, and I’m missing them right now. I will probably get home late tonight, and post about today’s workout and diet.

Sunday in Newport. My usual meals were still unavailable, but I did my best to improvise. Here’s what I did:

2 Eggs
2 Strips Bacon
1/2 Avocado
1/2 Cup Shredded Onion
1 Cup Blueberries

Italian Sub (1/2 Pound Turkey, Shredded Lettuce, Mustard)

Chicken and Shrimp from The Yardhouse (Drenched in cheese and sauce, unfortunately)
2 Beers

Late-Night Snack-
8 oz Grilled Chicken
4 oz Beans
4 oz Brown Rice

Workout for the day to follow

Workout for yesterday was a bit different. I was hanging out with a high school friend who was interested in starting a training program. I took him through deads, squats and bench, and basically told him everything that I’d read on T-Nation. As I tutored him I also got in some deads and squats:

10 x 135
10 x 185
5 x 215
5 x 245
2 x 285 (You might notice this is a new PR. Maybe I can attribute this to training with a partner, or maybe to deadlifting barefoot for the first time)

Front Squat, Smith Machine-
10 x 95
10 x 115
10 x 135
10 x 135

I’ve recently injured my foot and my elbow. The foot injury occurred on a 4-mile treadmill run. I was testing my ability to make the Navy Seal Qualification time, and pushed myself a little too hard. Fortunately, I had read a post on T-Nation about stopping a workout the minute you feel real pain, and this prevented me from continuing the run and making the injury worse. I think of all the info that I’ve gleaned from this website, that tip might be the most valuable. Unfortunately, the foot is still hurt and has been in pain for over a week. Thankfully, the pain is in the front half of the foot, and is not interfering with deads or squats.

More recently, I hurt my elbow/bicep. The pain occurs when my arm is fully contracted and stops me from doing benches, dips, pull-ups, or almost any compound upper-body movement. I’m gonna try to lay off the injury and hope that I can begin training within the week.

In summary, go Lakers.

Foot and elbow made an upper body workout out of the question, so I decided to go on an aggressive bike ride. I rode to Griffith Park Observatory and then a bit beyond. The ride was about 15 miles round trip with 1,000 foot elevation gain. It took me roughly 2 hours, which includes a fair amount of time waiting at stop lights.

I realize that an intense cardio session like this at the start of a bulking phase might seem counterproductive, but if I don’t get in some kind of exercise during the day, I feel extremely unhappy and have a hard time falling asleep. Tomorrow, I will be back in the gym doing squats and deads, and experimenting with some other lifts to see if the elbow feels better.

Eating from today to follow.

I began my day in Newport and finished at home. I was eager to use up a number of ingredients in the fridge that were about to expire, so I cooked a massive stir fry, and froze some for future use. I have plans to visit the grocery store tomorrow and cook up massive amounts of chili. I am going to use the recipe found at: http://www.T-Nation.com/article/diet_and_nutrition/20_pounds_in_20_weeks. If I had known that putting on 20 pounds of muscle in 20 weeks was as easy as eating large quantities of chili, I would’ve started doing that much earlier.

4 Eggs
1 Cup Blueberries
1 Banana

6 oz. Turkey Breast
4 oz. Pastrami
1 Teaspoon Mustard
1 Teaspoon Light Mayonnaise
1 Cup Lettuce
2 Teaspoons Champagne Light Dressing

Mid-Day Shake-
1/2 Cup Pasteurized Egg Whites
1/2 Cup Lactaid Milk
2 Ice Cubes
1 Scoop Whey Protein
2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter

12 Oz. Dark Meat Chicken
1 Green Pepper
1/2 Large Onion
1/2 Broccoli Crown
1 Cup Baby Carrots
2 Teaspoon Stir Fry Sauce
1 Teaspoon Tabasco Sauce

Night Time Shake-
Same as Earlier

Night Time Snack-
4 oz. Turkey Jerky
1 Raw Cucumber

Because of the cardio I did, I needed to really up my eating today, and I give myself a 5/10 on accomplishing this. The most important thing for me is going to be getting lots of calories in the morning. After I wake up, for the first 1-2 hours I feel nauseous, and lack any real appetite. Everything I consume during this time period, I have to really force down.

Does anyone else have this problem? If so, how have you dealt with it. Is it a function of getting too much sleep. I currently sleep about 9-10 hours a night, which is what I really need to feel refreshed in the morning. I may experiment around with my alarm clock to see if I can generate any kind of an appetite for breakfast.

Let me know how the chili recipe tastes, I’ll be trying it when I go back to bulking.

A lot of people have trouble eating in the mornings, I dont know anything about why. If its really hard you could drink a “weight gainer” shake for breakfast(home made the store bought ones suck), wait a few hours and then eat your meal. Or, if possible, tough it out. I’ve never had this problem so I cant be of much help.

So today was my second attempt at no-shoes deadlifting and squats. I finished up both of these exercises and was very pleased with my results, when I began my crossfit workout of the day. At this point a 24 Hour Fitness manager approached me and told me that I would need to leave the gym unless I put on close-toed shoes. He was concerned that someone could drop a weight on my foot and injure me. There are a couple of reasons why this is unfathomably stupid:

  1. At the time, I was doing leg extensions, on a machine far away from any free weights. In order for anyone to drop any weights on me, they would have to walk over to me and throw the weight at my foot.

  2. If someone drops any substantial weight on my foot, it’s going to hurt if I’m wearing shoes or not. This is clearly policy written up by pathetic little corporate lawyers. I would love to drop a couple of plates on their loafered feet and ask them if the shoes helped prevent injury.

If this was the gym’s only offense, I could look past it, but I am a member at one of the worst gyms in America hands down. The bathroom and locker rooms are a disaster, the availability of machines and weights is pathetic, and the staff seems to take no pride in their work.

I’m not going to waste time talking about the incompetence of the 24 Hour Trainers. They’re not even the worst employees at the gym. That honor goes to the front desk employees, who I have seen almost every day for the past 4 months, and who have never bothered to learn my name or face. When I was a member at Equinox in New York City, I felt like a member of a family (a nice clean family, with lovely showers, and weights that were racked with some sens of order). After the first week at Equinox, I was let in without showing my membership card and I was greeted with a smile and a kind word. At 24 Hour Fitness, I am greeted like a convict who murdered the loved ones of every front desk employee.

Not to mention the pathetic promotions that the gym constantly seems to run. For the last month or so, the gym has been covered in posters that say “Final Day”. It is as if the Seventh Day Adventists had taken over the nation’s largest chain of gyms.

It’s not really a mystery how 24 Hour Fitness got to be the largest gym chain in America. There are thousands of members at my gym alone, and they are all treated like dung. When you spend almost nothing on upkeep, or on hiring qualified, cheerful employees, it’s extremely easy to be profitable. Hopefully, in the long term, this strategy will catch up to my local gym, and they will be forced to clean up their act. I already know that most of the members are dissatisfied: the mid-Wilshire 24 Hour where I work out is currently ranked a pitiful 1 1/2 stars on Yelp ( http://www.yelp.com/biz/24-hour-fitness-los-angeles-5#hrid:P5FPEPtYSdSlpcPTXFqbJQ/query:gym ), which makes it the lowest ranked business in all of greater Los Angeles. As soon as someone opens a half-way decent gym anywhere near here, I predict a mass exodus.

Oh who am I kidding, no one’s going to change their ways least of all me. American’s are comfortable with mediocrity. It’s how “Disturbed” has the number one album in the country, and “Indiana Jones” is the number one movie of the year. We do what’s easy and familiar, and I’m no exception.

Well, hopefully my weight-lifting can defy mediocrity. Here’s the numbers I put up today:

10 x 135
8 x 185
5 x 205
5 x 225
3 x 245
3 x 275
2 x 295
0 x 315

Back Squats-
10 x 45
10 x 135
10 x 155
5 x 175
5 x 195
4 x 205
2 x 225

At this point my legs were pretty dead, and I moved over to the crossfit portion of the day. It was a bizarre little superset of shoulder presses and back extensions. I got through three sets before I was so rudely interrupted.

A1. Shoulder Presses-
21 x 60
21 x 60
21 x 60

A2. Back Extensions

The injuries are still extremely nagging. You don’t realize how remarkable the human body is until it stops being so remarkable. I think about pull-ups and burpees now and feel like I’ll never be able to do them again without pain. Hopefully this is paranoia and not an indication of reality.

Chili Cookoff!

I pretty much followed John Berardi’s recipe, except I didn’t use the cashew meal. I also used 85/15 beef, as I was going for the extra calories.

Start to finish, this took about 45 minutes of total prep time, plus an hour of simmering. The recipe made a lot of chili. I froze three large Tupperware containers worth, and put the rest in a large punch-bowl, which I plan to graze on in the manner of a farm animal.

I had my first bowl tonight, and the taste was great. Mixed in a small handful of cheddar cheese and a teaspoon of sour cream, for ideal taste.

In future diet logs, assume that a bowl of chili contains roughly 8 oz. of beef and roughly 3-4 servings of vegetables.

Meal Plan for June 18, 2008

3/4 Cup Oatmeal with 1 scoop whey protein
5 Omega-3 Eggs
1 Large Chicken Sausage Link
1 Avocado
1 Orange
3 Fish Oil Caps
1 Multi-Vitamin

Chicken Stir Fry (see above)

Post-Workout Shake-
1/2 Cup Egg Whites
1/2 Cup 2% Lactaid Milk
1 Scoop Whey Protein
2 Tablespoons Omega-3 Peanut Butter

Dinner 1-
1 Naan
4 Oz Chicken Vindaloo
4 Oz Chicken Tiki Masala
4 Oz White Rice

Dinner 2-
1 Bowl Chili
2 Tablespoons Sharp Cheddar
1 Teaspoon Low Fat Sour Cream

Night-Time Snack-
1 Met-Rx Meal Replacement Shake
15 Bing Cherries

This was probably the largest breakfast I’ve eaten in my life, and I was feeling pretty woozy afterwards. I think in the future I will stick to 3 eggs max.

I found a small stash of Met-Rx protein powder, which is 97% lactose free and contains casein. I figure this will be good to take before bed.

A question about fish oil supplementation: I know that authors on this site have encouraged mega-dosing. How much fish oil are you guys taking per day? What should I make of the warnings concerning the blood thinning effects of high fish oil dosages?

[quote]ttknight wrote:
2) If someone drops any substantial weight on my foot, if I’m wearing shoes or not. This is clearly policy written up by pathetic little corporate lawyers. I would love to drop a couple of plates on their loafered feet and ask them if the shoes helped prevent injury.

Haha! Brilliant!

I weighed in this morning at 171.2 pounds. I’m going to try to weigh in every morning and post the numbers here.

The arm is feeling better. I’ve been testing it out by doing some push-ups at home, and I’m gonna try an upper body workout today. I’m gonna hit heavy bench, weighted pull-ups, bent over rows, and cable crossover. Depending on how I’m feeling, I might finish up with a 10 minute sesh on the Erg.

Today was a big eating day. June 19, 2008:

3/4 Cup Oatmeal w/1 scoop Whey
3 Omega-3 Eggs
1 Chicken Sausage Link
1/2 Cup Blueberries

1 Bowl of Chili

PWO Shake-
1/2 Cup Egg White
1/2 Cup 2% Lactaid Milk
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Scoop Whey
1 Banana

8 oz Chicken Breast
2 Cups Salad with Carrots and Broccoli
2 Teaspoons Salad Dressing
1 Large Avocado

Night-Time Shake-
Same as Above

Dinner 2-
Thai Cobb Salad from Fred’s Diner:
2 Cups Spinach
1 Egg
2 Strips Bacon
4 Oz Chicken
2 Tablespoons Thai Dressing

I’ve started adding olive oil to the shakes in an attempt to up the calories. Other than that things proceed as usual. I felt extremely full the whole day, which I guess is a good sign. I tend to weight myself constantly, and at one point I was over 176.

Workout for June 19, 2008:

10 x 135
10 x 155
2 x 185

At this point my arm was giving out, I decided to hit the Pull-Up bar to see if I would have any more luck.

Weighted Pull-Ups (Drop Sets)
3 x 35 (extra pounds), 3 x 0 (no extra pounds)
3 x 35, 3 x 0

And at the point my left arm was throbbing in pain. I was pretty unsatisfied so I decided to hit that same bike ride up to Griffith Park Observatory. It’s a super fun ride, and on the last on two rides I’ve spotted Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Spacey (separately, it’s not like they were hanging out or anything.)