Tag Archive: barbell

I Paid My Dues

I had all sorts of big plans for Wednesday, to see what kind of trouble I could get into at the gym.  I was going to wake up early, get my Wednesday started super early, and make a day full of activity.

But my Wednesday started even earlier, it started Tuesday night.  In the middle of the night the building’s fire alarm went off.  So we all trundled down the stairs, outside into the snow and the dark and the February, and waited for the fireman.  By the time they declared it a false alarm and I made it back into my apartment, my good night’s sleep was shattered.  It was an ominous start to my Wednesday.

So Wednesday morning, I trudged down to the gym, got there before the gym was even open, and waited for them to open the doors so I could grab one of the Spin bikes for the 6 am class.  But Leslie was coming to spin too!  She brought a few friends.  I was psyched just to spin with a friend.

Teacher of the morning class was Mike.  I think he’s a retired high school history teacher, and you hear it in his voice.  Bueller… Bueller?  It was an ok class.  We all worked hard.  Sometimes Mike would break out in screams at the end of a track for no reason.  It was jarring.  “GO…. GOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!”  Holy shit, relax man, I’m going.

After Spin, I still had time before work, so I decided to do some Chest work.

Barbell Bench Press (2 min rest):  115×5, 155×5, 185×5, 5, 7

DB Bench Press (60 sec rest):  140 x 8, 8, 8, 5, 4;  110 x 8, 8, 5

incline DB fly (4-2-4 tempo, 90 sec rest):  40 x 6, 12, 12


notes:  I don’t do barbell bench press very often.  I am out of practice, and I much prefer dumbbells.  But it is nice to get back into it.

Dumbbells were going good until set 4, then when I tried set 5, my reps were just TOO low, so I dropped the weight by 20% and kept going.  by set 8 I was fried.  It was my left side that wore out first, which is no surprise at all.  It felt weird grabbing the 55 lb dumbbells though, I could feel my right side just muscle through it hard but my left side would struggle.  The difference was quite pronounced at the end.

For the flyes, I failed out of the first set because someone interrupted me.  Oh well.  20 lb dumbbells isn’t much for flyes, but when you slow the tempo down like I did (4 seconds down, stay at the bottom for 2 seconds, raise up for 4 seconds)… what starts out easy at rep 1 feels like hell by rep 12.  Trust me.


Then I went to work.  I had not done a good weekday morning workout in a while, and I was feeling pretty drained by mid-morning.

Then Leslie sent me an email that made the pain go away.  “Jeremy, you can start carb-loading for the spinathon today or tomorrow.”

At lunch I went down and bought some fresh pasta.  It was like an episode of Popeye.

I coasted through the rest of the day, and thought, “hmmm, I could go for a little more punishment… I’m going to the gym after work…”  Then I tooted my corncob pipe and flexed a bicep.

But today was also the day Ottawa decided to have a big sloppy blizzard all day.  By the time I got out of work, the walk to the gym was NO fun.  It was all slush and puddles of gunk and ankle high wet snowdrifts.  It just wore you down to be outside.  People were leaving work early, scared of the roads.  Not I.  I was not going to give up on the gym.

Next spin class would not start until 6, signup at 5:45.    So I should in theory have time to do a back workout.  But my arrival was delayed by weather.  so after some barbell rows, I had to get to spin class.

bent over rows (2 min rest):  135 x 5; 185 x 5; 225 x 3, 3, 3

Evening spin was being taught by Courtney.  I like Courtney’s classes.  She has good music and makes her classes challenging but exciting.

this class had a lot of pyramids and tabata.  Pyramids in the sense of 15 sec power climb, 15 sec rest, 30 sec climb, 30 sec rest, 45 sec… etc etc Once you hit the high point, you go back down in increments of 15.  We did that for standing climbs and we did it later for races.  We also had songs with 2 minute heavy standing climbs, 90 sec heavy seated climbs.  We had a tabata song, 8 intervals of 20 sec race 10 sec rest.  If you know tabata that means you go at 100% of your max effort, then rest briefly, then max effort again, etc.

I came to the class with visions of doing the rest of my back workout after, but it was apparent 20 min in that this spin class was going to empty my tank.  I was sweating, working as hard as I possibly could, and slowly getting my butt more and more kicked.  I almost didn’t make it through the last song.  I had nothing left.  so I hit the showers, exhausted.

Changing back into my clothes, in the lockerroom, a young man leans over to start talking about the cracks in the soles of my feet and how I need to use teatree oil.  Weird people, man.  It creeped me out.

After gym I went to the health food store to pick up snacks for race day.  I wanted some sort of easy digesting snack, maybe I could try one of those cool gels I see runners eat.  Bonus to sucking down gel all day, I can pretend I’m an astronaut!  But I had to start snacking on it now, to let my tummy get used to it.  Take no chances.

And since it was carb loading day, I had visions of rice for dinner!  Hooray!  But still the trip home was totally miserable.  I walked in the door, flung off my coat, and collapsed.

A hard day, rivers of sweat and miles of frustration.  But I paid my dues today.


How about you?  Any good workouts?

Leg Day, Arm Day

Sorry for the delay, lost my notes 🙂

Wednesday I headed to the private studio with Leslie to do some lower body stuff.  Workouts will be getting more regular in the future, 2 days a week, lower body day and upper body day, AKA awesome day and pain in the ass day!  Plus whatever workouts I do on my own time 🙂

Plus it was Halloween!  While everyone else was stuffing their face with candy, I was blessed with a bag full of heavy iron treats.  I like the thought of lifting while you pig out.  Let’s go!

Leslie showed up for work in full costume.

Silk Spectre! We meet again…

Workout: (60 sec rest b/w sets)

45 min of cardio on the elliptical

Barbell squats:  warmup, 115 x12, 135 x12, x12, x12

droppin into the pocket

walking lunges:  set of 20, grabbed 15 lb dumbbells and did sets of 20, 20, 16

vertical leg press:  315 x15, x15, x15

why, hello there

stiff-legged deadlift: 135 x6, x6 … *ominous music*

lying leg curls:  75 x12, 100 x12, x12

superset reverse crunches with bicycle crunches 15/24, 15/24, 15/24

notes:  cardio BEFORE weights?  and BEFORE leg day?  I was cruisin for a bruisin!  I had not done barbell squats in YEARS… so this was interesting for me.  I am looking forward to getting back up there in terms of weight, but this was a nice start.  The novelty of it plus the cardio left me so gassed that lunges were BRUTAL.  I was whining up a storm!  Every lunge burned in the forward leg, and the stretch burned in my back leg.  And then between sets, there was a girl half my size doing lunges like a walk in the park, with 40s… I slapped myself in the face.  They burned though pretty good.

Then the vertical leg press, 3 more sets, I was busting out all sorts of grunts by the end.  Then we moved to hamstrings.  I also had not done SLDL in years, maybe ever for all I can remember.  When we did it, it should have been ok, but it felt really awkward, and my lower back felt uncomfortable and nervous.  So I quit.  Just up and reracked the weight.  Both times.  Just went nope and reracked it.  It might be a mental block, so Leslie had me practice my form with no weight.  I fully intend to work on that, it beat me this time, I will beat it next time.  So we did lying leg curls, which were great, but again, heavy groans and fatigue near the end.  I actually thought Leslie started PUSHING the weight back down on me to torture me on the last set, turns out she only let go on the last few reps and I was feeling the whole weight, haha!

Now, for those ab exercises, I am ESTIMATING the reps.  Because by that point, I was struggling with both reps and form.  My form looked like shit, my core was done, and I was a crunching disaster.  I just had nothing left.

When I walked into the changeroom, I sort of felt like puking.  But that is what leg day does to you.  Honest.


Thursday I was offsite taking a course for work, and they had their own gym.  So I went down with a coworker to get a superquick lunch one in.  Time was so pressed (55 min to be back in my seat for the end of lunch), so I decided to do arms in 30 min, and no shower afterwards, haha.  Quick and dirty arm workout.  And did I mention it was also BRUTAL?  Short and deadly.

60 sec rest b/w sets, 6 exercises, 2 sets each, first set slow negative rep (lower the weight over a  5 second period), then a pump set


closegrip DB press:  warmup with 20s, warmup with 40s, 55s for a slow neg set of 8, 35s for a pump set of 20

rope extension:  90 lbs slow neg set of 10, 60 lbs pump set of 25

one arm seated extension: warm up with 20s, 30s for a slow neg set of 6 (each side), 15s for a pump set of 17/18


preacher curls:  55 lbs slow neg set of 10, 45 lbs pump set of 25

one arm cable curls:  30 lbs slow neg set of 10/10, 15 lbs pump set of 25/25

zottman curls:  20 lb DBs slow neg set of 6,  10 lb DBs pump set of 15

notes:  the first few sets were ok, but the 3rd exercise on each muscle group was brutally tough.  The weights weren’t high, but I was fatigued as hell.  Those slow neg zottmans were murder on my forearms.  I also crushed my thumb trying to do closegrip dumbbell presses 😦

Then my friend said it was 15 min until class started, so I wussed out on the zottman pump set and took off back to class, haha.  Short workout but deadly!!  Try it!


See you soon!

get fit with les!



Upper Body Day & Cardio Day

Wednesday my foot was feeling stiff (I have gout), my sore tailbone was aggravated by the rowing machine on Tuesday, and my shoulders were just plain sore from hard work.  Whine, whine, whine.

Leslie gamely agreed to make this low to no impact for my feet.  So… upper body day!  Happy dance!

Thankfully, Leslie wasn’t offended by my diss of the arm component of a fullbody workout.  My arms are weak as shit anyways, I need the work wherever I can get it.

10 min on elliptical

assisted pullups:  6, 6, 6

bent over barbell rows:  65 x 15, 115 x 12, 12

mean muggin

close grip pulldowns:  180 x 12, 200 x 12, 12

pad for my sore tailbone

pushups on grips – from knees x 15, 15; regular pushups x 12

Dumbbell Flyes:  50 x 15, 60 x 12, 12

Seated Dumbbell Press:  90 x 12, 12, 10*

arching your back accentuates the gut

Superset Lateral Raises to Front Raises:  20×12/10, 20×12/30×10, 20×12/30×10

hard work for my bad shoulder

Bicep curls:  45 x 15, 15, 10



Notes:  no pix of the pullups, since Leslie was busy trying to keep me alive.  We looped a heavy rubber strap around my knee and had me do pullups.  First challenge was to keep from swinging back and forth, so Leslie had to brace me with her hands.  My first time using a band, was interesting.

side note:  clingy thin white shirts are not my friend.  stick to dark, heavy t-shirts for workouts where cameras are present.

My first time doing barbell rows, usually I use dumbbells.  Was not bad, can definitely go heavier as I get used to it.  Pulldowns also light.

Pushups are ok, still have a long ways to go before I am back to where I was.  I like using grips though, I should buy some.  Flyes felt really good, have been using the pec dec for months.  It was just one of those exercises where your body cries out YES, just what I needed!  Looking forward to doing more of those.

The shoulder presses got hard as my shoulder got tired, on that last set, they ran out of gas around rep 7, Leslie had to force/assist the last few reps.  By rep 10, by the look on her face I think she was realizing the next one would be all her, hahaha.  C’mon Leslie, you can do underhand front raises with 45 lb dumbbells!  wuss!  😛

Those bicep curls were sad, all I was using was the olympic bar.  My arms were just done, that last set of 15 was painful and sad (and only went to 10).  Curling just the bar… son, I am disappoint.  I can do better.  Part of it was how uncomfortable my grip was, my hands kept wanting to turn inwards so hard, my pinky was almost coming off the bar as I curled it.  Stupid straight bars!


Thursday (tonight), I went to Spin class after work for some offday cardio.  I will not put up a picture of that instructor, because she was HORRIBLE.  Just so bad.  I don’t want to identify her, that is wrong, but she is wretched.  I won’t even comment, I did the spin, got my cardio out of the way, she was a bad teacher, move along, nothing to see here.

So in it’s place, here is an older pic of me with my FAVORITE spin teacher!  Her name is Andrea, her classes are the goods!

men forget to smile in photos sometimes


After the spin class, I decided to “treat” myself to a double shot of fresh squeezed wheatgrass juice from Booster Juice.  Never tried it before.  UGH!  It made me ill.  It tasted spicy in an odd way.  The burps were revolting.  That was much worse than the wheatgrass powder I used to mix with water.  My body owes my taste buds big time on that one.


Well, need to get some sleep!  Big day tomorrow!  Bye!