New PR, Training, Update

Training Update, Life in Taiwan

Training has been going well, and life in Taiwan has settled into a comfortable rhythm.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine set a new Deadlift Pr back home  in Canada, and that inspired me to take a bash at setting one of my own. I’ve been rebuilding my Deadlift lately, having fixed up my form and corrected some serious errors I’d been making.

My lats and upper back suffered from under-development, and I did not engage them during my Deadlift, which always left my lower back overtaxed and feeling burnt out after Deadlifts. Learning to engage my lats had helped greatly in engaging my entire back, and my Deadlifts now feel better than they ever have.

I managed to pull 170 kg/374 lbs at 99 kg/218 lbs bodyweight. That was a huge success for me, being:

  1. the heaviest BW Ratio I have ever pulled, at 1.7x Bodyweight
  2. close to the heaviest I have ever pulled, and at a lighter bodyweight.

In the summer of 2015, I pulled 405 lbs, but that was wearing a belt, and with absolutely atrocious form. This was smoother, and felt like much more of a victory.

 

Life in Taiwan is settling down. Work leaves me plenty of personal time, which is fantastic. I renewed my contract for a second year, which means I won’t be back for a while yet.

I also registered for my first coaching certification, and I’ll be working towards becoming a Kettlebell Coach over the next two months, preparing for the course in November. Very excited for this, and I’m looking at it as the first step on my journey to becoming a strength coach and eventually a gym owner.

That’s all for now, thank you for your continued readership!

Cheers,

The Bear.

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Programming, Thoughts, Training, Update

One Week To Go! / Looking Ahead

Well I have one week left to go in my 6 Week Program. I have been controlling my diet well and it has been going quite well! I’ll be posting my results next weekend, but I can say, looking at the numbers, that my lifts and rep ranges have gone steadily up across all my primary lifts.

This is hugely encouraging, as I’ve managed to shed about 15 lbs in the process. I’m very happy with how things have come together, and I’m excited about my future progress.

Looking ahead now, I’ve been happy with my progress, but I also feel like I went a little easy on myself. I know, deep down, that my body is capable of much more than I usually push it to achieve.

To that end, I’m going to be reprogramming next weekend. I am continuing a total-body program, aimed at increasing my general strength. I’ve been looking in to Linear Progression programs as explained by Brian Alsruhe. My brother has been using his program and really enjoys it, and I think that it will be what I’m looking for.

Here is the video, if you’re interested. He lays out the basics of the program, and how it benefits his training. It sounds a little daunting, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’ll put my program together this week, and let you know how it goes!

Keep checking back for the wrap-up of my first 6 weeks, and train hard!

Feel free to message me any questions, or leave them in the comments below.

Cheers,

The Bear.

Programming, Update

Progress Update

Hello everyone, I’m now 2 weeks into my new Program and it’s going very well! I have also cleaned up my diet and started using My Fitness Pal again. I’m down from around 111 kg in June, to 104.2 kg now.

For added fun, I was able to get my body fat and other biometrics measured. Currently sitting at 104 kg/239 lbs and 26.6% body fat. Not the worst I’ve ever been, but still far off where I would like.

My next goal is to be under 220 lbs and 18% body fat. I’ll be posting updates as I work through the first six weeks, and hit milestones along the way. In the mean time, here’s a progress picture of my back, from May 2016 (right) to April 2017 (left).

Programming, Training, Update

New Training Program in Development

I sat down over the weekend after a long period of thought and wrote out a rough first draft of my new training routine. It’s a little ambitious, and I’m currently testing it to see how well-balanced and functional it is.

The program is based on a three week rotation, with two cycles of the heavier Week A, followed by one of the lighter, more hypertrophy and bodyweight-focused Week B. Due to the circumstances surrounding my access to training facilities, the program is based around basic gym equipment for general strength-building, with an event session to be rotated in every three weeks. This is not going to be an effective program for developing strongman techniques and event conditioning, but it is suited to my current needs.

Today is Day 2, Week A. Day 1 was a overall quite good, but requires some changes.

For anyone interested, once I have finished a three-week rotation and spent time editing and refining the program, I’ll be looking for people willing to help me test it. If you might be interested in testing my developmental program, or have any questions about training, please leave a comment below, message me on IG, or shoot me an email.

More to come.

Cheers,

The Bear.

Thoughts, Training

Feeling Strong This Week; Training Logs: Feb 16-18

Making solid progress this week. Everything is feeling more solid and dialed in. I’ve been eating better, and I believe it’s going to pay off in the long run. I’m working on my conditioning and my athleticism in an effort to become more competitive in my weight class.

Thursday Feb 16

  • Deadlift (Conventional)
    • 70 kg x 5
    • 100 kg x 5
    • 120 kg x 5
    • 140 kg x 5
    • 150 kg x 3
    • 110 kg x 5
  • Snatch Grip Deadlift
    • 100 kg x 5 (3)
  • Front Squat
    • 70 kg x 3
    • 60 kg x 5 (3)
  • Inverted Rows
    • 15, 12 x 2

Deadlifts felt pretty terrible today. My back started to round, and my form collapsed when I moved the weight up to 150 kg. I’ve added more upper back work to help keep tightness across my back when I deadlift, and prevent my shoulders from dragging me down out of position.

Friday Feb 17

  • Seated Smith Machine Military Press
    • 30 kg x 8
    • 40 kg x 5
    • 50 kg x 3
    • 60 kg x 3
      • I’m not sure if the bar on the machine weighs anything, so the weights listed are just the weight I added.
  • Seated Barbell Military Press
    • 40 kg x 12
    • 50 kg x 8
    • 60 kg x 3
  • Incline Bench Press (Steep)
    • 70 kg x 5
    • 60 kg x 8 (3)
  • Superset: Hammer Curls/ 3-Direction Shoulder Flys

I finished with some accesory work, trying to improve my core strength and add a little variety into my training. Finished with a pair of AMRAP sets of EZ bar curls and EZ bar french press.

Saturday Feb 18

  • Front Squats
    • 50 kg x 5
    • 60 kg x 3
    • 70 kg x 3
    • 80 kg x 3 (3)
  • High Bar Back Squats
    • 85 kg x 8
    • 90 kg x 8
    • 95 kg x 8
  • Barbell Lunge Squats
    • 50 kg x 10
    • 40 kg x 10
  • Superset: Ab Roller Crunches (3 x 5)/Hip Thrusters (3 x 20) – 3 Variations.

Saturdays workout felt the best this week. My deadlifts were a bit disappointing, but they’ve always been a weak point of mine. I’m going to be working them more regularly from now on. But my high bar squats felt solid, more than they have in a long time. I think squatting regularly is paying off.

All in all, it has been a good week. I’ve set some goals, both fitness and personal, and now I feel like I’m working toward something, instead of just working. I hope to be able to compete when I visit home in the summer, but that’s still up to scheduling.I’m feeling stronger every week, and I can’t wait to get back into competition and see how far I’ve come.

In the meantime, I’m trying to keep my focus, and keep my discipline.

Cheers,

The Bear.

Update

Finally Cooking Again!

I’ve been living in Taiwan since mid-October, and I finally caved and bought some basic kitchen equipment: hot plate, frying pan, etc. Up to this point, I have been eating out all the time. Food is very cheap here, so eating out wasn’t exactly breaking the bank, but I put on around 15 lbs in 3 months.

Cooking my own food again feels great. Not only did I miss cooking, but I now have significantly more control over the composition of my diet. Eating out all the time, it was impossible to get the protein I needed without a huge amount of carbs tacked on. Seriously, Taiwanese food is ideal for bulking – fried chicken everywhere, dumplings, noodles, rice with every meal. And everywhere you look you can find a street vendor selling these delicious snacks: a fried egg with your choice of toppings inside a fried green onion pancake. My favourite vendor makes me one with corn, cheese, and bacon in the egg. I dubbed it the Taiwanese Wisconsin. Still not exactly sure what that means, but it’s delicious.

Now that I have my hotplate, however, my meals have returned to much leaner fare: eggs, meat and vegetable fry-up, and the like. I’m hoping to shed some excess weight quickly. I would like to be back down to around 225-230 lbs, to be within an easy cut of competition weight.

That’s all for now! If you have any comments or feedback, leave  a message below. If you have any questions about life in Taiwan, or being an ESL Teacher or a strongman, please feel free to message me.

Cheers,

The Bear

New PR, Training

Feb 1, New Squat Pr!

Had a quick but rewarding workout. I decided to take most of Chinese New Year off of training since my last workout before the break was cut short by what felt like a small strain in my bicep.

My concentration just wasn’t there, my body was sore, and I tried to push through it without a proper warmup. Midway through my workout, I felt something twinge in my left bicep and immediately stopped. Tried to stretch it out and work the tightness away, but it just left a bad burning in the center of the muscle. So I decided to call it for the day, and that a long weekend off would do me some good.

And it turns out it did, since I went in the following Wednesday for a leg day. Started with a good, long warmup, testing the bicep. It felt fine, so I got to squatting. Started with Low Bar, and managed:

  • 110 kg x 5
  • 130 kg x 3
  • 135 kg x 2 – New PR/ 297 lbs

This is the first 300-level squat I’ve done since the summer of 2016, and it felt amazing. Hit depth, and felt like I could have maybe done a third rep. This is very, very encouraging, to see that my training is paying off. My knees feel excellent, and even after this heavy session I had no pain whatsoever. Very excited to continue with my training in Taiwan, and I’m already excited for my next competition.

Cheers,

The Bear.