Sunday, February 27, 2011

Week 3 back day done

Week #3's back day wrapped yesterday with gains across the board. I even threw in some extra abs (weighted decline situps and kneeling cable crunches) for good measure. Also did some bent-over rows with 100lb dumbells. Not too shabby, considering that's a personal best for me too - and after the actual "back day" exercises to boot.

Going to the gym these days, it just seems that the gains keep piling on, my strength keeps going up and my lean mass keeps increasing. I can't argue with that, not at all!

What's important here is the simplicity of what I'm doing. It's several sets of exercises per major muscle group, repping to failure on each set within 8-12 repetitions. It's simple and very effective. There's nothing obscure or hidden in what I do, no black magic or weird science.

You eat, lift, eat, rest and repeat. Well, 3-4 good-sized meals of good low-carb food per day but still. It's not rocket science. It's really just common sense if you think about it a bit and deprogram yourself from all of the consumerist crap you've been force-fed since you were a kid. No processed, preservative-laden food. No complex sugars (glucose-fructose especially). Lots of protein, healthy fats, healthy grains and vegetables. Some low-carbers dodge some dairy due to the observed insulemic response of milk. I don't and I don't seem to be suffering for not doing so. Your mileage may vary.

I don't religiously "low carb". I'm a self-described "lower carb" guy. I enjoy whole grain buns for my submarine sandwich bread. I toast whole-wheat brown bread for my fave after-workout snack - brown toast with all-natural peanut butter. I drink 1% milk with my whey protein isolate shake mix.

It boils down to doing what works for you. There's always some experimentation when getting yourself onto a new routine. The basic guidelines are laid out to work for just about everyone, and by and large they will work for just about everyone. Sometimes you need to fiddle a bit - but it's important to stick to the basic tenets of what is being proscribed to you if you want to accomplish things in the same vein as others who have gone down this road before you.

Mark has put in a LOT of time and effort to make sure that what he tells us to do will work. I have to say, with each and every workout, I'm reminded of the pile of work and raw knowledge Mark has given  to us - for free. Thanks Mark, and I don't think I'll ever stop thanking you.

All the best for a great Sunday. Lift smart folks!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Week #3 shoulders day done - plateau busted!


OK, enough CSI for this early in the morning. I smashed through my shoulders plateau last night, putting up not only a true 140lb x 6 wide-grip overhead press (seated) but also a 120lb x 8 set and a 90lb x 12 set (previous to those were 110 x 12 and 90 x 9). VICTORY!

I also managed to smash out 100lbs x 6 for the dumbell overhead press and 90lbs x 8 for the second set. Previous was 90lbs x 10 (didn't see the lower rep range that day) and 80lbs x 12. Gained nicely on the delt lat raises as well, 45s and 40s.

Trap shrugs were almost a disappointment, because both the power rack and Smith machine were occupied. So, I subbed in extra-duration weight stack raises at max weight (305lbs) and did 12, 10 and 10 reps. I was trashed after that. I had been looking forward to more gains on plated reps, but that will have to wait till next week.

Back day is today. If looming obligations creep in as I expect that they might, back day might have to be tomorrow. We'll see.

Just remember: if at first you can't lift that weight, don't sweat it. Just MuscleHack it. You'll move it in no time. :)

Happy Friday everyone! Lift safe and have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Week #3 biceps and abs day done

That was a really, really awesome workout. I did elect to switch it up at the end of the biceps portion and performed hammer curls for my last set (after incline seated dumbell curls, one set). I was beyond trashed. It's annyoing sometimes as my left arm is a bit smaller than my right, both in the bicep and in the tricep. It's a constant battle to progress my left faster than my right so I can "catch up". This might not ever be feasible, but I'll keep trying. I did an extra set of single cable curls yesterday for my left arm, but might progress that to two extra sets next week. The same increase for my left tricep too.

I have the same thing with my lower right calf muscle, the inside lower edge flares quite a bit more than my left. So, I've been doing some extra left calf work to try and bring it up too. I've always been a "personal symmetry" guy. The thought of being fairly lopsided unnerves me, not so much in a vanity-geared way but in a "can I depend on each muscle to perform equally?" way.

Shoulders day is today, including a number I wasn't expecting to hit anytime soon - 140lbs for the overhead press. It's been a bit of a "unicorn" for me, so to blast through that now would be AWESOME. Smith machine trap shrugs are up, too.

All I'm waiting for now, truth be told, is for the damn hack squat machine to come back. I love leg press, but not THAT much.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Can't remember if I mentioned this before

There are ads on this blog! HORROR OF HORRORS!

I could have easily run the blog without ads. However, I had a different idea in mind and I've decided to make it a public one: I'll take 80% of the ad revenue from my site and donate it back to Mark deserves our support for all of his hard work and effort. Indeed, the vast majority of us use his training plans and meal ideas daily and it would be cool to really give something back.

So, I'm empowering all of you to be able to give something back. Click an ad or two that seems relevant. Come back every couple of days or so and do it again if you can. :) If even 20% of the MuscleHack FB fan page did this, the turnaround would be amazing.

I've been slowly gaining banked revenue since the site started... but I have yet to break $10 banked. Google Adsense pays out on $100 banked or higher.

So, share the blog with your friends if you think they'd be interested in reading the ramblings of a guy who has decided that as of two years ago, he'd never be "out of shape" ever again - and I've stuck to it. Share the blog and ask those you know to have a read if they want a "pick me up" by reading about an average guy who decided to combat the stereotypes about his body composition type and actually build real muscle.

Or, if they have questions and they want some answers about working out in general, staying healthy or even food choices for low/lower-carb diet options - fire away. If I don't have the answer, I'll find it for you AND tell you where I got it from.

Cheers, folks!


Week #3 chest day done

Wow. Every time I step into the gym, I make an effort to ensure I'm lifting right, that I'm lifting the right amount of weight and that I lift with as much intensity as possible. Chest and triceps day is no exception to those tenets.

Last night, I realized I wasn't benching with as much movement (all the way down) as I should have. So, on my second set... I really laid into myself. Holy crap could I ever feel it after the second set was done!

I also moved to a 30 degree incline bench from a 45 degree setup. Another big difference there, resulting in less weight moved than the previous week. That's ok, a full rep and a full set x 2 are better than doing it wrong. :)

Triceps - these things keep feeling like they're going to catch fire! Another great night of triceps worked. Did some dips at the end, or tried to. Should have called them "gradual negatives-based dips" cause I think I was able to do 3 dips, tops.

The good side: everything's gaining muscle mass everywhere. The down side: I've got a lot of shopping to do in the coming months as a lot of stuff pretty much doesn't fix me right anymore. Work clothes, lazy clothes, going-out clothes, etc.

Biceps and abs today. I've subbed-in standing cabled curls for standing alternating barbell curls. My "finisher" move will still be incline dumbell curls, however. Those last sets really kick my arms into overdrive!

It's a short work-week! Lift hard folks!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Week #3 legs day done

I took a couple of days off  so that I could enjoy a bit of my weekend with a little more "disconnect" than I normally allow myself. As an "I.T. guy", I'm pretty much connected 24/7 in one fashion or another to the world around me.

Legs day was pretty awesome. The hack squat machine at my gym is still MIA, so I've been working my leg press really hard (4 sets). I skipped straight-leg deadlifts due to time constraints, but I'll likely get those in tonight as I'll have more time for my gym run after work.

This is week #3 on creatine monohydrate as well, and week #2 1/2 off coffee. I could theoretically go back onto it, but I find I don't miss it now. The biggest test for me since my three days of detox (as it were) was on Saturday when we had our monthly maintenance window for work. Normally I'm up by 6:30AM and making a pot of coffee for the next 5-7 hours of work that follows. This time - up at 6:30AM, no need for coffee. Not bad at all!

The rolling incremental gains from this run on THT 2.0 are addictive. I just want to keep moving the weight up because mentally I feel almost invincible doing the weight I'm doing now. But, I know that if I stick to it my gains will just keep coming. I'm sure the creatine is helping out with the "invincible" part, both due to its physiological effects and the mental boost of taking something that is known to increase muscle  growth and volume.

So, I'll keep the progression in check and just keep lifting. Chest and triceps day is today. I think I've become a little addicted to bench press as well. This is totally unlike me. I love it. :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

THT 2.0 Refix week 2 done.

Back day is done, and I saw wicked progressions yet again. I even threw in some bent-over dumbell rows to really work my lats. I rowed 100lb dumbells for what has to be the first time (even though I can seated cable row 250lbs), and I was beyond stoked!

The gains this week are ridiculous. I can't wait to see what week #3 brings me.

Have a great weekend!

More thoughts to come later today.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Week #2 shoulders day done - BIG progressions

I was not expecting this. I honestly was not. My shoulders were the hardest body part for me to progress with in THT 3.1 HIT.

So, when I hit the gym last night for week #2 of THT 2.0's shoulders day, I was hopefully for progression, determined to hit it hard but completely unexpecting of what was to come.

To put this in context:

  • Week #1
    • Overhead press (adapted from standing barbell press): 130lbs x 6
    • OH press: 110lbs x 10
    • OH press: 90lbs x 9
    • Seated dumbell press: 80lbs x 8
    • DB press: 70lbs x 11
    • DB press (didn't check the sheet!): 60lbs x 10
    • Dumbell delt raise (combined weight): 80lbs x 11
    • Trap shrugs (smith machine): 230lbs x 12 (whoops!)
    • TS: 250lbs x 10
    • TS: 200lbs x 8
  • Week #2
    • OH press: 130lbs x 8
    • OH press: 110lbs x 11
    • OH press: 90lbs x 9
    • DB press: 90lbs x 10
    • DB press: 80lbs x 12
    • DB Delts: 80lbs x 12
    • DB Delts: 70lbs x 12
    • TS: 270lbs x 10
    • TS: 240lbs x 10
    • TS: 230lbs x 10
So, aside from the fact that I mis-judged my opening trap shrug weight for this cycle by not paying attention to my HIT cycle logs, the progression here for one week is still staggering. I'm hoping for at least half of that progression next week!


Happy Friday everyone! Lift safely!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thoughts after biceps day

As I was leaving the gym yesterday evening, an interesting thought came to me: why are people so apathetic toward exercise? More to the point, why do people routinely abuse their bodies with food and then act surprised when they're told they're obese - or worse?

I then thought back to a conversation I once had with someone who said,  "Food makes me feel good. It doesn't judge me. I can be me and just eat."

Scary, eh? The release of hormones from eating good food becomes an addiction all on its own. People who chronically over-eat don't eat that much because they're "hungry", they eat that much because it makes them feel good.

In the last 20 years or so, since the advent of "technology" really came into its own, people on the whole have become far more complacent regarding their health. When I was a kid, it was on you to make yourself happy, to find hobbies, to occupy yourself with friends or something else - a good book, a bike ride, etc.

I now know that I was likely in what could be considered the last generation of kids who really used their imaginations or drove themselves to learn all on their own.

This "something exists that will do this for me" approach extends through the teen years and into adulthood. It's a learned pattern. "I don't need to go outside, I have a Nintendo DS". "I don't need to read a book, there's a video on Youtube about that". "I don't need to eat healthy, there are lots of healthy kids eating McDonalds in those commercials".

Oops. See what I did there? Directed stimulus that works to effectively monopolize the attention of an individual can truly derail them from making proper, conscious choices about what they do with/for themselves.

Going outside and getting some exercise (admittedly a challenge in most of Canada during the winter months) will do far more for an individual's health than playing a game. Having said that, I'm not averse to gaming after I've done my workout for the day.

Reading a book allows you to make much more esoteric connections between the topic you're reading about and other related topics, as opposed to having a singular topic's matter force-fed into your head via Youtube. Youtube is great, but I'd rather read about something new and THEN see an applicable video about it.

Food. *sigh* For years I ate horribly. I truly did. All through junior high and highschool, and even for most of my adult life. Thankfully, my innate need to remain at least somewhat active and my occasional dabblings in weightlifting seem to have countered most, if not all, of the ill effects of eating that bad. It was just convenient, and so I ate in that fashion. Thankfully, I also ate subs and other healthy meals as well, which is a good thing. I love subs. Now, I eat as healthy as I can manage, with the occasional cheat day reserved for when I'm / we're away from the house or I'm on the road for work.

Kids need to be taught the basics these days, but in the increasing climate of litigation and other nasty things that parents seem to have adopted as tools for when things aren't going exactly as they want them to for their little spawn - I don't blame the educators. Parents need to feed their kids more nutritious meals. Teachers could do well by reinforcing this at school. Thankfully most sport coaches seem to be keeping their young charges on track, but that requires the kids to be in those programs to begin with.

If we encouraged kids to think more about the world and how they interact with it, they might make better choices. As it stands, I'll still rage silently every time I see a drastically overweight parent, or parents, with an equally overweight child. There's no need for that. Let them grow up healthy, both in body and mind.

/end rant

Having said all of that, and feeling all the better for it, biceps and abs day was wicked once again! Progressions right across the board. I couldn't have asked for a better Week 2 day.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Biceps and abs day.

Time to work on "the situation". I love biceps and abs day!

Also playing hockey today at lunch (of the ball hockey variety). My whole chest feels stacked from Monday, and my triceps are filing formal complaints. EPIC.

So that puts me back on the "factory" routing for THT 2.0. This is good because I've got overtime to do on Saturday and work around the house to do on Sunday. Plus, with Monday being "Family Day", I'm not sure if 22 Wing will be open. I'll have to check into that tonight.

Lift as though you're carving yourself out of granite and that'll be the end result!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chest day done, day off today

Week #2 chest day is done. It was a good workout, but to be fair I did an extra 2 sets of flat bench after I was done the entire "day". Why, you might ask? Because this guy and his kid were being total morons - jumping in on machines whenever they felt like it, cutting people off and working out far too close to the dumbell shelves, you name it.

This is the joy of working out at a military installation. I'm pretty sure that the guy was Canadian Forces, or ex-CF, but he was also fairly dense for his age and appearance. For instance, he was totally wasting his time with standing dumbell tricep extensions by not extending his arms fully (and thus reaching his PCP for his tris). I nicely pointed out after one of his sets that he was pretty much getting half the workout that he could get otherwise and then explained how. He then told me that he thought he was extending all the way already. Sorry, but if you can't feel what your arms are doing and if your elbows are bent, you're either not working right physically / neurologically or you're just dense. I went with the second option.

Then, he was off, just pushing his way onto different machines and stations and generally making a nuisance of himself. I could see when I met the eyes of others he was offending that he was indeed having the same effect on others.

It's one of those sticky situations where you're not sure if it's worth your time to mention it to him, or others, as it might cause you more grief than the initial issue. As it was, he messed up my chest / tris day badly and I had to waste a good deal of time in the gym working around him and his kid.

Hopefully he's not there Wednesday.

Monday, February 14, 2011

THT 2.0 Refix week 1 done, thoughts

I promised to publish my thoughts on the new THT 2.0, which I've happily branded the "Refix" version. At first, as I read all of the new articles that Mark had published for THT 2.0, I realized that it had been far too long since I had done the original version of THT 2.0. I honestly couldn't pick out the differences. Having said that, I chose to treat it as an all-new cycle and to beat myself up with it accordingly.

It's funny, it's almost as though I've been MuscleHacking for so long, it all starts to blend together. I'm tracking my progress thanks to Mark's free logs, and recently I've begun marking the finished logs with their end dates. All I know for sure is that I started in the summer of 2009 after healing a nasty ankle injury.

Back on topic, though. THT 2.0 will, without a doubt, kick your ass. Even if you've been MuscleHacking for a while, it will still kick your ass - especially if you transition right in from a HIT-style MuscleHack workout.

The big killers for me are chest and triceps day (which I'm doing today as I'm a day ahead) and shoulders day. Both of them FLOORED me last week. I was just drained after my workouts.

THT 2.0 Refix is a good way to shock your system and really crank up the intensity on your workouts. Leg day yesterday (start of week 2) was brutal. Really brutal. I'm surprised I can walk so easily this morning after last night's game too. 4 on 4 with 1 spare on our team = LOTS of ice time. I definitely "got my cardio in" for the week.

Also, as of Saturday, I was moving nicely without caffeine / coffee to aid me. By Sunday, I had forgotten what coffee was till I went for "coffee" with Amanda. Even sitting here at 6:30AM at work this morning, I had no need for a cup. This is good. I basically kicked 20 years of coffee drinking in 3 days. I paid for it during those 3 days, but it was worth it!

Happy Monday folks - lift safe and hard!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Week 2 THT 2.0 Leg day done

I decided to hit this a little early because tomorrow's Valentine's Day and there's nothing romantic about "Babe, I'm going to the gym. Back in an hour or so."

Today was a full-run omn legs, with the only substitution being more leg press instead of hack squat. It's still not there and noone seems to know where the machine went. I'm not thrilled about that. If it's not back next week, I may have to do Smith machine squats.

Stiff-leg deadlifts - I freaking love those! With back day being yesterday, I thought I'd really suck, but thankfully it was the opposite.

After the standing calf raises, I did about 25-26 wide-grtip lat-targeted pull-ups. I can't get enough of how good it feels to do those. I'd do them every day if I could.

Next week I'll have to progress just about  everywhere. I'll also have to go to split sets on standing leg raises as I've maxed out the machine for weight and my reps. Or, pre-exhaust with a full set of "usual" working weight for seated calf raise, followed by a set of max weight for 12 if I can and then the lower-weight second set.

Hockey tonight. Looking forward to it as we were off last week. Valentine's is tomorrow but my angel got her gift early. She looks great with some sparkle in her ears. :)

Mark's gone for a week, but we don't know where. Hopefully he's having a good time!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

THT 2.0 Refix Back day is done!

It's only 6 sets, but they're 6 sets that you'll remember for the rest of the day!

I started out with deadlifts. I could have gone a tad heavier if I lifted from the power rack support bars, but I elected to stay true to my earlier form and lift clean from the floor. Still, I only dropped 20 lbs per set and got 6 reps (barely) for each, so I'll add a bit more next week.

Barbell rows. Wow. To put this in perspective, I can do a seated narrow grip row for about 250lbs to my navel. I can do seated pulldowns for about the same. I do 240lbs for palm-up pulldowns. I managed... 200lbs on a Smith machine. I felt EVERY REP.

My conclusion? I love barbell bent-over rows.

My lats felt massive as I left the gym. I can still feel them right now. I defintely felt my lower back hen I was shovelling the driveway not too long ago.

THT 2.0 Refix is going to make a monster out of me. This is a good thing. :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Shoulders slaughtered...

So, your shoulders feel like they want to fall off after a THT 2.0 Refix workout. I can't wait to feel them on Saturday then. Just wow.

Also put up a new best of 130lbs for 6 reps on overhead press and 250lbs for trap shrugs on the Smith machine. Judging by how well I powered through there, I have more to unlock very shortly. Back day is today. Leg day may end up being Sunday with Monday being Valentine's Day and all. ;)

I'm really looking forward to getting out of my comfort zone by doing bent-over barbell rows. It's nothing I've ever really done before, so I'm stoked to see what it will do for me!

Oh, and day #3 without caffeine starts today. I think I started getting a little edgy by the end of the workday yesterday. No foggy feeling this morning tho, so hopefully that's another uptick.

Happy Friday foks! Lift hard - but correctly!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Biceps and abs day done! NEXT!

Well, this THT 2.0 workout pleasantly surprised me. I don't normally dumbell curl, unless I'm doing hammer curls for "extra credit" after an arms workout. It took me a couple of reps to get the motion down again, but then I was good to go.

In a moment of blondness, I swapped the barbell curl for cabled straight-bar curls (which probably wasn't all that detrimental) instead of incline dumbell curls. Incline dumbells curls, being at the end of the biceps sets, still actually managed to kick my ass.

And then there's abs. Oh man.

Weighted decline situps. I live for these now.

Kneeling cable crunches - it took me a few reps to find my appropriate weights and to get the motion down. I think I've got it now. Can I ever feel those when I'm done my two sets.

Weighted hanging leg raises. Problem. I couldn't find the weight belt I've seen others use at the gym for exactly this purpose (and weighted dips). So, I did hanging side oblique crunches and leg raises. I always get a mental kick out of doing the hanging ab work freehanded because it just feels powerful not relying on straps or anything.

One of the guys I work out with occasionally, indeed one of my past winners, remarked how I made it look easy. He then tried a few knee raises. He managed, but he confessed that it was far tougher than it looks.

"Well", I told him, "it's not about what looks easy or hard. It's about what keeps you moving and what gives you results. If you can't do many of those yet, don't worry. You/ll be able to soon enough."

Also, today is day #2 of no coffee, no caffeine. Yesterday afternoon positively sucked. I felt like I was being dragged through molasses while having a wicked headache. Hopefully today is a better day than the last for that reason alone.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chest and triceps day done. Wow.

OK guys, if you haven't put serious thought into Mark McManus's THT 2.0 Refix, DO SO NOW.

Last night's chest and triceps workout was EPIC.To be perfectly honest, I didn't even do it completely as proscribed. I love doing cabled skullcrushers, far more so than barbell skullcrushers. So, when the dual-stack cabled stations were all busy, I decided to go hit my triceps with behind-the-head seated tricep extensions. Given the hit I gave my triceps last night (they looked like they were going to separate and form their own human), I feel absolutely no shame whatsoever in having done this.

I chased 3 sets of extensions with the as-shown 3 sets of standing cabled tricep pushdowns. I could barely bang out my last set of pushdowns @ 100 lbs. THAT is how hard it hits you.

Also, my opening bench last night was 180lbs x 9 reps. I might have been able to get one more rep in, but my old phobias came back so I didn't press it. Plus, I didn't want any cheat sets. I think I might be right because my second set was 140lbs x 10. I figure that puts my 1RM (1 rep max) around 250lbs.

In retrospect, I've NEVER benched so much for so many reps in my life. That's a cold, hard fact.

What are the lessons learned here?

  • You can safely work out for well over a year, almost continuously, with no loss in progression (if you're me). Your mileage may vary.
  • Moving between Mark's different programs (THT 2.0, THT HIT 3.1, THT Volume 3.1, THT 2.0 Refix) seems to trigger quite a bit of growth while still keeping your body guessing.
  • There don't appear to be any "flat spots" in Mark's programs - no bad weeks / months of little to no progression (or worsre). Eat well, lift right, stay hydrated and you'll do just fine.
So, I'm going to keep moving with THT 2.0 Refix and see where it takes me. Something tells me I'm going to enjoy the trip. :)

Oh, and I've given up caffeinated coffee so that I can start up on my creatine intake. Hooboy. So far this morning, so good. Just had my breakfast (low-sugar instant oatmeal) and I'm heading to get a glass of water. I still haven't decided if I'll partake of some decaffeinated coffee yet. That'll be a gametime decision as the day wears on.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How's that for cool?

I just checked Google this morning - this blog, "Rep to Failure - A MuscleHack Journey" is ranked #6 for the search term rep to failure.

I have no idea how it got so high, but I'm stoked! Two weeks ago, I was 2-3 pages deep in the search results.

How many people actually search for rep to failure? Probably not that many. But if they do, I'll be right there. :D

On that note, there have been more than 600 page views since I launched the blog. Thanks everyone! I'm thinking of having a little contest once I hit 1000 views, ending when I hit 1500 views. I'm wokring on something. :)

In the meantime, feel free to share the blog with the tools at the bottom of each post if you feel that they're relevant or interesting. Also, you can click the Like button on the main page. I'm also thinking of doing something once I hit 50 and 100 "Likes", respectively. The downside to the Like button (thus far) is that I can't see everyone who has clicked Like - only those on my FB Friends list. I'd love to use those names as automatic entrants for contests, but I guess I'll just have to use a new post for that - or start a FB "Like" page.

Hmm. I'll have to give that some more thought.

Happy lifting everyone!

THT 2.0 Refix - Day 1 done

So, leg day was a bit of a mashup - no hack squats and the power rack was constantly busy, so I decided to do 4 sets of leg press. Uhm, yeah. I hope the hack squat machine is back next week. Took the day off stiff-leg deadlifts as I had just done deadlifts yesteday and I didn't want to overtax my lower back. Finished off with standing calf raises.

Just WOW. As much in all as I loved doing THT HIT or Volume 3.1 cycles, it's nice to actually go through and properly re-do THT 2.0.

THT 2.0 was the first MuscleHack workout I ever did. However, because I'm more than a tad pig-headed at times, I didn't do it all correctly all of the time. Couple that with poor eating habits and I actually ended up doing a lot of cutting (of bodyfat) for the first couple of months.

So, today is Chest and Triceps day. I'm not stoked on bench flies (dumbells), so I may yet work in some narrow-grip pec deck. Mark says that's a better idea due to being able to hit your PCP for your chest.

Flat bench will likely be universal-based, while incline bench will likely be dumbell-based unless there's room in the Smith machine at that time. In fact, I could Smith machine everything. I think I like that idea, actually. :D

So, I've watched Mark's video on skullcrushers again and I think I'm good to go for tonight's workout.Really stoked actually! It's funny how a seemingly simple change in routing can bring your mental state up so dramatically! I wasn't bored before, but "changing gears" is always a good thing when weight training.

Happy Tuesday and lift safe folks!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Interesting protein bars!

I've really got to check this out: MuscleHack-endorsed protein bars.

No free sample shipping to Canada, but they might be worth trying to find online.

Upon further review, the play will be revised.

So, I re-read the Arms Blast Experiment this morning as I woke up to the sounds of snowplows and Tank running around being angry at the snowplows for waking everyone up.

Tank, it bears mentioning, is our 90-odd lb Husky / German Shepherd / Bull Mastiff, also known as the "Furry Son". We don't have kids, but we have 4-legged kids. He's a suck and a ham, but he's also quite protective of both Amanda and I. We brought him home 3 years ago this May from a home here in North Bay where the present owners / caretakers didn't want him. He was a large puppy then, and to see them want to discard him for no good reason was heart-breaking. As seen above, in full-on ham mode.

He has since been proven to be an oustanding addition to our lives. I can't go to work in the morning without giving him a hug and scratching his belly.

But, back on topic. I'll be doing 5 weeks of intensive THT 2.0 Refix, followed by the Arms Blast Experiment (off that week completely except for A.B.E.) and then 5 more weeks of THT 2.0. After that point, I'll make a decision about whether I'll do more THT 2.0, a run of THT Volume 3.1 or another round of THT HIT 3.1.

I can only say one thing for sure: I'm stoked on starting THT 2.0 Refix. Everything is ready, including my vitamins and protein, pre-workout and all.

Project: Asgard is a go.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Going to give this another shot

I've given this some thought, and right now I think it makes sense. Perhaps in the future I'll change my mind about it.

I'm going to start tweeting (ugh, I hate that word) more regular updates as my day allows while focusing blog entries around the early morning and evening. I've added a Twitter gadget to the blog in the left navbar so you can see the latest updates. You can also click the link shown and follow me on Twitter if you have an account - or you can just bookmark the page and check back there whenever you wish.

Really, the goal is to tweet my impressions of Mark's Arms Blast Experiment and my thoughts / progress with THT 2.0 Refix. I'll still keep this blog up-to-date, however.

My interest in personal training is quickly approaching critical mass. While I have no desire to leave IT as a career, ultimately I'll need to at least study to become a Certified Personal Trainer if I want to have a little more weight behind the advice that I give people. Of course, thankfully most realize that I'm really an enthusiast and "hobbyist" trainer and that I'm doing what I do to raise people's awareness of personal fitness and health. Also, I don't charge for the advice I give or demonstrations I perform. I fully believe in "paying it forward" when it comes to someone's health.

So, even if I do end up a CPT, I still won't charge for my training services. Time will tell as to how long that takes to become a reality (the certification).

If you're a fairly regular reader here for whatever reason, let me know if you think I ought to "flesh out" my blogging with Twitter updates. I'd appreciate it! Just drop me a comment below this post.

Happy Friday everyone! Lift hard but correctly!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Two quick items of note

Item 1: I swore to myself that I'd keep this blog free of IT-related stuff. However, I'm a firm believer in free tools that allow anyone to assist anyone else with their day-to-day needs - and in this case, potentially MuscleHacking needs. Therefore, I've added a link on the right navbar for TeamViewer. It's a free, full-function tool that allows you to remote desktop, file share, chat / audio chat / video chat and whiteboard with up to 3 other people at once.

In other words, in addition to the obvious IT uses, it would be ideal for reviewing the form and cadence of others (via webcam) and having a short meeting about weightlifting / MuscleHacking with others. I've since sent a link over to Mark McManus, creator / owner of, to see if it would be a benefit to his personal training business. I think it might be. :)

Item 2: As a Total Six-Pack Abs subscriber, I received an offer from Mark regarding his Arms Blast Experiment. I decided to jump in and buy a copy. Unless my plans change, I plan on working A.B.E. in with my THT 2.0 refix cycle, essentially gutting  the existing 2.0 biceps and triceps workout components for the duration of A.B.E.instead. I'll be reporting back on how that goes for sure. Once A.B.E. is done as a mini-cycle, I'll be putting myself back on THT 2.0 refix completely as planned.

Last Consolidation is tomorrow. Then, a few days off until Monday and THT 2.0 refix and the Arms Blast Experiment!

Happy lifting everyone!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

THT HIT Mass done... for now

So, another HIT Mass day, another feeling of "wow, I really laid into myself this time!"

If you're not training with intensity, you're wasting time. I really hit it hard tonight because I wanted my last HIT Mass exercise to be the pace-setter for next week's lead-off for THT 2.0 Refix.

Biceps were hit really hard tonight... I was sweating right out at the end of the set. I almost never sweat right at the end of biceps, because it's normally the second set I do in a workout and even with a good hack squat opener, I'm not sweating that much.

So, I can happily get into my next cycle knowing I did it right (at least most of the time) and that for the times that I wasn't bang-on, I took the steps I needed to correct the situation.

One more Consolidation workout, 5 more days... and then utter chaos for my muscles.

Can't wait! Oya!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ahh HIT workout, I'll miss you

Sometimes, you just realize that something is working so well for you, you're almost adverse to giving it up.

Last night was one of those nights. I banged out my reps on my new weight for hack squats, then went deep for 90lbs less again. My legs quivered for a few after that run.

Then, I managed a full set of two-handed standing cable curls, my first time at that since injuring my elbow. It's not 100% yet, but it's far better than it was. And last night's rep-to-failure made it feel that much better, both physcially and psychologically.

The shoulders have been coming up nicely too. I've been dodging cabled lat raises but I think Wednesday I'll give them another shot. My chest has been feeling great lately, but I can't wait to get onto THT 2.0 and shake it up some more.

I'm absolutely stoked to get going with THT 2.0, but I really don't want to leave Total Anabolism 3.1 behind.

Oh well, as the new saying goes: those who can, MuscleHack. Those who can't just aren't MuscleHacking.