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.

Thoughts

Training Focus: Motivation and Discipline

For this entry, I have decided to focus on a key part of Training that I have personally struggled with for a long time: Motivation and Discipline. For the first three years of my weight-training life, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I slowly learned as I went, and began to research. Slowly, very slowly, I came to a better understanding of what Training looks like, and more importantly, just how long it takes. When my ‘beginner gainz’ stopped showing, and my progress slowed (no training program-doi!) I quickly got disheartened. My Motivation withered, and my training became even less focused, less intense, and I eventually gave up and would fall off the horse for weeks at a time.

This was because I relied entirely on my Motivation, my desire to see quick results, and my belief that I would see those results, if only I would just go in and kill it, today. Obviously, this is not sustainable in the long term.

Motivation and Discipline are the two key driving forces behind any training program. They answer the two most important questions:

  • What do you want?
  • How are you going to get there?

Of the two, Discipline is the more important. Even without a program or routine, a disciplined, regular gym user will still see improvement and development. However, without a goal, a broader vision, Motivation will erode over time, making discipline harder and harder to maintain. If you aren’t working towards a goal, then you are just working. That is the easiest way to start to fee stuck, frustrated, and disheartened.

Motivation is very important, especially since it usually precedes Discipline. If you are not a regular gym-goer, and even if you are, you know the moment when you wake up and say: “I’m going to the gym today!”

Usually, you’ll go, have a good workout, get sweaty, and spend the day eating right. Then, if you are like I was, you’ll hurt like hell the next day, decide to take a ‘rest day,’ and not go back for a week and a half. This is where Discipline becomes important. Motivation can get you started, can inspire you, but Discipline is what keeps you going, moving forward.

Discipline is harder to form. We have all heard the adage “you’ll get hooked, brah,” in regards to developing a gym or training routine. Sadly, going once a week and flinging weights about is not enough to ‘get hooked,’ or see any long-term progress. When your Motivation wears off, and you have no Discipline to fall back on, you will stop.

The best things you can do to help build Discipline are:

  1. Get a gym buddy – they well (hopefully) keep you accountable, and keep you coming back.
  2. Get on a training program – this will give structure to your workouts, and let you see progress over time.
  3. Alternatively, get a coach or trainer – they will fulfill both functions of keeping you accountable, as well as providing you with a structured program, and Motivation.

Motivation is important. It can get you up and moving when you really need to be. But without Discipline, Motivation isn’t enough. Motivation will get you started, Discipline will carry you through the follow-through; the long, hard process.

 

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.