Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pre Thanksgiving Workout of the Week

Worked out at Ultimate Exercise in the morning due to plant closing at work.  Was fasted around 18 hours.  Worked out with Ed and Doug, who came in to see our workouts.  See this link for Doug's latest post where my workout is mentioned.

Workout(~20 minutes):

  • Pull Over with Abs:  Another one of Ed's designs.  Actually had weights hanging off my ankles.  Looked like a torture session for sure.
  • Seated Row:  Up in weight and time. Pop pin and with Ed pushing on the last 10 seconds to increase the load.
  • Chest Press:  Up in weight. Pop pin.  Also did flys on the same machine.
  • Leg Press: Feet at top of foot pad.  Up in weight.  Pop pin.
  • Pull down:  Did them differently this time, so no good comparison.  Pulled straight down but then pushed out rather than back up along the same path.  Made it really difficult, even with a lower weight than usual.
  • Overhead Press:  Down in time at same weight.  No big surprise as this was the last exercise.  To show something interesting, Doug increased the weight to the entire stack and both Ed and Doug helped me lift it.  I was able to somewhat control the drop, showing how strong you can be in eccentric, even when toast.
One thing that happens to me each time I do leg press after doing upper body is that my arms throb, feeling they feel like they are going to burst.  Doug explained that this was due to the lower body venous return.  The blood is coming back so hard due to the high intensity lower body movement that there is a back pressure on the upper body, resulting in the pump back to the arms.  Very strange but interesting.

Very good,  very tough workout as usual.  A bit longer than usual due to the set extenders on most exercises. I am writing this 2 days after and am still feeling pleasantly sore.  I mentioned that in an email to Ed, and he responded by sending me a link to Curves Fitness Centers as an alternative.  Nice.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Crock Pot Thoughts and Workout of the Week

As we work out in a neighboring town 50 minutes or so away and we work out at 6pm most times it is hard to get home at 7:30pm, cook, clean and get our kids ready for sleep.  Most times we had been eating out, with the excuse that we are living in an apartment so it's ok.  Eating out, unfortunately, doesn't save us much time and it certainly costs more and is generally less healthy than I would make at home.  A few weeks ago we decided to pull the 30 year old crock pot out and see if that saves time.  Not only did it save time after our workout but it also was way yummier, more food, and certainly better since I control the ingredients.
The preparations are so easy and fast(~15 minutes) and they can be done anytime up to 24 hours before dinner.  I usually prepare this in the morning before I leave for work.  Here is my recipe:
  1. Get crock pot going, empty, at high setting.
  2. On the stovetop heat on medium high a cast iron or stainless steel large pan.  Don't use non-stick as you won't get the fond development.
  3. Brown a 2-3# chuck roast(grass fed/finished preferably and seasoned) on each side for a couple of minutes.  While that is browning, rough chop a medium or large onion.  I use left over animal fat to brown in most time.
  4. When brown, transfer the meat to the crock pot and immediately add the onions.  Add salt and pepper and cook until softened.  Feel free to add in some whole garlic cloves or mushrooms as well.
  5. Open a bottle of red wine and deglaze the pan with about a cup full with onions still in it.  Not only does this dissolve the fond, making it yummier, but it will also make the pan easier to clean.
  6. Pour Contents of the pan into the crock pot atop the meat.
  7. Add a handful or two of carrots.
  8. Cover and turn crock pot to low and let it cook all day.  If you work from home and are fasting(like my wife does) you will be tortured by the smell coming from the kitchen.
I usually pair this up with a sweet potato(mashed) and some brussel sprouts.  I have a good recipe for the sprouts too.  If anyone cares I will post it next week.  Oh, I drink a small glass of the red wine with it as well.  :-)
Workout(~15 minutes):
  • Chest Press:  Level in weight and level in time under load(TUL).  Felt heavy right off the bat.  A little disappointing.  Pop pin.
  • Seated Row: Up in weight and slightly down in time.  Pop pin.
  • Leg Press & Calf Press:  Up in TUL.  Calf press done with whole stack.  Pop pin.
  • Overhead Press: Up in TUL.  Pop pin.
  • Pull Over:  Up in TUL
Good tough workout.  With the pop pin on 4 of 5 exercises it was quite a bit of volume.  Even more so than usual.  Each exercise was nearing 2 minute mark before pop pin and at least one(row) was well over 2 minutes.  I will get 12 days recovery until the next workout, so little worries about overtraining.
I fasted ~30 hours before the workout and had the crock pot chuck roast for dinner.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Workout of the Week and Possible Tweaks?

Workout went great. I was toast after the first 3 exercises, but I went up in time on everything(nearly) and up in time and load on the dreaded superslow pull down. On leg press I went up over 30 seconds. On pull down nearly as much.  Still progressing each and every week.
  • Leg Press: Feet at top of the push plate.  Up 30 seconds + in time under load(TUL).
  • Overhead Press: Up in TUL.  Pop pin.
  • Pulldown: Up in weight and TUL.  Pop pin.
  • Pull over abs: Can’t judge time since I did it differently again. I think the one today was the best ab method yet. It was a static hold at place where upper arms were parallel with the floor while doing knee raises. 3 reps and my abs were on fire. I don’t know who figured this one out, but I can guess.
  • Seated Row: Felt really heavy after the pull down.  Up in TUL.
  • Chest press: After the overhead press first I could really feel it on my chest muscles.  Up in TUL.

I say this every time, but this was the worst workout ever. Miserable. Really out of breath afterward. An hour later I felt great and was looking forward to a nice dinner of pot roast from the crock pot. 
I am curious what would happen if I did a Big 3 only for a few weeks or stopped at positive failure, but I leave it to my “tormentors” to decide if that is best. I have a good horse and plan on continuing to ride it. I have a couple of weeks coming up where I will have 12 and 9 days of recovery, so keeping the current volume and intensifiers up for a bit longer is fine by me.  I chatted online in the comments at with Doug and Ed Garbe and it sounds like some tweaks are in order.  The progress has been good, but trying some less volume or other might be interesting.  More to come on that.