Tag Archive: supplements


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

IMG_1667

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

IMG_1672

IMG_1676

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.

http://www.leanandmuscular.org/greasing-the-groove.php

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!

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firewalking

What is astrology?  I think of it as an attempt to look for patterns in the universe, and apply them to your own life.  People chart the stars, and link them to the animals or the elements, anthropomorphize them, give those animals or elements human traits, then link them back to us.  So, let’s say, that constellation looks like a lion, lions are proud and commanding, someone born under that sign has been influenced by that constellation, and that is how they will be.

But how could every single person born under say Scorpio all act the same way?  Personally, astrology is a fun game for me, not a superstition.  Everyone is different, shaped by their environment, their genetics, their circumstances.  So, you can choose to let your astrological symbol suggest a possible path to you, a way for you to act that is fitting for what your strengths could be.  It’s as ok a system for “how to act” as any.  But your path is still your own to navigate, it isn’t predetermined.  Your options may be limited, but it isn’t all worked out already.

“Yeah so, what the hell does this have to do with your workout?”

Be patient, grasshopper.

you have much to learn

All my life astrology keeps telling me I am fire.  Western astrology, Eastern astrology, fire fire fire.  Your primary animal is a fire element, your secondary is a fire element, you were born on a hot afternoon in the middle of summer, fire!  At the start of the week, I was having lunch with a girl (a pretty cute girl, I might add!) and she was talking to me about “doshas”.  Think of doshas as Hindu medicine with an astrological/elemental twist.  You are fire, water, air, varying degrees.  So I go take the online quiz… guess what I am?  FIRE

http://doshaquiz.chopra.com/

Even when I was a kid, they wouldn’t let me donate blood, they said it was too warm… but I digress.

Today I started a new pre-workout, NO3 Chrome.  They are pills and I am taking them with the N0 Extreme pwo powder.  NO3 is the Arginine, to give you a pump, but is otherwise stim free and creatine free.  N0 Extreme has stims, but is creatine free.  I cycled off stims pwo’s for 2 weeks, and am now ready for them again.  I am taking creatine on my own (mono).  So, why not buy the C4 and get pwo and creatine together?  Well I am trying the N0 Extreme, and if I like, I can cycle onto it when I cycle off creatine but still want stims.

All that to say, I was trying some new stuff to get me going for my workouts.  To bring some fire to my routine.

NO3 Chrome

N0 Extreme

This was my first day, first workout taking it!  I took 3 pills of the Chrome, and 1 scoop of the powder, about 60 min before the workout.  On with the show!

cardio 10 min

uneven one leg bench squats (1 min rest):  15, 10

one leg legpress (no rest, back and forth leg to leg):  235 x 25, 15, 10

one leg legcurls (no rest, back and forth leg to leg):  135 x 10, 10, 6, 6, 7

stretch 10 min

cardio 20 min

notes:  I don’t think I felt an arginine pump, but I am a big guy with a high tolerance, so I will give it some time to kick in as I keep taking it.  However, I felt great focus and some good energy right at the start.  And did I mention I was sweating bullets??  The one leg squats felt strong right off the start, good initial burst of energy.  My reps blew my old reps out of the water.

Leg presses were pretty intense.  I didn’t realize how much they tuckered me out until I went to do leg curls.  My right hamstring is what gave out first.  Overall I was disappointed with my leg curls, my goal was 50 reps, I only did close to 40.

Note that under this system, I do NOT go to failure.  I go until I feel like I am about to fail, sometimes I also fail spontaneously.  But some people like to keep going until they flat out fail hard.  I don’t do that because it is hard on your joints.  If you are in your 20s, you can do it if you like.  But once you hit your 30s, the injuries start popping up, and you realize you need to take care of your joints.  So I go until I feel like I will fail on the next one, like my control is gone.

After the leg curl failure, my back felt quite sore.  From what, I do not know.  So I decided to cut the volume off at that, and do some stretches before the cardio.  I did 10 minutes of my favorite yoga back stretches or restorative poses:  waterfall, supine butterfly, cobblers pose, seal pose.  I didn’t hold them as long as I would in Yin, but they still felt really good.

waterfall

supine butterfly

Then it was time for more cardio!  Again, the N0 Extreme was still raring to go!  I did 20 minutes of heart pumping cardio.  Even though my legs felt like lead, my brain was growling, “MORE”.  So I burnt a hole through that one.

And as I was sweating like crazy and emptying my tank all over the arc trainer, my mind went back to fire.  I was born under a fire sign.  Maybe the only way out for me on this whole losing weight and getting fit thing is to push myself through the burn, to dance into the fire and come out the other side.

 

ok maybe I don’t get a baby dragon out of it, but it was a pretty cool scene 🙂

 

I went home after the workout and collapsed.  I am dead tired.  But I wanted to type this up for you guys!  Hope you enjoyed it!

By the way, speaking of fire and ice, one of my favorite movie moments as a child was the opening scene from “A View To A Kill”.  That was the James Bond movie from 1985.  Say what you will about the movie, but that title sequence was hot as balls!  I think I went through puberty immediately from watching that sequence… I’m telling you, the girls in the glow in the dark skisuits?  I still have dreams of women that glow in the dark doing cartwheels through the air on skis.  Any woman who can recreate that scene will be the woman I MARRY.

Don’t believe me?  Watch it

Today, I had two options, spin or yoga.  Gentleman’s choice.

My friend had his birthday dinner last night, and I knew he wanted to go to Spin today.  And the yoga studio, well… the streets were closed due to a festival, so taking the bus would be a pain.  So I went Spin.

 

Saturday mornings often have chatty peppy guy, but this week he had a sub.  It was young peppy woman.  I had never had a class with her, so I was ready for anything.

It turned out quite well actually.  I thought her routine was really well-balanced, it gave me the leeway I needed to decide if I either wanted low intensity steady state or high intensity intervals.  My legs were quite sore from the leg workout yesterday so I went low intensity, and tried to flush the legs out.

She was a little too chatty, admittedly, and by the end of the hour I just wanted to get away from her and her talking.  But to be fair, most spin teachers are that way, it’s part of their training.  It’s a way to keep the crowd’s energy high.  I am a grumpy old man, so I hate chattiness, but I have reconciled that it comes with the spinning.  No offence intended to any spin teachers out there, I don’t envy your job, you do what you gotta do to get these fat asses and old farts moving 🙂

Aren’t I pleasant today?  ha ha

Anyhoo, I thought it was a good class, 7/10.  If I showed up to a future class and saw her, would not cringe 🙂

I wanted to linger in the gym a little more, maybe do some chinups, but the friend had to go home asap, and I was going to buy him a birthday present from the health food store, so I left as well.

Does a birthday present from the health food store seem lame?  It kinda is, but he has been getting into using supplements lately, and I am mildly familiar with the subject, so I thought it would be fun to get him something that will help him.  He was already stocked on protein powder, and he had a vitamin he was happy with, and a fish oil supp he was happy with, so I pointed out the ones I use and why I like him, and looked for something else.

Turns out he has never had Greens+ before!  For shame.  He seemed open to the idea, so I bought him some.  Sadly, Greens tends to be overpriced, and this store tends to be overpriced (The Nutrition Store, it’s a chain disguised as a sort of Chinese herbalist grocery store), so I told him he can get a better deal on Greens at GNC (or at my yoga studio! but I digress)

 

Then off home to nap and let my legs recover.

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,