Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Week #2 in a foreign land

Sooooo... I've ate bad food, more bad food, some more bad food and then some good food. Then, some more good food and then some bad food. This is what happens when you're abroad and the most easily recognized food stuff is "hamburguesa". *facepalm* To be fair, I've had Subway a couple of times, but the staff there are really non-versed in English and I'm just now learning all my toppings in Spanish. Starbucks, on the other hand...

So, I've done 2 THT HIT 3.2-style workouts this week. Tonight's workout was even better than Sunday's. The weight "amounts" are all wrong because the machines is crap and doesn't move worth crap. It needs a full servicing. But, I've persevered and even managed to get in calves and legs on it. So, better than expected, honestly.

However, there's no substitute for my beloved 22 Wing gym. I can't wait to get home. I miss my babe and our furry boys. I miss Canadian food. I miss going for a drive in the (much!) cleaner air. I'm just a tied-to-the-land Canadian, I guess!

All the best for a productive and great week, folks!

Lift hard and train smart!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The author is currently occupied...

I'm away on a business trip, busting my butt for a couple of weeks in a foreign country. I managed to get in a decent all-in-one biceps / abs / shoulders / back workout. The end result felt as thought it was about 8/10ths of a full out MuscleHack workout. Not bad for one of those all-in-one Nautilus-style gyms.

So, my updates are going to be pretty light as I look to take a few more days off of working out. I'm gearing toward a THT HIT 3.2 workout if I have to, but preferably a THT Mass 3.2 workout if I can. I'm trying to get a temporary pass to one of the full-on gyms here.

I did manage to snap a half-decent shot partway through my workout.

Have a great week everyone!


Friday, April 15, 2011

Week #10 Chest and Triceps done!

This was a huge day for me in so many ways: the final chest/tris day of my THT 2.0 Refix cycle. My first chance to seriously crack benching 200lbs for reps. My last week to wrap up training before a business trip.

So, needless to say, I was excited! Sadly, I was also still sick. I ended up with one of those colds that lives in your throat (and makes it raw), but just as of Wednesday it turns into a sinus cold and sat behind my nose. Ugh. Still, I was determined to hit the gym.

Once there, I ran into a couple of buddies who have recently taken up MuscleHacking. I'm not sure if they're following the plans 100%, but they at least have the rep range and work invovled down! That also lifted my spirits some.

So, I loaded the bar, warmed up and then set out for what was my last chest day of the cycle. I ended up with 200lbs x 9 reps. And then followed that with 180lbs x 8. Incline bench was another success story, with full progressions there in reps and weight. Finally, pec deck was a standstill but that didn't deter me after what I had already done.

The triceps part of the day was most impressive - rep gains on overhead dumbell extensions (95lbs x 10, 90lbs x 12, 85lbs x 10) and tricep pushdowns (175lbs x 10, 160lbs x 10, 145lbs x 10). An interesting note that shows the progression in my trceps, besides a noticeable change in size over the last 10 weeks, is that my start-out pushdown weight is almost where I was before I started THT 2.0. Obviously my chest work and overhead extensions exhaust the muscle in a way that THT HIT won't. So, to have come that far (from about 140lbs to start at the beginning of the cycle) is quite remarkable indeed.

So, I'm behind. Again. I'll be doing biceps and abs today, possibly some shoulders and hopefully my back tomorrow morning. Once the cycle is done, I'm taking a week off of lifting, followed by a week of HIT-style maintenance lifting (for gains, but only one set of everything) and then a decision on what cycle to start in May.

Have a great weekend folks! I know I will! Oh, by the way. There may be a progress picture update on the progress page. ;)


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Week #10 leg day done

The final week of this cycle is upon me. Leg day is done, and I managed to get in a workout in my newly-arrived MuscleHack tank top!

I was aiming for 240lbs x 9 for my opening squat... I ended up with 240lbs x 10. I then wanted 210lbs x 11 and ended up with 210lbs x 12.

As a treat to myself, I opted out of decline leg press and went for hack squats. I managed 450lbs x 8 (not bad after Smith machine squats) and then 410lbs x 10. Stiff leg deads were skipped due to back day being a couple of days earlier and I was still trashed from that one. I'll just make sure I get a really good back workout in this week. ;)

Finally, calf raises. To quote a Canadian hockey broadcaster, Joe Bowen, "holy mackinaw!"

Calf raises ended out the night at 190lbs x 10 (up from 190lbs x 8) and 170lbs x 12 (up from 170lbs x 10).

Final opinion? You need a MuscleHack tank top. OK, maybe I was having a really good night, but they're made from Gildan stock (been wearing their tees for years) and it's light as hell.

All the best for a great Wednesday folks! Chest and triceps tonight!

Train safely!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Week #9 done - biceps, abs, shoulders and back

Well, week #9 did indeed finish with a bang - a doubled-up day yesterday consisting of shoulders day and back day. But first, a rewind to Friday.

Friday was biceps and abs day. Friday was a kickass workout. I even threw in a "finisher" - seated cabled straight-bar curls (2-handed). I love hitting this exercise last as an "exhaustion" exercise when nothing else that day depends on biceps. This one really kills you and seems to help trigger a massive recovery effort. Solid progressions were had everywhere, from single cable curls to straight-bar standing curls to dumbell hammer curls. Also, I managed to bang out decent progressions on DB wrist curls. I definitely paid for those the next day (Saturday) when I drove for almost 6 hours with minimal breaks. Abs were another exercise in awesomeness, especially with kneeling cabled crunches. I love the "whole stack" burn I get doing those. You get up after your third set and you just feel epic.

Sunday (after we returned home from London/Toronto) was both shoulders day and back day. Shoulders day was pretty freaking amazing, considering how bagged I was. Overhead press saw more progressions again (likely going to wrap with an opener this week of 150 x 12), and so did seated barbell press. Dumbell flyes are getting kind of ridiculous for the weight I can do, but the progression keeps coming and I'm not arguing. Finally, trap shrugs. Wow. I'm actually going to drop 20-30 lbs for the last day and really slow down the rep, make my traps work for it. Nothing was injured but I'm at one of those "re-adjustment" phases where I noticed I wasn't quite getting my PCP this week on my opener set - so I made sure I hit it with the next two!

Back day was kind of fun. With leg day being today, I didn't want to do deadlifts and risk overtraining my hams and quads (as well as back), so I switched up to Romain Chair hyperextensions (with a 60lb dumbell) and then did my seated cable rows. I skipped my "finisher" here as I was super-bagged at that point and didn't want to risk an injury. However, with today being "only legs", I'm considering hitting my back "finisher" of bent-over DB rows. This works as this is week 10 and I'll be taking at least a week off.

In classic form for myself, I'm officially 50/50 as to whether or not I'll do another cycle of THT 2.0 Refix. I'm undecided as to whether I'll do HIT 3.1/3.2. I don't want to get bored with 2.0 Refix, but I'm loving the big overall workout I get doing it. I love the compact all-in-one setup of HIT 3.1/3.2, but I'm going to miss stuff like Smith machine benches. This is truly the joy of MuscleHacking, however. Mark gives us plenty of options to change things up and challenge ourselves. :)

I'll just have to keep myself (and you) guessing until I start my next cycle!

Have a great week folks! Lift smart and train hard!


Friday, April 8, 2011

Week #9 chest and tris done - quitting is not an option

Everyone once in a while, you get to hit or exceed a target in weightlifting that has either elluded you or has otherwise remained unreachable. Next week, I get to shatter one of my biggest goals: I get to bench 200lbs for reps. Chest day is officially done! Let's put this in context:

  • I'm 33 years old, and my weightlifting journey, especially over the last 10 years, has been hit-and-miss - up until 2 years ago.
  • My bodyweight has wavered between 175lbs and 205lbs in the last 10 years. It's currently ~192lbs.
  • My bodyfat composition has fluctuated massively, being anywhere between 8% (briefly) and about 15-16%. It's currently about 9-9.5%.
  • My bench press capability has generally never exceeded about 150lbs. Last night I benched 190lbs for 12 reps.
  • A key factor has also been my underdeveloped triceps. Last night I did 95lbs overhead dumbell extensions for 10 reps, 165lbs tricep pushdowns for 12 reps (more progression next week) as my opening sets for each exercise and then finished with 10 weighted dips (with 45lbs slung under me).
Add that all together and what do you get? Solid, steady and positive progression in all muscle groups over the last 2 years - particularly in the last year as I've torched most of my body fat as by that point and the rest of the work just slabs on muscle.

I also want to take a second (again) to thank everyone who has come up to me in the last couple of weeks with their comments - they've been nothing but positive! I'll always happily accept constructive criticism, but it's a nice ego boost when everyone seems to follow the same vein - "nice work!" or "I had no idea your arms were that bg!". My response to all is the same - I sincerely thank you for your kind words and support. If this is something that intrigues you, or even just getting in better shape is more what you want, then you owe it to yourself to check out Mark McManus's MuscleHack website.

The training that I'm doing every day follows all of the free advice and programs available from Mark's site. Nothing more, nothing less. If you can wrap your brain around the fact that most of our daily habits are formed by big business and mass media, if you can resign yourself to the fact that you MUST change your habits in order to change yourself for the better and if you can wholeheartedly put your best effort into this change - you're set. Your only limit is the one you impose upon yourself.

Have a great weekend folks, I'm still in catch-up mode. But I will catch-up. :)


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Week #9 leg day done. WOOT!

Leg day is done - again! New starting squat weight! New progressions! No issues!

Sadly, today I'll have to miss my day because of personal obligations but I'll make up for it double-hard tomorrow and Friday. Things are going wicked right now with my training. I'll be sad, really, to take a break for a week or so but I've decided I'm going right back to THT 2.0 Refix right after my break.

I'm stoked to see just how far I can take things. My personal goals are: check progress at the end of this cycle, at the end of June and just before Halloween.

Have a great day MuscleHackers!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Week #8 back day and thoughts - delayed

Morning all! Week #8's back day entry was delayed as I was compressed for time for a weekend road trip. Also, as you've already noticed, I'm a day behind. This would be because I took yesterday off of work so we could enjoy a Sunday dinner in Toronto and then drive home (fairly) unrushed on Monday.

Back day was truly a rewarding one. I managed to eke out a progression in deadlifts to not only regain my previous starting weight, but also to eclipse what was there before. Seated rows also progressed across the board, and overload dumbell rows are also up now - to 10 per side @ 105lbs. My lats are growing, slowly, but I'm pushing them to really get them moving. Leg day is today, and depending on the timing it might be chest / triceps day too.

My size is really starting to come up, and this is where I begin to falter (historically). I need to remind myself to eat a bit more, primarily proteins with a good spread of healthy fats and carbs too, to ensure that I can keep growing with lean muscle mass.

MuscleHacking is far more than just lifting weights, it's about giving yourself the complete set of tools that you need to cut the fat from your frame and build lots of lean muscle. It's about knowing that you're human - you can carb-up once in a while and survive the experience. It's about knowing that the builk of the "work" required to build muscle isn't work at all - it's proper food and proper rest. MuscleHacking is about putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together correctly - and then realizing that doing it right once isn't enough. It needs to be a lifestyle choice that you make for yourself. Lots of people choose to be lazy. They choose to eat bad foot constantly. They choose not to exercise (and then blame the world for their ill health). You can choose to be the polar oppoiste of all of that - a MuscleHacker. I'm quite happy that I'm one of "them". We'd love to have you as a MuscleHacker too.

All the best for a great Tuesday - and week!


Friday, April 1, 2011

Week #8 shoulders done

Week #7 last week for shoulders day genuinely scared me. It almost seemed, even though I was recovering from a decent injury, that a plateau was imminent with my shoulders.

Boy, was I wrong! And I love being wrong!

Yesterday was one for the books - literally!

After my 2 weeks of lacklustre overhead press performance... I smashed out 150lbs x 8, a new personal best. I then managed gains on overhead dumbell press but then my elbow threatened to go on strike for dumbell delt raises. I still managed to do more with 45s than I had previously, but couldn't manage a set with the 50s to open as I had. Still, it was a great day. Even trap shrugged 310 for 8 reps to open that run up nicely!

Week #8 back day is today - and then a couple of days of relaxation before hitting Week #9 up.

Am I excited? Yup. For both back day and the days off? You bet!

Have a great weekend folks!

Train hard!