Last week I sat down and began outlining a blog post that would take you, my readers, through my workout session for the previous week. Part way through the post I told myself I’d never do it again. It was just too involved for a simple blog post.
Here we are a week later and I’m at it again. I’m not sure why I’m putting these posts together, aside from giving myself something to write about, but they are proving to be interesting. Being able to think out loud and look back at my progress from week to week has been more motivating than I anticipated.
Anyway, lets get started with last weeks workout log…
The subject of cardio strikes a lot of people as dull. It is generally mind-numbing time spent on one piece of equipment or another. In my case it is actually two pieces of equipment. To make matters worse, I don’t tend to mix it up from workout to workout.
The first thing I do when I walk into the gym (besides getting changed if I’m coming from work) is hop onto the elliptical. I know it isn’t a particularly manly machine but it is easy on my legs and I can use it six days per week without fear of shin splints or foot pain.
I program the machine to run an interval program and set the resistance to 14 (I’ve been adding one each week – last week was 13, the week before was 12). I set the timer to 30 minutes and then I’m off and kinda-sorta running.
Once the 30 minute session is over, I follow through with a 5 minute cool down period which the machine goes into automatically. I could skip it but I like the extra few calories it burns while lowering my heart rate.
The second piece of equipment that I use is the Power Mill (stair stepper). I like to tack on this cardio session to the end of a workout. I’ve been setting it to manual mode with a timer for 20 minutes. The speed varies depending on what I’ve done that day. For instance, on leg day I can’t maintain 54 steps per minute so I have to slow it down.
In the event that the single Power Mill in my gym is being used, I like to hop back on the elliptical. This time I’ll crank up the resistance (same interval program) and churn away for 20 minutes at a slower than normal pace.
I realize it sounds dull, and it is, but my gym doesn’t have a prowler or a setup to do a heavy farmer’s walk. I fill the time with podcasts and try to make the best of it.
If you’ve read my workout log from last week, you know that Monday is the day I normally work on legs. Actually, it is the day I focus on squats. A lot of squats.
The focus of the system that I’m doing now (I don’t even know if its a thing – I just started doing a whole bunch of volume in an effort to regain lost strength from time away) is volume. I want to do a whole bunch of reps, spread out over a whole bunch of sets, and move a whole bunch of weight.
The first week that I started this routine was actually my first week back in the gym. It was hellish and I told my wife that child birth would get her in the neighborhood of how much pain I was in – she wasn’t amused.
I was really impressed by the progress I made over the course of a week. This week my numbers went from 19 Sets, 190 Reps, 19,300 Pounds Moved to what you see below. It is an increase of 1 Set, 10 Reps, and 1,200 Pounds Moved.
I realize that it is a small increase when you break it down but I found an extra 1,200 pounds very impressive nonetheless.
More impressive than the progress I made with the Squat was the progress I made on the Bench Press. It was less about the numbers this time and instead more about the way I felt during the exercise. I felt cleaner, more efficient, and the weight seemed easier to handle.
Last week I did 21 Sets, 168 Reps, and 15,800 Pounds Moved. The difference this week was 3 less Sets, 45 More Reps, and 3,695 more Pounds Moved. It was hard work but I feel like I gained some serious ground.
The Dead Lift is the one exercise where I don’t like to push the envelope. I put a lot more weight on the bar and too many reps leads to a sore back which can cause problems in later gym sessions. I like to get warmed up, do 5 Working Sets of 5 Reps, then more or less move on.
Last week I did 10 Sets, 50 Reps and moved a total of 11,550 Pounds. This week I felt compelled to push it a little and added some extra sets to the end. This gave me a change of 4 more Sets, 45 more Reps, and 8,960 more Pounds Moved.
It was a substantial increase but the progress is clouded by the fact that I did more work than usual.
The Overhead Press has become one of my favorite exercises despite the fact that I move the least amount of weight doing it. I feel like my form is better here than the other movements and it makes doing it more fun.
Last week I did 19 Sets, 115 Reps, and moved 9,960 Pounds. This week there was a change of 3 more Sets, 46 more Reps, and I moved 2,515 more Pounds.
Friday / Saturday / Sunday
Friday is generally the day that I work on arms. This week I bagged the entire weekend so that I could spent time with my wife and new baby daughter in the hospital. It was a few sleepless nights and a little guilt for not working out, but it was totally worth it.
Last week the Anytime Fitness Workout of the Week was kind of crazy. It was a ton of sit ups, many meters on the rower, and a bunch of kettlebell swings. Since I wasn’t in the gym on Saturday to try my hand at it, I’ll have to see if I can work it in sometime later. I know that the workout will seriously kick my ass but I’m eager to give it a try (I would have done it already but I didn’t feel like dragging the rower clear across the gym).
Being that I was busy over the weekend, this post was put up late (I’m half way through the next week already). I don’t have any big changes planned for my workout, just slow and steady increases. I’ll take progress anywhere I can get it.
One thing worth noting is that during the past 3 weeks of working out, I’ve only lost about 2 pounds. Without these logs to keep track of progress made in the weight room, I think such a small change on the scale would crush my morale.
Right now I’m not all that worried about losing weight and I’m just happy to be getting stronger with better stamina / endurance.