Worth the Ride

I started this workout shortly after I had been on vacation, the first week in September.  I’ve learned a bit about myself in terms of self control, discipline, and motivating factors.  Key Successes for me have been the lack of beer I’ve drank, cleaning up my diet, and having a supporting and loving family.  I also thank anyone reading and hopefully have inspired you to do whatever your goals are.

Where Did I Start Week 6

Last Week, I was weighing in at 172lb, 17.9% BF, 42.2% muscle mass.

How Were My Lifts for Week 6

Monday – Legs
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
 Deadlift  245 x 6  255 x 6  255 x 6
 Squat  245 x 6  245 x 6  245 x 4
 Dumbbell Lunges*  185 x 6  185 x 6 185 x 6
 Leg Press Calf Raise  250 x 18  250 x 18 250 x 18

* I had to do dumbbell lunges as all the squat racks were being used.

Tuesday – Chest/Triceps
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Incline Barbell Press 180 x 6 180 x 6 180 x 6
Bench Press 195 x 6 195 x 4 195 x 3
Skull Crushers 100 x 6 100 x 6 100 x 6
Weighted Dips 50 x 6 55 x 6 55 x 6
HIIT 10:00 – Interval Training on the Elliptical
Wednesday – Back/Shoulders
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Weight Wide Grip Pull Ups 35 x 6 35 x 5 35 x 5
Bent Over Barbell Rows 175 x 6 175 x 6 185 x 4
Standing Barbell Shoulder Press 120 x 6 120 x 6 120 x 6
Front Raise 40 x 6 40 x 6 40 x 6
Dumbbell Reverse Fly 30 x 6 30 x 6 30 x 6
Dumbbell Shrugs 215 x 6 215 x 6 215 x 6
Thursday – Biceps/Abs
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Hammer Bar Curl 105 x 6 105 x 6 105 x 6
Incline Dumbbell Curl 50 x 5 50 x 4 50 x 4
Preacher Curl 100 x 6 100 x 6 100 x 6
Ab Circuit** 10 15 20
HIIT 4 minutes – Interval Training on the Elliptical

** Ab circuit consists of ab wheel reps, medicine ball twist with 20lb ball, and crunches with one minute rest between sets while adding on more reps.

Friday

HIIT – 25 minutes, 15 seconds of Intervals

Sunday

Hockey Game In the Evening – We came close to tying it up.  A unfortunate play and communication between our goalie and the bench ended up losing the game 5-3 on what I would describe as a 1/4 empty net.

Self Assessment

  • I improved some of my lifts as I was able to increase weight for having done six reps
What I’ll Do Differently
  • Motivate myself to lift a little bit more as I was reaching the six rep range for a number of lifts.

Conclusion of Week 6

Measurements According to Scale

Weight – 171.6lbs

Body Fat – 17.8%

Muscle Mass – 42.5%

Time to Rest

After six weeks, I’ve learned quite a bit about myself and what it takes to drop weight and become a bit stronger.  Over the next week, I’ll be taking it easier.  I can’t sit still for too long.  The timing probably couldn’t have been better as I tweaked my shoulder in my hockey game last night, so that’ll take some time to heal up.  I have a full range of motion, but it’s painful in some instances.  It was tough to sleep on either of my sides.

Should you have any questions directly for me about my six week workout, you can find me on twitter @swollbro, or you can email me at paul@swollbro.com.

 

A Common Thursday – Sunday

As I get home from work on Thursday, I’ve had a long four days between being a dad, meeting deadlines at work, job training (this never ends as it seems some new, better JavaScript framework is released each week), and four days of heavy lifting which puts a lot of stress on my body.  My expectations physically are falling short, but hey I’ve been to the gym four times this week.  Let’s fall back to my favorite snack of Two Hearted Ale, El Madator tortilla chips and some salsa to boot.  I’ve probably burnt these calories somewhere this week.

Now that it’s football and hockey season (Go Blue!, LGRW), justifying that a snack and the game was easy but detrimental to my goals.  Then if you’ve been reading you know how my Sundays go with Beer League Hockey.

During those sittings, I would typically have, at minimum, three beers per sitting within those four days.  Two Hearted Ale has 210 calories per 12oz beer.  210 Calories * 3 Beers * 4 days = 2,250 Calories within a four day span.  There’s 3,500 calories to burn a pound of fat.  So in essence, I was damn near adding 3/4lbs per week.  Beyond that, why was I eating an drinking so much, derailing my progress?  I think it comes down the four reasons I’ve listed below.

1.  Justifying Calories

As I noted above, the wheels for this have fallen off many times.  There have been notable times I wasn’t eating the correct things to keep me satiated through to dinner time.  Or, I’d find myself watching TV having a beer or three because I ran five miles earlier in the day.  Justification eating still hinders my progress but it’s been better now with my meal plans.

Essentially, my issue was not having a plan.  It’s much easier planning what you’re going to consume with foods you enjoy and not drive yourself nuts with something like rice cakes.

2.  Concentrating on the Scale’s Number

If there’s one thing, and probably still hindering me as well as others, it’s concentrating on that fucking number the scale provides me.  I should concentrate less on that number and more on body fat percentage and lean mass.  Sometimes after I hit a certain number, I would get complacent.  My drive would plummet, and I’d start the Monday conversation about not reaching my goals and how to get there.

I read a thread on bodybuilding.com about a trainer who was wondering what to tell his female clients who were gaining weight with his training guidance.  He didn’t make it clear to his clientele, as his clientele dropped dress sizes, that they may weigh more as muscle mass increased.  This is where there’s too much emphasis on weight.

FUCK THE NUMBER ON YOUR SCALE! I can quantify my results by lean mass, my energy levels, and how my clothes are fitting, which as of late have been looser.  If you’re too fixated on the scale, stop now.  Especially if you’re beginning to lift weights.  Yes, your weight can go up as a result of muscle mass but probably at the same time you’re losing fat.  FUCK YOUR SCALE’S NUMBER!

From here on out, I’ll weigh myself once a week and stop putting SO much stock in this number as the only quantifier of meeting my goals.

3. NOT Tracking Other Measurements

So I just got done ranting about the numbers you find on your scale.  Rather than being so obsessed with how much I weigh, it would be useful if I measured body fat with calipers, bicep/chest/leg size with a tape measure, and muscle mass.  One other simple way I’ve gone about this to not be discouraged is my belt has been able to tighten up since starting my six week workout.

Mike Matthews of Bigger Leaner Stronger provides an explanation below of how to measure body fat with calipers.

4. Patience

I’m still learning this one.  Being in a society of instant gratification, results that aren’t showing immediately have made me a bit impatient as it comes to the results I’m getting.  If you think about all the famously advertised workouts, P90X (which I’ve tried and got too impatient), Insanity, or Body Beast these things all take time, and effort, to complete.  They even note their success stories as “Results vary depending on starting point, goals and effort”.  So I’m taking a more positive approach and holding myself accountable by writing my experiences as I work toward my goals.  Hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes and get out of your fitness funk.

 

It’s About Attitude

Sunday evenings for me are built with anticipation for my weekly hockey game.  I’ve been playing hockey with this team for a number of years.  Some I’ve played with since high school, they’ve been roommates, and above all some kickass fun friends.

My typical weekend would be filled with beer.  Unlike most people, those weekends may have started on Thursday.  Each of those days may have end with four beers or more.  Like I’ve noted in previous posts, my choice of beer is high in alcohol content and calories.

Finally, when I get to Sunday, I’ve consumed more beer than I want to meet my goals.  Why am I telling you about my hockey team and my beer consumption in a fitness blog?  I’ve had a series of attitude shifts about how I need to meet my goals and one of those has been to completely remove beer from my diet.

Small Wins Meeting Big Gains

Hail to the Victor!

I was invited to the Wisconsin/Michigan game by one of my friends from college.  We arrived several hours before the game started because what else do fans do before a football game, tailgate?  We stopped over at a friend’s who happens to live damn near a block away from The Big House.  Standing in the driveway, shots were starting to surround us, nothing abnormal for a tailgate right?  When approached, my friend asked me if I was going to have any beer.  Since we did drive a couple of hours to get to Ann Arbor in his car and gave me a ticket, I figured it’d be best if I drove home and he could have the drinks.  He did call me out for, far be it from my nature, to not have anything to drink.  The last couple of times at this house for a U of M game, I don’t recall much happening post game.  So in the end, I didn’t drink anything and drove us home after a pretty exciting Wolverine Victory over the Badgers.

Not Feeling the Peer Pressure

Sunday (10/10) start my winter hockey league with my hockey team I described above.  At bare minimum you can call these “The Beer Leagues”.  When I first started in the beer leagues having a couple of beers before the game would case my stomach on the first shift to burn and I’d feel pretty winded.  By the second shift a little better, and by the third pretty normal.  Over time, these pregame beers became a routine in my hockey regimen of getting dressed.

As I was getting ready for the game, the cooler full of beer was brought into the locker room.  I typically like heading to the game early to consume a couple of these beers, but this time I was certain to not drink.  One of my friends opened the cooler and started tossing beers to everyone.  He looks at me and tries to hand me one as I was no less than three feet away from him.  I told him, “No Thanks”, “I’m Good”.  With refusal for my answers, he tried to stuff the beer in my pocket.  At which point, I was still refusing and then he just cracked the beer and sat it down next to where I was sitting.  There, that beer remained full and undrank.  YOU WERE WASTING BEER JIM!

Guess What’s Still In My Fridge

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you’ll know I frequently have mentioned the Two Hearted Ale six pack that remains in my keezer.  I will let you know that six pack still remains in my keezer after three weeks.  I’m also proud to say, this is the longest I’ve gone without having alcohol in years.

What Else Has Kept Me Going

If you’ve been in a rut and your habits are stronger than your goals, I’ve found myself accountable for my goals by writing about it.  While I know I have a small audience (thanks for reading), I’ve found writing about it and publicly telling people (about how awesome cross-fit is…lol) about a normal desk-jocky overcoming the odds of a sedentary career and bad habits that may shorten my life.

Creating a plan for meals and knowing my macro-nutrients to accomplish these goals has made it much easier and routine.  I know exactly what I’m eating the day before alleviating any stress of what to eat each day.  I’m also the type of person who can eat the same thing every day, as I have enough variety, and be complacent.

My Friends Facebook Posts Have Not Gone Un-Noticed

Some of my friends are fitness enthusiasts.  One of my friends, Beth, that I find inspiring as a stay-at-home mom of three kids finds time in her day to meet her fitness goals.  Unlike this blog, I’m not specific about workouts or recipes, mostly because I’m following Bigger Leaner Stronger program and don’t want to run into copyright infringements (I’ve ran into that before in the t-shirt printing business).  Hopefully you can find some more value out of her blog than you’ll find here.

Another post that I took notice was about achieving a goal and the best way to shape your habits and create actionable steps to reaching those goals in a YouTube Video, thanks Carlin!

Feeling Routine and Energized

If I hadn’t noticed it before, I feel my energy levels remains fairly high.  Beyond the two nights my wife and I spent tending to our daughter, I felt refreshed after a night’s sleep.  The best part of this week has been noticing how easy it is to reach my newest belt loop.

One other proud moment for me, I’ve withheld from drinking for over a month now.

Where Did I Start Week 5

Last Week, I was weighing in at 172.6lbs according to my new scale.

How Were My Lifts for Week 5

Monday – Legs
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
 Deadlift  245 x 6  245 x 6  245 x 6
 Squat  245 x 6  245 x 6  245 x 4
 Barbell Lunges  185 x 6  185 x 6 185 x 6
 Leg Press Calf Raise  250 x 18  250 x 18 250 x 18
Tuesday – Chest/Triceps
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Incline Barbell Press 180 x 6 180 x 6 180 x 4
Bench Press 195 x 6 195 x 5 195 x 4
Skull Crushers 100 x 6 100 x 6 100 x 5
Weighted Dips 50 x 6 50 x 6 50 x 6
HIIT 12:00 – Interval Training on the Elliptical
Wednesday – Back/Shoulders
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Weight Wide Grip Pull Ups 30 x 6 35 x 5 35 x 5
Bent Over Barbell Rows 175 x 6 175 x 6 175 x 5
Standing Barbell Shoulder Press 120 x 6 125 x 6 125 x 5
Front Raise 40 x 6 40 x 6 45 x 4
Dumbbell Reverse Fly 30 x 6 30 x 6 30 x 6
Dumbbell Shrugs 200 x 6 200 x 6 200 x 6
Thursday – Biceps/Abs
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Hammer Bar Curl 100 x 6 100 x 6 100 x 6
Incline Dumbbell Curl 45 x 6 45 x 6 45 x 6
Preacher Curl 90 x 5 90 x 6 90 x 5
Ab Circuit** 10 15 20
HIIT 12 minutes – Interval Training on the Elliptical

** Ab circuit consists of ab wheel reps, medicine ball twist with 20lb ball, and crunches with one minute rest between sets while adding on more reps.

Saturday

HIIT – 25 minutes, 15 seconds of box jumps 45 seconds of rest.

Sunday

HIIT – 20 minutes of intervals on the elliptical.  Later in the evening I had my hockey game.

Self Assessment

  • I did well on increasing my cardio for the week adding a couple of minutes to each session.
  • Diet remained on track
  • No Alcohol
What I’ll Do Differently
  • I still feel my squats aren’t as good as they should be and I will be working on form for the up coming week.  I may purchase some flat sole shoes like Chuck Taylors.

Conclusion of Week 5

Measurements According to Scale

Weight – 172lbs

Body Fat – 17.9%

Muscle Mass – 42.2%

I’m happy with week five for a number of reasons:

  1. My weight is going down
  2. Strength is still going up in areas
  3. I increased my cardio by a couple of minutes

Overall week 5 felt great and I’m looking forward to a better even better educated week 6, the final week.

Sticking to My Guns

Week 4 again presented challenges and obstacles in terms of diet.  Friday night after a week of training my wife and I had a date night.  We went bowling, and I think for the first time hadn’t drank a beer while bowling since I turned 21.  Funny enough, I ran into one of my friends who was there will a tall boy of a light beer.  Still, I remained dedicated to my goals and drank water while there.

Later in the night, I may have let loose a bit on the diet having gone to the Ichiban restaurant, but I WAS STARVING.  Either way, still no beer this time around, just enough food to feed my entire family in one plate.

Where Did I Start Week 4

Last Week, I was weighing in at 170.4lbs and I was concentrating on getting my legs moving on the treadmill more this week.

How Were My Lifts for Week 4

Monday – Legs
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
 Deadlift*  235 x 6  245 x 6  255 x 4
 Squat  225 x 6  235 x 6  235 x 6
 Barbell Lunges  165 x 6  175 x 6 +10lbs 175 x 6 +10lbs
 Leg Press Calf Raise  250 x 18  250 x 18 250 x 18
Tuesday – Chest/Triceps
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Incline Barbell Press 180 x 5 175 x 6 175 x 4
Bench Press 195 x 6 195 x 6 195 x 5
Skull Crushers 100 x 6 100 x 6 100 x 6
Weighted Dips 50 x 5 50 x 5 50 x 4

HIIT
10:00 – Sprint for 15 seconds and moderate job for 45
Wednesday – Back/Shoulders
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Weight Wide Grip Pullups 30 x 6 30 x 5 30 x 5
Bent Over Barbell Rows 165 x 6 165 x 6 165 x 5
Standing Barbell Shoulder Press 120 x 6 120 x 6 120 x 6
Front Raise 40 x 6 40 x 6 40 x 6
Dumbbell Reverse Fly 30 x 6 30 x 6 30 x 6
Dumbbell Shurgs 190 x 6 190 x 6 190 x 6
Thursday – Biceps/Abs
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Hammer Bar Curl 90 x 6 100 x 6 100 x 6
Incline Dumbbell Curl 45 x 6 45 x 6 45 x 6
Preacher Curl 85 x 5 85 x 6 85 x 5
Ab Circuit** 10 15 20
HIIT 20 minutes – Sprint 15 seconds moderate at 45 seconds – I went to the gym in the morning then decided to do HIIT later in the afternoon.

** Ab circuit consists of ab wheel reps, medicine ball twist with 20lb ball, and crunches with one minute rest between sets while adding on more reps.

Friday

HIIT Training – 10 minutes of sprinting on the track and 15 minutes on the elliptical.

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Self Assessment

  • I did a great job adding weight and did so if the prior week I was able to perform 6 reps on each set for an exercise.
  • I kept my willpower and self control rocking.  It’s been three weeks now with no alcohol.
  • More running for HIIT.  My shins are pretty sore today.
What I’ll Do Differently
  • Keep adding weight as my lifts are going up.
  • This time around I felt like my deadlift was a bit stronger after doing squats first.

Conclusion of Week 4

My weight, according to my old scale, is going down.  I’m currently sitting at 169.6lbs dropping 0.8lbs for the week.

My new scale has helped assess my BF%, helping calculate my lean mass which gives me a better picture of how I should be eating per diet recommendations.

The Drive Remains Strong

Week 3 had thrown me some challenges to knock me off path.  Old habits presented themselves the past weekend as I made a trip out of town.    Willpower that day remained stronger, and I kept dedicated to my goals.  For once in a long time, I’m not having my Monday/Sunday night internal conversation of guilt about the amount I drank and how it’s derailing my end results.  This is one moment I’m truly happy with myself.

Secondly, that six pack of Two Hearted Ale (my favorite beer and you can see from the rating it’s a damn good beer), remains in my keezer waiting to be drank.  I’ll finally have one once I hit my goal.  I’ve justified way too many beers on weaker accomplishments.  I mind as well make it a decent and deserved accomplishment.

Where Did I Start Week 3

Last Week, I was weighing in at 171.2lbs and I was concentrating on form for a number of lifts.  I also wanted to do more HIIT on the treadmill.

How Were My Lifts for Week 3

Monday – Legs
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
 Deadlift*  275 x 4 -2 reps  225 x 5 -50lbs +1rep  235 x 4-40lbs+1rep
 Squat  225 x 6 +90lbs  205 x 6  215 x 6 +10lbs
 Barbell Lunges  165 x 6 +10lbs  165 x 6 +10lbs 165 x 6 +10lbs
 Leg Press Calf Raise  180 x 18+60lbs  180 x 18+60lbs 180 x 18+60lbs

*I was concentrating on an overhand grip this time around.  Previously I had an overhand underhand grip which can cause muscle imbalance.

Tuesday – Chest/Triceps
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Incline Barbell Press 180 x 6 +5lbs 180 x 6 +5lbs 180 x 5 +1rep
Bench Press 195 x 6 +5lbs 195 x 5 -1rep 195 x 4 -2reps
Skull Crushers 90 x 6 90 x 6 100 x 6 +10lbs
Weighted Dips 45 x 6 45 x 6 +1rep 45 x 6 +1rep
HIIT 10:00 – Sprint for 15 seconds and moderate job for 45
Wednesday – Back/Shoulders
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Weight Wide Grip Pullups 30 x 5 +5lbs-1rep 30 x 5 +5lbs-1rep 30 x 4 +5lbs-2reps
Bent Over Barbell Rows 165 x 6 +10lbs 165 x 6 +10lbs 165 x 5 +10lbs-1rep
Standing Barbell Shoulder Press 115 x 6 120 x 6 +5lbs 120 x 5 +5lbs-1rep
Front Raise 40 x 6 +5lbs 40 x 6 40 x 6
Dumbbell Reverse Fly 20 x 10+2rep 25 x 6 25 x 6
Dumbbell Shurgs 190 x 6 +10lbs 190 x 6 190 x 6 +10lbs
Thursday – Biceps/Abs
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Hammer Bar Curl 85 x 6 95 x 6+10lbs 100 x 6+15lbs
Incline Dumbbell Curl 40 x 6+5lbs 40 x 6+5lbs 45 x 6+10lbs
Preacher Curl 90 x 6 +10lbs 100 x 6+10lbs 100 x 6 +10lbs
Ab Circuit** 10 15 20
HIIT 10minutes – Sprint 15 seconds moderate at 45 seconds

** Ab circuit consists of ab wheel reps, medicine ball twist with 20lb ball, and crunches with one minute rest between sets while adding on more reps.

Friday

HIIT Training – 25 minutes on the Elliptical

Self Assessment

  • I did a great job adding weight and did so if the prior week I was able to perform 6 reps on each set for an exercise.
  • I kept my willpower and self control rocking.  It’s been two weeks now with no alcohol.
  • Box jumps for HIIT are more entertaining than running and probably will keep with them.
What I’ll Do Differently
  • Start Running for HIIT training and possibly add a couple of minutes

Conclusion of Week 3

My weight continues to go in the direction I’m hoping.  I now weigh 170.4lbs meeting the goals of the Bigger Leaner Stronger program.

Yesterday, I purchased a new scale that will help better assess my body composition so I can more accurately tune my diet.