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Project Heavygan: Eat Plates To Move Plates


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WOw you can fly a 30lb dumbbell on each side? thats insane.... seriously can you take some video?

 

I'll try and take one on my iPhone next week. I'm actually thinking about adding video-logs either on here or on my tumblr. I just have to figure out how I can edit them on my computer so that there's not a bunch of filler at the beginning and end. (I actually shot video of my 145 squat and last deadlift PR).

 

And PHAT seems like it's hard to follow at first but after the first two weeks, it becomes second-nature. A painful second-nature, of course. Ha.

 

Nicholas - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jucy_Lucy but vegan-ized. And thanks, as always, for the support, mate! I might throw the pictures up of my arms. Lighting is terrible in them but they're better than nothing.

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Alright. New goal this week: good quality videos of my squat and deadlift. The ones I have right now don't give a good perspective on my form and I'd really like some people to check that out to make sure I'm doing it right, especially since I try and give out advice myself. Don't want to be a part of the problem, ha.

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01.09.12

BIG UPDATE

Lower-body Power Day

 

So, in case some of you don't know, since I graduated college in May, I’ve tried to embrace my PMA (Positive Mental Attitude, for those of you who aren't Bad Brains fans). Up until recently, I feel like I’ve done an okay job with that – always trying to look on the brightside, always trying to turn the negative things in my life into positives.

 

“Oh, I earned my bachelor’s degree in Cultural and Social Studies but I’m working as a cashier at a place that doesn’t completely align with my morals and ethics? Yeah, but at least I have a job in this economy and one that pays above minimum wage.”

 

“Oh, I’ve put some things, i.e. my dreams, on the back burner even though I don’t believe in compromise? Yeah, but I’m only doing it temporarily to gain ground financially.”

 

Well, today was the boiling point. Not that I had an all-out anti-posi binge, though not only am I not sure what that would look like but I’m also slightly mystified (and disgusted) that I just typed that out. Anyway, what it comes down to is something seemingly meaningless that transpired at work lit the powder keg that has, apparently, been lurking within me for the past few weeks. Of course, I kept the combustion inside but, apparently, it was attached to the cogs in my brain so now they're turning like crazy. All mixed metaphors aside, what I'm trying to say is it’s time that I really start thinking about what I want to do with my life and how I’m going to go about doing it.

 

And what does that have to do with this log? See, there are three things in life that I thoroughly enjoy that force me to work hard: lifting, writing, and social justice. Other than the first thing, though, I haven’t really “had” time for the other two since working as, what little energy isn’t zapped by my job, I put toward hitting the Iron. And I have nobody to blame but myself.

 

So, no more excuses. No more “tomorrow.” It starts right now. I’ve had a stack of personal training study books sitting in my apartment since before Christmas and I’ve been “slowly” making my way through them. I have 200 poems (yes, I write poetry) just sitting in a box that I’ve been “slowly” editing and putting into a chapbook. I’ve been “slowly” compiling ideas for blog articles, recipes, and product reviews to be put online. I have been "slowly" considering submitting things not only to VBB.com but other places online to get published. I've also "slowly" been looking into powerlifting meets toward the end of this year to get my feet wet.

 

Life doesn’t move slowly. It just moves. And I should, too. Come at me, life, I'm about to hit you head on. If you read my Vegan Atlas blog, expect more frequent updates including videologging and shorter articles. Hopefully some interviews, too. I'll probably be doing a standard copy-and-past from Heavygan onto here, though, and just be extremely detailed in each individual post but will still, obviously, talk to everyone on here and seek out advice/form checks.

 

Also, I PR'd on squats, deads, and leg press today. However, see the notes/video about my deadlift.

 

Playlist

Kill A Celebrity – Ramallah

We’re Down Till We’re Underground – Give Up the Ghost

Witness – Modern Life Is War

 

Work out

Barbell Squat

 

5x95

5x115

5x135

2x5x145

4x150

Notes: I refuse to count the last rep the set of 150 because I couldn’t hit parallel. I tried to shoot a video of these but it ended up being obscured by a gentleman doing some lifts next to the rack. Next time I’ll get it. The video and the reps, that is.

 

Barbell Deadlift[/i]

5x115

5x135

5x140

5x145

3x150

Notes: Using the 45s makes my life so much easier than the smaller plates. I can’t wait until my first set can just be 135 so I don’t have to deal with using the 25s. I’m not necessarily proud of the 150 because my form looks atrocious (see the video in the post after this one) but it’s something to improve on most definitely.

 

Incline Leg Press

5x200

5x230

5x250

5x270

5x280

Notes: In my paper journal I wrote down 300 as my goal for my last set and I’m disappointed I didn’t get it. I even loaded the plates but after one measly half-rep, I knew it wasn’t going to happen today.

 

Seated Calf Raise

3x5x160

Notes: I did 10 second holds on the last set. The burn felt great.

 

Dumbbell Lunges

5x30

5x35

Notes: I should be going heavier with these. Which I will be doing on hypertrophy day, no questions asked.

 

Seated Leg Curl

5x100

3x110

2x100

5x110

5x100

Notes: These were a struggle, yet again, and I think it’s because they’re the last exercise on power day. I rested longer between the last three sets, though, and I think that’s why I was able to hit the 5 reps. I might try and hit these before lunges and calf raises next time just to see if I can hit 110x12.

 

Also, does anybody want an invite to Fitocracy? I still have a handful left and even though it's another place to "log," there are some fun aspects to it what with the point system and leaderboards. Plus, some of the "quests" and "achievements" are good little ideas to keep things fun.

 

Macros/food n00dz: TBD. But here's one of the pictures I was talking about regarding my traps/shoulders.

 

http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lxk3ppcIpD1r3mlz8.jpg

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Nicholas - Thank you! It's nice when someone else can see the changes. Makes it feel more real and less imaginary. Ha.

 

John - I think my problem is that I'm a cashier - Whole Foods is much better than most places. I just went from being really active in social justice and things like that to ... just ringing up items. However, some things are turning around so I feel a bit better about it. Thank you for the kind words, I sincerely appreciate it. And you should really come say hi the next time you stop by the store!

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Everything’s coming up Milhouse. Lucky for me, Milhouse is my alter-ego. Or my actual ego. Anyway. A few work-related opportunities have come to my attention that would be advantageous to me so I’m going to seize those; I’ve got some ideas I’m pretty stoked on regarding my writing and moving forward with personal training; I think I’ve finally gotten a lock-down on 2,000 calories a day, i.e. I’ve come to terms with the fact that, yes, I am going to start slowly putting on weight.

 

Strong goal chasing is going strong. I intend to keep it that way. I’m also going to keep this entry short and sweet since I have to be up for work in less than eight hours and I already have a hard enough time sleeping big as it is. I’ll probably write something fairly long-winded tomorrow, though, since it’s a “rest(less) day” and I need to do something with my evening.

Quote: “I want to be that which overcomes itself.” - Henry Rollins

 

Work Out

 

Barbell Bent Over Row

5x65

5x75

5x85

3x5x90 (Five pound increase across the board)

Notes: Much more controlled than usual. Form has definitely improved on these and I could have pushed it to 95 but I want to keep the lift controlled.

 

Barbell Bench Press

5x55

5x65

5x70 (Three rep increase)

3x75 (One rep increase)

2x2x75 (Set increases)

Notes: I think if I had a spotter, I would have felt much more confident on the third to last set and probably could have pushed out those last two reps. However, I played it safe and went for more sets with less reps. Not sure how I feel about this but I don’t want to get pinned beneath the bar. Will just keep working on at it since every week I feel stronger on the bench.

 

Standing Barbell Shoulder Press

5x45

4x50 (One rep increase)

3x50

4x50 (One rep increase)

5x45

3x45

Notes: Finally have noticed progress on this lift, even if the numbers are low – the lift is more explosive, for one, which is something I’ve had a hard time with. I know this is my weakest lift and I will be damned if I don’t get to 0.5xBWx1 within the next few weeks.

 

Tricep Pushdowns with Rope Attachment

5x30

5x40

5x50

3x5x60 (Set increases)

5x70 (Ten pound increase)

3x70

Notes: I love these. I go into serious Beast Mode on them and it feels awesome.

 

Long Pulls (Cable attachment)

5x70

5x80

5x80

5x90 (10 pound increase)

4x90 (Set increase)

5x80

5x80

Notes: I also love these. I didn’t think I’d be able to bang them out but I had a serious buzz going on from the pushdowns.

 

Seated Shoulder Cable Press (Machine)

5x25

2x5x30 (10 pound/set increase)

Notes: Still not sure how affective these are. Should have went with dumbbells.

 

Cable Chest Press (Machine)

5x30

5x40

2x50

3x40

3x50

Notes: After going through these I’ve decided I should be doing push-ups even though I hate them.

 

Pulldowns

5x40

5x50

5x60

5x70 (Ten pound weight increase)

3x80 (Twenty pound weight increase)

Notes: Will be using these to switch things up occasionally.

 

Macros: 45/195/200: 1985 calories

 

Notes: After the Field Roast sausages are gone, I’m completely cutting out seitan/gluten-based products. Not only does gluten tear my stomach up, but there is far too much sodium in store-bought seitan for my liking, especially since I’m using Vega until my TrueProtein comes in and there’s a boatload of sodium in that as well. This is not ideal because it makes me feel pretty awful all-around. I also had dinner on the run (i.e. microwaved/sodium-laden) because I got off work at 7:00 p.m., ran over to the gym to lift for an hour and a half, only to have to clock back into a meeting at 9:00 p.m. for work.

 

Check out MyFitnessPal for specifics (the variance comes from not being able to measure everything and only guestimating on some of the things).

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John - I think my problem is that I'm a cashier - Whole Foods is much better than most places. I just went from being really active in social justice and things like that to ... just ringing up items. However, some things are turning around so I feel a bit better about it. Thank you for the kind words, I sincerely appreciate it. And you should really come say hi the next time you stop by the store!
I looked for you last time and will catch you there sooner than later. I know Jen from AR stuff and Cliff from KSU in the 70s! He and I were marching and leafletting type activists back then. Your log is inspiring. Thanks for writing. Have fun!
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01.11.12 Rest(less) Day

 

As far as rest days go, I actually took it easy Wednesday despite feeling pretty uneasy. Knowing I won’t be hitting the gym tends to leave me with this feeling of “well, now what?” especially when my shift ends in the afternoon instead of the evening. Good thing about clocking out at 5:00 p.m. that day was that my lady had graciously reserved me a seat for a documentary screening at her work that night.

 

Even though it was pouring rain, we took the train to Tower City and walked to the Rock Hall from there. (Yes, my lady’s graduate studies work-study is acting as a research assistant at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; yes, she is far too cool and intelligent for me but don’t tell her that) Overall, I’d say we walked for a total of 35 minutes there-and-back and, since it was raining, we maintained a pretty brisk pace. I’m going to call it my “cardio” for the week and be satisfied with that decision.

 

During the walk, though, I had time to think semi-poetic thoughts about Cleveland, my life, and other miscellaneous things that I won’t bother sharing right now but will allow me to say this: I know exactly how I’m going to go about pursuing my writing goals from here on out. I have a lot of work to do, though, so it will be a little while before I can make any concrete “announcements.”

 

So, while the documentary itself was relatively lackluster, I had a pretty solid rest day. I’d also like to note that I find it funny some people talk about how on days they don’t hit the gym, they find themselves having a harder time sticking with their nutrition. I’m the exact opposite. On days when I’m more sedentary, I find it difficult to actually hit any numbers other than my protein intake because my appetite isn’t as abrasive. Lucky for me this meant fitting a massive hummus and veggie wrap and sweet potato fries into my macros after the screening. Winning.

 

Macros: 35/140/190

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01.12.12 Work Day

Lower-Body Hypertrophy

 

I can summarize yesterday with 10 bullet points.

 

  • Sleeping big is awesome and it makes you appreciate how effortless waking up early can sometimes be.
    Some days I have a hard time eating carbohydrates, some days I don’t. Yesterday I clearly didn’t.
    I didn’t because I wanted to go big on this hypertrophy day in case I couldn’t hit the gym again until Saturday since I have other social plans.
    Finding a balance between my “social” life and my “gym” life is becoming much easier even as my goals become clearer.
    I destroyed my legs yesterday to the point where I had to sit in my car for 15 after working out to gear myself up for pushing the gas and break pedals.
    I found out they made a fucking movie about Battleship? And Rihanna is in it?
    I finally saw the Dark Knight Rises trailer. I had a geek-gasm.
    I saw Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. It was not as good as the first one, save your money.
    Love is coming home to home-made pierogis and my girlfriend saying, “I made ones with lentils and TVP because I knew you’d be more likely to eat them.” Because she knows protein > everything.
    You know you’re doing it right when walking down stairs becomes difficult.

 

Work out

 

Barbell Squat

5x95

6x3x115 (Speed work)

Notes: I read somewhere online that to improve squat explosiveness some guys think about hip drive as being the equivalent of “fucking something really hard.” This is what I kept in mind through-out today’s speed session and, therefore, I increased depth and speed.

 

Front Barbell Squat

8x80

5x85

5x90

5x95

Notes: I’m considering following a 5x5 for these on hypertrophy days but I don’t want to wear myself out on my other lifts or overtrain squats so we shall see. However, these are shaping up rather nicely.

 

Stiff-Legged Deadlifts

10x85

10x95

10x105

Notes: I don’t know why I neglected these for some long. Awesome burn today.

 

Seated Calf Raises

10x160

10x165

Notes: I was going to go to 170 but, instead, decided to do 3-5 second holds for each rep. My calves are going to hate me for days but I’m going to love my calves forever.

 

Incline Leg Press

5x200

2x6x250 (Rep increase)

230x8 (Rep increases)

180x10 (Rep increases)

Notes: I am chasing down 300 on power days so I figured it was time to go ass to ankles for as many reps as possible. Doing these after speed squats, front squats, and stiff-legged is always brutal but today was intense. I think I scared the girl directly across the gym from me who was doing a kettleball routine.

 

Seated Leg Curl

10x80

10x90

Notes: These are such a draining way to end my routine and I love it.

 

Macros: 20/160/250

 

These are an estimation as I didn’t make the pierogis. However, I know my fat is the right number and I left it that low because, well, I wanted all teh carbz. Come at me.

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Nice video! what was wrong with your form?

 

Your arms look awesome as well!

 

I think I pull with my back a little too much since I'm not as vertical as I should be at the beginning of the lift. After reviewing it some more, it could be loads worse. I just want to get it perfect especially since I'm creeping up on heavier numbers.

 

Thanks about the arms! They've always lagged behind my legs (I don't even want to talk about my core - it's always looked fluffy and probably always will).

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01.14.12 Work Day

Arms and Chest Hypertrophy

 

When I started PHAT, I saw arm day as ‘bro day’ and nothing more. I knew lower-body days, both power and hypertrophy, would be the sessions I loved: I have always gotten an intense satisfaction from trashing my legs to the point where it becomes difficult to walk for a day or two; I knew that shoulder day would be seen as a welcomed challenge: I have always struggled with overhead presses and, subsequently, gaining mass in that area.

 

Arms, on the other hand (pun only slightly unintended), have never really done anything for me, which is why, at first, I didn’t want to run the 5-day split. I couldn’t imagine dedicating an entire hour to curls, extensions, and presses when I could be doing deads, squats, or rows.

 

It’s funny how much can change in one month. Arm day and I now have an unspoken agreement: I look forward to it because I know that, if I want to be competition-worthy, I have to get my bench number up and I have to be aggressively consistent with making this happen. And if it means having a Bro-Day every week, I welcome it. I have found exercises that I really fucking love (hello, rope extensions) that make up for the bro-tastic nature of doing two different kinds of curls and bench presses in one day. Plus, look at the note on my last exercise.

 

Work Out

 

Barbell Bench Press

8x45

5x3x65

5x65

Notes: Speed work, super-setted with the following.

 

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

1x25

5x20

6x20

8x15

Notes: These were more than likely unnecessary since I used a higher weight with the bar (and the low numbers reflect this) but I like making sure every muscle fiber is engage on bench. Plus, if I didn’t knock out at least one rep with the 25s, I was not going to be satisfied.

 

Cable Chest Press

10x40

8x40

8x30

Notes: Even though I hate using machines, if I use proper form and controlled motion, I can actually feel it in my chest which is an area that needs serious work. Not sure if I’m going to keep them in here as I’m looking into other things for chest work, though.

 

Hammer Curls

10x20

9x20

12x15

Notes: Nothing groundbreaking here but I wanted the 8-12 range with as little motion from anywhere but my arms – I’ve been seeing so many people in the gym who use their backs to “swing” the dumbbell up once they get to heavier weights. Not this kid.

 

Tricep Pushdown with Rope Attachment

12x60

7x70

8x70

5x80

Notes: There is no other word to describe these for me other than intense. Getting the 80s down was like smashing through a brickwall with a toothpick. Or something. Feltgood.

 

Cable Flyes

10x20

5x30

12x20

Notes: I was going to do these with dumbbells but I think my joints are much more pleased that I made the decision to do them from the rack. They were just as challenging as I expected since flyes haven’t been a part of my routine in months and I’m actually looking forward to pushing myself with these.

 

Skullcrushers (With an EZ-bar)

2x10x20

Notes: These were less painful, joint-wise, than usual but I’m inclined to wonder if that means I wasn’t going deep enough on them.

 

Then I did burn-out sets of assisted dips and pull-ups for some “cool down cardio” which was, yet again, pretty un-noteworthy. However, those lackluster numbers prompted to do two things I never do: ab-work and push-ups.

 

Crunches (Various kinds)

50

 

Push-ups

3x15

Notes: Six months ago I couldn’t do a “real” push-up to save my life. Yesterday I banged out 45. Other than unassisted pull-ups, this has been something I’ve looked forward to since the very beginning of my fitness “career.” Sounds silly but it made me feel awesome.

 

Macros 50/140/230

Notes: Upping carbohydrates and decreasing protein for several reasons, most notably to re-organize my eating patterns so I can determine if pre-work out carbs actually help my lifts or not and because I'm cutting out seitan/gluten-based proteins. Double bonus: it brings my sodium numbers down like no other.

 

http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lxumvuO9rq1r3mlz8.jpg

 

http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lxumw4ykII1r3mlz8.jpg

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01.15.12

Back and Shoulder Hypertrophy

 

I ate a real pre-work out meal for the first time since starting PHAT (I believe) and, my God, I have missed oats. Other than that, pre-work out was a lot of housekeeping duties so that, after I hit the gym, I could hit the Word.doc and bang out some article outlines and ideas for things that I’m hoping to get off the ground within the next two months. Keeping this short and sweet, though, because I’m in the zone for articles and other things.

 

Keep your eye out for those and to see how ridiculous my nutrition for today is – I’m going to a show at my favorite bar with all of the people I know in Cleveland. Protein, protein, protein and fitting brews into my macros.

 

Work Out

Standing Barbell Shoulder Press

6x45

6x3x50

Notes: Speed work not at 65-70%, though, because I’ll be damned if I can’t add weight on the rest of my January power days since my form is finally locked in on this lift.

 

Bent Over Barbell Rows

10x45

5x3x70

5x70

Notes: Speed work. These went up like my insulin after eating a whole pizza to myself for dinner tonight even though I, unintentionally, lifted at a higher percentage than I should have.

 

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

9x20

6x20

8x15

Notes: My disappointment in these numbers is negated by the fact that I did my 6x3 with the same weight as my working power sets. Plus, I super-setted them with the following.

 

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

8x15

20x10

Notes: None, these were draining in the best way possible.

 

Dumbbell Bent Over Rows

2x10x30

Notes: These were supposed to be 6x35 and 2x10x30 but, since I lifted heavier on my speed work, I could barely do one rep with the 35s.

 

Front Lateral Raise

2x12x15

Notes: I dropped weight on these because I want to only be using weight that I can, at the very least, get to above my chin. I’ll be increasing weight as this happens but I’d much rather hit full ROM than half-ass them with 35s and above. I super-setted them with the following.

 

Front Lateral Raise Overhead

2x10x5

Notes: More like “overhead and behind my back.” Should have used 10s but the last set was pretty brutal.

 

Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise

12x25

12x20

12x15

Notes: Dropped weight on these for the same reason as front raises. I want to get the lift higher to more of the muscle so that, when I am back up to 30s, I’ll be getting the most out of the motion.

 

Upright Rows (Cable-bar)

12x60

10x70

8x80

Notes: Someone else was using the 30s so I used a flat bar and did these on the rack-cables. This proved to make the lift a little bit more difficult as I still had to pull a bit to “hold” the bar at the bottom (if that makes sense). That said, I’m happy with how hard I pushed myself with these.

 

Lateral Pulldowns

6x70

8x60

12x50

Notes: Since these hit arms as well as the back, they were slightly lacking after yesterday’s session. I can dig the last set, though.

 

Shrugs

12x150

12x160

10x170

Notes: Beast. Mode. I also found a way around grip issues by using the cable-rack’s flat-bar attachment. This actually made 150 feel heavier than the 145 I was doing before largely, I think, because when I was using the barbell, my arms played a much bigger role than I wanted to admit. Halfway through the set of 170 I felt like I was going to pass out from effort. Feltgood.

 

Long Pulls

12x80

15x70

Notes: These were more difficult than the last round, maybe because of the weight on BOBR/BODBRs. Slightly disappointing.

 

Cable Reverse Flyes

5x20

2x10x10

Notes: These were a killer way to end the session - it took me a good five minutes to get my coat on because of the burn.

 

MACROS: 60/131/200

 

Included in these are all of the following: oatmeal, pizza, cashews, almonds, a Clif Builders bar, and soy ice cream. And I’m still under my 2,000. IIFYM – learn it, live it, love it.

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Dumbbell Side Lateral Raises

2x12x20

 

Dumbbell Front Raises

1x10x25

2x10x20

 

 

Those are pretty beastly. Stronger than me on those

 

I'm hoping that this'll help out my shoulder press and bench - I got a lot of catch up to play with you in terms of upper body.

 

Nicholas - Thanks! I'm pretty excited to see how things progress over the next few months. I'm not sure how long I'll be running this split, though, I'm going to do a 12 week minimum and re-evaluate from there. I'm also working on that Food Voodoo recipe for you - there's some minor tweakage going on with it to get the consistency right but once I figure that out, I'll for sure post it up.

 

Also, I decided not to track my macros for today, and probably won't tomorrow or on Christmas because my parents want to do the whole "sight-seeing" thing while they visit - i.e. go out to all the vegan joints and good bars around because they're "foodies" at heart.

 

So ...

 

Rest Day Eats:

http://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lwp1z39OaG1r8214po1_500.jpg

 

What you see there is, no joke, about two pounds of a Spinach Pie grilled cheese from the famed Melt Bar & Grilled with the addition of their amazing in-house made seitan, french fries, and cole slaw. Google "Melt Bar & Grilled" if you're unfamiliar and be prepared to be grossed out/amazed. I only ate half at dinner and decided to save the rest for lunch tomorrow since I also opted to have some brews tonight with my dad. What's up? My fat storage. Cares? Zero.

 

love me some Melt! Haven't eaten there since becoming vegan so that gives me a reason to go now!

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love me some Melt! Haven't eaten there since becoming vegan so that gives me a reason to go now!

 

Do it! It's definitely worth supporting their vegan endeavors. I've only ever gone twice but both times have been worthwhile. Also, it's nice to see another Clevelander on here! If you ever do decide to hit Melt, we should hang - we can talk about our fitness goals over greasy bar food! Ha.

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01.16.11 Rest Day

A Tangent

“I’m going to go with the Golden Monkey. Four-fifty for that high of ABV? Come on,” said my girlfriend last night as we walked up to order drinks at Now That’s Class before the Weekend Nachos, Homewrecker, Masakari, and Grin and Bear It show. A smile crept onto my face as I knew, without a doubt, the night was going to be solid. Turns out, it was about as rock-hard as the lead singer of Harms Way. And I only have my new friends and loving girlfriend to thank for it.

 

See, I moved to Cleveland roughly three and a half months ago and have “struggled” to find my niche, largely because, for the last three and a half months, my life has consisted of three things: work, working out, and recovering from both activities. All of my “artistic,” “academic,” and “business” endeavors have suffered and what little social life I had back in Cincinnati dissipated into short conversations held between ringing out customers and overhead press sets. And, to be honest, my mental state has been on a steady decline because of this. Not that I’m a social butterfly or a starving, but brilliant, artist – I just know that I thrive when I’m creating something, sharing what I’ve created, and interacting with people who have created, or are in the process of creating, something that makes them thrive.

 

This process is what I miss the most about my life as an undergraduate, where I divided my time between classes centered around small group discussions, writing lengthy research papers, working for the school newspaper, and taking part in real activism and, subsequently, writing and sharing articles and poetry about all of these activities with people who did similar things day-in and day-out. Graduating and relocating not once, but twice, and feeling student loan debt breathing down my neck brought this lifestyle to a screeching halt.

 

However, last night showed me that I have made some progress toward rebuilding and expanding my life in a city I never imagined I’d call “home;” I have managed to find a few like-minded individuals who are making their lives work for them – in their own way and on their own terms. And their ability to do so comes from the fact that they know how to find the perfect balance between biting the bullet and spitting on the loaded gun shoved in their face. My girlfriend does this. My co-worker and friend Bob does this. My friend Lauren does this.

 

And, recently, I have started to as well. Because if I have learned anything from ten years of rubbing elbows with kids headbanging to metal and hardcore in crowded and dirty bars, it is this: life is only worth living if you’ve made it into something worth loving. And, for all intents and purposes, shows and attending shows are the embodiment of the unbridled pursuit of carving out and creating a niche for people that makes people feel alive and allows them to thrive. It is, at its core, the perfect example of the creative process – from conception to reception.

 

Maybe this doesn’t make sense. What I’m trying to say is this :last night I stood next to kids who probably feel dead a lot of the time – from dead-end jobs, dead-end relationships, dead-end friends – but, for about four hours, they all felt pretty damn alive. I just hope that one day they realize, like I have, that they weren’t passive agents in that situation; I hope they see that they were a part of what made that moment happen, that they were just as active in their “awakening” as the music itself. Because without them creating that moment, that scene, that feeling wouldn’t exist.

 

And that feeling is exactly what I’m going to start making happen every day in my life. Or die trying.

 

Ya heard?

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01.17.12

Lower Body Power

If you read my last two entries, you know that I not only planned on having but did have a great time last night, all while staying within target calories and macros. What I only hinted at, and didn’t expand upon, was that this good time involved the consumption of less “traditional” carbohydrate sources – you know, that alcoholic kind. However, whenever I line up my macros to accommodate what I anticipate to be an epic drinking endeavor, my actual actions always fall short: I walked into the bar with my macros being ~20/140/60 and only had two beers and about three ounces of whiskey and I did this unconsciously. Of course, later in the evening, I did break my “don’t eat after you drink” rule and snuck in a cookie but, in the long run, it means nothing.

 

With that said, I took the plunge to see how my body reacted to the “whoosh” affect that alcohol gives you and weighed myself. I clocked in at fully-hydrated 120lbs in basketball shorts and a t-shirt. To be honest, this did incite a bit of an internal panic mentality: even taking the post-booze water-weight loss into account, it would appear as if I haven’t gained anything since upping my calories two weeks ago. My “official” two-week check-in is scheduled for Thursday but, since that’s my rest day, I’m going to weigh myself tomorrow. If the scale goes up more than a pound, I won’t take an “official” number until the weekend; if it stays at 120, I’m going to start tinkering with my macros to prepare for another calorie bump.

 

Work Out

 

Barbell Squat

5x95

5x115

5x135

5x145

2x5x150 (One rep increase on first set, set increase)

5x135

Notes: I dropped down to 135 after taking a video of the second set of 150s and noticed I was barely hitting parallel. More on this subject in my forthcoming post-weigh-in One Month Update post, though.

 

Barbell Deadlift

5x115

5x135

5x145

5x150

3x155

2x160

Notes: I don’t usually chase down my 1RM but the Uplifting Girls Fitocracy group has a heaviest deadlift challenge ending on the 31st and I’m participating, hence not trying to get all five reps with the last two weight increases. I don’t feel 100% comfortable with piling on the plates for these, though, because my lower-back tends to get pretty cranky. Slow and steady wins the race.

 

Seated Calf Raises

5x165

5x170

5x172.5

Notes: I never thought I’d do micro-loading with these but I’ve been trying to hold each rep for a minimum of five seconds so I’ll probably be doing smaller weight increases/longer holds from here on out.

 

Incline Leg Press

5x200

5x240

5x270

5x300 (10 pound increase from previous max)

3x300

Notes: Fucking BOOM. I attribute this PR to excessive grunting and my iPod’s ability to play exactly what I need it to: “Insomniac” followed by “Spit On the Cross” = headbanging leg presses.

 

Seated Leg Curls

5x100

6x110 (Rep increase)

5x120 (10 pound weight increase)

 

Dumbbell Lunges

5x45 (Five pound increase)

5x40

Notes: If you don’t follow my Twitter, you might not be privy to the fact that I, literally, fell over doing these. My legs were already jelly after leg presses and, apparently, did not want these. However, after the last rep on the set of 45s, I fell over onto the ground, got right back up, grabbed the 40s, busted out that set, and collapsed. Some girl thought I had a heart attack or something and literally came over to make sure I “was alive.” Appropriate way to end my session, I think.

 

After an epic Thai-date with my girlfriend, macros are currently hovering around a really closely estimated 60/159/190. Will post some much needed food n00dz tomorrow. Sleep time now.

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