Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Body, The Experiment: Day 26

The 40-Day program got shortened considerably, when I woke up on Day 26 and thought, Uh-uh. I did this enough. We're done here.

But seeing as how I had committed five weeks to a strength-building program, I knew that before moving on to anything else, I had to test strength. With the able spotting of a bodybuilder friend (who likes to say things like "Do you know where I can find a good veterinarian? [flexes biceps] Cause these puppies are SICK!!!"), I went to the bench and pressed 130lbs, which is my all-time best but I had only done it once, and several years ago at that. So I considered this an accomplishment and sign of improved strength.

I then went to the deadlift. 200 had been my max, but 195 felt reasonable, so I loaded 210 on and slowly brought the bar up. That's improvement, too.

Dan John's 40-Day Program, shortened to 26, even, brought me significant benefits. Strength, yes, but also improved shoulder health. Less achy days: the regular but low-rep lifting kept me in good form. The courage to face some lifts I had feared (back squat, overhead squat). And to trust in the process: I have full respect for Dan and Pavel, and though I was feeling a bit heavy from the lack of cardio, I knew I should give their ideas a go.

Yes, I said it: no cardio. I did virtually none for 6+ weeks. Sure, my heart rate went up on the kettlebell swings, and certainly on the heavy lifts. But no sustained sweating all this time. I was feeling thick, but the scale didn't shift too much to the right. Here's me on Day 26:

AFTER: No Cardio for 6 weeks
...which should teach you women a lesson. Muscle burns fat; build the muscle. Lift heavy. Stop it with the 7-pound dumbbells, already. My foundation of muscle took care of me over this time period, and let me tell you, I ate. See my last post, where I detail just how much. I was eating a lot and not moving, just lifting heavy and building strength, and yet I didn't get (too) fat. There's a major lesson there.

I did lose some agility during the program; I went to demonstrate the agility ladder to a client, and went kerthunk kerthunk. But this was to be expected, once I thought about it, and I accepted this loss within the idea that my goals for this time sat elsewhere.

But now it's time quite literally to move on, and after my feats of strength I went home and carried a 50lb bag of rice around the outside of my house, just because. I shadowboxed, I did pushups. I moved and moved, and by the next morning, the thickness was gone.

Also by the next morning, I couldn't move. Even today, I'm still sore (but I did the rice thing again anyway).

Next up: a hypertrophy test. Four, maybe 5 weeks I'm going to try to build some size. Gun show, Admit One. Right this way, esteemed veterinarian. Yeah.

Friday, October 4, 2013

go raw

I have a client right now who is excited about deadlifts. Seeing the weight go up boosts him, naturally, and he tries to go higher. When I worked with him this week, though, I saw that without his hand wraps, not much progress happens. Hand wraps have their purpose, but I know this man's goals, and felt he'd reach them more solidly by dropping the weight and losing the wraps for a time.

Nobody wants to do that.

Nobody wants to swallow their pride and lose their shortcut to success. To his credit, he agreed with me, and it got me thinking: what do I rely on? Not my gloves or wraps but in life, what do I need?

Do I need constant feedback on facebook for energy? Coffee to make me happy? Compliments to stroke my ego?

In powerlifting competitions, there are often two categories: equipped and raw. Equipped, you lay your wraps and gloves on the table and they say okay, put 'em on. Raw, it's just you and that heavy bar.

Fight the need for equipment and go raw a while. Tell me how it goes.