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01.27.12 Outwork Day

Lower-body hypertrophy


Even though I managed to get quite a few things accomplished today that I wanted, there is still a substantial amount left on my plate. To illustrate …


Things I did:


Lifted/shot videos of speed squats, SLDL, and leg press.

Shot the introduction video for my “Quake vs. Crunch” experiment.

Picked up my “supplies” for the first half of the experiment.

Went out to dinner with my girlfriend and got some tasty Thai food.

Watched a movie with my girlfriend.

Ate a homemade banana split.


Things I still need to do:


Edit the introduction video for my “Quake vs. Crunch” experiment so it can go “live” on Monday.

Upload my lifting videos.

Write out my lifting schedule for the upcoming week/decide what to do about rows and incorporating a non-traditional cardio day.


However, as I work sixteen hours this weekend, I’m going to cut this entry short so I can get some sleep.


EDITED TO ADD: Something really awesome happened at the gym today - somebody else did deadlifts. A relatively stacked young man walked in, stretched, walked to the rack, performed a warm-up set of deads with just the bar (+1 for not being afraid to look "weak" like some, i.e. the rest, of the people who go to my gym), proceeded to load it with two plates and one 25'er on each side, and went on to not only be fast as faurk off the floor but have the tightest lock-out. Ended up complimenting on his form and he said he say me doing my seated calf raises and was impressed. Little things like this are awesome.



Leg extensions



Notes: As per Mini Forklift’s suggestion, I decided to use these as a warm-up for squats with extremely light weight. Definitely not knee pains like previous tries with these and I like the idea of using them as a warm-up for heavy squats on power days.


Barbell squats



Notes: Speed work at 70% of my 5-rep max. Focused more so on the “speed” aspect than depth – something that’s pretty clear on the video I shot on these. However, I hit parallel on every rep so I’ll take them even though I’d prefer to go deeper.


Barbell front squats



10x85 (5 rep increase)

Notes: I messed up my outline in my notebook so the weight wasn’t as heavy as it should have been (should have been 2x8-12x85, which I thought was the case when I was lifting but didn’t want to chance it. Form was spot-on, though, – no wrist soreness from improper weight distribution and my elbows stayed up the whole time.


Incline leg press


8x270 (2 rep increase)



Notes: I wanted 12x270 and 12x300 so badly on these today and I probably could have gotten 10 on the 270 but I wanted to leave some reps in the can so that I could do more sets.


Stiff-legged deadlifts



Notes: After shooting a video of the first set of 110s, it looked like I was going to far down with the bar, forcing my back to bend and my legs to angle backward (if that makes sense). Fixed it on the second set and felt so much better.


Seated leg curls



Notes: These are always so hit-or-miss but I definitely got full ROM for these which I don’t think I was when I was cranking out the 90s and 100s – largely because I didn’t realize I could adjust the seat more to fit my extremely short stature (being 5’3” sucks). Still disappointed with the low weight even doing them before calf raises, though.


Seated calf raises



Notes: 3 second holds on each rep = calves on fire. Felt awesome.


Cable glute kickbacks




Notes: First time trying these out and I can get behind them. My glutes need a lot of work and some guy was using the DBs I needed for lunges.


Calf raises on leg press




Notes: Threw these into the mix to follow PHAT even more closely. Should have done higher reps with lower weight but the second set led me to believe I could have gotten at least 12 out of the last. No dice.


Leg extensions (cool down/burn sets … oxymoron?)






Notes: No rest between sets and, by the end of it, I definitely couldn’t move my legs at all. Pretty satisfying way to an otherwise lackluster session.


Macros: ~40/126/200 (approximate because I don’t know what dinner officially was)


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Chest and arm hypertrophy


So, I hadn’t actually planned on going to the gym today. In fact, today was supposed to be an extra rest day as I thought I would be grabbing some brews this evening and, while I don’t buy into the hoopla surrounding alcohol “destroying” your gains, I generally try not to drink on days that I lift. Regardless, my plans changed and I ended up banging out a moderately successful arm and chest day after one of the most frustrating days I’ve experienced in quite some time. And I came to home-made curry and just polished off my pre-bed snack (see food n00dz, sorry Meech and Matt!).

Needless to say, I’m drained and have to be at work at 7:35 a.m., i.e. in eight hours. Go-go gadget sleep once my first v-log uploads to YouTube (big update tomorrow).



Barbell bench press (speed work)



Notes: Yeah, I know. Not in the 65-70% of my 5-rep max. but these felt great. It’s interesting how much happier I have been with my bench progress as of late than my other lifts.


Incline dumbbell bench press



Notes: These were super-setted with my speed work. Bad idea? Maybe.


Strict curls w/ EZ-bar




Notes: Rep. increases on all sets.


Tricep pushdowns with rope attachment




Notes: Still my favorite exercise on arm/chest hypertrophy day. Always blasts my tris.


Hammer curls




Notes: Did these strict-style with my back against the wall so I was only using my arms – killer, but in a good way.


Cable chest press




Notes: Burn all the muscle fibers in my weak-ass chest.


Cable flyes




Notes: Was shooting for 8-12x40 and 2x12x30 but these were a struggle after all the other sets and reps. Still feel pretty good as there are rep. increases.


High cable curls




Notes: Most certainly could have nailed 12x30 but I wanted to leave some reps in the tank to make sure I could get those other sets in – good call because the last set was rough.


Tricep pushdowns with v-attachment






Notes: Burn-sets to fail. Most intense shit of my life. Great way to end my work-out, probably not going to be so great tomorrow, though.


MACROS 44/150/230


food n00dz


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I just wail on the rope attachment because I've found it's definitely been increasing my grip strength. Each rep is a serious struggle but I think that's why I like them so much and why I push myself on them - two birds, one rope kind of deal. The v-attachment is a lot easier for me which is why I thought I'd try them out for burn-sets and they worked like a charm.

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Outwork Day

Back and shoulders hypertrophy


With uncharacteristically good judgment, at approximately 8:43 p.m. last night I agreed to switch my closer for an opener today, putting me on the floor at 7:35 a.m. While it did cramp my sleep-style a bit (I almost hit seven hours), it’s set me up good and nice to, one, be back at work at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow and, two, to get the required 7+ hours of sleep to start my Quake v. Crunch experiment (more on that in a minute).


Work was, well, work and I've gotten to the point where I just go on autopilot once I get there and usually turn my attention to getting pumped for the gym, things I've been reading, or seeing my girlfriend. Not the best way to go about it but I'm going to use from the time I get off tomorrow (4:00 p.m.) until the time I clock back in on Wednesday (at 2:30 p.m.) to really figure out what the next logical step is for me to be happy with my (whole) life again.


All the specifics of today's sessions are included in each lift's notes as not to bore anybody with repetition - I'm way too stoked about starting my v-log ...




Yeah, so, starting tomorrow, I'll be eating nothing but fast-digesting carbohydrates for my pre-work out. for 1.5-2 weeks First up on the chopping block is plain, old Cap'n Crunch. Already got it packed in my gym bag to be eaten after work in the parking lot. On video. Should be interesting.


Speaking of interesting, I was doing my daily blog-check and saw this:




Needless to say, I felt pretty awesome afterward.



Weight: A flat 122. Again.


Bent over barbell rows (speed work; 70% of 5RM)




Notes: I kept the weight light on these because of the lower-back pain I'd been talking about. These weight up no problem at all but, now that I'm home, my lower-back is really bugging me. My form was fucking perfect so I don't know what the deal is. Maybe these just aren't in the cards for me for a while - especially because I do not want to lose my squats or deads over rows.

Standing barbell overhead press (speed work)



Notes: These. Were. So. Easy. Boom.


Rack chins


Notes: First set with bar at chest height, second just at my waist, last set with the bar back at chest height. These could have also been considered speed-work given it took me like a minute and a half to do all three sets.


Seated dumbbell shoulder press



Notes: I almost killed myself trying to get what would have been the 12th rep in the last set. I call that a success.


Seated cable row


Notes: These might actually be why my back is all in a tizzy. Probably should have went with a lower weight but … the first two sets felt great, the last one, not so much.


Dumbbell side lateral raise


Notes: These feel better every time I do them.


Close-grip lateral pulldown




Notes: Was supposed to be 15x60; 15x70 but couldn’t hack it. Next time.


Upright cable row


Notes: My joints thank me for not using dumbbells for these any more.


One arm dumbbell row



Notes: I might just switch to these for rows for a while. Not back issues like with the barbell or pulls.


Cable shrugs



Notes: I still stand by these being harder than using the barbell solely because I set the bar where I immediately have to use my lats to pull it up whereas with the barbell, I definitely was overcompensating my poor-grip by using my arms to pull it. Will try and test this number out with dumbbells soon, though.



41/131/178 (34)

Need. Moar. Food. Before. Bed.



Um. Vascularity?


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This is awesome. few questions..


so youre only eating crappy gas station food before workout right? because you cant get protein shakes there right??


Um can you eat some oreos for me? and skittles?


Basically just 24-40g of processed sugary foods for two weeks - Cap'n Crunch, Pop-Tarts, Monster Zero if I think I'll need an energy boost during a work-out. ANDOHMYGAWD. I forgot about Oreos and Skittles. Yes. Yes I will.

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01.30.12 Outwork/Quake v. Crunch Day I

Lower-body Power


Three hours. From 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. That is how long I was down on my hands and knees, scrubbing every floorboard on the front end of my store with wool steel and a bucket of non-toxic cleaner, thinking about every single second, precisely, embodied exactly what it is about my life currently that is unsatisfying and counterproductive to my larger goals. After the first ten minutes, it took everything in me to not drop the washcloth in my hands down into the Mt. Dew-yellow bucket of liquid and walk out the door, never to return.


I am not a quitter, though. I don’t say this with pride. I believe that there are times when quitting is not only appropriate, but required. Quitting doesn’t always mean failing – there is a big difference between voluntarily ending a situation, job, relationship, habit, or pattern because you believe it is in your best interest. That is not the same as failing or giving up or dipping out. So, today, I did what was asked of me as I was on-the-clock and, therefore, supposed to be working. Almost twelve hours later, and now that I’ve had time to stew in it, stew in it I have. However, this is not the right forum to talk about the finer details of this mornings cleaning escapade so I’ll move onto the good stuff – Quake v. Crunch and today’s session.




Motivation: Rock-solid.

Energy: Moderate.






Leg extensions



Notes: Again, taking Mini Forklift’s advice to use these to warm-up for squats. Highly successful tactic today.


Barbell squats





5x170 (3 rep increase)

3x170 (set increase)

Notes: Took some video of the 150 and saw that I have been arching my back a bit too much as, when it comes time to “sit back,” there was no ‘back,’ just the sitting – if that makes sense. Lessened the arch on the sets after and they felt a hell of a lot better. I don’t think I broke parallel on many of the 170s but I hit it on every rep.


Barbell deadlifts




5x167.5 (weight increase)

5x170 (3 rep increase)

Notes: So, I talk about this in my next v-log but I was unsure about going through with these today because of the grief my lower-back has been giving me after rows. However, I told myself I would just take it easy and, if they felt wrong, I’d just do SLDLs and move these to my hypertrophy day. Well, they didn’t feel wrong and I focused on getting closer to the bar, keeping my head up, and getting faster off the floor – all of which helped me get those rep increases. I do believe, though, these will be moved to their own day because I know I could be pulling more. I tried to get some video but, in doing so, I also tried to avoid getting anyone else in my footage and this is what it ended up looking like …



Incline leg press




Notes: I wrote down that I wanted 6x380; 6x360; 6x320 and this is what I got. I felt like a fucking beast afterwards. Got some decent video of these that will be uploaded tomorrow whilst I start editing Episode II of Qv.C.



Seated calf raise




Notes: … but I literally blasted through these. I don’t know if it was because I had a lil Cap’n in me or the rush from hitting those leg press numbers. I’m inclined to believe it was the latter but I don’t want to jump the gun on my analysis of fast-digesting carbs just yet.


Calf press on the leg press



Notes: These were supposed to be 2x10x145 but I got distracted by eavesdropping on some bros conversation about why they don’t train legs and lost track of what I was doing. Maybe this should happen more often.


Seated leg curls




Notes: Rep increases on all of these, I think. Either way, they felt better than other sessions and there were no-half ass reps on any of them – definitely an improvement considering I’ve added the extra calf presses.


Leg extensions (cool down)


Notes: Was going to do burn sets but my legs felt like what I imagine jelly feels like after someone smashes it with a sledgehammer.

Post-WO Assessment


No “heavy” feeling in my stomach during the session like I anticipated but that could vary with different types of food (sugary or not); also no “crash” during the session but I did hit some really good numbers that definitely had a positive impact on my mentality. I will most certainly be interested to see if I do get hit with the “carb coma” on a hypertrophy day as lots of people have warned me that it’s going to happen.


Overall, though, day one was a success.



All specifics can now be found at my “official” MyFitnessPal diary but I will still directly post my macros on every log update as well.


Macros: ~51/144/229

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jeeze that pic of you on the leg press is ridulous. all of your muscles can really be seen!


Thank you! And here I thought I was getting fluffier by the day.


Question: you're naturally thin...or don't gain easy? Agree, impressive pic on the leg press.


I'm going to take that as a compliment as it's you should ask that. I was always pretty chubby when I was younger and didn't really lean out until I got into high school. Then, college hit, and I became much less active but much more inclined to stress eat and got chubby again. During my junior year I lost a lot of weight when I got back into cycling/running but I didn't look that great until I started lifting weights (little tangent about all of that: http://vegansludge.tumblr.com/post/8722744571/what-two-years-can-do).


So, I wouldn't say that I'm naturally "thin" or that I don't gain easy since I haven't been very aggressive with trying to - my maintenance, currently, appears to be about 2,000 calories a day which I've been eating since January 5th and I'm still clocking in, consistently, between 121-122 every day.

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01.31.12 Outwork Day/QvC: Day II

Upper-body power


I woke up feeling pretty awesome because I slept for over eight hours last night. The last time this happened, I believe, was Christmas Day after having worked for nearly two weeks straight. Pumped full of energy, I decided to plan out my day and hit the ground running at 11:00 a.m. I managed to go to plan out, and eventually execute, a pretty labor intensive dinner, go to the bank, hit the gym, grab some groceries, soak up some of the (disturbingly) warm weather, and catch up on some reading I’d been meaning to do. All in all, pretty swell day, I think.

Taking Mini Forklift’s mention that I could end up feeling like shit during my work-out, I stuck to my “gas station/convenience store only products” in search of a vegan-friendly peri-OW boost in case it was needed. I walked out with one of those “zero” energy drinks – you know, zero sugar, zero calorie, zero carb, so who knows what the hell is in it. Well, I do because I read the ingredients but I don’t want to talk about it.

Needless to say, I didn’t crack it open until after my work-out and I only did so because I was thirsty and, like an idiot, forgot to fill my water bottle up before leaving the gym even though I knew I’d be running errands for quite some time.


The only thing to be noted about the work-out that isn’t included below is my choice to not do bent over barbell rows for a while. This wasn’t an easy decision to make but I believe it’s the right one. Rather than sacrifice/affect my squats or deads any further, I'm backing off of rows for a couple of weeks and will come back to them with much lower weight and see how they feel. If they’re still an issue, I will find other lifts to take their place even though I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that I don't have to - I love this lift. Which explains my “motivation” for the day.


Motivation: Apprehensive.

Energy: High.

Mentality: Let’s just do it.

Weight: 121.75



Running on Cap’n Crunch and pure grit.


Barbell bench press








Notes: I did a video form check on the set f 75s and realized it wasn’t pretty – too much backward motion. Decided to drop weight and video each set to check my form. The 70s were shaky but both sets of 65 were good. Therefore, weight will remain decreased until form is perfect on 70s and 75s before I attempt 80 again. Bummer but nothing counts unless form is perfect.


Standing barbell overhead press







Notes: 50 flew up, 55 went up without a hitch so, I figured, why not at least go for the 60. Well, I did. And when that went up, I got brave. Fortune, it seems, favors that. .5xBW OHP? Boom. Totally made up for my bench performance.


Rack chins



Notes: Bar at my waist, love in my heart. I could have wailed on these all day.


Tricep pushdowns with rope attachment




Notes: Triceps on fire. Fucking hnng.


EZ-bar strict curls




Notes: My back did not want to stay with the wall on the last set but I’ll get them.


EZ-bar cable curls


Notes: Just to see how different they felt. Surprise. These felt easier. What a cop-out.



6x2 @80lbs assisted

10 @90lbs assisted



[email protected] assisted

10 @100lbs assisted

Notes: Forever weak.


Seated shoulder press



Notes: I wanted more sets and more reps but couldn’t do it. Switched to the cable machine and got 6x30 but I don’t want to count it.

Post-WO Assessment

Still no “heaviness” or “crash” during the session – the “drag” that I’ve been feeling hasn’t appeared just yet either but, again, two days in is still too early to call it, especially when I got such good sleep. Thursday’s session will be the real test, though: I close at work tomorrow then open the next day and plan on lifting right after. We'll see how good the Cap'n is at commandeering that ship.



Well, I was going to drink tonight despite it being a lift day. Then I totally fandangled my protein intake (I ran out of powder and have been buying single serving packets to supplement until my TrueProtein order arrives but, somehow, forgot to grab enough for today) only to realize … I haven’t had a recovery day since the 26th. Low on protein and not giving my muscles enough to recuperate does not make my body prime for alcohol. I’ll be saving my Maker’s and IPA for tomorrow, I think.

Another bummer: the one time I didn’t take a picture of my food was probably the best food I’ve made in a while: super-spicy home-made cilantro raspberry marinade, used to blacken some tofu, mixed with “taco” tvp, wrapped into collard greens, and served on top of a Flatout Lite Wrap. It. Was. Glorious.

Full details here



45/118/187 so far. Will probably come out around 50/125/210 which still isn’t ideal. Need to step up my protein in a big way.

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Cool post, your writing never fails to get a smile out of me. In fact, I am sure I sit at this computer for the minute or so with a smile that comes or goes while I read... if anyone were to be stood at out window watching me they would wonder what the hell I am reading ?!


What was your issue with the barbell rows? Must have missed that one a while back. Can I make a suggestion in that you write down how long your session takes? That one above looks like a meaty one, I would guess at 75-80mins but I could be off. I like to note the duration as often you can get an idea of how hard, fast (and clever) people are working.


Keep it up, you are inspiring !!

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Cool post, your writing never fails to get a smile out of me. In fact, I am sure I sit at this computer for the minute or so with a smile that comes or goes while I read... if anyone were to be stood at out window watching me they would wonder what the hell I am reading ?!


What was your issue with the barbell rows? Must have missed that one a while back. Can I make a suggestion in that you write down how long your session takes? That one above looks like a meaty one, I would guess at 75-80mins but I could be off. I like to note the duration as often you can get an idea of how hard, fast (and clever) people are working.


Keep it up, you are inspiring !!


Thank you so much for the kind words - and I'm glad that I can bring a smile to your face! I would hate it if you frowned the whole time reading one of my write-ups.


Including warm-up, stretching, the actual session, water refills (I drink a lot at the gym, and the cool-down, today's took about ~75 minutes. For whatever reason, upper-body power day usually goes faster, but since I was trying to get video of each bench session, that also added some time.


The issue with rows was that, even with good form, the day after, my lower-back is always extremely sore and bending down was, while not excruciating, definitely touchy and borderline painful. Back in December when this first started happening, I did a form check and saw I was putting too much motion into the lift so I focused on form. Things were good for a couple of weeks and I was steadily increasing weight and then, boom, out of nowhere, the pain I first mentioned came back. I'm thinkong of just switching to Pendlay's once I take a couple of weeks off and see if that makes a difference - though, the one armed dumbbell rows would suffice, I suppose, if that fails as well.


Also, the Mexican thing is just funny because my dad and I have an inside joke about when this happens; we always say, "Oh, yeah, we're Spanish. Spanish conquests." Most people don't get/like that, though.

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