Chained Down

Chained Down
Breaking through the Chains

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Training, Family, and Food.

Well I haven't posted in a while because my past week was extremely busy.  The week consisted of a lot of studying, training, and preparation for my family's weekend visit.  Prioritizing sucks, but it is a necessity in the busy world in which we live.  I had to miss a day of training and set aside some friend time, computer time, and other things for the week.  I wanted to make sure that I got all of the studying done I needed for that week and the upcoming week.  I also had to clean my apartment so that my family could spend the weekend in a livable environment.
Since I have not posted in a while, I will first update some of my training.  Last week I ate pretty low calorie and low carb because I knew that I would be loading up on the weekend with my family!  Therefore, I was lacking in energy and strength.  However, I was still able to have some pretty decent workouts.  Last Monday I was able to get 12 deep ass reps with 455 on squat and also 8 reps on deadlift with 415.  I was very pleased with my deadlift because, due to some lower back pain, I had not deadlifted in about 3 weeks.  Last Thursday I had a pretty crappy workout because I was so tired.  But, I hit 365 for one after all my sets on bench press.  I didn't go all out, but I did it pretty easy... I estimate it is about 90% of my max.  Friday, my family came into town and I had a pretty good workout with my little brother and then treated him to some Smoothie King!  We did back together... after doing about 40 pullups I hit One Arm Rows with 150 pounds for 18 on each arm.  We also did some bent over rows, V-bar pulldowns, and some curls at the end.  I was far more impressed with my brother than myself.  When we started lifting I had to assist him on every pull-up almost.  Friday he did 10 on his first set pretty easily without any assistance.  He also did 55 pounds on one arm rows and matched my 18s.  Then, he out repped me on pulldowns with the weight he was using!  He is getting pretty strong.
After working out Friday, I continued to have a fantastic weekend with my family.  We did a lot of bonding, eating, and playing with the Ripster.  I ate so much!  Friday night I had a Gyro and sweet potato fries at Volta; Saturday morning I had 3 Oat Pancakes and a biscuit at BBB's; I ate animal crackers all day, had a footlong sub, and then ate some chicken pad thai that night!  I finished the night with a Sonic Oreo blast... mmm I love playing fat boy! Sunday I ate Abners grilled chicken.  Oh how I wish I had some more of those cookies that almost resemble zoo animals :)

I ended my fantastic weekend with my family and said my sad goodbyes.  Family is awesome.  I love them so much.  A strong family can help you get through anything.  I am so thankful.  We fight like wild dogs, but in the end we are the best of friends.  Also, the fighting can be a great form of entertainment.  I was fortunate enough to witness my little bro and sis exchange some powerful punches to the face!  It was  awesome!  My mother's wrath following was not so awesome. 

After they left, I had another pretty decent workout.  I did standing military with perfect form, no leg movement at all.  I finished with 195 for 1 pretty easily; again, I estimate that to be about 90%.  I then followed that with some barbell shrugs.  My last set I did a rest-pause set with 475 pounds.  I did 9 reps, waited 15 seconds, and then did 7 more.  After the shrugs, I did some seated dumbbell presses. My last set I did 90 pound dumbells for another rest-pause set.  I hit 10 reps, rested 15 seconds, and then did 3 more reps.  I finished the day with some light machine side laterals, light high pulls, and a high-rep set of dips.  All in all I was pleased.
Great weekend... now on to a night of studying for my first test of the semester.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

PR All Day, Every Day

The past couple of weeks have been some weeks of achievement for myself.  After experiencing a few small, but challenging, injuries, I have been able to set some personal records (PRs) in the gym.  Over the past couple of weeks I have been pushing throught some nagging injuries.  Last week I considered taking a few of my training days off because they hurt so badly.  My lower back, upper back, and shoulder have all been causing some problems.  I am in no way degrading taking days off or even deloading for a week (lowering the weights, volume, and effort significantly for a week).  However, I had not planned to incorporate these types of days and I felt that I could just suck it up.  I guess my intuition was right, or atleast I hope. 
I think this post is a good follow-up for my previous post because it demonstrates all of the advice that I provided could really work.  I have made significant jumps in both my squat and my bench press.   Last week on Thursday I set a PR on bench.  I did 340 pounds seven times.  I did not foresee myself hitting that number at all.  I thought maybe I would get 3 or 4 reps, but not 7.  Today, I continued to set a PR in squat.  I hit 500 pounds for 7 reps going very deep (I think depth should be emphasized more).  On both sets I felt that I had a few more left in the tank, but decided to hold up at 7 for some odd reason.  I also did standing military with 205 pounds for 4 reps Sunday.  500 is still off of the 540 that Jim Wendler hit for 7 in a youtube video: 

Nevertheless, for me, I feel that I hit a pretty good number and I am consistently going up in weight.  I think it is time for me to lay out my program, so that others can get a feel for what I do.  Remember, a program should be set up on an individual basis.  What I do will probably not work for everyone.  But, here it is:
Thursday- this is a bench day for me.  I begin with bench press using Wendler’s 5/3/1 periodization method, then I do an exercise to work on my strength off the chest, then an exercise to work on my lockout, then a push-up variation for speed, then some elbow rehabilitation work consisting of high repetition tricep work, and I finish with some ab work.
Friday-  I usually begin with deadlifts, but because of my lower back problems I may move deadlifts to squat day to allow for more recovery days.  I follow with an Upper Back exercise, a variation of back rows hitting the horizontal plane, two variations of  back exercises hitting the vertical plane, some dumbell pullovers, shrugs, high rep biceps work, and then finish with some abs.
Saturday is an off day
Sunday- I begin with standing military press using 5/3/1, standing military for higher reps, incline dumbell presses, side laterals, narrow upright rows, rear delt work, and finish with more abs
Monday- I do some additional arm work and some cardio
Tuesday- I do some stretching, I do squats using 5/3/1,  I do some lunges or hack squats, some lower back work, calves, heavy barbell shrugs, maybe some forearm work, then finally some grip work and abs. 
Wednesday is another off day for me.
Jim Wendler may not agree with the amount of volume I do, but I am trying to work all that out and reduce it some.  I will probably deload after 3 more weeks.  Hopefully, I continue to make gains and set PRs. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Some Thoughts About Progress, Consistency, and Training Partners

Alot of people get discouraged about progress in the gym and consistency.  I know that I certainly do.  It seems as though no matter how hard you try and work, you never seem to get your lifts any higher.  When they do go up, the max lift may only go up 5 or 10 pounds.  This does not seem like a very substantial improvement.

At this time in my senior year my max in bench press was only about 275 pounds and my max in squats was only about 405 pounds.  I am not so sure about my deadlift max because I never did many deadlifts until this school year, but I believe it was right around 405 pounds... maybe less.  These lifts never seemed to increase.

My roommate, Shane Anderson, is also very big into lifting weights.  His max in bench was around 300, in squat it was around 350, and in deadlift it was around 465.

Currently, two years later, my bench press max is around 375.  My squat is in the mid 500's and my deadlift is around 515 pounds.  Shane's max in bench press is around 365 pounds.  His squat is around 445 pounds and he has deadlifted about 545 pounds.  In exactly two years, maybe less, my bench has gone up 100 pounds, my squat has gone up almost 150 pounds, and my deadlift has gone up about 100 pounds.  In this same amount of time Shane's bench has gone up around 65 pounds, his squat has gone up around 100 pounds, and his deadlift around 80 pounds.

If you look at these improvements in the prospective of the course of two years, our max lifts have gone up drastically.  Even though it seems as though it takes a long time the improvement is really quite drastic.

Shane has always kept the same routine and no matter what he stays very consistent in his workouts.  He always workouts, never missing many of his workouts, and always trains very hard.  I was always switching up my routines, until I finally found what I feel is best for me this past year.  Me and Shane have very different training styles.  But, no matter how we train, we always consistently train hard and train on a consistent basis.  I believe that is the key.  No matter how you train, train hard and train consistently... never give up on yourself.  Everyone trains different because everyone is very different.

But, no matter how you train always remember to train hard and train consistently.  It may seem as though progress comes slow, but if you train hard and train on a consistent basis the progress will come.  Even if your goal is not to be stronger, these keys will allow you to progress in any goal that you may have.  And it seems as though progress comes very slow, but look at it over long periods of time.  Even if you increase your max 5 pounds a months, that 5 pounds turns into 120 pounds in two years!  That rate of improvement is awesome!  Something that has helped me and is very useful in progression is a book by Jim Wendler called 5/3/1.  I recommend this book for anyone trying to get stronger.  No matter what you do, do what you enjoy and do what you feel you can do consistently week in and week out.

Also, training partners can be very key to progress.  I have new training partners now ranging from my friends Shane, Harrison Daly, and Troy Maninino to my younger brother, Joe.  But, all of these partners are very helpful in motivation and staying consistent.  I have also had great partners in years past including the Power B gym, the Salters brothers, and my boy Jared Blue.  Training partners are not essential (many times I lift alone), but they can certainly be helpful.  This is especially true when starting out.  I hope everyone meets their goals and remembers these tips.  I also want to apologize if any of my previous posts offended anyone.  My goal in this blog is not to offend others, but to just provide good tips and make the reading enjoyable.  Best of wishes.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Back to School and Back Bustin

I'm back to school and have my first week under my belt.   There is definitely a significant difference between training at home and training at school.  First, at home I am able to eat alot more and I also train in a better atmosphere I think.  The Turner Center at Ole Miss is filled with alot of people, most of whom do not know how to train or do not train as intensely as I would prefer.  The only reason this bothers me is because it makes it a less intense atmosphere.  However, before I went out for the first friday night back (hopefully not to ruin all progress) I had a very good back workout.  I had a little problem because there was someone squatting where I usually deadlift.  I am very impatient, so rather than waiting I did my 1 Arm rows first.  This definately hurt my grip on the deadlift, but luckily I only went up to 75% for 2 reps.  So here was my workout:

1 Arm Rows: worked up to 150 lb. dumbbells for 18 reps each side.
Deadlift: worked up to 395x2 (75%) and did 5 sets of 5 for speed at 315
Chest-Supported Rows: 4x5
Pulldowns: 3x12-15
Reverse Grip Pulldowns: 3x12-15
Hammer Curls: 3x8-10
Low Pulley Curls supersetted with wide grip barbell curls: 3 sets

Just trying to get a wide back!! 
After the back workout I had a weekend filled with hangin with friends, feelin like a bad person, and sleeping with the Ripster.  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Some thoughts on my future, teachers, and diet

Well, I often think about my future.  I am, surprisingly, eager to leave school, start working, and begin my life.  However, I am scared about what will be ahead of me.  Hopefully, it is good things.  At this point in my life I feel as though things are going pretty well.  This is thanks to a great family and others that have had profound influences upon me.  Some of these people have been teachers.  Thus, I want to give these people some recognition.  Great teachers can be all the difference in a child's life.  I have had many teachers that have had great influences on me.  Some of which I would like to mention.  In doing so I will go in chronological order.

First on the lineup is Glenn Beuchlein.  I know I have mentioned him before, but he has not only been a great influence on my training, but also my education.  I had Beuchlein in high school for both Competition Government and Economics.  He placed alot of effort into his teaching and always provided extra information that most people would not know.  As I have become a more learned specimen of the university, I have found much of his teaching to be useful.

Next, is a man who I encountered in my first year at Ole Miss, Dr. Lerner.  I came to school underprepared I feel and my writing skills were very underdeveloped.  I started off in his class very poorly, but steadily began to improve.  His class was pretty rigorous and he was a rough grader.  Needless to say, he was a tough teacher to have in my first semester at school.  He gave me my first and only B.  I did not like it at the time, but I realize now that he prepared me for the rest of my classes.  He also helped me receive some financial aid and we still speak quite often.  He is always friendly and always is curious about the classes I take.  The type of relationship he has provided seems to be rare on the college scene.

Finally, one of my current teachers deserves to make the list I have provided.  His name is Dr. Rutherford.  Dr. Rutherford was the professor in my class last semester titled "Research Design Methods" and is now teaching me in a class about Environment Policy.  Dr. Rutherford is a soft spoken man and his voice almost makes you want to sit back in a lawn chair and have an ice cold drink.  However, he is very passionate about his work and cares about many of the same things I do.  These issues are primarily centered around sustainability.  I also went into his office one day and he gave me some very kind compliments.  These compliments were very unexpected from such a soft spoken man.  They really meant alot.  I hope I continue to be around him and hopefully he can help me in my future endeavors.

I have had many great teachers and these are only a few of them.  Others include Mr. Gary Case (a great friend) and also Dr. Weber.  I admire all of these great instructors.

I also wanted to discuss diet a little bit.  Many people struggle with weight, including myself, and there are much conflicting information in regards to diet.  I will review a few methods that I have tried and successfully used.  First, I think it is always important to select healthy foods in general.  Foods that have been processed are not favorable, such as breads and other un-natural foods.  Typically reducing carbs and calories in general will help lose weight, but I have trouble doing this for long periods of time because I love food way too much.  I personally like using methods where I can overeat.  Yes, I said overeat.  Overeating has many benefits.  It allows your body to become more sensitive to the effects of a hormone called leptin.  There are many articles and studies that are on the web about leptin.  My first and most successful method involving leptin was utilizing a diet called UD2.0 by Lyle Mcdonald.  This diet basically consists of around 4 1/2 days of under-eating and glycogen depletion (depleting sugar stores in your body through low carbs), 1 and 1/2 days of carb loading (eating an abundance of good carbohydrates) and then a final day of just normal, balanced eating (good carbs, proteins, and fats with each meal).  There are specific workouts to aid this process and this would be very good to try.  Currently I am doing a method known as Carbnite or a modified warrior diet.  This involves me under-eating on my workout days until 5:00 or so.  I eat no carbs and very low calories.  I usually eat 2 meals of 6 egg whites and raw veggies.  Then, after my workout, I consume my strawberry protein with some orange juice.  Then, at dinner, I eat a big meal consisting of lots of carbs and protein.  On non-workout days I eat low carbs and alot of meat.  This method seems to be working so far, but we will see.   Whatever method you choose, stay consistent, constantly motivate yourself, and allow yourself to enjoy good food every once in a while.  Best of luck to anyone trying to better themselves and become healthier human beings.    

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Parting Ways... A Workout... and A Very Dirty Dog

So, yesterday I left the domicile I call home and migrated south to a land called Dixie.  I left behind my family and a weekend watching girls basketball, attending a thrilling confirmation bash, and the training   I had been partaking in for the past 5 weeks or so.  The ride was filled with long conversations with the grandmother I call "Momo", scenic observations in the beautiful state of Tennessee, and wreck-less old drivers pulling out in front of me as my speedometer read speeds of 60-80 miles an hour.  The entire way my legs were throbbing in pain due to the fat pig laying across my lap known as Ripley.   Anyhow, my dreadful drive was followed by a night at the bar, where I saw the quarterback of the New York Giants, Eli Manning.
My second day back consisted of watching my puppy act crazy and cover herself in mud at a lake, along with some training and NFL football.  By the way, I am infatuated with the Green Bay Packers' defense... it is an incredible thing to watch.  I am a huge colts fan, but I cannot resist indulging myself in moments of celebration when that defense does something outstanding.  Clay Matthews is just a pure freak, beast.   Evidently, he is fairly strong and trains hard, which even further excites me:
Taking my dog to the lake was quite a treat as well.  That fat pig ran around like a psycho bred by Charlie Manson in prison and took pleasure in covering herself in mud and other nasty substances that occur in nature.  Since then, she has wanted to do nothing but sleep and lay her fat body on my bed.
So, while this fat, fat pig slept I decided to get in a little workout myself.  I had not ate much all day and had quite an exhausting day yesterday, so I don't think I was quite up to par.  However, I did manage to do a few good things.  I did a little bench, stopping at five reps on every set (worked up to 305).  Felt good, but didn't feel as powerful as normal.  Following the notorious bench press, I decided to act like my bodybuilder roommate and do some dumbell incline presses.  Surprisingly, it was pretty smooth.  I did 110 pound dumbells for a pretty easy 11.  I stopped at 11 in honor of my younger brother's baseball number.  I then decided to go back to my powerlifter roots and do some floor presses.  Then, I did some dips and plyo-pushups.  Plyo-pushups seems a little cross-fit-esque or p90x style, but they are very beneficial for building speed and explosion when benching.  I called the younger bro and found out that he had a pretty darn good workout as well... he got jiggy wit it.  He is now passing on our techniques to my cousin.  That little shit did 105 on bench for 5 pretty easily (only in 8th grade), which is a major improvement.  When that gangsta started, just six weeks ago, he could barely get that weight for 1 rep.  Clearly my methods are working!  He was also able to do 45 pound dumbells on the floor press for about 8 reps!  I think that's pretty impressive.  His arms are already filling in.  I am very jealous of this.  No matter how strong I get, my arms always seem to lag behind.  I guess I was never meant to be one of the Jersey Shore gang.  But, then again, I am not into the pre-party "pump" that those guys seem to favor for their workouts.  Anyways, all in all it was a good training day for the Bobe clan.  Jersey Shore cant hang wit Wabash River Shore!!
By the way.. I just now realized that I had a major spelling error in the title of my blog. I am embarrassed that I did not catch it until now and am very surprised at myself!  I am quite (no pun intended) careless at times!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Training with the Broski and the B-- the cycle continues

Over my winter break from school I have been training with both my younger brother and the powerlifting guru himself, Glenn Beuchlein.  First, I will discuss the training with the B.  Glenn Beuchlein is a teacher at the high school I attended and was probably the single greatest influence on my passion for "pumping iron" as Arnold Schwarzenegger would say.  Beuchlein is a 700lb+ bencher and is in his mid-40s, he contributes to as a writer, and has also written a book ("The Tao of B").
I first began training with B leading into my junior year in high school.  I came to him trying to get stronger for football.  At the time I was very weak and was just fat and out of shape.  Eventually, I would go on to lose around 60 lbs. and push myself into great shape.  I credit B for part of my turn around because weight lifting was a very big factor in my body transition.  And on a side note, if I could lose weight anyone can.  I believe I love food, have a slower metabolism, and am lazier (or at least by nature) than anyone on this planet.  Below is a younger, chubby me:

Anyhow, training with B is an unbelievable experience every time I enter his lair and he is always willing to pass on knowledge.  His gym consists of a basement, some weights, a stationary bike, and usually a group of guys willing to do anything to get stronger. His style of training is unlike any set program that can be found on the internet.  There is no set routine, percentages, volume, or whatever so-called trainers like to prescribe.  A chest day could consist of Benching with Kettlebells on the barbell along with several chains, pressing 100 lb. kettlebells off of a swiss ball (last time, the B got 33 reps for Larry Bird), doing pushups with around 200 lbs. of chains on your back, and other crazy exercises.  It never gets old.  I am grateful everytime I get to come home and train with B.  He is a great friend, teacher, and lifter.  Not trying to get all sentimental like Leo Dicaprio in Titanic.  By the way, I don't care who you are, that is a kick ass movie!
Below is some training in B's Gym:

In addition to training with and being mentored by the B, I have gotten the opportunity to mentor my younger brother and introduce him to weight lifting.  The broski's name is Joe Wayne and he is currently in the big 8th grade.  I guess him training with me is a little bit of a rebellion, because he is supposed to be training with the high school football team.
I stopped him from doing that for a couple of reasons: 1. The weight room is way too crowded 2. I DO NOT trust his coaches (I had bad experiences and will discuss in a future blog) 3. I wanted to make sure he uses good form 4. I do not feel that the pressures of other kids his age to "max out" or do whatever will be safe or productive.  I believe learning good technique and receiving one-on-one attention is very valuable starting off.  My younger brother has been exposed to many of the techniques that I have been taught by the great B.  I have thoroughly enjoyed our little bro time everyday and I think I might have sparked a little passion within him for weightlifting.  I am glad he is doing this... I think weight lifting teaches many lessons in life.  I think patience, consistency, hard work, and many other lessons can be taught by the iron!!  I hope he continues to learn, just as a young padiwan like Luke Skywalker would.
The youngster himself having a birthday treat: