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, Training

Programming and Dieting

Since I’ve been too cheap to buy a bathroom scale, I finally found a place where I can get weighed. Apparently, the BMI is taken very seriously here, and many pharmacies offer general weight checkups. I went to check it out and got some surprising results:

  • Weight: 104.2 kg
  • Body Fat: 26.6%
  • Muscle: 31.1%
  • Body Age: 51 y/o
  • BMR: 2141 kcal
  • BMI: 31.3

This was a little disheartening. I had been eating cleaner and exercising harder since June, when I weighed in at 111.4 kg. So the loss was encouraging, but these measurements put me far above where I would like to be.

So I have resumed using My Fitness Pal to track my calories and Macros, and have been working through my new training program. It has been feeling really good, and I’m looking forward to next month’s weigh-in.

My next goal is to be under 215 lbs/ 97 kg and/or 18% body fat. So far I have been able to shed the weight while maintaining or improving my lifts throughout this training cycle. Hopefully I can continue this trend, and work on building up my base musculature while I continue to shed the excess fluff.

That’s all for now, wish me luck!

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, Update

New Training Program Ready!

After 3 weeks of testing and tweaking, I have finished the first trial-ready version of my new training program. Starting on Monday, I will be running through a full Six Week cycle, and keeping notes of my progress and the program itself. I will be scrutinizing:

  • Effectiveness – my overall progress through the 6 weeks
  • Efficiency – how well the program utilizes recovery time and upper/lower body rotation
  • Exertion – the perceived difficulty of the program, ideally strenuous without over-taxing recovery

So stay tuned for updates! If you’re interested in testing out the program, even though it’s in its early stages, message me. If you have any questions feel free to comment or message me below.

Be sure to follow my Instagram for progress pictures and videos.

Cheers,

The Bear

Programming, Training

First Week of New Program/ Feb 20-26

Behind on Training Logs, so here’s a update for the week of February 20-26. This was my first week attempting to develop my own training program. Week 2 felt much better after some fine-tuning, and I’m looking forward to starting Week 3 tomorrow.

Mon Feb 20

  • Seated Barbell Military Press
    • 60 kg x 5 (3)
    • 65 kg x 5 (2)
  • Z Press
    • 50 kg x 4
    • 40 kg x 8 (2)
  • Superset Hammer Curls/EZ Bar French Press
  • Face Pulls
    • 20 x 3
  • Shoulder Flys
    • 12 kg x 12 (3)

Tue Feb 21

  • Front Squat
    • 40 kg x 5
    • 60 kg x 3
    • 80 kg x 3
    • 85 kg x 3 (3)
  • High Bar Back Squat
    • 90 kg x 8
    • 80 kg x 8
    • 60 kg x 8
  • Split Leg Squats
    • BW x 10
  • Superset Ab Roller Crunches/Hip Thrusters
    • 10/20 x 3
  • Back Crunches
    • 15 x 3

Struggling with squat depth, and I’ve started filming my lifts in order to police my form a little more rigorously. I have been stretching every night to try and open up my hip flexibility, and it is helping. Slowly but surely.

Thu Feb 23

  • Incline Bench
    • 40 kg x 5
    • 60 kg x 5
    • 70 kg x 8 (5)
  • Inverted Rows
    • 12 x 3
  • Lat Pulldowns
    • 15 x 3
  • Superset Hammer Curls/Tricep Ext.
    • 15/15 x 2
  • Plank 1 min x 2

Sat Feb 25

  • Farmers Walk (weight per hand, 25 m course, 2 lengths)
    • 57.5 kg x 2
    • 67.5 kg x 2
    • 77.5 x 2
      • dropset: 57.5 kg x 2
  • Farmers Pickups
    • 87.5 kg
    • 87.5 kg + 10 second hold
  • Log Press (32.5 kg log)
    • 52.5 kg x 3 (2)
    • 62.5 kg x 2
    • 72.5 kg x 1
    • 82.5 kg x 1
    • 72.5 kg x 1 (3)
  • Floor Press
    • 50 kg x 10
    • 80 kg x 5

Weighed in at 110 kg for my event day, which is a little more than I’d like to be. So I am focusing on incorporating more cardio into my active recovery, as well as increasing the intensity and volume of my training session. But besides being a little heavier, everything is feeling good.

Sat Feb 26

  • Conventional Deadlift (15 kg light bar)
    • 65 kg x5
    • 115 kg x 3 (5)
    • 120 kg x 1 (5)
  • Snatch Grip
    • 95 kg x 3 (4)
  • Stiff Leg
    • 65 kg x 5 (2)

Meant to do my deadlifts after I finished with Event training, but I was absolutely gassed, so I went back and did them the day after.

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.

Recovery, Thoughts

Recovery Focus: Sleep

To me, training consists of 3 parts: training, recovery, and nutrition. All are equally important, and one cannot outpace the other two, if you want to progress in your training.

This will be the first post in a series of articles on Recovery. I am going to focus on Sleep.

At the outset of this post, I’d just like to say that I have no background in exercise science, nor any formal coaching experience. As a result, all of my knowledge about the more technical aspects of training and recovery come from research or personal experience. This post will be largely anecdotal, but I hope I can at least provide a frame work to approach your own rest and recovery.

Recovery can take many forms, and there are many ways you can improve your recovery, either physically or mentally. Primarily, recovery takes the form of sleep, and I don’t believe anything will hurt your recovery more than failing to get sufficient sleep.

Personally, if I get less than 7-7.5 hours of sleep the night after a workout, I feel truly wretched the next day.

Ensuring you get enough sleep is the most basic way to help boost your physical and mental recovery.

I am a restless sleeper. I usually wake up 2-3 times during the night, and I have great difficulty falling asleep in the first place. I struggled with sleep for a long time, and when preparing for my first Strongman contest, my sleep suffered, and, as a result, my recovery suffered.

There are a few key practices I had adopted  that have helped improve the quality and ease of my sleep.

  1. Blue Light Filter – firstly, I try to shut down the major electronics and take some time to switch off before bed. Usually 20-30 minutes before bed I’ll shut off the laptop and TV. These are the major sources of blue light, which keeps me very stimulated and using my laptop until bed make sit hard to fall asleep. Secondly, I downloaded a blue light filter for my phone. The one I use is called Twilight, and it programs itself to the daylight hours, and gradually decreases the amount of blue light your phone screen gives off as night falls. This has been a huge help in falling asleep, and has the added bonus of not scorching your eyes if you check your phone in the middle of the night.
  2. Caffeine – I’m a bit of a coffee hound. I used to drink quite a bit, but my sensitivity to caffeine remained fairly high. To help sleep, I avoid any caffeine after 5 pm. This one is purely personal, as my sensitivity to caffeine is fairly high. No afternoon coffee = better sleep.
  3. Stretching Before Bed – Every night, I devote 15-20 minutes to a simple circuit of basic yoga poses and stretches. While daily stretching is a key part of active recovery, this has the added benefit of helping me unwind from the day. When I lay down to sleep after my stretching routine, I spend far less time tossing and turning to get comfortable.

These three, very small things, have helped me improve the quality of my sleep. I feel much better rested in the morning, even if I get fewer hours of shut eye. I hope this can help you, even in some small way, improve your recovery.

Cheers,

The Bear.