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Back to Basics

Discussion in 'Fitness Journals' started by Bradley326, Jan 8, 2015.

  1. Bradley326

    Bradley326 Well-Known Member

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    I've come a long way since my old journal (http://forums.johnstonefitness.com/showthread.php?t=53152) so I'm starting a new one to help keep track of my fitness progress this year.

    I'm not a fan of new years resolutions since I think it's silly to wait for an arbitrary date to start making life changes. However, I've found that I like setting a broad theme, so to speak, for the year in terms of goals and things I'd like to accomplish. I think it helps keep me focused and moving forward throughout the year.

    Here are some themes from the past few years:

    2012: Fitness. I came back from living overseas in November, 2011, and I was a fat, unhealthy mess of a human being. I can remember sitting on the flight home thinking about how I had to make a change in my fitness: start going to the gym, eating better, and being more active overall. It took some doing, but as 2011 ended and 2012 progressed, I kept the overall goal of fitness in mind and I managed to get into the best shape of my life (up to that point) by the end of the year.

    2013: Organize My Life. I had a lot of credit card debt, a low-paying job I hated, and I lived with my parents. The one bright spot was that I was in pretty great shape. At the beginning of 2013 I had been back from living overseas for about a year, and other than fitness I had been kind of floating aimlessly since coming back to the States. So at the beginning of 2013 I told myself I was going to use the year to get things in order, especially in terms of my career and living situation. I started the journal linked above and throughout 2013 I was largely successful in organizing my life and addressing a lot of the big issues.

    2014: Improvement. I didnt update my journal much in 2014 because, well, there wasn't much to say. Since I had already remedied most of my perceived "problems" in 2013, I set the goal of simply improving as much as I could in as many ways as I could during 2014. I managed to get great strength increases in the gym, cut down on body fat a bit more, and overall maintained a pretty healthy lifestyle. I ran my first real race, an 8k through the Baltimore Zoo, and rode my first century, the Seagull Century around Maryland's eastern shore. In addition to improving fitness-wise, I improved my career by nearly doubling my salary with a new job as well as finishing my master's degree.

    So here is the theme I've set for myself this year:

    2015: Back To Basics. I've made huge progress in all areas of my life over the last few years, so this year I want to take a step back and make sure I'm maintaining a strong foundation. To that effect, some of the goals I have for this year are:

    1. Take a step back from some of the various exercise split routines I've been doing in the gym and go back to a simple-but-effective 5x5 barbell training program. I've already been doing this for several weeks, and I'm looking forward to continuing with it.

    2. Stop worrying about calorie counts and macros and try to eat more based on feeling. With all the carb-loaded holiday meals finally out of the way, I started eating 80% paleo at the end of December and I feel amazing. I'm going to continue this as much as possible throughout the year. No counting calories, no worrying about macros, no weighing myself, no measurements. Just eating quality, wholesome, unprocessed foods.

    3. Get back to my linguistics roots and refocus on my Spanish and Russian. I haven't had much opportunity to use either language since my current full-time job isn't in a field conducive to them, but I want to make sure I don't forget what I already know of them and keep improving on them. I'm going to keep this journal primarily about fitness, so I have a separate journal/blog on a language site I frequent to track this goal: http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=39821&PN=2

    4. Although it's not really "back to basics", this year I am planning to ride in at least 2 centuries (Seagull Century again, plus one other I have yet to determine) and run at least one 10k race. Even though running sucks. Yuck.

    Lol, I guess one thing that never changes year-to-year is how longwinded I am. I enjoy writing!
     
    #1 Bradley326, Jan 8, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
  2. leftyx

    leftyx Senior Member

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    Welcome back Bradley. I'm sure you're getting a functional workout just going outside in the freezing weather. And congrats on all your success.
     
  3. Bradley326

    Bradley326 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks!

    Today's workout (WeightxSetsxReps):

    Incline Bench Press: 135x5x5
    Deadlifts: 155x5x5
    Wide-grip Pull-ups: BWx5x5
    Stretching for my lower back

    Deadlifts are light because I'm really paranoid about hurting my back. I pinched a nerve in my lower back last January while shoveling snow, and it was absolutely awful for several months. I started doing deadlifts again about a month or so ago with an empty bar and I've been slowly adding weight. I'm not pushing for any specific number, so I'll keep adding weight until I don't feel like I can do them comfortably.
     
  4. macdiver

    macdiver Well-Known Member
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    Good to learn that things are going well for you.

    Build up slow on the deads. Description us the better part of valor.
     
  5. leftyx

    leftyx Senior Member

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    Don't you love spellcheck???



    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Tapatalk
     
  6. Bradley326

    Bradley326 Well-Known Member

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    Today's Workout:

    Flat Bench Press: 175x5x5
    Squats: 145x5x5
    Standing OHP: 75x5x5
    Wide-grip Pull-ups: BWx5x5

    Just like with deadlifts, I'm increasing squats very slowly. More important than weight, I've been focusing on going as deep as I can--all the way to parallel--to hit the muscles as much as I can. There was a guy squatting more than 225 in the squat rack before me, but he was barely going down a few inches.

    I was going to go for a walk later, but it turns out my shoes have a hole in the bottom and it's raining today. That means wet feet. So instead I'm going to try and find time to get to the shoe store to buy new shoes.
     
  7. Bradley326

    Bradley326 Well-Known Member

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    Today's Workout:

    Various arm and lower back isolation exercises
    15 minutes of intervals on the stationary bike (30sec fast/60sec slow)

    Now I'm eating a delicious steak.

    I'm pleased that my gym hasn't become unbearably crowded with new years resolutioners. I've noticed a handful of new people, but for the most part there is still enough space to do your thing without waiting for anyone to finish. It helps that they just installed a 2nd squat rack a couple months ago.
     
  8. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Good idea to focus on form and not the weight. No need to suffer through a needless injury.
     
  9. Bradley326

    Bradley326 Well-Known Member

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    I agree. The same guy who I mentioned above doing tiny little squats also does deadlifts on the same days I do. His back is rounded so much that it almost hurts me to watch, and he's lifting 315. That's an injury waiting to happen (or already happened? Maybe that's why his squats are so shallow :confused:)

    Today's Workout:
    Incline Bench Press: 140x5x5
    Deadlifts: 155x5x5
    Inside-grip Pull-ups: BWx5x5

    I've been doing great on eating an 80%(ish) paleo diet for a while now. Everything I eat consists mostly of protein and veggies, with carbs coming in as wholesome and unprocessed a form as possible, such as raw honey. I've gone out several times to fast food places because my girlfriend enjoys them, so I haven't been able to 100% avoid processed stuff; however, I try to stick to the grilled chicken and vegetable options as much as possible to at least avoid the processed carbs in buns and breads.
     
  10. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Eating a paleo diet how does your body feel after eating the fast food?
     
  11. Bradley326

    Bradley326 Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't say I feel much different when I eat fast food, but when I eat a large amount of flour-based carbs (bread, pasta, etc.) I definitely feel bloated and sluggish the next day, and I fart up a storm. If I get a burger at a fast food place I usually dump the bun. I'm still probably getting various preservatives and whatnot, but the processed carbs are the biggest thing to avoid, in my opinion.

    A couple weeks ago I ate 8 10-inch flour tortillas, and the next day I felt the worst that I've felt in a very long time because until eating those I hadn't had any processed carbs for quite a while.

    It's interesting because I've always eaten a lot of carbs (growing up in an Italian family!) and I certainly don't have trouble digesting them when I eat them regularly. It seems like when my body isn't used to having them, however, that it really struggles to get back into processed-carb-digesting mode.
     
  12. Bradley326

    Bradley326 Well-Known Member

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    Today's Workout:

    Various arm, back, and shoulder isolation exercises (mostly 4 sets of 8 - 12 reps each)
    15 minutes of intervals on the stationary bike (30sec fast/60 sec slow)

    No stretching as I had to hurry up and get back to work, since I went on my lunch break instead of in the morning. That's what I get for not knocking out my workout immediately in the morning!

    I'll do a bit of stretching tonight before bed.
     
  13. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Regardless of the timing, you got it done!
     
  14. leftyx

    leftyx Senior Member

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    I believe an occasional carb load is useful. If you think about it, when you add a carb load to a carbless week, you're not really adding a lot of carbs to your diet.
     
  15. Bradley326

    Bradley326 Well-Known Member

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    That's a good point, and I agree with you. That said, I think it's better (at least in my case) to carb load with more wholesome, healthier carbs (i.e., sweet potatoes, fruits) than processed stuff. I've had a few days where I loaded up on stuff like fruits and sweet potatoes and the next day I still felt great, whereas the times I've eaten a lot of processed carbs like breads and pastas have resulted in a pretty bloated, gassy feeling the next day.

    Today's Workout:
    Flat bench press (dumbbells): 70x5x5
    Squats: 145x5x5
    Wide-grip pull-ups: BWx5x5
    Seated OHP (dumbbells): 50x5x5
    Stretching for lower back/legs

    Normally Saturday and Sunday are my off days, but due to work issues I wasn't able to go to the gym yesterday (Friday), so I shifted that workout to today (Saturday). This was the first time I've been to the gym on a Saturday in a very, very long time and it was crazy how crowded it was. I'm used to pretty much having free run of the place between 7 - 8am on weekday mornings, but there had to have been at least 30ish people in there today. My gym is tiny, so that meant every bench, squat rack, and free floor space was occupied by at least one person, sometimes with another one waiting to use it. That's the reason I ended up doing dumbbells for OHP and bench press. Anyway, it's good to mix it up a bit, and I like to switch to dumbbells now and then.
     
  16. macdiver

    macdiver Well-Known Member
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    Again you got it done by pushing it to the weekend and being flexible with equipment. :tucool:
     
  17. Bradley326

    Bradley326 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! Yeah, even a subpar workout is better than sitting at home eating pizza rolls and picking Doritos crumbs off my chest.

    Today's Workout:
    Standing OHP (barbell): 85x5x5
    Close-grip Pull-ups: BWx5x5
    Incline Bench Press (barbell): 145x5x5
    Various stretches for lower back/legs

    I went into the gym today with the hope of starting with deadlifts, but I had less time than anticipated due to work and the gym was more crowded than I had anticipated, so I didn't do any leg work. However, I managed to get in a solid upper body workout and did some much-needed stretching for my lower back and legs.

    I upped my incline bench press from 140 to 145, and although I wrote 5x5 above, I actually failed my the final rep of the final set. I was surprised to have failed it, since adding 5 pounds really isn't much at such a low weight. I have a feeling it was because I wore my arms out quite a bit by doing OHP and pull ups beforehand. The next time I do incline bench press I'll start with it and see if I can fully complete my sets at 145.
     
  18. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Indeed!

    Nice workout and yes, the order of exercises can make a big difference in performance.
     
  19. Bradley326

    Bradley326 Well-Known Member

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    Today's Workout:
    Various arm, shoulder, and back isolation exercises
    15 minutes of intervals on the stationary bike (30sec fast/60sec slow)

    Again, I had hoped to do deadlifts today to make up for not doing them yesterday, but the deadlift bar/area were occupied the entire time I was in the gym. I like this gym, but it is so incredibly small it can get frustrating trying to do some of the more popular exercises. If it were squats I would have asked to work in, but with deadlifts it's such a pain to take the bumper plates on/off that it really isn't worth it. Anyway, I think my legs got a decent workout on my bike intervals since I bumped the resistance up pretty high.

    I really hit my arms and back hard with the isolation exercises. Normally I can hop up on a pull-up bar and crank out 4 - 8 reps of any type of pull-up/chin-up (close grip, inside grip, reverse grip, wide grip), but at the end of my workout today I could only hang limply no matter how hard I tried. :bb:

    I'm going to be out of town pretty much all day tomorrow and Friday, so I'll probably do a regular workout tomorrow morning and then do like I did this past week and turn Friday into a rest day and hit the gym on Saturday morning.
     
  20. Bradley326

    Bradley326 Well-Known Member

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    Today's Workout:
    Bench Press: 175x5x5
    Deadlifts: 155x5x5
    Wide-grip Pull-ups: BWx5x5
    Seated OHP (dumbbells): 50x5x5

    I got a solid workout in today, and even managed to finally get my deadlifts in! I was kind of struggling on the wide-grip pull-ups, which is unusual. I think it might be that I just did pull-ups yesterday, and I almost never do pull-ups on back-to-back days. Seated OHP with dumbbells is getting pretty easy at 50 pounds, but a few weeks ago I upped it to 55 and struggled a bit. I think I might have to focus on doing barbell OHP so I can fine-tune the weight a bit more. The problem is that there isn't really a great place to do barbell OHP in my gym; you basically have to use one of the squat racks, which are always occupied.

    Heading out of town in an hour, so my next workout will be on Saturday most likely. Squats!
     

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