So firstly I just want to say thanks for all the messages that have come in that these updates have been motivating you to get into some exercise! that sorta thing really makes my day!
So not a huge amount has changed of late to be fair,
I’ve more or less dropped cardio to two sessions a week and that will still be in a weights session, just maybe 20-30 mins on the end of the overall session, maybe a bike ride or a elliptical training. With the cardio I basically focus on heart rate over time, so my target is 135bpm – yours is likely different and its relative to your body type and age, younger and fitter your target will be higher. Going over can start eating away at muscle mass if you really over do it and since at the moment I’m going for muscle building I want to be careful there, while still chipping away at trimming whats left of my belly. A lot of belly has moved on but there is always room for improvement, I’m not going for a 6 or 8 pack at sub 10% body fat, that’s far too much diet restrictions and extra effort that I’m not willing to do, going back to that enjoyment vs reward ratio, which I am sticking with. Other than that, food is much of a muchness. I’ve not gone out and changed anything major nor excluded anything with intent. Certainly doing a lot more of my own cooking which is inherently better than drive through and the crap I used to eat, but I did smash a KFC hot and Spicy cause… well it’s pretty tasty. I don’t know if I mentioned it last time but I’ve added an extra meal on days I train, usually around 9-10pm depending what I have for dinner, just to get some extra fuel in to balance out the output I’m doing. Typically I’ll just throw some mince in a pan, season and sauce it and throw it on some pasta. Usually 150-200grams of Mince and 2 modest handfulls of pasta. It’s a good quick way to get some clean food in, instead of snacking on shit food.
In terms of actual exercises, more learning. A lot of it has come down to training with other people but we’ll circle back to that. As I said I’ve been doing less and less cardio, not that I don’t need it, its just not that interesting to me at the moment and I am still trimming down slowly doing what I am doing. And what I’ve been doing lately is ” heavy sets” so for example , Where I might have done 3 x 10 reps @ 22kgs of Bicep curls as part of an arm work out; I’ll now do 4 sets of 6 reps starting at say 26kgs working up in each set with more weight until 6 reps is no longer manageable. Manageable is a subjective term tho. If I can get through say 5 sets of the same exercise at a decent weight then I’m happy with that as part of an overall workout. Ideally by the end of it the last 3 reps of the last set are questioning if its still possible, but grit your teeth and hammer down and get them done, that’s when I’m happy with it. So with that mindset in toe, I’ll set at 1 or 2 major body areas per sessions for example today was Major chest and Minor arms, so that means I did 7 various exercises using the 4 sets of 6 reps theme.
Another thing I saw that I thought I would try.. Actually segway. For the first few weeks of going to the gym, even when i started back up at forge, I was always a bit worried about looking like a knob, doing something really wrong or stupid, which is why I put so much time into learning via YouTubers, the likes of Juji and Tom or Thor Bjornsson and more so lately, Eddie Hall. Eddie Hall has a really good doco on Netflix at the moment by the way but he’s also doing a lot of YouTube So I’ll link him below. But now I feel like I have the confidence to try these things I’ve been seeing and not really give a shit what anyone else thinks cause at the end of the day, who really cares. I’m learning and progressing and that’s what’s important. So the thing I tried last week and did again for part of todays chest day, was to use resistance bands to add gradual resistance at the movement extends, this was used on both incline and flat bench. The idea being that you tie a knot in the band if needed, to get very little resistance at the lowest point of the movement so that it gradually ads resistance as you push up. I have found this to be very effective so It will be part of that routine from now on. Going from 40kg with bands on the flat bench then taking them off to see the difference was night and day. I don’t know weight wise how much is effectively added at the top of the movement I would hazard a guess to sat 10-15kgs but your bands will be different. Challenge yourself tho, start with light or no weight and figure it out and if you’re getting heavy get a friend to spot, which leads me into my next thought.
Training with friends.
So For the longest time I never really spoke to anyone at my local, I assumed it was just something about my face. But I was ok with that cause I very much train at my own pace and being slowed down really does my head in. I’d been chatting with a couple of the lads, much younger and fitter than me but pushing around the same weight, so the old ” set for set” kicked off which in the sense of being challenged by someone else is far more effective than a personal challenge; depending on your mindset. For me its 50/50 I like the challenge and the new ideas however not at the cost of getting shit done, I don’t want to be standing around talking shit when there is work to do, I go to the gym to train not socialize. But I think overall a good balance can be easily found. Case in point, I had arranged to meet up with one of the lads to kill leg day and fuck me I was done for 3 days. epic sessions, good laughs and most importantly challenging each other and pushing harder!
Other than that, I think we’re about up to date. I got some new Gym shoes as I had been training in running shoes that I’ve had for years ( they never did much running ) but for dead lifts and squats a flatter, thinner sole with no extra meat on the heel is ideal if not bare feet. So i scored some sick DC high tops – they don’t offer ankle protection or stability – just a style I liked. I did actually find that my squatting has been problematic, I was training with a mate working up the weight and I think it was around 90kg my back started feeling iffy. After a major back injury some years back my upper back has been pulling my spine in a funny direction due to my upper back muscles over compensating for a weak lower back. This leads to virtibre basically touching, which I can assure you is far from comfortable, worst case they lock together and that puts me on my ass for a couple days. which I am trying to avoid, so I bowed out of going any heavier with those. Its rather Ironic cause I’ve spent the last 3 months getting my reconstructed shoulder good enough to be able to hold the bar for squats and now something else is holding it back. I know my legs have it, but there has to be something to keep it interesting right? not sure how to get around this one just yet so more research to do!
My plan moving forward is to keep learning, keep training with other people where possible. I still don’t have a clear picture of where I want to get to, and I’m ok with that. Right now I just see where I am making progress and then look at where I am lacking and focusing on that. Right now I’m just thinking about balance and symmetry over being super lean or super big. I don’t want to get massive as that would be a detriment to my riding but certainly trimming the excess that still resides around my mid section can’t hurt. but again, keeping the balance of a happy life without limitation and a robust work schedule when in the gym.
Any questions or anything feel free to ask or DM, Mad love to those that have sent through messages of encouragement and letting me know I’ve motivated you!
Here’s a video from Eddie Hall on how to Deadlift properly! which I was doing wrong. I didn’t have the bar over my feet, more level with my toes, It did make a difference!