What Are the Basics of the Workout?

If you’re familiar with Max-OT training, this is similar.  It’ll be four to six repetitions with three sets.  I use low repetitions with heavy, for me, weight.  I lift four days/week with about three HIIT sessions, two directly after lifting.

My warm up consists of walking at 3.5/mph and doing warm up sets on my first exercise.  The warm up sets typically include 12 repetitions for the first set, 10 repetitions for the second set, and finally 8 reps for the final non-working set with a minute rest between each of these sets.  Between each working set, I take 1.5 minutes – 2.5 minutes of rest.

How I Performed Week 1

I’ll say it wasn’t necessarily the best, as I came off a couple of rest weeks.  One of those weeks was forced, the second was a needed mental, physical, and family time break.  Below are my stats for week one, here’s to improvement over the next five.

Monday – Legs
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
 Deadlift  275 x 4  275 x 4  275 x 4
 Squat  245 x 6  225 x 6  225 x 6
 Barbell Lunges  155 x 6  155 x 6 155 x 6
 Leg Press Calf Raise  180 x 18  180 x 18 180 x 18
Tuesday – Chest/Triceps
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Incline Barbell Press 165 x 6 175 x 6 175 x 6
Bench Press 185 x 6 185 x 6 185 x 4
Skull Crushers 80 x 6 80 x 6 80 x 6
Weighted Dips 45 x 5 45 x 6 45 x 6
HIIT 3:00 – Sprint for 15 seconds and moderate job for 45*

*Typically I do ten minutes of these, but I was feeling pretty empty by the time I got around to these.

Wednesday – Back/Shoulders
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Weight Wide Grip Pullups 25 x 6 30 x 5 25 x 5
Bent Over Barbell Rows 135 x 6 155 x 6 155 x 6
Standing Barbell Shoulder Press 105 x 6 115 x 6 115 x 4
Front Raise 35 x 6 35 x 6 35 x 6
Dumbbell Reverse Fly 25 x 6 25 x 6 25 x 6
Dumbbell Shurgs 180 x 8 180 x 7 180 x 6
Thursday – Biceps/Abs
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Hammer Bar Curl 65 x 6 75 x 6 85 x 6
Standing Dumbbell Curl 40 x 6 45 x 6 45 x 6
Preacher Curl 80 x 6 90 x 6 90 x 5
Ab Circuit** 10 15 20
HIIT 10minutes – Sprint 15 seconds moderate at 45 seconds

**Ab Circuit consists of ab roller, medicine ball twist, and crunches. The number listed in the columns are the reps I did for each exercise and then took a minute break between each set.

Friday – HIIT

For this day, I do 25 minutes of 15 seconds box jumps and 45 seconds of jumping rope. You can get a hell of a sweat worked up from this despite what this guy says about box jumps. I still find him funny.  Below is what I looked like after completing it.


Self Assessment

  • I needed to concentrate on form a bit more as it came to my squats and deadlifts.
  • While HIIT training looks like a good idea on paper, performing this after lifting weights can feel a bit draining.  What I need to keep in mind is how it feels to accomplish a goal.
What I’ll Do Differently
  • Squat and Deadlift Issue – Ask my dad to help me out checking my form and make sure I’m coming down far enough.  I’m also going to lift just in socks as I typically wear running shoes and that can make my knees a bit wobbly while performing these lifts.
  • Just remember that HIIT Training doesn’t just have to be running.  I might mix in the stationary bike, elliptical, or even more box jumps.  I also need to keep in mind, those would just be ten minutes closer I’d be getting back to work.

Get Direction to Meet Your Goal

Rather than trying to gain muscle at the moment, I’m currently trying to cut down on the waistline a bit.  A couple of months back, I read the book Bigger Leaner Stronger.  The author provides plenty of insight on working through your goals and exactly what they should be based on your current body type.  Being that I’m a little on the heavier/fatter side of my goals before I start putting on muscle, he suggested that I cut before I start my build.  So there are a few goals in mind for the type of dieting I need to work:

  • Keep my strength up
  • Avoid excessive weight loss, looking for 0.5 – 1lb/week
  • Not drive myself crazy by eating foods that are bland and uninteresting.  Hot sauce could be my go to for awhile.

In order to accomplish these goals he recommends a few macro-nutrient breakdown per my weight at 173lbs.  Below are those numbers.

  1. 1.2g of Protein/lb of weight – 207g
  2. 1g of Carbohydrates/lb of weight – 173g
  3. 0.2g of Fat/lb of weight – 35g

Finally, per my weight, my caloric intake will be about ~1833calories/day.

Now I know My Macros and Calories, Where Now?

Figure out foods that you like so you’re not driving yourself nuts trying to figure out what you should and shouldn’t eat.  As the author of BLS suggests, treat yourself within the means of your goals every day.  This will help fight off temptation of eating a box of ice cream sandwiches, or having a Dwayne Johnson cheat day numerous times a week.

Do you smell what the ROCK is cooking?  It smells fucking delicious.

Dwayne Johnson Cheat Meal

Also to keep you on track of your caloric and macro-nutrient goals, make a spreadsheet of your food with a breakdown of your food, calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fat.  Here’s a sample of my spreadsheet for your reference.  This helped me breakdown what I enjoy and can tolerate eating.  While being a dad, and one that doesn’t cook well, my wife handles the cooking.  Being as that is, I left about ~600 calories for dinner time in hopes that I will hit my goals.  I’ll let you know how this goes as I chug along.

What Foods I Am Eating

If you downloaded my spreadsheet, you’ll see the types of food I’m eating.  This morning, I followed my spreadsheet pretty well.  I just added a couple of things to my four egg scramble, green pepper and sauteed (in olive oil) mushrooms.  On Saturday and Sunday I made a couple of things I found in The Shredded Chef.  I made a batch of protein sweet potato muffins and a batch of protein pudding bars.  If there is one thing to note about this book, you will need to purchase flavored whey protein.  These two recipes alone took about eleven scoops of protein.  While that’s not the only thing I use here’s a list of other foods/ingredients that I frequently eat.

This isn’t to say I’ll consume all those fruits within the week, but they make a rotation once in awhile.

Dialing It In

Now that I’ve spent the time to create a food list, make muffins and bars, create a spread sheets, and drive my wife bonkers, it’s time to remain disciplined.  You’ll often hear that 90% of the work is done in the kitchen, so hopefully in the future I’ll be writing about how everything has prospered; otherwise, I’ll keep running the same cycle.

In my final goal for my six week workout, I hope to be down to between 168-170lbs.


I Was Feeling DRAINED

My last workout was a couple of Wednesday’s ago.  I followed my normal routine heading to the gym, but starting my workout I was beginning to feel uneasy.  My energy levels were lower than normal.

I ran into my dad, and asked him if he wanted to lift.  I was able to lift slightly more on my dumbbell incline than normal, but towards the end, I was drained.

When I got back to the office, all my joints ached, particularly in the knuckles of my fingers.  My energy levels sank lower and I had to leave work early.

The Effects of Not Resting

After I got home, I went up to bed to rest.  I tried to sleep but the fluctuations in my temperature were making me sweat and have body chills.  I was getting sick, fuck!  Five days I found myself in the bathroom, my body ridding itself of sickness.

I haven’t rested from my workouts in quite some time, about three months.  Apparently this can stress your nervous system.  Not only that, but I’ve had an issue with my left wrist that left me in physical therapy for a few sessions.  While my wrist case was minor, it’s still nagging a bit. I’ve been told it’s De Quarvians, which was initially thought to be a wrist sprain.  For a couple of days I wasn’t able to fully grip my hockey stick.  I even ended up missing a couple of weekly hockey games.

Rest and Recover

This brings us to my final point, recovery.  I had a slew of issues and I wasn’t listening to what my body told me.  I stupidly powered through some 285 lbs dead lifts with a sore wrist and then tried to do dumbbell curls.

I did finish through that workout with my dad when I should’ve been resting and fighting off a bug.  Since all this has happened, I’m making a conscious effort to keep my program to a six weeks, rather than the eight I wanted, and spend a week recovering.  This could involve sleeping in, using my lunches to actually eat at that time, resting, sharpening my programming skills, and reading books of interest.  Luckily this past week I got to spend time with my family on vacation, and I can’t say I was necessarily the best on the diet side of things, but I’ll have to work on those kinks later.


On the Daily

My alarm is buzzing at 6:15 and I follow the same a routine of shower, make a high protein egg breakfast, put the dishes away from the dishwasher, collect clothes for my gym bag, brush my teeth, tell my family I love them, and head out the door.  This routine became part of my daily ritual after I was married and a father.  My nights and mornings have variable based on how many times I’m disturbed in the middle of the night by my kids, but I try to stick to the 6:15 wake up.  The one constant I receive in the day is lunch time.  While most people actually would eat lunch during this time, I use it as my opportunity to work out.

At 10:45, I get up from my desk at work and head to the kitchen to grab my protein bar.  I know within 30 minutes I’m going to get my recess from sitting down and programming.  I’ve carved out the 11:15 time to head to the gym.  At this point, I’m game to head to the gym and make a better version of myself.  I’ve carved this time out and kept with the routine for the past four years.  I may miss lunches with co-workers, may be viewed as anti-social, but this is MY time.

So what’s kept me routine and sticking with it the past four years?

I find selfish to not be there for your kids because you don’t take care of yourself.  I was recently sick the past five days, and I hated not being able to play with my kids.  I knew at the time rest was the best option at the time, missing opportunities to go outside on the prettiest days of the summer made me ill content.  Do I want to be sick more often while I can be preventing these issues with diet and exercise?  Hell No!  If you don’t take care of your body, someone or something else will have to take care of it for you.  Do you want to be dependent on people or medications to you through life or helping curb preventable disease?  What type of example are you setting for your kids if you’re not taking care of yourself?  When you take that time to invest into your body with exercise and good food, you’re investing into life and into your quality of life.

Carve that time out and stick to it!

While I’m not suggesting you have to get into the gym lift weights and run like you robbed a bank, I suggest you find something that gets you moving.  The investment you can make is into you and your health.  Remember your body is the one asset you’ve been given.  Carve out the time take care of it before you regret it.

Any hobby whether it be golf, hockey, or tennis all involve some sort of etiquette.  There is no exception at the gym.

Lets face it, if you’re going to a public gym, there will be a wide range of fitness levels, ages, noobs to your most swoll bro, here are some things that tick me off.

1. Using more than one set of dumb bells

I get it.  You want to do compound exercises.  But guess what?  You’re more than likely in a public gym and have to share space, benches, weights, pulleys, all equipment there.  Stop hoarding shit.  Use one set, and MOVE ON.

2. Re-Rack Your Fucking Weights and in the Correct Spot

If you been to the gym before, undoubtedly there’s a sign that reads or similar, “If you’re strong enough to lift it, you can also re-rack it.”  If you’re too lazy to re-rack, you’re too lazy to be in the gym.  Get out.

Also, put them in the designated spot.  Most gyms have these labels with numbers on them.  It’s a simple matching game a three year old could do.  For starters if it’s not labeled, heavy weights get racked on the bottom while lighter weights get racked on top.  DO IT!

3. If you see a lock on a locker, move a couple lockers down should space permit

It’s the equivalent to the tie on a door knob.  Don’t come in and don’t be near me.  I don’t want to deal with people when I have to get dressed or undressed being in my way.  These lockers aren’t exactly body width.  MOVE DOWN!

4. Why do I have to check certain equipment out with my ID card?

I don’t understand why for equipment that I pay for through my membership that I have to use my card to check things in and out.  At one of my gyms I have to do this for jump ropes, kettle bells, ab wheel, and weight belts.  I’m not a criminal, stop treating me like one.

5. Locker Room Etiquette

Your work out is complete and you’ve come into the locker room and here’s old man need more lunges with one foot up on the bench buck naked dangling.  No one needs to see that shit.  Put it the FUCK AWAY.

It’d be just my luck you’d be the locker right next to mine where you don’t have a lock but CLEARLY see that there’s one next to yours.  Try to AVOID IT, please.

If you are new to the gym, you can always ask someone a question.  Some of my annoyances have developed over time, so even I could be blissfully ignorant to someone else’s pet peeves.

So those are some of the things that annoy me while at the gym, what’s yours?

If there’s one aspect of working out that I always need to keep me motivated, it’s my earphones.  Over the course of time, I’ve become particular on comfort and durability.  There are number of earphones that have gone through my gym bag and failed.  There are few things to meet my criteria as to whether they’ll suffice for my usage and abuse.

  1. They can’t go directly into my ear.  I prefer an over the ear type of head phone.
  2. Wires aren’t ruling things entirely out of the picture, but it gets in the way.  Being a shorter person, the wire can slip out from under my shirt, get caught when I’m wearing a weight belt.  I prefer Bluetooth.
  3. They have to stay on when I turn my head quickly or run.

Here’s a review of some of the head phones I’ve owned over the course of years of lifting.

Philips Adjustable Earclip Headphones

I found these earphones comfort were great.  The clip over the ear weren’t bothersome and it goes over the ear.  The amount of foam while sweating gets soggy and gross, so they aren’t going to be headphones you want to use directly after your workout.  The cord at times did get in the way as it was tucked under my shirt.  I found it difficult to do weighted pull ups or dips as the cord would get in the way of the belt.  Eventually these headphones weren’t all that durable as sweat eventually took their toll on these headphones and died.

Overall, decent headphone, good price, and I had multiple pairs of these.  I loved them for the quality, but not necessarily the inability to handle the sweat.


Kinovo Bluetooth Stereo Headphone

These over the ear wireless headphones were great.  They were padded, so I didn’t have to worry so much about foam soaking up all the sweat over the course of my workout.  I could easily wipe them down and use them after a workout.

The only downside to these they were a little bulky.  It didn’t affect me moving my head around, and I could run with them.  They also were exactly sweat proof.  Over the course of time, sweat took it’s toll on them killing the ability to turn them on.

Overall, good price and dual usage was good for them.


Motorola S305 Bluetooth Stereo Headset

These headphones were comfortable and at one point I really liked the sound clarity provided.  They were only able to withstand the test of me moving around and not falling off of my head.  A few problems I had with this particular headset was the foam ear piece fell out and in order to attach it was becoming difficult and kept falling out of place.

Sweat didn’t catch up to these.  The ultimate kill switch on these head phones were the button to control the volume.  It sounds like many other people have had this problem.

These are a little pricier than some, so you may want to find a different option.


BASN Bluetooth Wireless Stereo Headphone

These are cheap and wouldn’t stay in my ear when used.  I returned them immediately.


Avantree Jogger

These have pretty much outdone my expectations.  They are comfortable, even though they go into the ear, stay on well, wireless, and the sound quality is good enough for the purposes of a workout.  Currently the only thing wrong with them is the wire going into one of the earphones is cracked on the sheathing and probably just requires some electrical tape to be wrapped around it at this point.  We’ll see how long they last.


Hopefully you’re experimental headphone woes aren’t nearly as bad as mine and you’ve found this light overview of a few of the products I’ve used helpful.

What headphones have you been happy with?

Over the course of time, my body had become weak due to my sedentary life style as a programmer.  Through six jobs and ten years of programming hasn’t treated my body well.

A lot of stories will tell you about former athletes or just being very active when they were younger.  It sounds the start of a P90x commercial, doesn’t it?  My story wouldn’t sound any different other consumers of that product other than I’ve had shortfalls and plenty of them.  Maybe writing about them will change things for me and provide some drive.

I used to have hockey practice twice a week, play street hockey with my friends, run, lift weights, play tennis, and bike.  Even at 5’7″ my senior year in high school I was barely pushing 135lbs.  I haven’t grown vertically any since then, so as you can imagine, I was the “small kid” growing up.  My neighbors growing up and my friends today constantly remind me of how short I am.  Their wit with short jokes seems infinite, and a constant theme of their keen observational skills.

In college, I became less active and had two meals pretty much throughout my four years in school.  I was walking a lot, whether it be to class or bar, so I remained thin.  Luckily I was able to play hockey for class, intramural, and a couple travel teams sporadically throughout those four years.  During that time, I did have an undying itch still to be stronger and more built, because that was entirely what girls wanted, right?  I guess I forgot to mention the amount of beer and booze I consumed and the cigarettes I smoked. My liver and lungs have prevailed so far, but I was weak.

So how did you, for some unknown, reason get to this point in my rambling in my blog?  Action on my part and a desire to make a better version of myself.  With my 9-5 taking a toll on every aspect of my being, something needed to change.  A couple of things did.  I met my wife, who told me, she loves arms, so I guess I’m scratching that itch I mentioned earlier.  Two, you’re given one asset in life.  YOU BETTER TAKE CARE OF IT.  I don’t want to be unhealthy, and being a father, I most definitely want to be a good example to my kids.

Now that I’m in my 30’s, I read a lot about life particularly from those with wisdom.  One of my favorite quotes that was shared with me was, “Do not fear getting old, it is a privilege denied to many.”  My only fear is that my body weakens to the point I can skate anymore, see one of my inspirations.  I’m told a lot of people in their 40’s wish they had worked their body more in their 30’s.  With all these motivators for me, I don’t think that’ll be hard.

What will drive you?