Insanity, one set at a time.

Knurling in the squat rack since 1882.

Not dead yet

Got the barbell, and am loving the deadlifts. Decided to work on my power cleans so that I can do front squats with a decent amount of weight - since I have no rack, it’s either that or continue using the leg press at work, the latter of which only goes up in increments of 20lbs - as well as alternating between the deadlift and rows. Also overhead press, as that lifting something over your head just feels damn awesome.

Dumbbell bench is up to 82.5 per DB as of yesterday, now just have to push until I can do 5x5. Probably going to invest in 1.25lb plates so I don’t have to increment by 10lbs each time. I toyed with just doing to roll of shame backwards to get set up for bench, but I have to admit, that doesn’t feel spectacular, so barbell bench will only be an occasional lift for now.

Diet’s been crazy, often at a caloric deficit of ~500, as due to a number of unfortunate events I’ve been on the road a lot more than I’d planned. 

Still at it

I did indeed take a break - actually waited until November 30th, then hit a new PR on the dumbbell bench (and another one on the following week.) It’s still not spectacular, but at the very least progression continues. I’m not certain how much longer I can keep doing the 10 pound jumps, though I’m pretty sure I can do at least one more once I buy more plates (again) - counting both dumbbells, that’ll put me at over my body weight for bench. 

Decided against dumbbell squats and deadlifts, as the dumbbells are starting to get rather large and unwieldy. Lacking any way to do proper squats, I’ve been making use of the leg press at work, and slowly building strength back there. I’ll also be getting a barbell this week, so I can at least start working on my deadlift, and possibly front squats - the latter depending on how well I can teach myself how to clean the bar. In addition to this, I’ve been working on getting my standing shoulder press up to par - very carefully, due to the recent injury in that area. Still, progress continues. That did lead to my starting to do a few sets of curls each workout again, though, as kipping the 50lb dumbbells up to my shoulders is a pain in the arse.

Lastly, my wife and I are planning on checking out the local gyms, and more importantly the specials that are common after New Year’s. They have a lot of equipment she’d like to use, and, well, I want access to a damn squat rack. :D

It’s a trap!

"In a system (the aging person) whose default mode is to die, whose human apoptotic signaling is in place and activated, barbell training signals for survival and for growth. It forces muscles to grow stronger and more flexible, tendons and ligaments to become thicker, bones to start sopping up calcium and lay down new matrix, kinesthetic perception to get with the program, and endocrine systems to get off their ass. It negates the extrinsic form of human apoptotic signaling: every additional geezer who trains with a barbell is a living refutation of the stereotype of the frail senior, an example of what aging can and should be. More importantly, training blocks the intrinsic form of human apoptotic signaling, by sending a message to the gray goo in our head that yes, we can get stronger.”

Jonathon Sullivan MD, PhD

Nice. :D

Currently taking an enforced break from lifting, until at least Monday, November 28th, as I’ve a minor injury in both of my traps. This occurred due to my own idiocy in thinking that I could split out my workout to do arms on one day, and legs on another - which would have been a great theory, if I wasn’t using increasingly heavy dumbbells which put load on the arms (and, in my case, the traps) even when I’m doing leg work.

The end result was not enough rest for my arms / traps, thus injury.

Once I’m healed, I’ll be tossing DB squats and DB deadlifts in with my arm workouts, much like the normal beginner barbell workouts, and doing a 3 per week schedule like a (mostly) sane human being. (:

Quick update

It occurred to me, about the time I purchased the dumbbells, that I was still on a severe caloric deficit - around 1,200 calories a day. Not exactly enough to increase muscle mass (and thus strength), so that’s been increased to around 2,500 - 3,000 calories a day. 

Just about immediately, I went up from 145 to 147lbs. A week after, I dropped back to 145. I’m now back at 147.6, and have had decent gains on the lifts that I have enough plates for.

That’s been a bit of a sticking point, in that I hadn’t been purchasing enough plates to increase the load as quickly as I’ve been adapting, which means I’ve been stuck lifting weights that, while not “easy” (yet) aren’t challenging enough. It’s rather frustrating.

Sadly, due to lack of knowledge and research, when acquiring the dumbbells I’d gotten the 1”, standard plates, so that’s what I’m stuck with for now. I plan on getting a standard barbell in the near future, as it’d make doing squats a hell of a lot easier - holding dumbbells to the side while one is squatting becomes unwieldy when the dumbbell plates start getting larger, and kipping the things up to one’s shoulders is rather tough - after all, one’s legs are a hell of a lot stronger than one’s arms, and I’m definitely not a curlbro.

Also, it’d be a lot easier just to do the barbell exercises, rather than find (or invent) an adaptation for them using dumbbells. :D

Good news, sort of

Found out on Thursday that I have access to a “fitness room” at work; signed the required waiver on Friday and made use of it. Unfortunately, all they have are cardio machines (which I have access to at home), fixed weight dumbbells, and weight machines.

I’d so been hoping they’d have a barbell. Anyway, this is what’s available.

At least I’ll have the time to fix my standing shoulder press? :D


This would make things a lot easier.

I’m jelly. 

Ok, not really.

Frist poast - gymless - back story.

How to start this thing? 

Starting in late 1999 and ending in mid 2003, I spent an inordinate amount of time training in Shaolin Kung Fu. As such, according to many people I knew, I was “in shape.” If I recall correctly, I’m 5’5”, and at the time weighed between 165 (74.84) and 170lbs (77.11kg). No, it wasn’t all fat. :D

From mid 2003 to mid 2008, I spent an inordinate amount of time sitting on my arse, writing software and generally doing everything but take care of myself. As such, according to many people I knew (myself included), I let myself become a Fatty McFatpants. At my worst, I believe I weighed 175lbs (79.37kg). And yeah, it was all fat.

It took me about 6 months to go from 175 to 128lbs (58.05kg); I just cut my caloric intake, did a ton of crunches and push ups, then about 3 months into it started cardio via a recumbent stationary bike.

(Yeah, that’s a very dirty mirror. :D)

I stayed around that weight until May this year, when I decided that I wanted to hit 170 again, via muscle weight.

First, I used a machine that my wife and I were given called a “Gravity Edge”, thanks to her ex-husband. In his own words, it wasn’t like he was going to use it.

After that, I started added 10lb (4.5kg) ankle/wrist weights, until I was able to use all four, for an additional 40lbs (18.14kg) of weight. Then, because good sense doesn’t prevent me from a goal that I’ve set, I added an additional 40lbs to my body weight using my weight vest from back in my kung fu days to liven things up.


During this time, I’d also purchased one of those 40lb dumbbell sets, where each dumbbell weighs a maximum of 20lbs, and had been using them for curls. Eventually, that became too light, so I took the giant nylon weights from one of them and stacked them onto the other; this brought the single dumbbell to 30lbs, which worked for a while.

It also gave me a few extra weights to balance on my lap (along with the ankle weights) to make using the gravity edge a little more difficult, and infinitely more hilarious to watch.

Now, I was and am fully aware that using machines exclusively is not good for the body. So eventually I caved and got a pair of decent, adjustable dumbbells that can take anything from two, 2.5 (1.13) plates to two 45lb (20.41kg) plates. And it had occurred to me that I’d been neglecting compound lifts - I only started with curls due to it being a very weak spot for me.

Enter the ghetto weight bench.

Why yes, that’s an ottoman, with two smaller ottoman footstools. And it may be a bit unfair to call it “ghetto”. Perhaps “makeshift” would be more appropriate, as I can guarantee it’s a hell of a lot more comfortable than any normal weight bench. 

At any rate, that’s where I stand as of today. Here’s my latest progress pic.

It’s fucking cold, what did you expect?