Tag Archive: cycling

post-vacation upper body day

The first serious workout after a vacation is always a mix of enthusiasm and caution.  You want to test things out, see how they feel, but you also have all this extra energy and when you get loosened up, you feel ready to go heavier.

I had been experiencing insomnia ever since I returned.  For 2 nights in a row I couldn’t sleep at night, only in the early hours of the morning; like I would sleep from 6 am til 11 am.  Not acceptable.  I didn’t indulge the coffee habit though, I wanted to finish off a good offcycle.  But by Day 2 I needed a normal sleep, and I needed to be productive at work.  So I bought some Melatonin, 10 mg.  It worked wonders!

Friday morning was my first normal morning in a while, feeling refreshed and solid.  But my sternum felt sore.  Many years ago I sprained the cartilage on my sternum, and only in the past 5 or 6 years did I feel confident in my chest’s ability to press weight again.  But I recognized the signs of soreness.  I think I have been rolling my shoulders back too much lately – I do it to practice form for my rear delt exercises, but I am overdoing it, and it is stretching my sternum out too much too often.

The pain wasn’t bad, just a warning signal.  It’s funny, I have gotten stung going too far in either direction – throw my shoulders back too much and I sprained my sternum.  I started rolling my shoulders forward too often, and years later I sprain the front of my shoulder from overuse.  I start learning to “pack” my shoulders again and I start to feel it in my sternum again…  it is a fine line to walk.

But I otherwise felt fine, took an anti-inflammatory and went to work.  I left work early, came home, had some food, rested up, and prepped for a workout with Leslie.  I wanted to blow this workout away, I was hungry for it.  I took my first scoop of PWO in weeks (hour before the workout), and my first caffeine boost in like 10 days.  The effect was great!  By the time the workout started I was both full of energy and super-upbeat.

I think cycling off caffeine every few months is a great idea.  You might have to adjust the specifics for yourself, but when you feel like your usual caffeine boost isn’t doing it for you any more, don’t up the dosage, just go off caffeine for a week or two, then start back on at a low dosage.  The first few days off caffeine are painful, but in my opinion it’s better than continuing to up the amounts until you are a coffee maniac.  I am going to get back on the cycle by only taking caffeine before workouts, then I might work my way up to one cup of coffee a day even on offdays, do that for a few months, then drop it for a few weeks.  Make the caffeine serve you, you don’t serve the caffeine.

On to the workout!  Upper Body Day, we did some contract renewal, then some chest and back.

Warmup on the elliptical

DB chest press:  warmup, 140×10, 150×8, x10

nice half-smile, jackass

nice half-smile, jackass

Cable Flys:  80×12, 100×12, 120×12

Leslie likes this photo!

Leslie likes this photo!

Band-assisted Widegrip Pullups:  10, 8, 6

the lopside at the bottom of the movement shows off my shoulder sprain

the lopside at the bottom of the movement shows off my shoulder sprain

T-bar Row:  115×15, 140×12, 165×10, x10


we use the v-bar grip on the bar

we use the v-bar grip on the bar

Widegrip Pulldowns:  200×12, 220×12, 240×12



cooldown:  a minute on the battle ropes

notes:  I had energy for days!  We were tentative with the weights to see how my sternum felt, but each time Leslie asked me if I wanted to go heavier, I said hell yes!  I know I am capable of more with the chest press, but Leslie promised we could break out the 80 lb dumbbells next time, so I got those 100s in my sights!  Gunnin for that #1 spot!

I much prefer doing flys with the dumbbells over the cables, but this was safer on my sternum, so we chose this route.  It felt pretty good towards the end, so it was the right choice.

My pullups were ok, I think I might have to try doing them more often just for practice.  Not necessarily even a full set, I just need to “grease the groove” a little bit, as Pavel Tsatsouline would say.  It’s a way of encouraging neural adaptation through repetition.


Now, I don’t think I have the schedule or the facilities to be doing assisted pullups a half dozen times, during a half dozen different breaks over my day, over a half dozen days of the week.  That would be only possible if I could do a regular pullup, hahaha.  My concession is that I will try to throw in a few pullups somewhere each time I show up at the gym.  Cross your fingers!

Overall, a great workout!  I always love upperbody day, but it feels like I smashed this one, so mission accomplished!

emptying the tank

Neighbour asked me if I wanted to go to Spin class at 10 am.  So I showed up at the gym a little after 9 for some back work.

Did some deadlifts, which is one of those big boy moves I am still getting accustomed to, so really focused on form for now.  Then one arm DB rows with no rest between sets.  Then I did closegrip on the hammer strength row machine until the assisted chinup bar was free.

deadlift 185 for 8 reps, 90 sec rest, 8 reps

1 arm DB row 55s for 12, 12

row machine 90 pounds for 25 reps

assisted pullups (40% BW) – widegrip 4, closegrip 5, hammer grip 4


Then I loosened up my joints for about a minute, then alternated sets of 5 fingerpad kneeling pushups with 10 eagle claws, 2 sets.  Then I went back to the assisted chinup bar to practice hanging:

15 sec, 30 sec rest

20 sec, 40 sec rest

15 sec, 50 sec rest

10 sec

I think my times were better this time because this chinup bar has fresher rubber, I get a better grip.  New favorite bar to hang from!


Then it was time for spin class.  By the third song, I knew I was in trouble.  I was running out of gas to the point where my pedals were stopping, and I was only about a quarter of the way into the class!  That class seemed to go on FOREVER… I just got pulverized.  It was brutal!  If there was a referee, he would have stopped the class and thrown in the towel.

I am not sure what it was:  was I dehydrated?  Were my legs still tired from HIIT on Thursday?  Did I use up my energy on the back workout?  All 3?  Whatever the reason, it was just one of those cardio classes where we empty our tanks long before the finish line.  We have all had them, now was just my turn.

After class I went to do some extra stretches (beyond the ones we normally do for our legs):  L-Sit above the dip station for about 20 seconds, held a short bridge for about 20 sec, some seated twists for about 20 sec each side.  Then I showered and headed home.

By the time I was at the bus stop, my feet were dragging, I was ready to just crawl into a hole and hibernate.  Maybe no spin class for me tomorrow…


Spinning Fool

April Fool’s Day!  Today was no joke however, I had work to do.

My neighbour convinced me to go to a 9 am Spin class.  My favorite Spin instructor was leading it, so I was up for it. In cardio in general, I prefer female guides, go figure.  But most female Spin or RPM instructors are WAY too chatty. Andrea though is all business, which I like.

2 songs into the 7 or 8 song set, I knew I was in trouble.  My legs already felt low on energy.  Sure enough by Song 6, I failed out towards the end, my legs came to a complete stop, and I had to dial it back and start up again.  In the final race song, I failed out 3 times!  Basically I emptied my tank out completely.  In that respect, it was a great Spin class.

No time to rest though, I had enough time to go home and switch out gear, then I headed to my backup yoga studio for a Seane Corn-inspired Detox Flow 75 min hot yoga class.  I had never tried this class before, and I was curious.  Basically, it was a bunch of sun salutations and some squats, followed by extended twists, like a mix of Yang and Yin, except focusing on twists.  I like twists, so I was happy, but I don’t know if it’s anything I couldn’t get in greater quantities in a full-on Yin class.

It was a tough class though, because I was pretty worn out.  I forgot my towel for my mat so I was slipping and sliding all over the rubber mat, which hampered the workout unfortunately.

I sweat lots and lots in spin, and lots more in hot yoga, more than usual.  I am fully convinced that Creatine makes me sweat more, especially during the load week.  This makes sense, as Creatine makes you retain water, so when it’s time to sweat, I do it like no other.

By the way, load week is over on the Creatine, now into regular cycle for 3 weeks.

The side effect of evenly spaced out cardio classes like this is that I had very little to eat all day.  I like to go on an empty stomach, or I want to vomit,  So breakfast was just a protein shake, and I had a booster juice in between classes.  When I got home, I cooked up chicken and fish for the week, and ate some fish and kicked back.

My chest was feeling really good during yoga, like it was ready for more work, so tonight I went for the 100 pushup challenge: Week 4, Day 3, Level 2.

23 pushups, 120 sec rest

28, 120 s

23, 120 s

23, 120s

33, DONE

In total 130 pushups, and I was successful and ready to move on to Week 5.  I should point out that these are not full ROM pushups, my chest is not that strong yet.  They were more military style, going slightly more than halfway down, and as quick as possible.  Mathematically, it makes sense to me.  If a pushup is 60% of your weight, am I doing 30 rep sets of 180-90 pound bench presses?  Nope, I am lucky if I do 5 of those.  So, not full, slow ROM, but military-style.  That’s ok though, I will be exploring full ROM in depth when my Convict Conditioning progresses, so I don’t want to milk the 100 pushup challenge for work, I want to get through asap, so I can save energy for CC.

Then I did the 200 Squat Challenge: Week 4, Day 1, Level 3

29 Squats, 60 sec rest

34, 60s

29, 60s

29, 60s

43, DONE

These are “half squats”, not ATG.  They are what this program asks for, so they are what I do.  Total 164 squats, on to Day 2.

I considered doing triceps, but all the pushups wore out my triceps a bit, so I am planning to do them tomorrow morning when I wake up.

Snacked all afternoon in between calisthenics and laundry, bagel, 450g of oven-cooked tilapia, can of veg soup, can of peas and carrots.  Will have some protein before bed, then that’s that!

Overall a good day, I am always happy when I progress on the pushup challenge,