Saturday, January 27 – Friday, January 16

Progress in fits and starts

My gym progress during this period has not been entirely satisfactory, but not unsatisfactory either. One slight obstacles is that my main job has gotten much busier than in the past. Instead of working from 7am to around 2pm with a couple of breaks, it’s been more like 7 to 2:30 or 3 with maybe a single 5-minute break if I’m lucky.  What I’m finding is that when I work that hard during the day it’s harder to do well at the gym in the evening. Not impossible, of course, especially since my hours at the Major Home Improvement Retailer have been rather light, but more difficult.

Most upper-body work has been going well. I’ve been managing sets of four at 225, and can get up to 12 to 15 total reps at that weight. Yes, I know, I’ve done better in the past, but after a too-long stretch of doing too little I find this a reasonable degree of progress. I’ve yet to go for sets of five, but that will come soon enough. For back work, I’ve been concentrating on one-arm dumbbell rows, at this point I’m using a 75-pound dumbbell  with good form and don’t see any obstacle to further progress. Hopefully 100’s won’t be too far off.

It’s with lower-body work that I’ve been lagging. A couple of attempts at squats haven’t gone well, too much soreness the next day, and I’ve not been motivated to try deadlifting at all. As a result I’ve been using various leg presses around the gym, as well as seated leg curls. That’s better than nothing, of course, but I really should be doing more. It’s really just a matter of motivation, or the lack thereof.

Published in: on February 18, 2018 at 3:37 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, January 22 – Friday, January 26

Barely found time

This was one tough week at my main job. It was a tough work cycle, which is odd in a way because it was the second week of the 2-week cycle and usually the second week is easier. Not now, and I’m actually not sure why.  I was able to make it to the gym on Monday and Friday evenings, with two relatively decent sessions: leg work on Monday, upper body work on Friday. I know I should have done squats or deadlifts for leg work, but I just didn’t have the urge and did machine stuff instead. Leg presses, extensions, curls, the usual suspects.

After a rather dull shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer on Wednesday evening, I returned to the gym on Thursday for some bench presses and auxiliary work. It went surprisingly well. After getting started with 6 x 135, 6 x 165, 6 x 185, 4 x 205, I managed 3 x 225, 2 x 2 x 225, 1 x 225. My first triple in a while. After the 225’s I finished with 4 x 205, 6 x 185. I then did pec deck flies, 4 x 8 x 145, and finished with dumbbell French presses, 4 x 8 x 55. An increase of five pounds on the French presses from last time.

Published in: on February 3, 2018 at 3:15 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, January 20 – Sunday, January 21

Nothing record-setting in Saturday’s gym work. I did back stuff, starting with cable pulldowns, 5 x 8 x 150. Not too bad, though there is something about that exercise that just doesn’t float my boat, so to speak. It may be time to move onto something else. I also did SLDL’s, 3 x 8 x 155, and some machine work of no particular note.

Sunday was an 8-hour shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, my first such shift in a while. I had forgotten just how long eight hours can be!

Published in: on February 3, 2018 at 3:01 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, January 18 – Friday, January 19

Finally doing the auxiliary work

Thursday marked the end of the workweek at my main job and it was even tougher than the first three days had been. Ugh. I have one more week of this brutal work cycle to go, but it should be a bit more manageable as I will be at worksites that usually go well. At least I hope so.

No gym on Thursday, another rest day, but after doing some day-off chores on Friday I went in the early afternoon. It was surprisingly crowded given the time.  It had dawned on me that while I had benched on Wednesday I hadn’t done any of the upper body auxiliary work, so that’s what I now did. Some residual soreness in my right shoulder made dumbbell shoulder presses inadvisable so I did light machine shoulder work instead. Dumbbell French presses: 5 x 8 x 50. Up five pounds from last time. Hammer Strength shoulder presses: 4 x 8 x 70/70. Light, I know. Pec deck flies: 4 x 8 x 150. Yet again up five pounds from last time. All in all I made the best of a non-ideal situation.

Published in: on January 21, 2018 at 3:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, January 16 – Wednesday, January 17

Making (slow) progress

Both of these were tough days at my main job, I’m very glad I wasn’t scheduled at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. Seriously, I don’t know how I would have managed. I didn’t go to the gym on Tuesday, I definitely needed a day off after Monday’s leg work, which left me quite sore. In fact I’m not looking forward to my next leg session, I’ll just have to figure out how to deal with it.

Wednesday I did bench presses, and made a concerted effort to progress from my last bench session at which I topped out doing four singles at 225. My effort worked out well. I did 6 x 135, 6 x 155, 6 x 185, 4 x 205, 2 x 2 x 225, 1 x 225, 1 x 225, 4 x 205, 6 x 185. That’s right, instead of four singles I managed two doubles and two singles. It’s slow progress but progress nonetheless.

Published in: on January 21, 2018 at 3:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, January 15

Sobering numbers

It was a moderately difficult day at my main job, with the start of a new 2-week work cycle, but with some people having the day off for Martin Luther King Day traffic was noticeably lighter than usual. Nice, but of course that won’t last.

After a very long time away from them I actually did squats at the gym. It’s been so long I had no idea what sort of numbers I had done the last time out, so to play it safe I started with just 135 pounds. The good news is that I did six reps with very good depth, the bad news is that it was much harder than I had anticipated. A very sobering experience. I did two more sets of six at 155, and decided not to push it any further. If there’s a takeaway lesson in all this, it is that squats are not a “natural” movement, in other words it takes a while to get back to any sort of meaningful numbers after a long time away. Guess I’ve got a lengthy quest ahead of me.

I also did some machine leg exercises: Cybex leg presses, 6 x 330, 3 x 6 x 290, and Cybex leg extensions, 4 x 6 x 150. After all of that I did some stretching work on the mat. And yes, leg presses aren’t remotely comparable to squats.

Published in: on January 18, 2018 at 3:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, January 13 – Sunday, January 14

Not a bad gym session on Saturday. After doing various and sundry other things during the day I went to the gym about 7pm and did back work. As part of my new focus I’m trying to move away from machines and use free weights whenever possible. Not a 100% change, but a different emphasis.

I started with barbell rows, 8 x 135, 2 x 8 x 145, Next came cable pulldowns, 8 x 140, 2 x 8 x 160, 8 x 140. After an interlude for some hip and back stretching on the mat, I did SLDL’s, another long-neglected old favorite, 4 x 8 x 145.

Sunday was a full 8-hour shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, 8 to 4:30. It was very boring for the first few hours, as there were three people on duty in the garden department and hardly any customers. Around 11, fairly abruptly, the store got much busier and I actually had stuff to do. It made the time go faster, though eight hours is still a long haul no matter what.

Published in: on January 15, 2018 at 5:13 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, January 12


Today was sort of a good news/bad news sort of day. The good news is that I finally made it back to the gym, taking advantage of my day off to go fairly early in the afternoon. Earlier in the day I actually watched some weight training videos to give myself some motivation. Hope it lasts.
Now, the bad news is that the amounts I handled weren’t what you would call earth shattering. At least this was the case with bench presses, where to put things in perspective I once got ten reps at 225. Not anymore. All I was able to manage was getting some singles at that weight: 6 x 135, 6 x 165, 6 x 185, 4 x 204, 4 x 1 x 225, 4 x 205, 6 x 185. Still, at least I’m trying, and I will be sure to up the reps next time. I also did seated dumbbell shoulder presses, 3 x 8 x 30/30 (weak, I know), and dumbbell French presses, 4 x 8 x 45.  To finish the session I did some much-needed hip and back stretches on a mat.

Published in: on January 14, 2018 at 4:54 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, January 8 – Thursday, January 10

No excuses

As you might have guessed from the consolidated entry, I did not go to the gym at all during this stretch. I have no excuse whatsoever for my inaction: my main job was no different from usual, I wasn’t scheduled at all at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, the weather was mostly cold but not stormy, and I wasn’t sick. Absolutely nothing stood between me and at least two gym visits. Except, that is, for laziness and lack of motivation. Each day I came back from work, did various errands, but mostly just lay around doing nothing. On at least two occasions I told myself that I’ll go to the gym in an hour or so, and you can figure out what happened, or more accurately didn’t happen – an hour later. This can’t continue.

Published in: on January 13, 2018 at 2:59 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, January 6 – Sunday, January 7

Saturday was one of those days when I had no excuse not to go to the gym but nonetheless ended up not going. Bad, I know. Why I didn’t go is attributable, at least in retrospect, to the multitude of errands I had to do during the day, and in the evening to my lack of desire to venture out in the extreme cold. Which of course is an utterly pathetic way of thinking.

Sunday at least I had an excuse, working nearly a full 8-hour shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. As shifts go it was not one of my better ones. There weren’t many customers, once again likely because of the very cold weather, while naturally enough there were several people working in the garden department. While it’s not that I necessarily mind not being busy, what I don’t like is that on some quiet shifts the time passes extremely slowly. Yes, this was one of those shifts.

Published in: on January 11, 2018 at 1:03 am  Leave a Comment