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|
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.