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  

Friday, January 5

I know, I know, another missed gym day

What with most of the previous day’s snow having been cleared I moseyed into my main job bright (more like dim) and early at 7am. Normally I don’t work Fridays but this week was on a different schedule because of the holiday on Monday. Traffic was notably lighter than usual, it was obvious that many people were taking an extra day off.

It definitely was not a day off for me. Because of missing the previous day I had one day to do two days’ worth of work. Or as much as I could get done, I should say, doing two days would have been impossible. I was able to get out by the normal quitting time, but to do so I had to skip lunch entirely and take only a single ten-minute break. At least I once again encountered light traffic coming back.

Oh, as for the gym, some other things came up in the evening and it just wasn’t possible to go. Not an ideal situation but sometimes things just happen.

Published in: on January 7, 2018 at 5:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, January 4

Snow day!

What with well over a foot of snow and heavy winds, I did not go into my main job today. I wasn’t on the schedule at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, but I later found out that so few people were able to show up that the store closed early.

Of course the gym was closed too, but I figure all the snow shoveling I did more than made up for the lack of a gym session.

Published in: on January 5, 2018 at 4:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, January 3

No gym, but it didn’t matter

One thing about working at the Major Home Improvement Retailer is that a shift before a projected snowstorm can be very hectic. Today’s 5pm to 10pm shift was definitely no exception. With only one other employee working in the garden department the handling of rock salt fell to me. Handling as in lifting many, many 50-pound bags. I hadn’t made a gym trip in the time between my two jobs today, but it didn’t matter. Instead of lifting barbells I lifted rock salt, really just variations on the same theme.

Published in: on January 4, 2018 at 4:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, January 2

That wasn’t easy

I knew that getting back to a 7am start time after having been off for three weeks at my main job wouldn’t be easy, but I didn’t know just how hard an adjustment it would be. Getting through the day was a struggle at times. Other things came up in the evening so no gym, but tomorrow I’ll try to make a quick visit in the break between my main job and an evening shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. If that doesn’t prove possible, then Thursday.

Published in: on January 3, 2018 at 2:00 am  Leave a Comment  

January 1, 2018

New Year, new start

After having neglected this blog for almost four months I’ve made a New Year’s resolution to step up my game and keep it updated. After having had it for many years it’s almost a duty for me to keep it alive and well. So without further ado  …I’m not going to rehash what went on during the downtime, other than that it’s been mostly same old, same old. My main job clumped along as it always does, my hours at the Major Home Improvement Retailer gradually lessened except during the Christmas rush ( I am so tired of dealing with Der Tanenbaums), and after not doing much for a couple of months I finally began a new focus on the gym in December. That’ll be my main focus from now on.

Today, New Year’s Day, I had wanted to do leg work at the gym but unfortunately a slightly sore left knee made that seem inadvisable. Yesterday I had worked a full 8-hour shift at the MHIR and the constant walking on the concrete floors is probably why my knee wasn’t 100%. So I changed focus and decided to do some upper body work, which I had last done on Thursday. Keeping with the aches and pains motif my right shoulder has been bothering me for a while, I believe as a result of Der Tanenbaum handling, so I’ve been doing light work with only one recent rep at 225.  Today I increased that a bit:

  • Bench press: 6 x 135, 6 x 165, 6 x 185, 4 x 205, 2 x 225, 6 x 185. Less shoulder pain that I had expected though I decided not to go past two reps at 225.
  • Hammer Strength shoulder press: 3 x 8 x 80/80. Not too bad.
  • Pec deck flies: 4 x 8 x 150. These were slightly tougher than I had anticipated.
  • Dumbbell French press: 4 x 8 x 45. Went very well. One of my favorite exercises.

I also did some cable pushdowns, but I don’t actually remember the weight on the stack so I don’t count them. All in all, a decent session, and my plan is to go for three or ideally four reps at 225 next time.



Published in: on January 2, 2018 at 3:26 am  Leave a Comment  

September 1 – 10

New month, new start

All in all, I would have to say that September has gotten off to a pretty decent start. The workload at my main job has gotten pretty heavy, but it’s tolerable and in any way shouldn’t be this way much longer. Basically just a temporary state of affairs. Countering it has been the seasonal decline in hours at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, so I have less of the “worked to death” sensation than I was experiencing a few months ago. Thankfully.

What with my less exhausting schedule, I’ve made a newfound commitment to going to the gym on a regular basis. Something I’ve read, which helps, is to think of each gym trip more as a scheduled appointment and less of a spur of the moment thing. In other words, I plan out the gym trips at least a few days in advance and make time for them, rather than deciding on a day-by-day basis whether to go or not. Too often the latter situation becomes a “not.” I’ve also decided to focus on neutral grip pull-ups, doing them at least twice a week and trying to up my rep count each time. They really are the best back exercise, much more demanding than rows or cable pulldowns or anything else. Once I start making some appreciable progress with them I’ll do a similar session-to-session improvement focus on something else, maybe bench presses.

Saturday the 16th is the semi-annual gun show in my area. I don’t have anything specific in mind, maybe a lever action, but I’ll go to the show with cash in hand – not all dealers accept credit or debit cards – and see if something catches my attention. One bad thing is that if I do end up buying a new firearm I won’t have the chance to take it to the range until the following Friday. Guess I’ll just have to be patient.

Published in: on September 11, 2017 at 1:16 am  Comments (1)  

August adventures

As in, how I spent the month of August

I just didn’t have the urge for more frequent updates, so consider this a mega-update for the entire month of August.

After months of near-agony my hours at the Major Home Improvement Retailer finally got more reasonable. Sixteen hours a week is fine, 18 even, but those 24- and 28-hour weeks I was doing during the peak season were grinding me down to nothing. Thankfully my schedule will be much better for the next several months. What about next spring? I’ve decided that I’m not going to put up with being worked half to death anymore. Between now and then I’ll have to have a talk with the store manager and let her know that I have my limits. Hopefully she will understand, if not, well, I will have to do some serious thinking about whether I will be able to stay at the job. The money’s helpful, but not vital.

Speaking of work, a rather unexpected development is that the workload at my main job was much heavier than normal during most of August. Leaving early was definitely not an option. Many days, I’d have to stay an hour late even with skipping breaks. Given the lighter schedule at the MHIR this was tolerable, but it wouldn’t have been a few months ago. Fortunately, things at the main job should be getting a bit less hectic soon.

After neglecting it for too long I finally began making my way back to the gym. I’m doing my best to go three times a week, not necessarily the same three days, adding a fourth if possible. I’ve been considering taking up a more formalized routine, with a schedule of exercises, but so far I’ve been on a more ad hoc approach. One thing I have been doing is concentrating on compound exercises rather than isolation work and on free weights as opposed to machines.

The highlight for August was my trip to see the eclipse. I had decided that somewhere in the west would be a good choice because the skies should be clear. After some online investigating I decided that western Wyoming would be ideal, as I was concerned about big traffic jams in more populated areas. I booked a flight on Jet Blue from JFK to Salt Lake City on Sunday, July 20, via a connection in Boston of all places, getting in around 9:30 pm. I’d then pick up a rental car I had reserved from Enterprise and would drive overnight into Wyoming on some less-traveled roads. I then would return to the Salt Lake City airport on Monday evening for an overnight (ugh!) flight back to JFK.

Of course things didn’t work out quite as planned. There were all sorts of delays at JFK, even though the weather was fine, and after waiting around for hours it was obvious I’d miss my Boston connection and wouldn’t make it to Salt Lake City in time.  Fortunately, Jet Blue booked me on a nonstop at no extra cost. It didn’t get to Salt Lake City until  well after midnight, when the Enterprise rental counter – alone of all the rental companies at the airport, go figure – was closed. I was able to rent a Nissan Pathfinder from Dollar, literally the last vehicle they had left.

By this point I was too wiped out to want to drive on secondary roads into the middle of nowhere. Instead I drove north into Idaho on I-15, a route that I had been scared off from by dire traffic predictions, but it wasn’t bad in the middle of the night. I spent a few hours in the car at a rest area and in the early morning drove north to Idaho Falls, which was in the totality zone.

All my travels were well worth it. I watched the eclipse from the riverfront park in Idaho Falls, in the company of thousands of people, and at the risk of sounding trite it really was an otherworldly experience. Definitely worth all the time and money (lots of money, that Nissan Pathfinder rental was NOT cheap). I took some side roads back through Idaho, as post-eclipse traffic on I-15 was rather gnarly. As there was still some time left before I had to get to the airport I had wanted to explore downtown Salt Lake City a bit, but I was just too exhausted. Another time.

Published in: on September 4, 2017 at 9:49 pm  Leave a Comment