5/3/1: Week Zero, Day One
Nail biting, jimmy legging, knuckle cracking – at one point or another I did them all. When I got older, I trained myself to, first, stop being so anxious and, second, stop fidgeting so damn much. As it would happen, I simply traded old habits in for new ones, creating certain routines, patterns, rituals to perform when particular tasks must be undertaken. Some people might find this superstitious, maybe even obsessive compulsive, but, at the time, I found them comforting. They insured a sense of control over situations that appeared dependent upon factors outside myself.
Over time, I realized how inane these practice were – things like wearing a particular shirt for “good luck” during presentation or listening to a specific album on my way to a job interview wouldn’t make a damn bit of difference if I didn’t deliver the goods. And while “free will” is a muddy subject and, after years of arguing with my very Catholic (but also very understanding) mother about it, I’ve long abandoned its debate, I will say this: once I began believing (if not proving) I was the only thing controlling my life, I didn’t need the routines, the rituals, the patterns. And I became more successful. And the only thing I could attribute my successes to was myself. Not my shirt or my choice in music.
What does this have to do with yesterday’s session? Well, for the first time in a long time, I was equally, if not more, nervous about training as I was anxious to hit the iron. While this says a bit about how my focus shifted while running PHAT, I think it speaks volumes about how 5/3/1 is already shaping up to be a game changing program. More on that in a bit, though.* The real reason for the tangent is that, when I woke up yesterday, I found myself slipping into nervous, ritualistic tendencies.
I woke up and, after second guessing my already outlined session goals, proceeded to map my day out for “optimum” results from overanalyzing what I was going to eat for breakfast and pre-work out as well as when would be the best time to hit the gym, taking into account crowd and psychological factors. As I stood in my kitchen, peering into the cabinet that holds both my Cap’n Crunch and my rice cakes (…), it hit me. My target numbers were set. I just needed to fucking do the damn thing and do it right.
So, I put my big kid (sweat)pants on, slammed two peanut butter sandwiches, took my vitamins, went to the bank to deposit my check, and descended upon an empty gym.TRAINING
Warm-up: Five minute treadmill walking with 4% incline and hill sprints at 7.5% incline.Squat
135x12 (+3 above parallel)Testing went well as the 189lb 1RM is pretty ideal since it gives me a nice margin for error going into 5/3/1 – I’d rather underestimate my max and build a legitimate foundation for progress than overestimate it only to become unstable in later cycles. Each rep felt great and I paid careful attention to breathing technique and elbow placement, two areas I used to neglect despite their importance. The only negative thing about these sets is that I’ve come to find depth to be extremely inconsistent, largely because of discomfort in my hip joints – some sets/reps I’ll have no problem going ATG, others with the same weight have me struggling to even hit parallel. Started doing hip flexor stretches in between sets, looking into getting a foam roller, will probably starting doing goblet squats occasionally. Hanging bent leg raises
2x10x25My first attempt at good mornings was pretty fruitless. I took a video of them and realized my back was rounding a bit too much and I’d like be able to go a bit further with them to get more bang for my buck. Switched to back raises to start building toward GMs.Leg press
90x15x2I wanted a little extra pump and the plates were already loaded. I shouldn’t have been surprised that these felt about 100lbs heavier after testing my max.Dumbbell side bends
Cool down: Cycling, 20 minutes, 4.4 milesAdded 20 minutes in post-work out to start conditioning myself to cycle back-and-forth to my new job work/the gym once the weather is consistently good as they’re across the street from one another and only 2.5 miles from my apartment. An easy way to get warmed-up and cool down and save on money and fossil fuel dependency. AFTERWARD
All in all, I was pleased with how the session went and even more pleased with the fact that, ten minutes into cycling, and I was ravenously hungry. I practically chugged my shake as soon as I got off the bike and, by the time I was home and showered, I was hungrier than before so I made a pretty generous stir-fry of red cabbage, bok choy, onions, peppers, carrots, celery, and topped it with some of the best tofu I’ve fried to date. That went down the hatch pretty quickly and, about two hours later, I was hungry again – cue peanut butter and waffle sandwich and soy ice cream. I’ll attribute the increase in appetite to the re-introduction of cardio which only worries me slightly – increased appetite is a good thing for someone whose hunger “pains” are infrequent but, once I’m cycling almost six miles a day, I’ll have to make sure I’m still eating more than I’m burning, especially once summer rolls around. I guess I’ll just have to start eating more …
"When in doubt, squat and run hills." - Jim WendlerIRON MNTN