Monday, March 31, 2008

Day 15 of 32

Yesterday I ate 2000 calories and 100 grams of protein. In the evening I bowled, no DDR.

This morning I woke up feeling tired, but ready to go. I ate my yogurt, read, and then hit the gym:

Warm Up - Exercise Bike 7 Minutes, 12/12 Swings x 12k, 16k
One Arm Press - 8/8 x 16k; 6/6 x 20k, 20k; 5/5 x 20k
Romanian Deadlift - 12 x 20k, 50k, 70k, 70k, 70k
Kettlebell Push Ups - 12, 10, 5
Squats - 10 x 20k, 30k, 50k, 50k
Pinch Barbell - 5 x Empty, 50lbs, 50lbs, 50lbs, 50lbs
Cool Down - Exercise Bike 7 Minutes

I was not in the mood for high reps on the one arm press. Romanian deadlifts were hard, but I managed. My shoulders felt very stable on the first set of push ups. That feeling reduced quickly on the second and third set. Fear of tweaking something due to instability drove my numbers.

Squats were very hard for me, I took a lot of time between the last two sets. I think it is important I make these happen, but I am not good at them.

The air was humid today due to rain, so my spidey grip was tingling. I could have done more sets with the pinch barbell, but I decided moderate success was sufficient. The rain also ruled out my weighted walks.

The exercise bike is working out well. Over the weekend I sorted out some new music for my lifting sessions, and I am really enjoying it while on the bike. I have pulled a few dozen of my wife's CDs out of the basement and will rip them over the next week or two. It will fun to switch up what I listen to while training.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Day 14 of 32

Yesterday I ate 2050 calories and 94 grams of protein. This morning my body weight was 164.5.

Today is a rest day. I will bowl in the evening and may play some light DDR in the afternoon.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Day 13 of 32

Yesterday I ate 2010 calories and 98 grams of protein. In the evening I did grippers.

Today I played 2 hours of DDR, most of it at low intensity. The dog went home, so I have more time.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Day 12 of 32

Yesterday I ate 1970 calories and 102 grams of protein. Due to an early dinner, I went to bed hungry.

This morning I woke up feeling worn down. I opted to eat a solid breakfast and push my workout to the afternoon. By noon my food had kicked in and events of the morning had left me feeling very aggressive. I released my energy into the weights:

Warm Up on Exercise Bike
Squats: 10 x 45lbs, 65lbs, 85lbs, 105lbs, 115lbs
Snatches: 5/5 x 16k, 20k; 10 minutes with 24k - 12/12, 10/10, 8/8, 10/10 - 80 total
Pinch Barbell: 5 x 20lbs, 40lbs, 50lbs, 50lbs

I forced myself to try harder on the squats. Each time I picked up the barbell, I insisted on getting 10 reps before putting it down. That required some standing with the weight on my shoulders. My lower back appears to be the weak point, interestingly. 115 might be light, but I was shaking at the end of the set.

With no patience for normal sets and reps, I opted to make the rest of my session a 10 minutes snatch test with the 24k kettlebell. The set of 12/12 is a rep PR for me, I believe. My total of 80 reps ties the PR I set on 10/4/07, when I was 25lbs heavier. I ripped a callous on the very last rep of the last set. The snatches drained me, but they also lifted my foul mood. 

I was in no mood to pinch, but I am committed to the June grip contest, so I got it done.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Day 11 of 32

Yesterday I ate 2025 calories and 99 grams of protein. In the evening I walked 1.5 miles, played 30 minutes of low intensity DDR, and stretched.

This morning I played DDR for 90 minutes.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Day 10 of 32

Yesterday I ate 2005 calories and 103 grams of protein. I also bought a new DDR game.

This morning I went through the normal pre-workout routine and hit the gym:

Warm Up: Exercise Bike 7 minutes, 12/12 Swings x 12k, 16k
Kettlebell Snatches: 12/12x16k, 10/10x20k, 8/8x24k, 5/5x28k, 3/3x32k (ties PR)
36k Kettlebell: 3/3 One Arm Swings; 3/3 One Arm Cleans
One Arm Press: 5/5 x 16k, 20k, 20k
Renegade Rows (feet elevated 6"): 6/6 x 16k, 16k, 16k
20k's Rack Walk out, Farmer's Walk back
Limited attempts at a Pistol
Pinch Barbell (wide): 5 x 5 x Empty

The snatches took a ton out of me, enough that I wanted to quit and go inside. My original intent was to pyramid up to snatching the 36k kettlebell, but I lack the confidence to put it overhead. Given the force I was hitting myself with during the cleans, the strength is there. I need to get comfortable with the weight. I will use it for swings, cleans, and high pulls. I will also practice holding it overhead.

Everything else fell out of my obligation to "do something" with the rest of the workout. The elevated renegade rows are excellent for my abs, hip flexors, and shoulder stability. They need to happen at least weekly.

The rack walk was an exercise in will power, but I physically had no problems with the extra weight. After all, it's only 90lbs. Earlier in the workout I was swinging 10lbs less than that with one arm.

My pistol attempts were really lame. I had been practicing these a lot last fall, and I think there is a lot of specificity to the movement. I am not going to put much focus on pistols until after my fitness conference, but I had no desire to squat today.

Pinch barbell in the wide position had to be very light. I have not done any wide pinching in several months and my thumbs are not used to the stress. The last thing I want to do is strain a tendon. I will add weight to this exercise slowly. Pinch is my major focus for the June grip contest.

Overall a fine workout. Given my restricted calories, I am very happy with the outcome.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Day 9 of 32

Yesterday I ate 1985 calories and 97 grams of protein. In the evening I did mobility work.

This morning I played 90 minutes of DDR. The diluted Gatorade definitely helps my endurance.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Day 8 of 32

Yesterday I ate 2020 calories and 91 grams of protein. This morning body weight was 166.7.

My food yesterday was really lame, and I attribute much of the unusually low body weight to that. I had nuts and an apple for breakfast at 6am, a 1250 calorie lunch at TGI Friday's at 1pm, and then a protein shake for dinner at 6pm. I could feel myself getting dizzy from lack of food (carbs?) by the time lunch rolled around. Eating out is really hard to balance with a limited calorie diet.

This morning marks my first attempt at full application of knowledge from my nutrition course. An hour before the workout I had a yogurt, during the workout I drank 20 ounces of Gatorade, and post workout I had a protein shake. My staying power during the session was very good, but Gatorade is too sweet and made my stomach queasy. That stretched my exercise time by 30 minutes. I'll dilute the drink down to 2 cups Gatorade and 1 cup of water next time.

The session went as follows:

Warm Up: 7 minutes exercise bike, 12/12 Swings x 12k, 16k
One Arm Press: 16k x 12/12, 10/10, 8/8
Romanian Deadlifts: 12 x 20k, 50k; 10 x 70k, 70k, 70k
Kettlebell Push Ups: 10 x BW, BW; 3 x BW with wide grip (felt bad)
One Arm Row: 12/12 x 16k, 8/8 x 20k, 20k
High Bar Squat: 12 x 20k, 10 x 40k, 40k, 40k
Pinch Barbell: 5 x Empty, 20lbs, 40lbs, 45lbs, 45lbs
16k's Rack Walk out, Farmer's walk back
Cool Down: 7 minutes exercise bike

Before the workout, I disconnected the RPM monitor on the exercise bike. That resolved most of the squealing. There is one tension setting that makes the brake pads squeal, but I can work around that for warm ups and cool downs. Long cardio sessions on the bike are not realistic.

My left shoulder has been hurting on the one arm presses and narrow push ups. I am not sure why, but I think it may be related to the excessive soreness in my hamstrings last week, as well as my excursion into horizontal pressing. I will pay attention to mobility work today and tomorrow. Hopefully things are good by Wednesday.

Squats are really hard for me. Even 40k challenges my entire system. I know working my weak points is important, so I will stick with them.

I am slowly adding weight to the pinch barbell and will try using it in the wide position next workout. With reps of 5 per set, doing the exercise identically every workout does not leave my hands happy. Perhaps variation will help.

The weighted walks are a little further each time. They are challenging, but it is hard to get very excited about extra distance carrying only 70lbs. I may up the weight to the 20k kettlebells in another workout or two.

Overall my progress is good. Strictly controlling calories is unpleasant, but it works short term.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Day 6 of 32

Yesterday I ate 2000 calories and 61 grams of protein. Eating lunch out cost me protein.

Today I played around an hour of DDR. My food broke down to 2160 calories and 99 grams of protein. Again, eating lunch out was going to cost me one of the two nutrient goals. This time I let the calories bump up.

Realistically, if I was not preparing for the fitness conference, I would have lunched at Olive Garden. That would have added at least 2000 calories to the day's total, so I consider this forward progress.

Body weight has not changed much, but my waist is taping about 1/2" smaller. Eating carbs pre and post workout should result in higher glycogen stores, so that could account for the minimal weight impact thus far.

Sunday is a rest day. Monday I lift and will drink Gatorade during the session.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Day 5 of 32

Yesterday I ate 2050 calories and 108 grams of protein. Today I went to LA Fitness for lifting and yoga.

After a warm up on the concept II rower, lifting went fairly well. It appears I can now do incline dumbbell presses with no shoulder irritation. I went up to two sets with the 50's. Then I did the hammer mid row, overhead dumbbell presses, a lifeline low row, and some front squats. I skipped any lower body pulling due to my hamstring soreness.

Yoga was much more challenging than my prior session. The instructor focused on a lot of upper body strength and stability work, along with a fair bit of balance stuff. I am ok at the upper body stuff, balance is hard on me. We were spared any direct ab work, but I would have chosen it in a second over the last few sets of warrior poses. As could be expected, we also did a lot of stretching and mobility work.

In the afternoon my 36k Dragon Door kettlebell came. It weighs in at 80.2lbs.  Since this is what will become my half body weight kettlebell, I paid a $60 premium to get Dragon Door brand over Perform Better brand. Comparing the two brands in my garage, it appears I paid extra for the logo and a glossy finish. Darn

After a brief warm up, I cleaned it, but could not push press it. Given the current state of my hamstrings, I left snatch attempts for another day. I think this is a good goal weight for me.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Day 4 of 32

Yesterday I ate 1975 calories and 103 grams of protein. Today's workout was an hour of DDR.

Tomorrow I will be going to yoga class with my Mom. If time allows, I will lift at her gym.

After quite a bit of painful CSS tweaking, finally prints in IE6, IE7, Firefox, and Opera. This afternoon I had to break down and use my first browser specific hack, a conditional comment to make IE printing work.

Two problems do remain that are a product of my dynamic layout:

1. In Firefox and Opera, images which hit page breaks are truncated.
2. Browsers ignore the page-break-inside CSS directive, making clean page breaks unrealistic

If I wanted to spend a lot of time tweaking my website with static positioning to solve problem #2, problem #1 would go away. I do not think that is practical, however. I'd say my goal of making the website print cleanly is complete.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Day 3 of 32

Stretched last night. Body weight 169.7 this morning. Sleep was lacking and real hunger has started.

This morning's workout was a bit off, but I did not tank out at the end like normal. Upon waking I ate a yogurt. My nutrition course suggests 30-50g of carbs along with 5-10g of protein an hour before a workout makes a big difference. It seemed to.

I always dismissed this recommendation as supplement company hype, but the course gave reasons and the continuing education provider doesn't sell supplements. While placebo effect can't be dismissed, I think my prior assumption was wrong.

Anyway, the session went like this:

Warm Up: 5 minutes exercise bike, 12/12 Swings x 12k, 16k
One Arm Press: 12/12x12k Bottoms Up, 10/10x16k, 9/9x16k, 8/8x16k
Kettlebell Snatches: 12/12 x 16k, 20k; 8/8x24k
Kettlebell Push Ups: 8, 8, 6, 4
One Arm Rows: 12/12 x 16k, 16k, 16k
Squats: 8 x 20k, 40k, 40k, 40k
16k Kettlebells Farmers Walk out, Rack Walk back
Cool Down: Around 5 minutes exercise bike

I'd hoped to do bottoms up presses today, but they do not seem practical for high reps. The kettlebell snatches were limited entirely by conditioning. I am getting better at using my hips to move the weight and twisting my hand properly at the bottom to protect my skin.

I started to get a little too aggressive on the kettlebell push ups, and my shoulder let me know. I think I'll be ok for Friday's session, but I need to be careful with this exercise.

One arm rows were tiring, probably due to the work before. Squats surprised me. I expected my reps with 40k to be realy easy. I have some severe soreness in my hamstrings and glutes, but assumed it was from the high rep Romanian deadlifts on Monday. Nope. It is from the low bar squats on Monday. I went high bar and worked around it.

I planned for 10 minutes on the exercise bike as part of my cool down, but the darn thing started squealing like I was trying to kill it. I couldn't stand the noise and hopped off to try and fix it. I have narrowed the problem down to the RPM counter, which means I am going to have to take half the bike apart to make the noise go away. I didn't feel like getting more tools out, so it waits for another day.

I am hungry and want to go out to eat, but this approach is definitely working.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Day 2 of 32

Yesterday I ate 2080 calories and 103 grams of protein. Body weight this morning was 169.2lbs.

Today I did DDR for cardio. My daily food breaks down to 1975 calories and 100 grams of protein. development is making strong progress. Over the past two days I have:

1. Started using Visual Web Developer 2005 Express edition as my development tool
2. Added Amazon Affiliate links to allow "Buy from" buttons
3. Completed the C# conversion of my Admin tool
4. Added administration of videos and Amazon affiliate links
5. Made the entire site XHTML 1.0 Transitional compliant
6. Made the entire site CSS 2.1 compliant
7. Improved the printing quality in IE quite a bit

The new development tool is excellent. After using notepad for so long, I really appreciate syntax highlighting and IntelliSense. I should have bothered with changing over a long time ago.

I do not have high hopes for the amazon links, but getting the motivation to complete the C# conversion of my admin tool makes them well worth my efforts. My admin tool was actually broken the past couple months, so this will really help with getting new content up.

Efforts to make the site XHTML compliant paid off more than I expected. Outside of improved accessibility, I was able to simplify some of the site structure, discovered a subtle CSS bug that was impacting printing in a big way, and identified an error with my Amazon Affiliate links that would prevent them from ever working.

Printing is slowly coming along. I still have a lot of work to do in Firefox and Opera. IE is close to what I am looking for. I had originally hoped to prevent entries from breaking across pages unless they were more than a page long, but it is looking like a long shot given the current state of CSS print attributes in today's web browsers.

The contract work I had scheduled for the rest of this week looks like it is going to push back to the weekend, so I expect more development to happen tomorrow and Thursday. Without the option of going out for all I can eat, my long trips to the mall have lost much of their luster.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Day 1 of 32

Today marks the first day of my preparation for the fitness conference. High reps, cardio, and counting calories.

The morning session went like this:

5 Minutes on Exercise Bike
12k Kettlebell: 12/12 Swings + 12/12 Snatches
16k kettlebell: 12/12 Swings
One Arm Press: 10/10 x 16k, 8/8x16k, 8/8x16k
Romanian Deadlift: 12 x 50k, 60k, 60k, 60k
Kettlebell Push Ups: 5, 8, 8, 7
Squats: 12x20k, 8 x 40k, 40k, 40k
Kettlebell Farms Walk to Mailbox, Rack Walk Back
5 Minutes on Exercise Bike
Pinch Barbell: 5 x 20lbs, 40lbs, 40lbs, 40lbs

Snatches will be dropped from the kettlebell warm up. High rep swings coupled with the exercise bike are sufficient. The kettlebell push ups felt surprisingly good on my shoulders. I will build reps slowly and am cautiously optimistic towards the prospect of training horizontal pressing.

Followed the workout I had a shake, 420 cals, 43 grams of protein. My target for the day is a max of 2000 calories and a minimum of 100 grams of protein. I may do some general activity in the afternoon or early evening. Walking the dog is not intensive enough to count. I am glad I did not invest in an Airdyne, static cardio is boring.

My post workout energy level is very high. After a year of workouts based on low rep sets and almost no cardio, I expect big results from doing the exact opposite. Change is good.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Done Better, Done Worse

This afternoon I trained primarily because I enjoy lifting weights in the garage. My head heart, I was tired, and I felt weak. My performance reflected this:

5/5 Swings + 5/5 Snatches - 12k, 16k, 20k
One Arm Press - 5/5 x 16k, 3/3 x 20k, 1/1 x 24k, Fail/Fail x 28k
Deadlift - 5 x 60k, 80k, 90k; 1 x 100k
Power Clean - 1x60k

On the bright side, my head now feels fine and I am no longer tired.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Wednesday's training session made it very difficult to fall asleep at night. I failed to appreciate the effort expended until I was wide awake past midnight.

Thursday I played a bit of DDR and walked around 2 miles. My left foot is acting up, due to a lack of stretching.

Today (Friday), I awoke to a strong sleep deficit. The cat was attacking my feet until 2 in the morning. I tried napping after breakfast, but morning sun cuts right through the bedroom curtains. Instead I took my bike on a 12 mile round trip to attend Pizza Hut's lunch buffet and work through part of my nutrition course. Upon returning home, I spent on hour puttering around the gym to see if enthusiasm to lift would strike, but I am just tired.

The end result is today's session will be pushed to Saturday. After this weekend, I am going to make some changes in my training and time management. My personal training conference is in 5 weeks, and I'd like to look the part as much as possible.

The new plan will be:
1. Full body weights 3x per week
2. High volume, short rest period sets, with 8-12 reps per set
3. Low intensity activity when it fits
4. Lots of active recovery
5. Around 2000 calories a day

After 5 weeks, I'll attend the conference, take a week off, and start training for Michigan's grip contest.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Getting Stronger

Lately I have been fitting my workouts in as I can, eating whatever is available, and sleeping irregular patterns. The end result is I seem to be getting stronger. My body weight is holding steady at 170, so attribute my progress to the extra calories.

Today's workout was in awesome weather and led to a nice PR:

5/5 Swings + 5/5 Snatches: 12k, 16k, 20k
Kettlebell Snatches: 5/5 x 24k, 28k, 28k; 8/8x28k PR
Barbell Push Press: 5x20k, 3x 40k, 45k, 50k, 50k, 50k
Front Squat: 5 x 40k, 40k, 40k, 40k
Pinch Barbell: 5 x 20lbs, 40lbs, 40lbs, 40lbs
32k Kettlebell: 1/1xClean, 1/1xSnatch

Cleaning up the handle on my 28k kettlebell has made it much, much easier on my hands. I attribute my snatch PR to that specific change. Between sets of squats I spent time filing and sanding the handle on my 32k kettlebell. It is much better, but there is still a casting ridge on the underside of the handle that needs to be taken down.

Dragon Door has released a 36k kettlebell. Shipped it is $203. Integrating with Amazon's affiliate program is on my list of near term goals. It will require getting a proper development tool, finishing the C# conversion on the admin side, and writing the actual integration code. When I finish, I'm ordering a new kettlebell!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Little More

The time change had me tired this morning, but I squeezed the weights session in before starting the rest of my day anyway. Other things have a way of coming up if I don't. The workout went like this:

5/5 Swings + 5/5 Snatches - 12k, 16k, 20k
One Arm Press - 5/5 x 16k, 20k; 3/3 x 24k; 6/6x20k
Renegade Rows - 5/5 x 16k, 16k, 16k, 16k
Squats - 5 x 20k, 40k, 60k, 60k, 60k
Front Squats - 1x60k, 5x40k
Pinch Barbell - 5 x Empty, Empty, 20lbs, 30lbs, 40lbs, 40lbs

Overall I felt strong and was happy to put the time in.  Food quality has suffered lately due to family issues, but I am making due with the meals I get. My general activity is dog walking, 3 times per day.

Friday, March 7, 2008

LA Fitness

This morning was interesting. My mom picked me up at 7:30 to attend yoga class at LA Fitness.

First, I hit the weights:

Dumbbell Snatches: 5/5 x 35, 3/3x45, 1/1x60, 1/1x65
Turkish Getups: 1/1 x 35, 45, 60
Deadlifts: 5 x 135, 165, 185; 3x205; 2x225

The dumbbell snatches were good fun. I might be missing a set or two in my log. I think the dead snatch with a 65 ties an old PR. I know the Turkish get up with a 60 ties my PR. Deadlifts were impacted by my efforts to be quiet and respectful at my Mom's gym. Overall, the session made me appreciate the kettlebells, bumper plates, and music in my garage.

Yoga followed. The session was an hour, with 10 minutes of warm up, 40 minutes of exercises, and 10 minutes of cool down. Other than the teacher, I was the only male in the class. I was one of two people under 30. I did most exercises and represented my demographic well.

My weak points were foot endurance, hip flexibility, and my push up strength (due to shoulder stability). I picked up a few twists on stretches I do regularly that made the session well worth my time investment. I would have preferred the instructor to hold the stretches much longer, but I probably carry more tension than the typical person in the class.

My mom has seen huge results from doing the yoga. I originally encouraged her to attend because of severe rounding present in her thoracic spine. Six months of regular sessions has resulted in highly visible postural improvements. Her back is inches straighter and she is walking in a position much closer to neutral spine. For the next phase, I have given her two basic exercises that could lead into light Turkish get ups six months down the road. We'll see how it goes.

We are watching my Grandma's dog for the next three weeks. Yesterday I walked 1.5 miles, 2 blocks at a time. Today I upped the walk durations, reduced the frequency, and will hit 1.5 miles 4 blocks at time. The dog seems to enjoy himself. I am not getting much exercise, but it sure gives me something to do.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Do What Now?

This morning I was tired and almost backed out of my workout. I came downstairs dressed to lift, told my wife "forget this", and started preheating the oven for pizza. I sat on the couch for a few minutes, got tired of waiting, told my wife "forget this", and went in the garage. My short attention span pays off sometimes

The session went like this:

Warm Up - 5/5 Swings + 5/5 Snatches x 12k, 16k, 20k
Kettlebell Snatches - 5/5 x 24k, 28k, 28k
Kettlebell Push Press - 5/5 x 16k, 20k, 24k; 3/3 x 28k
Front Squat - 5 x 20k, 20k, 40k, 40k, 40k
8lb Sledge Lever - 5 x 10", 15", 20"

The snatches may be a PR for me, I do remember being excited to use the 24k for reps last year. The push presses were hard after the snatches. My lower back started speaking to me, so I listened and held off on more reps or sets. Front squats started out easy, but got harder as the sets progressed. Sledge levers got thrown in because they are contested in June's grip contest.

I am enjoying the variation in my workouts these days. Placing the major lower body movement at the end of the workout has improved my compliance. I think varying between back squat, front squat, and deadlift will help keep me from overtraining. I am getting much needed practice with the 28k kettlebell overhead. In order to press or do a Turkish get up with it, I need to be confident handling the weight.

Eating more has been paying off. I weighed in at my lightest so far yesterday morning (169.5) . This is after a week that included three large meals per day, along with eating out on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday (twice!). I am no longer getting dizzy when I stand and my motivation is through the roof. Funny how a lack of progress dropping weight can indicate the need to consume more food.

Yesterday I walked 6 miles, so I could go to the book store and Indian buffet. Friday I may end up doing yoga. My workout plan is deadlifts and Turkish get ups, but that will depend on the yoga impact.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Full Body

This morning's workout was very comfortable. It has been warm enough over that past day that I could even train with the garage door open. That makes me very happy. The session went like this:

Warm Up: 5/5 x Swings + 5/5 x Snatches - 12k, 16k, 20k
One Arm Press: 5/5 x 16k, 20k, 20k, 20k
Chins: 5, 1, 1xBW+10lbs, 1xBW+15lbs
Squats: 5 x 20k, 50k, 50k, 50k
Pinch Barbell: 5 x Empty, 20lbs, 30lbs, 30lbs
Front Squats: 1 x 50k; 2 x 50k, 50k
Bending Isos

Overall things went well. My right shoulder is not liking the chins, so I will leave them out of my program for awhile. I enjoyed using the pinch barbell and plan to make heavy use of it over the next few months. I will be doing the Michigan grip contest in June and need to bring my 2 hand pinch up.

Weights again on Wednesday. Yesterday I played DDR for about an hour and walked a mile or two. Sometime in the next week I will be getting an exercise bike that was in my parent's basement. It should help with pre-workout warm ups. I may even do some brief cardio followed by stretching on my off days.