January 2013 progress report.Posted: February 4, 2013
This month has proven to be something of a revelation in terms of how I approach my training. I once read an interview with, I think, Ed Coen, when I was first made aware of progressive overload/periodisation. I was easily persuaded on the merits of this more organised and methodical approach to training, although I did struggle to convince myself that I needed, or even wanted, to squat 2-3 times per week.
This was in marked contrast to the then, typical bodybuilding articles. All raged on about training each major bodypart only once a week, anymore and you were going to shrink. I even read an article in which the columnist wrote that his sessions were so intense, that he would sometimes train a bodypart only once every 9 days. As teenager I used to be in so much pain after thai-boxing classes that I’d come home, lie down and put a bag of frozen peas on my shins to help ease the pain. Yet I’d go back for more a couple of days later. I’d love to see what that ‘once every 9 days’ guy now looks like.
As much as I love lifting weights, it does sometimes spoil my enjoyment of others sports I practise. I always know when I need to cut back on my weight training whenever my kicking power starts to diminish. The same thing happens whenever I’d spent too many weeks cycling to work without ever using an alternative mode of transport.
The whole body split that I followed late last year was only the second time I’d ever trained this way. The first time was for just a couple of months, I couldn’t get to the gym more than twice a week due to the fact that I was then doing three martial arts classes a week. It was around 2003/2004, it’s no coincidence that after those 2 months I pressed 100 kilos for 15 reps. Why it took me 10 years to come back to it, I’ll never know. Such is the allure of the traditional bodybuilding split I guess.
One thing which has remained constant is that I never fell for the irrational fear of shrinking from cardio.
I still see that bodybuilding forum regulars talk of cardio as if it’s some type of poison; too much makes you shrink, robs you of gains etc. Yet for the past two months I have been enjoying some increasingly challenging cardio sessions, but I’m also getting stronger, leaner and more muscular too.
I shot this video when I was cooking Sunday dinner, who said men can’t multi-task.
I have experienced a small amount of atrophy though, it just goes to show how much work your main muscles can handle over a 7 day period. Next month will be the first time I will have devoted 3 days a week to the major lifts, squat, deadlift, clean, bench press, chins and rows. It will still have to be sub-optimal routine as I have no access to an Olympic bar. I need to create a routine which incorporates the best of the traditional strength routines, but also gives me the flexibility to sometimes train two days in a row. Transformation Pics’ advice on this has shown it’s possible.
This month’s best exercise has to be the DB floor press,I honestly don’t know how I could have gone so long without trying this. It also feels great to be doing wide-grip chins again without using the weighted assist, I’m still get a little nervous about it though. It had taken a lot of effort to overcome the rotator cuff strain from a few years ago.
Of perhaps the greatest significance is the fact that I’ve gone a full calendar month without a drink, I’ve cut down on the sugar too: 3 rice puddings, 2 flapjacks and 2 brownies, that’s it. I’ve cut down on the carbs slightly too, not much mind as my body can very easily shut down completely if I go too long without rice or potatoes.
I’ve finally finished the pack of creatine I bought months ago, there must have been some kind of perpetual replenishment going on. It was supposed to last all of 2 months. I’ve also taken a protein shake daily, multi-vitamins and flax oil.
All the barbell complexes I’ve done since October have also paid major dividends in terms of my high recovery ability during sessions. I now feel like some new-generation V8 diesel; Audi’s 4.2, or BMW’s tri-turbo masterpiece. My power delivery just feels linear and relentless. Now that I’m incorporating more plyometric moves, and have also cut back on the training volume, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so optimistic about starting a new month’s training before.
I am determined to acquire some kind of power sled in the next few months, it’s going to slot so nicely into the strength and stamina routines I’ve got planned over the coming months. I’ve just sold my crappy car, so other than pushing a supermarket trolley, I can’t think of any substitute.